small business

By Thogori Karago, LinkedIn ProFinder Senior Product Manager

2017 is shaping up to be a great year for small businesses. Small businesses account for 54% of all U.S. sales according to the Small Business Administration. In addition, the rate of small businesses and startups continues to grow as the failure rate declines.

If you want to capitalize on these trends and start your own business, you’ll need a smart business idea. But before you settle on one, consider these lesser known industries that are experiencing rapid growth this year:

1. Search Engine Optimization Expert

Small businesses are becoming increasingly aware of how online search visibility affects their business. They realize that ranking on search engines is valuable as 93% of online experiences start with a search engine and 75% of users never scroll past the first results page.

Search is a grey world that businesses of all sizes need help navigating. In fact, HubShout’s 2016 survey found SEO to be the top outsourced service for online marketing agencies, and that trend is expected to grow into 2017. If you are an expert in SEO, small and medium businesses need your services.

Bottom Line: Small and medium businesses increasingly need help when it comes to SEO and they’re willing to hire you for it.

2. Mobile Application Developer

Anticipated to be a $77 billion dollar industry by the end of 2017, mobile apps are a fast-growing market. Customization, news, and productivity apps, in particular, are the largest areas of growth, with customization apps growing by 332%. Kid-friendly apps are also expected to grow in 2017.

Bottom Line: If you have a passion for software development, 2017 is the year to consider pursuing it as a small business owner.

3. Wellness Guru

The wellness industry grew 10.6% from 2013 – 2015 while the global economy shrank 3.6% according to the Global Wellness Institute, making the wellness industry one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Wellness no longer means personal fitness and diets. It now includes mental health awareness, bio-wearables, and even extends to the corporate workplace. Corporate wellness is expected to grow the most in 2017 with only 9% of the world’s 3 billion workers having access to a workplace wellness program.

Bottom Line: Wellness is expanding fast into technology, workplaces, and other areas, creating a variety of ways to capitalize on its growth.

4. Vacation Rental Owner

Platforms like Airbnb and VRBO make it easy to earn a supplementary, or even main source of income. Smartasset found that Airbnb hosts earn an average annual income of $20,000.

Not only do these platforms make it easy, but demand on the platforms is rising as more and more consumers realize they cost significantly less than a hotel. Owning and managing a vacation rental could even be your side business while you keep your full-time job.

Bottom Line: Sites like Airbnb and Vrbo make it easy to get into the hospitality game and earn additional income.

5. Career Coach

If you enjoy helping others, consider career coaching where you’re responsible for empowering people to navigate their career paths, thrive professionally, and compete against millions of fellow job-seekers to achieve their dream jobs. A recent Gallup poll found 60% of workers between the ages of 21 and 37 are open to leaving their job to pursue another one – so why not help people navigate an already difficult process that’s becoming increasingly competitive? The income isn’t bad either as coaches can command between $200 and $500 an hour.

Bottom Line: Check out career coaching if you want to help individuals navigate and propel their careers via leadership and management coaching, resume training and interview prep . Services like LinkedIn ProFinder, where coaching is one of the most in-demand categories, can be a great source of new clients to augment your existing network.


Making the leap into launching your own small business brings with it a mix of emotions, from thrilling to nerve-racking. Make that leap a bit less daunting by applying your skills and passions in fields where demand is high and continuing to grow.

Thogori Karago is the LinkedIn ProFinder Senior Product Manager.