Business Miscellaneous

Top 8 Recession-Proof Business Ideas for 2021

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COVID-19! Who would ever have imagined? Especially at a time when the world is so technologically and medically advanced. According to The World Bank, the global economy shrunk by 5.2% in 2020. Also, there were 5 million job losses in Europe within the first half of 2020—roughly 5.6 times more than after the Lehman collapse.

However, while most businesses have been adversely affected by the Covid pandemic, some have thrived, and even performed better. So-called countercyclical businesses tend to see massive growth during a recession. For instance, 51% of Fortune 500 companies were established during an economic crisis. So, it is possible to build a successful business, or expand your existing one, during a recession. But to be on the safe side, you need to consider a recession-proof business model—one that will bloom even in the darkest of times. 

If you want to learn about the best recession-proof business models for 2021, you have come to the right place. In this article, we introduce you to the top recession-beating business ideas for this year.


Probably the best recession-proof business is freelancing. It is viable, requires minimal investment, you can work from home, and you are your own boss. 

But why is it smart to start freelancing during a recession? 

During an economic downturn, most businesses are not looking for full-time employees. Rather, they are searching for on-demand workers to save costs and remain flexible. Also, in most cases, freelancers deliver the same performance as regular employees. 

If you are worried about your job, starting freelancing now is a great back-up option. Also, you can gain valuable experience for future opportunities 

Online Food Business

Even during an economic crisis, humans still need to eat and drink. That is one reason why food and beverage is one of the most involatile industries.

Am I suggesting that you should open a restaurant, café, or bar in the middle of a pandemic? 

No! You should go for a less risky, low-investment option: Starting an online food delivery company.

You can easily add your delivery service to one of the online delivery portals like Ubereats, and then promote your business through social media.

Reselling Items Online

In the first half of 2020, Amazon made a profit of 5.2 billion USD. That makes reselling items online an enticing option.

During a recession, many people search for used products because they lack the money for new ones. You can make use of marketplaces like Amazon or eBay to sell your used products to these potential customers. It only takes a few minutes to set up an account and start selling. 

You can start with the obvious stuff. For example, you can sell used books on Amazon. Then, if online reselling suits you, you can also become a professional Amazon seller.

Online Teaching

Schools have also been affected by the COVID pandemic, with most students now learning at home. If you have in-depth knowledge of a particular topic, you can create an online course and upload it to Udemy. 

You can teach anything that you are qualified or trained to do, from fitness classes and writing workshops to cooking tips and makeup tutorials. 

And online teaching is not only a great business model because you can make money with it—you can also gain satisfaction from helping people improve their skills.

Online Beauty Business

You might think that beauty and self-care are the last things on people’s minds right now. However, studies show that people have spent more money on body and skincare products during the Covid pandemic. Recession or not, skincare and self-care are uber important. And since salons and spas are closed, the best alternative is to purchase such products online. However, you will need a big following to succeed with your online beauty business. That is why this business idea is best for influencers who already have a large number of followers.

Virtual Assistance

Not long ago, virtual assistance did not exist. But today, being a virtual assistant is a great opportunity to earn some extra cash or even get a full-time job. During a recession, businesses cut off unnecessary costs. These costs also include expensive labor. Therefore, companies seek to outsource most of their menial tasks to a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant works online or via telephone and serves as an administrative assistant to entrepreneurs, CEOs, executives, or even an entire business.

Repair Industry

Regardless of the economic situation, roofs will leak, cars will crash, and doors will break. These are occurrences that do not depend on the economic situation. While this is frustrating for most of us, it is a gold mine for those in the repair industry. The repair industry in particular booms during a recession because people often lack the money to purchase new items. If you are skilled in furniture, plumbing, mechanic, or electric repairs, this can form a decent recession-proof business idea.

Information Technology

We live surrounded by technology, from the TV in our living rooms to the smartphones in our pockets. IT was the fastest-growing industry in the US economy during the Great Recession, making it a prospective recession-proof endeavor. With new tech devices invented daily, it is expected that the IT industry will continue to grow in the coming years. So, if you are tech-savvy, this might be an interesting way to make some extra cash.


Even though we’re optimistic that 2021 will bring with it better fortune, we are smarter than to wait for things to happen. It’s all about taking things into our own hands. It’s time to execute a solid recession-proof business plan that will help pay the bills. There are hundreds of recession-proof businesses that you could start, and what we’ve provided is just a small sample. It’s still okay if you don’t resonate with any of the ideas on my list. You just need to look for an inelastic product or service that people are in dire need of during recessions. Keep an eye out for further business opportunities in the tech, healthcare, daycare, and education industries.

Which recession-proof business ideas have we left out? Let us know.

About the author


Moritz Bauer

Moritz Bauer is an ecommerce expert and runs smartminded—a blog about Ecommerce and Fulfillment by Amazon. He lives in Germany, and when he is not in front of his laptop, he is enjoying some drinks with his friends.