Has the pandemic got you wondering how to start your own business? I don’t blame you. If you lost your job during the pandemic, you may have had time to re-evaluate your career and life choices. Hundreds of thousands of businesses across North America have closed due to the pandemic, leaving millions unemployed and available to pursue new opportunities.
Many of these unemployed individuals have thought seriously about starting their own business. In truth, there will be many innovative new companies born during the pandemic. Why? Because intelligent and creative individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset have had time to think, research, plan and motivate themselves to start their own business.
Many of us have been given the gift of time due to the stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions, and the loss of a full-time job.
If you’re unemployed, you now have the time to educate yourself on how to start your own business, think of a business idea and conduct market research. You cannot fear failure, as there’s always a risk your business will fail. If, however, you have a growth mindset and an entrepreneurial drive, this global pandemic might end up being a blessing in disguise for you. If a successful business of your very own could rise from the ashes of a global economic crisis, you could be one of the people who found their way in life because of the pandemic.
You have an opportunity to pursue an entrepreneurial path if you’re unemployed with time on your hands. A business trajectory is a much better use of your newfound spare time than Netflix. That being said, below are some tips for those thinking of starting their own business:
1. Research Recession-Proof Industries
Certain industries have, for the most part, survived the pandemic. Forbes recently reported on the industries that are thriving during the pandemic. Delivery companies, gaming companies, and fitness equipment companies are some examples of industries that have thrived during the crisis.
You should be researching which industries are thriving and would continue to thrive independent of a global crisis. Your business idea is best built around one of these recession-proof industries.
2. How To Start Your Own Business By Creating Digital Products
A digital product is something you can sell online such as an online course, ebook, educational video or PDF checklist. Typically sold on a website, blog, or online store, digital products can be accessed by the buyer immediately after they pay online.
You can base your business model around the sales and marketing of the digital products you create. This idea works best if you or someone on your team is an expert in a popular niche.
Let’s use the fitness industry as an example of a popular niche market, since Forbes confirmed that the fitness industry is still thriving during the pandemic. People around the world will never stop wanting to work out and stay fit, so this is a great niche to go with. A digital product within the fitness industry could be home workout videos, PDF exercise guides or nutrition guides, or a healthy living ebook. Since many similar products are available for free online, you’ll need a hook or some sort of expertise (or very specific niche within a niche) that can’t easily be found for free online.
Alternatively, if you possess a ton of expert knowledge on a certain subject such as mental health, for example, you could create an online course and sell it as a digital product. Perhaps you’ll end up selling a heartbreak recovery course for those struggling with breakup-related anxiety. If your expertise lies within blogging or content creation, you might sell an online course about how to start your own blog.
If you have the expertise, there will be people out there willing to pay you to access your knowledge. With the right product and the right marketing strategy, this is a business plan that could be very successful.
E-learning is becoming more and more popular, as many unemployed and bored individuals are seeking to learn new skills online. That’s why digital products based around e-learning could do quite well.
3. Set up a Work-From-Home Environment That Motivates You
If you’re going to start your own business and work from home, you’ll need to set up a home office space that feels inviting and motivating. You might think you can work from your sofa, but believe me, you’ll be a lot more productive in a proper work space with an organized desk.
Be sure to get a quality office chair that is comfortable and ergonomic, as well as a proper desk and computer. Set up your desk near a window if you love working with a view. Or, if your desk is against a wall, decorate that wall by framing and hanging motivational quotes, getting a couple of plants, and some nice desk accessories.
Set yourself up with the tools and accessories you need to make your work-from-home environment as efficient as possible. You need a business phone system that suits your lifestyle, since communicating with consultants, clients and customers has to be easy. You’ll likely need a softphone. A softphone, or soft IP phone is a type of software that allows you to make calls using WiFi. A softphone is much cheaper than a landline, and you can receive calls from people across the globe as long as you have an internet connection.
Since your website developer, content writers, marketing manager and SEO consultant will likely all live in different areas of the world, a softphone makes it easy to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime. You won’t be tied to your desk with a softphone, as you can receive calls anywhere you have a WiFi connection.
4. Try to Find a Blue Ocean
In the book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne use the terms ’red ocean’ and ‘blue ocean’ to describe the difference between saturated marketplaces versus unsaturated marketplaces that have not yet been explored.
While red oceans are murky, bloody and over-saturated with tons of competitors, blue oceans are clear waters that are untainted by competition.
When you start your own business in a blue ocean, it means there are few (if any) competitors selling what you sell or doing what you do.
Finding a blue ocean requires a lot of time, research and strategy. You’d be looking for a neglected group of consumers, or somewhere you can fill a gap in the marketplace.
Uber is an example of a blue ocean strategy. At the time, there were no other apps where you could order a ride, and not have to worry about paying the driver. If you forgot your wallet at home, you could still order an Uber and get a ride. There was nothing else like that. Uber created a new market and a new demand by finding consumer needs that were being neglected. If you think you’ve thought of a gap in the marketplace and a demand not being met, you may have found a blue ocean, and you should consult with business experts on the matter (after they sign an NDA.)
5. Look Into Getting a Small Business Loan
Many people starting their own business need loans in order to get the funds needed to get their business off the ground. You might be eligible for a small business loan. However, if you have bad credit, it could be challenging for you to find financial assistance when you need it. This is sadly because most of the major lenders, credit companies, and banks simply won’t lend to people who harbor a bad credit score.
There is, however, another way for you to get your hands on the money you need. It’s known as payday lending. You can get smaller loans this way, even with a bad credit score. Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you might not need a huge loan anyway. You might only need $300 to get a website designed, and you can easily get this somewhere like your local Personal Money Store. It’s normal to need a small loan if during the pandemic, you were unemployed for awhile. Maybe you have a new job now that you plan on being temporary while you set up your business. Perhaps you are making some money with your new job, but you’re catching up on bills, so you could use a small payday loan. If you need a small loan to get your website set up for your new business, there’s no shame in that. Do what you need to do, as long as it helps you make progress starting your own business.
6. Hire Expert Consultants
You may not have a ton of money to allocate to your new business, but the right consultant can be well worth the money. Various areas of expertise across various categories are required when starting your own business. Don’t attempt to learn it all or do it all yourself. Instead, hire consultants and experts who can help you along the way. Not sure how to get your new website to rank higher on Google and show up in search engine results? Hire an SEO consultant. Not sure what the top strategies for marketing a new business are? Hire a Digital Marketing Consultant. It’s best to pay to get expert advice rather than make very costly mistakes because you didn’t know better.
Starting your own business is not easy, and you should not try to do it alone. If it is a venture you’re planning to do solo, you should at least hire some consultants along the way.
Use Your Time Wisely
We’ve discussed how the pandemic may have blessed you with the gift of extra time. Whether you use this spare time to learn how to get a book published, learn a new skill by taking online courses, or you use this time to learn how to start your own business – you’ve got the advantage. Many people who are given the gift of extra free time simply waste it. By using your extra time wisely, you’re setting your future self up for success, and that’s something to be proud of.