We live in scary times. Even some of the best analysts in the world have no idea how the coronavirus will affect businesses of all shapes and sizes in the long term. All around the world, governments are scrambling to enact measures that will keep the economy afloat while also ensuring that those working in healthcare are able to counter the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, the measures put in place by the world’s governments to save businesses and protect property owners do little to help those who are self-employed, running their own small businesses or working in the gig economy. Not to mention those on zero-hours contracts with no recourse or protection from their employers and those who have been unceremoniously laid off by the struggling businesses that employ them.
Across the globe we’re seeing people rediscover their sense of community, helping the sick, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable in their areas. But nobody wants to have to rely on handouts. Even in these challenging and uncertain times, this digitally interconnected world can present us with opportunities that can help us to keep our bills paid, keep the roofs over our heads and provide for our families.
If you’ve been laid off or face a significant reduction in your working hours, here are some ways in which you can make or regain extra money without putting your health at risk, even while you’re self-isolating. You’re clever, you’re resilient and you’re adaptable. You’ll get through this.
First, take stock of the money that’s already yours
You might already have money that you don’t even know is yours yet. For instance, if you were recently injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, there’s no better time to pick up the phone and talk to the best personal injury lawyer in your area. As long as your accident was three years ago or less, you have grounds for a claim. It’s understandable that you might have delayed making a claim for a long while. However, in this time of financial uncertainty, there’s no sense in leaving compensation that’s rightfully yours on the table. The money you receive in compensation will be a tremendous boon to you and help to create a safety cushion that insulates you from serious risk.
As households around the country, and indeed the world, start to feel the pinch, there’s likely to be a rise in demand for pre-loved goods. So why not take a look around at what you can afford to spare and make a little extra money while also helping cash strapped families out with a bargain. Clothes (especially children’s clothes), toys and games, DVDs and blu ray discs are likely to be in high demand as more and more people self-isolate and need to stay warm, comfortable and entertained. Catering their needs can become a lucrative revenue stream for you.
While freeing up money that’s (theoretically) already yours isn’t a viable long-term strategy, it can give you some much-needed liquidity while you put something more permanent in place. Such as…
Monetize your following by joining an affiliate marketing program
Are you a blogger, YouTube personality or Insta-famous influencer? Even if you’re not, if you’re creating original content on a regular basis and have a sizable following, you can turn those followers into a lucrative revenue stream by joining an affiliate marketing program. Affiliate marketing is an extremely effective solution to the unique challenges of the current climate. They allow creatives to make money from their loyal followers without the overhead costs that normally come with running a business.
When you join an affiliate program you’ll be given a few lines of code to copy and paste into your website or blog. When your followers click on this they’ll be taken to a portal where they can do their online shopping as normal and you earn a modest commission on everything they buy. How much you earn will depend on the marketing scheme itself. Here are some of the best of 2020 for newcomers.
Affiliate programs tend to come from brands that consumers already know and trust. The chances are a lot of your followers probably shop through affiliate partners routinely anyway. Using your affiliate link will allow them to support you without paying a red cent extra for their shop? Affiliate marketing is already a multi-billion dollar industry. Why not hop on the bandwagon while it continues to rise?
Of course, to get the most out of an affiliate program, you need to ensure that you’re producing a steady stream of high quality, engaging and useful content for your followers. Ensure that you stay engaged with them on social media. Find out what they want or need more of and use this to inform your ongoing content strategy. It may even be worth investing a little in Pay Per Click ads to grow your following. These ads are highly targeted so they’ll only be seen by the kinds of people who regularly read, view or engage with your content. The more you grow your following, the more opportunities there are for followers to become financiers.
As well as joining an affiliate marketing scheme, there are also crowdfunding options like Ko Fi which will allow your followers to lend you some much needed financial support in order to keep the lights on at home. Since virtually everyone is feeling the pinch in this difficult time, it’s not advisable to rely exclusively on this. Still, it’s a mechanism by which followers who are able can help you out a little. Set up your own dropshipping business
If you don’t have a blog or sizable social media presence but still want to be able to make money selling products through trusted e-commerce channels, why not try your hand at dropshipping? Dropshipping is a very appealing business model that lends itself especially well to the current climate. Dropshipping allows folks to give people the products they want without the huge overheads that usually come with running an ecommerce business. You provide a link between distributors / wholesalers and channels, buying products from distributors (usually oversees) and selling them directly to the consumer at a profit. You don’t even need to handle the products yourself. The wholesaler takes care of all shipping costs and logistics. All you need to do is facilitate the sale. Unless, of course, you’d like to combine items to create a subscription box. The subscription box model lends itself very well to dropshipping as it is essentially an upselling strategy that generates greater value for the customer. While you’ll have to spend a little time putting the boxes together, you could enjoy greater returns and more reliable revenue streams.
Dropshipping offers scalability without any of the traditional challenges (increased operational costs, more warehousing, more staff) that can prove barriers to traditional business growth. What’s more, with so many products available through dropshipping, you can choose a niche that they understand and are passionate about. Typically, the following niches tend to be very profitable for dropshippers;
- Pet products and accessories
- Fashion accessories such as belts, bags and hats
- Hair accessories such as clips, bobbles etc.
- Sunglasses and eyewear
- Toys, games and novelty items
- Phone cases, chargers, speakers and other accessories
Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t find success with other items. The better you know your niche, the better able you are to cater to their needs.
Become a virtual assistant
Businesses around the world are in a state of flux. In most cases, they need to stay as fully operational as possible. But as more and more people self-isolate, consumer confidence is at an all-time low. As such, many businesses will be taking steps to reduce their bottom line in line with the decrease in their top line while still remaining safely operational.
If you bring your knowledge and experience to bear as a virtual assistant, you could become a colossal boon to businesses all over the world, providing administrative support remotely while keeping yourself safe at home. As you build contacts and take on more work, you may even choose to outsource tasks to other members of your family, growing your business, delivering greater value to clients and (crucially) growing your income.
Try your hand at trading
This is something that you can try on the side, along with any of the business ideas above. Nonetheless, in the mobile age, the world of trading is open to all and can prove lucrative when you get an understanding of the world’s (admittedly fluctuating) markets. With so many mobile trading platforms available today, you can trade a range of commodities from foreign currencies to precious metals
Of course, any kind of investment or trading carries a degree of risk. However, the current crop of mobile platforms allow you to start small, get a feel for the markets and invest incrementally larger amounts as you grow in confidence.
These are scary and uncertain times. But as long as you have an internet connection and the will to succeed, you can take control of your circumstances and weather the coming storm with aplomb.