Living with the current pandemic successfully means thinking creatively, particularly when it comes to making a living. One of the positives to come out of the current situation is the growth in opportunities for online enterprises that can be run from home, or wherever else you happen to be. Whether you're looking to make a little extra in addition to your main job, or are planning on embarking on a fresh, self-employed venture, we've put together eight different ideas for low-cost, quick-start online businesses that could see you net a tidy profit in a surprisingly short space of time.
1. Become a virtual PA
If you've got a flair for organisation, reasonable typing skills and a personable manner, a virtual PA role could be your dream job. Like a real-life PA, the job of the virtual PA involves a range of activities that support the client to do their job properly. From arranging meetings through to organising press releases, making travel arrangements, preparing reports or presentations, answering the phone and writing emails, PAs do the lot! The advantage of being an online PA is that you can provide a service to several clients simultaneously, potentially generating a greater income than a single client, real-life PA could command.
2. Do what you do now, but online!
If you've got a particular skill, why not investigate a way to take it online? If government-mandated restrictions on employment have shown us anything, it's that there are numerous businesses that can be conducted effectively from home. Insurance, travel, estate agency services, financial management and logistical planning are all examples of careers that were once office-based, and which it's now clear can be operated effectively from home. With a little creativity, it may be possible to take your existing job (or last job) and reinvent it as an online occupation.
3. Counselling/mental health support
Counselling is a service that's always in demand, and it's also one that can be easily conducted online, either via a video link or by phone. Although there is an initial investment in obtaining appropriate training, demand for mental health support is such that counsellors can expect to recoup their training fees fairly rapidly. Many people also appreciate counselling sessions outside of conventional 9-5 working hours: working from home can make it easier to facilitate this. What's more, it can be very rewarding to feel that you're helping people deal with the challenges they're facing in life.
The pandemic has resulted in significant numbers of people shopping online, which in turn means that there are plenty of opportunities for fresh e-commerce businesses to thrive. If you've spotted a niche that needs filling, now is the perfect time to launch your selling activities. Many people find that selling through larger networks (Amazon or eBay, for example), may enable a start-up with relatively little investment. Businesses going it alone can face larger initial start-up costs, although will make more profit per transaction as there will be no need to pay the overheads larger selling platforms demand.
Not only do you not need to be a qualified teacher to tutor online, but you also don't need to teach a conventional subject. From top tips on fly fishing through to how to make a decent lasagna or hang a picture correctly, there are bound to be skills you have that others would wish to share. Making an instructional video or two, or sharing your tips via social media or a website, could be a good basis on which to begin generating an online income.
If you've got a decent grasp of the English language, can type proficiently and are able to match your written tone to that required by your clients, copywriting could be for you. From web copy for plumbers through to e-books, blog posts, social media posts, emails and more, the rise of online commerce means there's always a need for wordsmiths to craft appropriate copy. Aside from some initial work to grasp the basics of SEO writing, plus some understanding of HTML, little else is needed to commence your copywriting career.
7. Affiliate marketing
Are you passionate about a hobby, pastime or another topic? Affiliate marketing could be for you. At its most basic, an affiliate's link is used in the text on your blog, web page, social media or similar. You will be paid commission for every purchase that's made through that link. Ideal for people who have a large online following, affiliate marketing can provide a steady income stream. Note that to be successful, the content you generate needs to be both engaging and also relevant to your affiliate. No use having affiliate links to fitness equipment if the focus of your blog is knitting, for example!
8. CV/resume writing
There are literally thousands of people who are perfectly capable of doing a particular job, but who feel unable to put together a CV that's going to get them noticed. That's where a CV writer comes in! Resume writers specialise in putting together customised CVs that are specifically designed to optimise the chances of obtaining an interview. Successful resume writers have an excellent command of written English, and also need to be able to personalise their style and content to suit each client. If you feel you've got the necessary skills, setting up as a CV writer needs little beyond a phone and a keyboard.
With a growing number of people turning to online businesses to meet their needs, if you're planning to start a virtual business, now is the perfect time! The low start-up costs and minimal equipment requirements mean that online start-ups are usually low cost, and can often begin to yield a profit quite quickly. As a result of the pandemic, many people are realising the advantages of running a virtual business that's not place-dependent. If you want to leave the 9-5 and try out a new way of working, one of these business ideas is the perfect place to start.