As more countries around the world go into lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus, many people are understandably worried about the impact these measures will have on their livelihoods and financial security.
For those lucky enough to be able to work from home, the situation is less severe than for the millions of people whose jobs can't be done remotely, or whose industries are already suffering from the early stages of the coronavirus recession. While it remains to be seen how devastating the health and economic toll of COVID-19 will be, unemployment is forecast to skyrocket in certain industries.
According to estimates from the US Private Sector Job Quality Index, the sectors that will be hit the hardest include restaurants, retail, education, entertainment and travel. Many smaller firms have already been forced to lay off workers they can no longer afford to pay while they're not making revenue.
If you're in a vulnerable industry, or the uncertainty is making you worried for your financial security, self-quarantine at home could be the ideal time to look into starting your own business. While no business venture is ever guaranteed or risk-free, there are plenty of opportunities to leverage your existing skills or develop new ones and to start a business with minimal investment.
What is a good business to start?
There are lots of things to consider and lots of research to be done before you settle on a small business idea. Some of the big questions to ask yourself are:
- What are your skills? – Skilled employees earn higher salaries than unskilled workers, and you should bring this same approach to your business. Focus on business ideas that match skills you already have or that you're interested to develop.
- What are your interests? – Many people working from home for the first time have problems with motivation and distractions. Finding something you are passionate about to invest yourself in can be a great way to start your own business. If you can turn a hobby or interest into a business, it won’t even feel like work.
- What's your personality? – Not everyone is suited to self-employment, but you don't have to be a charismatic leader to run a successful business. Whether you're creative, a good communicator or have an eye for detail, think about how you can combine your personality and skills.
- How much do you want to earn? – Some business ventures are more profitable than others, depending on the demand, competition and market rates. Market research should give you an idea of how much people are willing to pay for your services and whether this meets your needs and expectations.
If you're stuck for inspiration, here's a few examples of small businesses that can be run from home.
If you've got a head for numbers – and a bachelor's degree in finance, business or similar fields – you can put your talents to use helping business owners who are less confident in that area. You may choose to offer general financial services or to specialize in an area such as bookkeeping, tax or working with certain types of businesses.
Many of us have professional quality cameras in our pockets these days, thanks to rapid advances in smartphones, but that doesn't mean anyone can be a professional photographer. If your passion is for photos, and you're good at it, you could set up a home studio for portraits and modelling portfolios or head outside to build up a profitable bank of stock photos and client commissions.
If you prefer to create graphics, there are plenty of websites in need of custom imagery, logos, infographics and other custom art to help their content stand out. You don't need to invest in the most advanced design software out there – more important is your talent, reliability and ability to conceive and deliver what clients want.
From YouTube to Facebook Live, video is the fastest growing segment of online content. Businesses of all sizes are pushing video marketing to promote their brands, products and services – but they don't all have the skills to make professional quality videos of their own. If you have the equipment and the shooting and editing expertise, your services could be highly in demand in 2020.
Every business needs content, but not every company has people in-house who can write persuasively about what they offer. If you enjoy writing, there are plenty of ways to monetize this skill when writing for and about brands – from websites, blogs and social media posts to print brochures and other marketing materials.
High quality text and imagery mean nothing if a website is poorly designed and hard to navigate. With Google now factoring user experience into its page rankings, good web design is more important than ever and good web designers are in demand.
Social media expert
How often do you see brands doing social media wrong? If you consider yourself a social media expert, this is just what a lot of brands are looking for to help them keep up with the latest trends and grow their audiences on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms.
If you're bilingual, or you know even more languages, you could make a living translating written documents, websites, videos and other content. Good writing skills are also important to make sure you're communicating the same meaning and tone as the original.
If you're good at tracking down original sources and killer quotes and statistics, many businesses and media organizations could benefit from your research and fact checking services.
This is just a small sample of business ideas that can be run from your own home, in your free time or as your main source of income. Wherever your talents lie, there's a good chance there's demand for them.
How to start a home based business
When you've decided what type of business you're interested in, the next step is to make sure it has a real chance of succeeding. Creating a business plan to define your business goals and strategy will give you a good idea of what to expect, as well as being a useful document to show to potential partners and lenders if you need a business loan.
A business plan is a roadmap for your company for the short or medium term. It should include at a minimum:
- an executive summary and description of your business
- details of your target audience(s) and competitor(s)
- financial and marketing strategies
To start marketing your business and attracting clients or customers, you need a good website. Limecube's website themes are designed specifically for small businesses, from photographers to accountants to food bloggers.
All our templates are fully customizable with easy drag and drop tools and a huge range of features that make it easy to get your new website up and running.