When people are looking for the sort of self employment opportunity that is likely to be a success right out of the gate, one shouldn't discount the power of the local movement that is currently heating up in the United States.
Looking at the global marketplace, it can seem very daunting when trying to come up with a product or idea that will set the market on fire. However, it is very possible that it's not the whole world you need to compete with – it might just be your local neighborhood. Indeed, as far as your own lucrative self employment opportunity goes, it is very common for people to preferentially choose services (rather than products) that inherently lend themselves to the local economy.
This means that you don't necessarily want or need to work with entirely new ideas or patentable devices. Often, especially in rural communities, people do find novel ways of accomplishing uniquely local jobs (like cranberry harvesting). In this way, a self-employment opportunity is very often a matter of buying a piece of equipment and operating it for others. Portable sawmills are one very common rural job that involves renting your services out in such a manner.
sometimes this means franchising of a an idea that has already caught on somewhere else (not necessarily fast food). Though such a self employment opportunity is not often as lucrative as being strictly your own boss, this is very often quite popular in areas that have a lot of tourist traffic or are on the edge of a major suburban area.
Whatever your idea for self employment, opportunity abounds when you find something that your local audience can use more than once. That is perhaps the only major restriction upon local economies. For instance, if you're selling the only mouse trap you'll ever need to buy, you'll soon run out of customers unless you court a larger market. However, selling your humane mouse retraining service is something people will use regularly.
Subscription services are especially lucrative in urban and rural areas and will give you something of a regular income you can rely upon. This is a very common way for many produce farmers to make a direct market living that allows them to spend more time growing and less time at local markets. Whatever type of self employment opportunity you choose, it is always a good idea to ask yourself how often you'd use the product or service you're seeking to apply to your local area.
Having a good idea of the local demographics is also very handy in getting a good idea of what your friends and neighbors want and need. And perhaps that's the most appealing nature of local business – having a real connection to your clients that keeps you honest.