Updated: Jul 15, 2020
By Harrison Greenspan
Sitting on your butt and contemplating your next business move? Well, stand up, take a lap around the neighborhood to get those creative juices flowing, then sit right back down on your butt to start a virtual small business today!
Whether you are currently employed or have been unfortunately laid off due to the current pandemic (as I’m writing this, an unprecedented 40+ million Americans have filed for unemployment, with a real jobless rate of approximately 24%), starting a small business may be as good a time as ever if you’re just seemingly waiting around for the next Netflix show to binge from your couch. Instead, stop waiting around and start binging various small business plans and strategies you can implement in between your home-workout pushup sets (if you need some motivation, click HERE for a great pushup workout by one of the best in the small business world).
After taking that lap around the neighborhood, what’s next?
First essential aspect of starting a small business you need to consider is being honest with yourself regarding your skillset. Can you code? Do you have a particular business acumen for marketing or even social media? Are you a musician? Do you get regular compliments for your cooking? Have you taught or tutored in the past? Your list of skills can be endless or extremely limited, but regardless, practically anything can be learned and accomplished in the world of the Internet, especially if you set your mind to it! So, if you don’t have that particular skill set, but are willing to learn, go for it!
To help you get started in improving those marketable skills, visit these websites:
· YouTube, which has endless amounts of free content.
· Coursera, which offers courses and degrees, many of which are free!
· Skillshare, which focuses more on completing projects in an interactive way opposed to just lecturing (has an extensive free trial program to get you started)
· Udemy, which although is primarily a paid subscription service, has over 100,000 online video courses.
Once you’ve established your skill set and/or specific endeavors to learn those new skills, apply that to creative small business models and ideas you can start on your couch, any and all chip crumbs included. To further jumpstart those creative juices and as an example of the process involved, see below for virtual coaching and teaching small business ideas you can start and manage successfully from your couch during those lonely shelter-in-place orders (because let’s be real, you definitely have a lot more free time being forced to stay at home), and respective social distancing measures.
The Virtual Classroom
The current pandemic is not only crushing the world economy, but also disrupting the education sector with the closure of schools, colleges, and universities. It has been estimated that over 1.7 billion academic learners have been negatively affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic, which experts say is approximately 99.4% of the world’s student population. In turn, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recommended the use of social distance learning programs and virtual applications to help mitigate the disruption in education.
However, as a particular 3rd grade elementary school teacher can attest to (my mom!), the transition from in-person to online classes has severely impacted kids’ learning experience. Parents all over the country are realizing the adverse interruption in their children’s educational development, something I’d like to think a majority of parents care about, and thus want to invest in. Further, these largely unprepared parents are now attempting to homeschool their children, leaving feelings of frustration and a new and deep appreciation for the tireless educators in this country. In turn, parents are realizing they need some type of supplemental education service, as who truly knows when social distancing orders will lax and the traditional in-person classes will resume; different school districts and universities are currently disjointed in their plans for the coming academic year.
Whether you’re particularly skilled in multiple subjects, or have little to no experience at all, it will be beneficial to start recruiting those you know or anyone else you can find (that have teaching or tutoring experience) to start building a network of teachers that will be available through a singular platform for more of a one-stop experience. And the type of classes offered doesn’t end at anything academic related.
The Virtual Wellness Center (Personal Training or Wellness Coaching)
Since the closure of gyms, many people have resorted to exercising at home and following many more at-home workout programs. And although gyms are starting to open up again, it is only natural for people to hesitate in regularly running back to a place where its teeming with bacteria and infectious germs that spread like wildfire.
To portray the degree of germs and bacteria in an average gym, a study was done in 2014 at four Memphis gyms. Fair warning: the results were a bit disturbing. Staph bacteria were found on the surface of every piece of exercise equipment tested, including free weights, weight machines, ellipticals, stationary bikes and treadmills. In all, 25 types of bacteria were found in the four gyms tested. And now, due to an inherent and expected slight paranoia because of the pandemic, even gym rats may be rethinking how often they actually go to the gym, especially if they started investing in equipment for home use.
