This is simple, but most make it harder than it looks.
Residential real estate is always going to have a use. You will never find a time where people don't need housing... at least not in this lifetime. You pick up residential property for rock bottom prices (especially if you short sales them http://shortsaleology.com ) and sell them for a significant profit quickly or hold them for long term cashflow purposes.
Commercial property has incredible opportunity too, but it's a completely different animal than residential and has a lot more zeros to "get in the game" or play in that "sand box".
I know you didn't specifically ask about that, but just saying.
1. Know your market. You can do this by simply contacting a Realtor that works with investors or gaining access to the MLS and looking at top 5-10 best selling zip codes. You want to know what type of houses; e.g. "3 beds or 2 beds selling better... 1 or 2 baths? You want to do this for whatever area that interests you.
2. You need to lookup "REIA" (real estate investor associations) in your state and go to a meeting. There you will meet other investors and connect with people that can help you.
3. You need to educate yourself by finding a mentor to teach you "the ropes". If that isn't an option with your budget, I recommend you investigate which real estate guru/teacher you like the most and follow their study materials. At the end of the day, 99% of the people don't take action and watch everyone else's dream come true. They make excuses on why "the market sucks" or "no one is buying in their area" ... all that crap. They find an excuse for everything, while successful people take action and find a reason to get motivated and stay that way.
The decision is up to you, but it ultimately it comes down to your energy investment. You only have so much energy to devote to any endeavor. If you half-ass something you won't get many results for it. If you get focused and stay consistent at learning and getting results, you'll start reaching your real estate goals the fastest; that and get a mentor.
I hope this was helpful.
Remember... be a servant,