One of the best things I love about being a freelance writer for a variety of clients across many industries - plus a voracious reader of current affairs and breaking news - is that I'm privy to a bunch of business trends that represent hot and happening opportunities for those that take advantage of them.
Yes, I've taken the advice found in the best-selling book "Choose Yourself," which advises us to keep an idea log in order to jot down all the fabulous enterprising thoughts that come to us throughout the day. The tome also encourages us to give of ourselves and introduce to people those things and individuals that could help them improve their own lives. In that spirit, and since I am only one person, here are seven of the latest wide-open markets I've recently learned about that are currently booming or can become a gold mine to those that get in while the getting is good.
#1 - Commercial drone services
A family member pays approximately $180 per year to receive The Kiplinger Letter, a helpful forecasting tool that assists managers in making key decisions. I'm grateful he passes them along to me, because that's how I learned about the huge $10-billion coming industry for commercial drones - at least that the amount experts are predicting it will hit by the year 2025.
As soon as the FAA gives the okay for drones to fly over our heads to deliver pizzas, Amazon Prime Air packages in 30 minutes, and whatever other types of innovative services that would benefit from being in the ether - like farmers tracking cattle, gas firms checking out pipelines or realtors showing off houses from the sky - entrepreneurs can come out of the woodwork.
Imagine a service that helps people get home safely at night by having an ADT-type of drone following them overhead that's connected to a security firm. Better start sketching those business plans now and buying the GoPro parts to make your own drone from home as a prototype.
#2 - Virtual retail on demand
Another client of mine runs a virtual clothing company, selling leggings and t-shirts with interesting designs. Most of their prints are made by designers in London and Los Angeles, but are produced in China, and distributed in Toronto. Their technology team is in India, plus they have a social media marketer in Boston and a PR person in Ohio.
The intriguing point is that they don't have to get the clothing printed up first and hope they are able to sell the inventory. Instead, the firm is like "CafÃ© Press" on steroids, only selling on demand those items that are ordered. As long as they don't encounter a fiasco like that "Keep Calm and Rape a Lot" t-shirt that was automatically created as part of a computer algorithm that caused plenty of buzz and took a company under, they should be fine.
Therefore, allow the "on demand" feature to become a part of your business or new venture, whatever it is.
#3 - Lottery odds apps
There are apps for nearly everything, but ones that seem to be missing are those that help avid lottery players mitigate their risk of wasting money on tickets by spelling out the best odds of playing to win.
Extracting information from various states' lottery pages, like this one in Ohio that shows how many scratch-off tickets are remaining, and then placing it within an automatic formula that would scan them daily and spit out information about which games have the best odds of winning that day could make for a seriously successful app.
#4 - African-American emojis and emoticons for black people
If you're one of the millions - if not billions - of people on Instagram or Facebook each day, you've probably seen an emoji or emoticon. People into fitness like me see the little cartoon drawings of flexed biceps or thumbs up and faces with red hearts where the eyes belong accompanying status updates in social media all the time.
Well, one thing a friend mentioned in exercise class yesterday is that they finally have an emojis app with black people in the iTunes app store. I checked it out, and according to the customers reviews, it is seriously lacking. Knowing an opportunity when I see one, I definitely see that this is one place where someone can fill that demand with a better product that people would be willing to pay a buck for on the outset, or gain via a free app with in-app purchases.
#5 - Hire experts for your small company from around the world without leaving home
I touched on this briefly when writing about my on-demand clothing client, but it's a practice that's growing more and more common each day. Small business owners no longer have to seek employees in their local area and rent out a physical space in order to hang up their "Open for Business" shingle.
Even one-person operations running a sole proprietorship from home can hire experts from around the world to make them look like a massive company. Developers, writers and other pundits across the globe are available at reasonable prices to help you get started on sites like Elance or oDesk.
Individual outsourcing is another concept covered quite a bit in that "Choose Yourself" bestseller, and the author delves into why he believes the phenomenon is here to stay.
#6 - A completely crowd-funded business
What if you don't have one thin dime to rub together to invest into your new business venture - or you're in credit card debt up to your hair weave? Companies like National Debt Relief or some of the other major crowd-funding websites can provide the cash you need to launch a product or service, that's if your proposal strikes a chord with donators who are moved enough to give you money. (Check out this 3D printer campaign that blew past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal in 11 minutes.)
#7 - Exercise boot camps for kids
I saw an article from Business Insider in passing in my inbox that detailed how parents have been taking their kids to CrossFit classes. Indeed, now that I've had the time to read it, I see just how great an opportunity it is for entrepreneurs to get in on this boot-camp-for-kids craze.
Even folks who don't fall under the actual "CrossFit" umbrella can get in on the action and ride the wave of popularity under their own brand's name, which makes a whole bunch of sense. As an active member of a boot camp exercise class and a parent, I see why people have fallen in love with the effective high-intensity interval training style of working out - and I see why they'd want their kids to join in on the healthy fun, especially in the face of childhood obesity.
And there you go! You've just read seven excellent ideas to take and run with as an entrepreneur, whether or not you have the funds to make them happen. You're welcome.