As an avid gym rat myself, I too looked to buy exercise equipment throughout the pandemic, but was disappointed to see weights and other exercise equipment always being out of stock, thus gathering the notion that a ton of people were buying it all up. Thus, it could be a good idea to start coaching fitness and exercising, as everyone has different wants and needs regarding the type of fitness they’d like to participate in, whether it’s heavy weight training to improve muscularity, or cardiovascular training such as HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training and an example HERE) workouts or simply running.
To supplement a physical fitness centered program, nutrition and home cooking seems to be a trend as well. Since the start of shelter-in-place orders because of the pandemic, home cooking has become a more prominent aspect of daily life. Although food delivery services, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats, have seen a massive spike in business, people are also realizing that home cooking is fun, but more importantly healthier and cheaper than eating out all of the time. However, a majority of people do not know the first thing about a healthy eating lifestyle and are often lost and confused due to the amount of misinformation and corporate food industry propaganda out there. There are many areas of nutrition and diet to consider, whether it’s a new type of diet such as vegan or ketogenic, or simply explaining the basics of cooking or baking.
Other ideas or areas of interest to consider teaching or coaching:
· Music classes (or personal coaching)
· Baking classes (or personal coaching)
· Photography classes (or personal coaching)
· Coding classes (or personal coaching)
· Bird Watching classes (because we all know you’ve been so bored at times you started staring at that cute, little finch on your windowsill)
Frankly, the possibilities are endless, although it will be wise to start a small business that has more value in times like these.
Still on your couch? Great! You still do NOT need to leave it, unless of course you want to do that next set of pushups.
The next step to consider is building an online marketing presence through a variety of social media platforms. Initially, you might be setting up your small business through websites such as Thinkific or Teachable, which are platforms allowing you to create, market, and sell courses online. Both offer versions of a free trial but limit your potential until you buy a plan from them. However, whether you’re strapped for cash or simply want to go all in when marketing your new small business classes or coaching sessions, look to social media platforms for a cheaper and easy way to diversify your presence on the internet.
Treat YouTube like a Candy Store
YouTube is an excellent way to reach new audience, make a little extra cash if you properly monetize your videos (click HERE and HERE if you’d like to learn more on how to monetize your YouTube videos), and simply tease the content and/or service you’d like to provide to the world. Yes, you already have your courses set up on your website of choice, but YouTube allows you to grow your customer base by offering free lessons or what I call “teasers.” Think of it like a free sample at the candy store; it simply builds trust in your product and service by allowing your audience to see the potential results ahead of time.
For example, if you’re starting that Educational Program for Students, you can provide demonstrations of you (or anyone apart of your tutoring team), walking through a common algebra problem. Or, if you’re starting that personal training business, give some tips and walk through some basic exercises to help get your audience started! And of course, if you’re eager to start a cooking or nutrition school (after refining those skills while stuck at home, bored as hell), share some recipes with the world by demonstrating them live!
The Tweeting and Insta game
For further exposure to your service or product, Twitter and Instagram are wonderfully unique social media platforms that provide you the opportunity to personally interact with your current and potential customer base. Twitter has 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users (and we’re seeing a massive increase in signups due to people wanting more first-hand perspectives and independent news sources regarding the current protests occurring across all 50 states and around the world). Regardless, people are still able to use Twitter even without a free account, so the amount of people using Twitter could be much more. On the other hand, Instagram has over a billion active monthly users and more than 500 million active daily users.
However, just because one social media platform has more users than the other does not mean you should limit yourself to just one to get your brand out there! Instagram is more picture based, whereas Twitter has been made famous due to its Tweets (which are simply posts) consisting of 280 characters or less. Yes, that’s not a word count, but a character count, forcing users to be creative with their Tweets that they post.
On both of these social media platforms, you can post pictures with descriptions, or even videos, the very same ones you’ll be teasing on YouTube!
JUST DO IT.
Now, take that lap around the neighborhood again, sit back down on your favorite comfy couch, which is now your new office for a small business!
Are you interested in launching or sustaining a pandemic proof small business? Spot issues, take action, stay safe, and thrive in a post Covid-19 world with Legalucy. Learn more at thelucyreport.com
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