Waiting on the economy to create a job might not be a good decision. My opinion is that things will get worse before they get better. There is always work even when times are hard. The question is do you want to work or feel sorry for yourself. Having been self employed most of my life recessions are just something you deal with. The trick is knowing where to look. At any given time there is someone that has some thing they would rather not do themselves. That equates to a possible opportunity. Rural settings offer more chances to work, but if you are creative you can find jobs in town. Start by looking for things that need to be done that have not,or are not being done. A yard or lot that is overgrown. Tree limbs scraping up against a house. You might say I know nothing about trimming a tree. Well go to the library and read up on it. It is not rocket science. Check with some companies that do the kind of work you find that needs to be done. Get some estimates. Sometimes you can just be a middle man and arrange for the work to be done. You find the labor and you find the job that needs to be done. You make arrangements and collect the money and if your half smart you pick up the difference between what labor costs and what the person wanting the work done is willing to pay. Your main risk is making sure both parties are trustworthy and will do the work and have the money to pay for the work.
Many jobs like roofing are obvious and out there for anybody to see. People are willing to pay a reasonable amount to get the work done. However often communities have codes and rules on how, who or what is required for a job to be done. Minor electrical and plumbing jobs may be simple to do, but they can get you in trouble if a permit or license is required. That being said, it can make some good money for a person who knows how to stay within the law. Building decks does not require a permit or license where I live. Building them made me good money during one recession. However I did not like doing them and after a while I arranged a friend to do the work. For my part I lined up the jobs, figured the materials, the labor and arranged the details and drew up the contracts in writing. My friend trusted me and we split the profits and made good money.
Yard work and landscaping are usually not to complicated. You just need to make sure you know what you are getting into. Contracts can be simple and hand written, but they should make clear who is paying for what and how much. It should give the basic details also. This prevents people adding to the job in progress. That is one thing that can bust you as a self employed person. Sometimes a minor change is okay and understandable, but when it starts coming out of your labor income and adding to material costs it should be added in writing as a change. It is important you stand your ground and if necessary to take the matter to court. If you do take it to court use the small claims court in most circumstances. You both get to give your side of the story and the judges decision is final. I have found most judges to be fair.
There are tons of opportunity if we just open our eyes. The trick is to find something people need done and provide it at a better rate or a better quality of work. Detailing or cleaing cars, cleaning offices, hauling trash which is not as bad as it sounds and can be very lucrative. Just about anything else you can think of that people do not like to do themselves has potential for being a job. An example from my own life is my experience with trash from my own home. When I had my heart attack and got put on disability I went from about $150,000 a year gross income to barely a thousand dollars a month disability income. As I had a job driving my own truck some changes had to be made. First I had to sell my truck and trailer which got rid of those payments. Then I used the equity to pay off my other bills. Finally I had to figure how to cut my monthly bills. The first I took on was the trash. My wife had be paying $75 every three months for the service to get our trash hauled off. I started doing it myself. First I figured out what was compostable and started composting it for my garden. The garden was another cost saving measure and eventually a money maker. Anyhow getting back on track I started sorting the aluminum which I sold to a scrap yard. Then I recycled plastic, glass and metal through the local recycling center. I also started taking certain bottles, old pans and silverware and making bird houses, bird feeders and wind chimes out of the scrap. Now I make $75 to $100 a month off of what I used to throw away. That is taking a $300 a year bill and making it a $1200 a year income. Gardening is easy to turn into a money making proposition also. The key is to not spend money and go in debt growing stuff. The trick is to barter, trade and wheel and deal to get what you need for seed, starter plants and equipment. Gardeners are some of the most generous and sharing people I have ever met and trading is part of how you succeed. Initially my goal was to cut our own food bill, but as I got better at it I started selling starter plants for the garden. Also excess produce that exceeded my own needs is marketable. Being retired I have time to play with the trays of plants and nurse as much out of them as possible. The trick is finding what people will buy. Do not waste your time growing things that nobody will buy. Gardening will not make you rich, but it will tide you over and help make life a little more comfortable. A younger more motivated person could make some good money from it. Over my years of trucking I met several people who started with a small roadside stand and made it into a family business.
About that trash thing. It can be turned into money if you do not mind the smell and a little work. I was getting $1 for the small white trash can bags and $1.50 for the big black bags. Non bagged items were on a per piece cost. I burned the wood, scrapped the metal and recycled most of the other. It is not hard to add side boards to a pick up and build yourself a fairly regular route. Making $200 a pick up load after repacking, sorting and making the appropriate disposal of all the items. A couple days can make a decent paycheck. If your not that hungry and think these things are to far out or not what you want to do, find your own nitch and don't starve to death waiting on the government to come through for you.
The secret key to success in all I have explained so far is simple. Do you have a budget? If not it is time.