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Opportunities of This Economy

Which Industries are Being Born and Booming–and Three Quick Ways to Get in on the Action

Over the last several months, I have been campaigning about the great opportunities this economy offers people like you and me – entrepreneurs, progressive achievers.

I have promoted the upside of our down economy on dozens of TV and radio programs and hundreds of Web sites like SUCCESS, this blog and twitter.com/DarrenHardy. But the crushing decibel level of the rest of media is preventing people from hearing the message.

Don’t let the media’s cries of fear and hopelessness muddle your mind and dim your vision of the grand possibilities available to you right now.

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Recently, I asked my SUCCESS board of advisors, several respected peers and followers on Twitter, to point out the industries and businesses that are booming because of the economy. I think it is important to shift our focus from the problems this economy has caused to the new needs and solutions this economy has given birth to. For all of the problems that have been created in this economy, there have been just as many solutions created, which is exactly why this is the perfect time for entrepreneurialism.

Regardless of whether these opportunities apply to you or not – it’s always good to know where growth markets are, especially if you sell to businesses – just the shift from seeing problems to seeing solutions will challenge you see opportunities for yourself.

Here are a few trends that seem to be surfacing:

1. Safety and comfort – My friend Jim Cathcart pointed out that the economy is driving people to safe places, psychologically safe that is. People are escaping by watching movies, buying comfort food and visiting their counselors and psychologists.

2. A return to basics and prudence – Our social shift to cost-saving measures are redirecting dollars to alternative services. Usage of the streaming television Web site Hulu.com has nearly doubled the last six months as people are cancelling their cable subscriptions and accessing the same programs through the Internet for free. Additionally, people are staying home versus going out. Netflix subscribers have increased to more than 10 million, and iTunes’ sales are way up, with growth of more than 25 percent.

Also, because we are staying home for fun, the video gaming industry has reported an increase of 31 percent. GameStop is outperforming the retail sector with expected growth of 18 to 22 percent for 2009.

Dining-in – A shift in less expensive dining-out alternatives is apparent in the restaurant business. While high-end restaurants are struggling, places like McDonald’s and other inexpensive takeout spots like Wingstop (sales are up 6.5 percent, 75 percent of which are takeout) are growing.

Incidentally, in my recent interview with Dr. Kenneth Cooper he says this is why we are creating a “HEALTH RECESSION – we’re eating more of these cheap fast food options, and it is bankrupting our health.”

The good news is the grocery business is up as people are going out less, cooking at home more and packing lunches.

Fix versus buy – Another profitable area is used auto parts, computer repair and do-it-yourself home-improvement clinics and workshops.

Oh, and bike sales are rocketing in 2009 as people are cutting their transportation costs.

3. Retraining, retooling and reevaluating – As people are being displaced and those who haven’t are in fear of losing their jobs, they are realizing the need to update and advance their education. Community colleges’, business schools’ and distance learning programs’ enrollments are up sharply. My friend Landon Taylor knows a company that is making a million dollars a month simply selling leads to one of these universities.

I can also tell you that SUCCESS magazine subscriptions are growing at twice the rate they were four months ago.

And, of course, the business of job search and résumé consulting and other professional training, networking and preparatory service companies are thriving.

Contract services – Instead of hiring full-benefit employees, more and more companies are hiring outside consultants and contractors for specific projects, including IT, design, production, creative services, and many other specialized skill sets and services. This increase specialized contract work has spurred an increase in independent consulting and contract service small businesses.

Bartering services on the Internet are also booming. Sites like SwapASkill.com, U-Exchange.com, TradeAway.com and SwapThing.com are hot.

4. And the unfortunate obviousBankruptcy attorneys, accounting services specializing in accounts receivable collection, law firms representing displaced employees, realtors specializing in bank-owned properties, restructuring consulting companies and equipment liquidators have also done well in this economy (Overstock.com up 17%).

(What other markets do you know are up because of shifts this economy has created? Leave them in the comment section below.)

Three Quick Ways to Exercise Opportunity Today

I am asked often how the average person can become an entrepreneur quickly and start taking advantage of these changing and opportune times. Here are a few easy and inexpensive ways:

1. What do you know? You have an expertise, a knowledge and experience in something that is unique to you. In fact, it might be so unique that you don’t even recognize it as a personal expertise. Ask a good friend or colleague what they think you are experienced, knowledgeable or gifted at. Once you discover what your specialization is, write about it. There are probably thousands of people who would want to know what you know or how to do what you do. You can create a how-to information book and sell it through ClickBank, or create a podcast or video blog series and distribute it through iTunes or another distribution venue.

2. What do you have? What goods do you have that others might want? What goods do you have easy access to that most do not? What goods can you make that people would want? Answer one or more of those questions and then take it to market through eBay or an automated Amazon.com store.

3. Who do you know? For less than a few hundred dollars you can join a direct sales or networking opportunity and immediately start an additional income stream – one that can pay your monthly grocery bill or even lead to a very healthy full-time income. Find a company or a product that you are personally enthusiastic about, one you would be proud to introduce to your friends and peers. No experience necessary and without the headache of overhead, employees and liability, you can be in business for yourself, but have the support of lots of people invested in your success.

(What other opportunities have elevated because of shifts this economy has created? Leave them in the comment section below. Please no promotion of a particular company, product or service, general market observations only.)

Follow Darren behind the scenes of SUCCESS: www.twitter.com/DarrenHardy

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