Be your own boss during the pandemic
To succeed in self-employment you must be more of a self-starter than a procrastinator, more of a DIY problem solver than a "call the expert" person
With millions having lost their job because of the Covid pandemic, the competition for the small number of good job openings is fierce. So, many people are deciding to try their hand at self-employment.
The following self-employment ideas cost little to start and run, and so entail less risk of running out of money before you succeed. Also, these self-employment ideas are Covid-compatible, that is, they can be done remotely. Plus, many of these ideas serve people who will be under Covid restrictions, which may tighten again if the predicted second wave occurs this fall.
Home-schooling consultant. The Covid lockdown forced schools to try to educate online. It hasn't been inordinately successful. The likelihood of a second Covid wave in the fall means that teachers and parents will have a second crack at online education. Could you be a helpful consultant to teachers or parents?
Coaching. Coaching can extend beyond the well-known career and life coaching, for example, small-business advising. Also, creatives have long used coaches, but if the job market will continue to struggle, more people will have time for their creative pursuits: writers, artists, actors, and musicians. They'll hire people to coach them.
Garden consultant. Stay-home edicts have made locked-down people search for things to do, one of which is gardening. Some such people might welcome help in planning and installing a garden, from plants, to raised beds, to irrigation.
Business liquidator. The shutdown is causing many businesses, disproportionately small restaurants and retailers, to go belly up. They may need people to help sell their inventory, equipment, and furniture.
Office-space to apartment converter. Companies are realising that more workers can effectively work from home. So, they can cut their amount of office space, perhaps abandoning their expensive, large, downtown offices for a smaller one located near where employees live. A consultant who can work with government on permitting, and hire and supervise the contractors could be in demand.
How to get customers
Start with your network. Until you've developed a reputation, your best chance of getting a client is a referral from someone you know. Don't ask for the business-That imposes too much pressure. Just ask, "Might you know someone who could use (insert your service? Also do that with satisfied customers.
If you feel the need to advertise, target your niche.
If you're good at writing, craft an article that demonstrates your expertise and post it on sites and blogs likely to be read by your target market. If you're a good public speaker, speak at events- virtual or live when permitted-that attract your type of customer. For example, if you want to be a writing coach, give talks at writers' clubs and groups.
No matter the niche or marketing strategies, to succeed in self-employment you must be more of a self-starter than a procrastinator, more of a DIY problem solver than a "call the expert" person, resilient rather than a wallower after the inevitable setbacks. But if you have those attributes, self-employment may indeed be a wise career choice, something you mightn't even have considered if it weren't for Covid.
Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in California, US. -Psychology Today
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