“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – every day I’m learning something new.” – Richard Branson
Are you considering the option of working from home? Have you been furloughed or laid off due to the current coronavirus pandemic? And, do you need to come up with an alternative source of income in a reasonably short space of time?
The impact of COVID-19 on the world
The new coronavirus was first seen in China towards the end of December 2019. There are several similarities between itself and previous coronavirus outbreaks like SARS and MERS. The coronavirus can jump from an animal host to a human host, mutate, and then spread rapidly via person-to-person transmission. These viruses all cause respiratory illnesses that can result in death in people.
The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, is unique in that scientists and medical professionals know very little about its behavior. What they do know is that it is extremely contagious, and the best way to control it is through social distancing or social isolation measures.
Consequently, at least 50% of the world’s population is at home under varying degrees of stay-at-home or lockdown orders. And, the world’s economy has been halted with all non-essential businesses forced to close. The United Nations believes that about 195 million jobs worldwide will be lost in the second quarter of 2020.
Stephanie Aaronson and Francisca Alba noted in their article titled “The unemployment impacts of COVID-19: lessons from the Great Recession,” that nearly 17 million people filed unemployment claims from 25 March 2020. This suggests that the current US unemployment rate is at least 15% and it is expected to more than double by the time the virus burns out.
Bootstrapping a startup: Working from home
Therefore, the question that begs is how do you bootstrap a single-person startup to cover the costs of lost income and transform your startup into a mature, profitable enterprise?
By way of answering this question, let’s consider the following points:
What are you good at?
At this juncture, it is essential to note that, while it is easy to consider the negative economic consequences of COVID-19, as Albert Einstein said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”
Thus, the challenge is to leverage your passions and expertise to generate an income. And, it is a given that your income generation will need to come from an online source. Apart from the essential services that cannot pivot their business operations online, the rest of the global economy has moved online. Almost every sector or industry, like education, retail, and technology, has moved their businesses online.
Thus, it is essentially a case of deciding how to utilize the online space to earn an income.
Create a solid, robust digital presence
Once you have decided how you are going to generate income, the next step is to build a cohesive, unified digital presence. You need to create a website with rich content highlighting your business’s value proposition. And, then you will need to create pages and accounts on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
It is vital to create a cohesive, unified voice across your brand’s digital presence so that your target audience has a clear indication of who you are, what your brand offers, and what value your brand will add to your target audience.
Digital media marketing
The next step is to let your target audience know you are open for business. There are several ways to market your business online including, social media marketing, content marketing, and search engine marketing.
Let’s assume that you have decided to tutor Mathematics online. Fortunately, there are several ways to offer tutoring sessions. You can work one-on-one or in groups with students via Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet.
Therefore, the best form of marketing is to create YouTube videos, explaining simple concepts, pointing viewers to your contact details so that they can contact you for individual or group sessions. Once these have been created and posted online, the next step is to use Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to these video tutorials.
Another essential digital marketing type is content marketing where you write long-form content about your tutorial services with an URL linking back to your website or YouTube channel. The next step is to contact the education blogs, asking if the blogger will publish the article on their blog
This article comprises the basics of leveraging the online space to grow your income streams. Finally, it is vital not to give up once you have started on your journey to financial freedom; especially, if you are passionate about what you are doing. The COVID-19 crisis can turn into an opportunity for self-employment and financial success.