How to generate supplemental income?
We are now living in unprecedented circumstances where COVID-19 has forced most companies to reassess their business models putting millions of jobs in jeopardy.
As mass layoffs and desperate bailouts make headlines everywhere, we must take action to control our own destiny.
In the best scenario, you will resume your full-time job when markets open up but still face uncertainty. In the worst case, you have been laid off and will be applying for a new job among many others in the same predicament. It’s a smart move to consider a side hustle to supplement income or become an entrepreneur.
Is Pandemic a good time to start a new business?
You may think that this is not a good timing due to the economic downturn. You may be concerned about a lack of capital to start a new business or activity…
Well, did you know that many success stories and top companies have been created in the aftermath of market crashes or economic crisis? For example, Airbnb was born as a result of the 2008 housing and financial crash, to offer more flexible housing / hotel alternatives.
Also, it may be easier than you think to start a new activity or side hustle without high funding.
2020 Small Business Trends
According to the Forbes Business Council, by the end of 2020, the following small business trends have been identified:
– the rise of online retailers
Now is the most opportune time to build an online retail business, and in future posts, I shall share tips on how to build an online retail store.
– the growth of Gig work opportunities
To save on payroll and HR expenses, many companies are now outsourcing. Small businesses especially cannot afford to hire permanent employees and are looking for free-lancers.
If you have a special skill set, you may find work as a free-lancer or consultant.
– the increase of personal branding
As the gig economy is now popular and remote work is becoming the new norm, the online playing field will be more open. If you have a good concept, or products that you would like to sell, know that more and more entrepreneurs are now going to social media to personally brand themselves.
Next steps for your new business / service
If you believe that your business idea is ready for the next step, ask yourself:
- If you have a day job, does your contract prevent you from doing a side business? Do you have flexible hours so you can realistically devote time to develop your side hustle? Be realistic about your schedule and work scope.
- What are your strengths and unique skills? How can you monetize them? Try to think outside the box. As a free-lancer, you could give lessons, offer tutoring, do products photography, copywriting, social media marketing, business consultancy, accounting etc. Or you may have ideas of products to sell.
- Who is your target customer? Research your niche and target customers. It’s very important for you to have a clear idea of who is your typical customer so you can understand his/her needs. For example, study your relatives, friends and colleagues, what problems are they facing, what challenges do they need to overcome? Envision what solutions could you bring to them? During Covid-19, people are facing new pain points, if you can find a way to address people’s pain and needs, you have found your niche.
- So does your project/idea offer a solution to your target customers’ problems, fulfill their needs?
- Will your side business bring your joy? While this supplemental income stream is important, you should pick an idea or a business concept that you are passionate about or that will bring you joy and satisfaction. An ideal scenario would be to turn your hobby into your side hustle.
- What is your business plan? Once you have finetuned your new project, you should write down your business plan. It can be a rough plan at first, you can always come back to it to fill out the gaps as your thoughts get more focused. But putting thoughts on paper helps you better analyze, organize and plan.
- How to market your personal brand? Now you have to inform your target customers about your new business and services. The best way is to create your own website or blog, featuring your online portfolio. It doesn’t have to be a fancy site, nowadays there are many low cost options to build a website within hours. Make sure to highlight your experience and skills, explain how you can help your customers. You need to provide enough information and testimonials to convince them to contact you. When building your website, focus on good SEO practices (more about this in another post). As mentioned above, you should build your personal brand through communication via social media (Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter). Effective communications are key now due to remote engagement, so take advantage of every platform to communicate, be creative in your marketing to engage your customers. Use any connections, industry network to put the word out there about your new business / services. Join any associations / social groups related to your field to be aware of the latest trends and anticipate what needs to be done to be ahead of the game.
Be realistic about how much time and efforts you can put into your new project. Find your niche. Be disciplined, make a plan and a check list of what actions need to be taken. Have a sense of urgency. As an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to be complacent. Don’t let fear of failure stop you.
Remember, it’s smart to start a side hustle to generate supplemental income, and now is the best time to become an online entrepreneur. Due to Covid-19, many companies are offering incentives and discounts. For example, if you wish to sell products, Shopify is offering a free 90-day trial. HubSpot has suspended marketing email limits and reduced the paid ad. The cost of launching a new business is now less expensive than usual.
Check-in again soon for my next post, I can’t wait to share more tips with you… We are in the same storm!
Don’t forget that there are many resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here are some links:
For more resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
- Where is your local Chamber of Commerce
- All of our coronavirus content in one place.
- Reopening Guide and Resources
- Main Street Lending Program Guide
- Social Media Toolkit for Reopening
- Paycheck Protection Loan Guide
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Guide
- Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness
- Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide
- Coronavirus Response Toolkit for Businesses
- Customizable flyer for businesses to communicate with customers
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s list of small business resources for coronavirus assistance
- CARES Act Guide for Independent Contractors and 1099 Workers
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