In a lousy economy, startup ideas can be found in surprising places. We asked Thumbtack.com which opportunities are drawing the most interest from entrepreneurs and their customers.
Lady Gaga impersonator
1 of 9
Tierney Elizabeth, 26: Has made as much as $5,000 in a good month.
Searches by would-be customers: 1,400 in 2012, up from 160 in 2011
Entrepreneurs listed: 74 in 2012, up from 8
Typical pay: $240 an hour
Lady Gaga impersonators are in demand for birthday parties, conventions, corporate parties and even Nascar events, according to Thumbtack.com, an online service that connects more than 275,000 small businesses and freelancers with prospective customers.
For Tierney Elizabeth, who calls herself a Lady Gaga "tribute artist," it's become a fulltime endeavor.
"I didn't know much about her. I studied her clothes, her songs and how she danced," said Elizabeth, a trained singer and dancer who was often told she looks like Lady Gaga. She landed a few gigs in her native California, but her big break came after she moved to Las Vegas.
Elizabeth started booking many events while still working fulltime as a flight attendant. As her Lady Gaga work picked up, she gave up her airline job.
"The lowest I've ever made doing this was $500 a month," she said. "When I do big shows, I can make $5,000 a month."