The traditional path to be a go-getting entrepreneurial success is, well, going and getting. Staying put is inviting stagnation. You need to head out into the world, arrange meetings, shake hands, pitch ideas and spread the word that there’s a new hotshot maverick on the prowl. What happens, then, when you can’t go? How are you supposed to get?
That’s the problem causing a handful of issues to antsy entrepreneurs across the globe. Required to stay at home to help arrest the spread of COVID-19, they’re unable to do what all their business instincts are telling them to do. What they need to realize is that their classic conception of the impressive drive is outdated, and this pandemic is forcing companies everywhere to accept it.
Not only do you not need to leave the house to forge professional connections, but you also don’t need to have any such connections to start and run a business. With nothing more than your creativity and a reliable internet connection, you can set up a solo operation and start turning a profit. What kind of operation? Here are four suggestions worth contemplating:
Homeschooling is ostensibly seeing a major boost in popularity, but only because schools have shut down and parents are trying to do what they can. It can work if the parents know what they’re doing and have planned for it, but it often doesn’t pan out, and the success rate of parents forced into it is very low.
Due to this, a lot of parents are looking to the internet for answers, and you can provide some of those answers by working as a tutor. You need relevant qualifications, of course (or at least a lot of experience), but here’s the thing: you only need to know more than the kids. Much of it will come down to style. If you have a way with children and know how to keep them paying attention, it won’t matter so much if you’re not an extensively-certified teacher.
Personal recommendations will be vitally important for getting started, as will social media. Even though you’ll only be working remotely, parents will still need to feel comfortable with allowing you to speak to their kids, so put your best foot forward. A Twitter profile full of controversial comments and profane jokes won’t go down very well.
If you want to test the water before you dive in, consider working for an online tutoring company and teaching something like English. Flexjobs is a work-from-home site that has various suggestions, so I suggest checking them out to see if there’s anything that suits you.
2. IT Reselling:
In the same way that a retail store buys goods wholesale from manufacturers and sells them to consumers, an IT reseller buys hardware or software licenses from big tech companies and makes them available to typical companies or even individuals. Those tech companies don’t want to deal with small-scale deployments or support requirements, so this arrangement allows them to pass the buck while still profiting from the sales.
You might wonder, though, why you’d want to be an IT reseller — particularly if you only have middling technical expertise. Isn’t that something for experts? Well, not necessarily. Almost anyone can open a store, but it’s easier to become an IT reseller: you just need to sign up as an indirect partner with a suitable intermediary.
Given the rise in remote working, being a cloud reseller would make a lot of sense. For that, you’d partner with a cloud solution distributor. Some distributors (including intY, a ScanSource Company) have close relationships with high-profile vendors such as Microsoft, allowing them to negotiate excellent licensing rates — thus allowing you to achieve strong profit margins.
Look at it this way: once again, you only need to know more about what you’re offering than the people you’re selling to. Sell some Microsoft licenses to a client, help them with the installation, and charge them for monthly support. And if you are already very competent with IT systems, then it should be an easy transition for you.
3. Baking is Oodles of Fun:
In a time of crisis, everyone wants to feel better, and nothing lends people a sense of familiarity and comfort (until they overdo it, at least) quite like food. We’re all told to stay at home for the most part, and most eateries are closed, so our options are limited. If you set up a custom baking operation from your home kitchen, you can do quite well.
Even if you’re not much of a baker, you can find recipes, run a few tests until you have some more-than-decent baked goods, then start selling them. You can target your local community and take deliveries to people (after sterilizing the packaging, naturally), or you can team up with a supplier for nationwide delivery.
Worried that you won’t be able to get enough flour? There’s plenty of flour to go around, with the main obstacle — in the UK at least, but presumably everywhere — being the speed of the packaging process. If you’re ready to buy in bulk and willing to shop around, you should be able to get as much as you need in a timely fashion.
4. Copy Editing:
How are your language skills? Do you have a flair for the English language and a deep-seated love of deploying apostrophes correctly? If so, you have a good chance of setting up a successful copy-editing business. The flow of written media is relentless online: the pace was eye-popping even before people got stuck indoors, and now it’s even faster.
While the standard of the average online blog might not be that high, there are plenty that aims a lot higher, always trying to produce exceptional content. This also goes for ambitious brands that need to deliver copy for social media, product pages, or even PR pieces. Unless they keep a lot of writers on staff, they can’t hit their standards all the time without help.
That’s where you could enter the picture. You’d cast a critical eye to overdraft content, proofing it thoroughly, making some tweaks, and sending it back. You could also do the same thing for individuals in need of assistance when drafting important letters. You could also give feedback on dissertations (editing them would be improper, but not proofing them, something that writers can do themselves but really shouldn’t owe to bias-driven blind spots).
If you could achieve an excellent standard, you could charge solid rates after gathering some good feedback. You’d want to start by looking for work through friends, family members, and freelancer sites: use low rates to get some chances, then do great work and start to scale up.
Over To You…
Each of these business ideas can work amid this pandemic. You don’t need to postpone your ambitions if you’re comfortable with pivoting from your initial plans. Whatever you go with doesn’t need to be a long-term commitment. If you can make some money in the short term, you can decide what you want to do after that.