Small towns and rural areas can be difficult places to find employment. Ambitious people respond to this situation by starting a business and creating their own employment. Although rural areas have a smaller and more diffuse customer base than cities, there are still plenty of business opportunities for someone who puts in the effort.
One of the defining characteristics of a rural area is that it has more land and fewer people than a city. Because of this lessened population pressure, land prices tend to be lower, and a farming operation that requires a sizeable piece of land is more feasible. A farming business can vary from a small market garden that focuses on speciality crops such as garlic or herbs to a large dairy featuring grain fields, pasture and a herd of cows. Larger operations have much higher overhead, and sometimes don't make any more profit than smaller operations.
Taking advantage of your natural surroundings can be a viable and profitable means of running a business in a rural area. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that features natural beauty such as mountains, rivers and lakes, you can open a business that caters to the tourists who come to enjoy these things. Tourism-based businesses can range from guide services and canoe rentals to inns, B&Bs, hotels and restaurants. The Internet provides an effective means of advertising that will reach your intended audience in cities and more populated areas. Treating your clients well often leads to repeat customers who return year after year.
Veterinarians work in both cities and rural areas, with the primary difference being that many rural veterinarians work with large farm animals such as horses, cows, sheep, goats and pigs. Becoming a veterinarian requires an extensive education but is a very rewarding and stable profession and pays quite well. A veterinarian is a valued member of any rural community, because he is instrumental in maintaining the health not only of pets but of animals that are necessary to the livelihoods of many farmers.
A good mechanic can make a living nearly anywhere. A rural community can be a good place to set up an independent garage, because the real estate will be substantially less expensive than in the city. A mechanic who is diverse and able to work on boats, farm machinery and ATVs as well as cars and trucks will increase his customer base and his income. Some rural mechanics form partnerships with two or three people. This allows them to pool their resources to buy a garage and necessary tools, and to all make a living while putting out a substantially smaller investment to get started.