Depending on where you’re located, things may seem to be getting “back to normal”…or you might be gearing up for another wave of quarantine. Whatever you circumstances, one thing is clear: many Americans were not prepared for an event like COVID-19.
Dwelling on the past, however, can prevent us from realizing success in the future. Whether you’ve discovered that you have the skills to start a new career from home right now, or you’ve decided that you don’t want to go back to a typical 9-5, there’s an answer for you.
This is likely the most ideal time you have to try something new, learn a new skill, or begin a side-business that can bring in income for years. James Altucher, of The Side Hustle Bible, maintains that “we live in an opportunity economy” and an “idea economy.” And just because our sense of “normal” has shifted does not mean there’s any shortage of ways to earn money. Years from now, you may even remember this as the turning point that set you on a new, profitable path.
So what does it take? Start with These 4 Steps:
Step 1: Manage Your Mindset
Commit to rising above fear, scarcity, or worrying—instead, be your own best advocate. Raise your thought to a higher standard and consider what you bring to the table, and what moves you can make right now.
Historically, it’s easy to see that quarantines and pandemics have actually spurred accomplishments and breakthroughs: from some of Shakespeare’s most beloved works, to Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.
With life as usual looking different, now is the perfect time to assess what possibilities are available to you.
- What skills and passions do you possess?
- What fired you up as a teenager?
- How do you enjoy spending your time, and how can you turn that into a career?
- What specialized knowledge do you have?
- How can you turn your unique experience into something of value for others?
In order to play the game, you can’t simply operate on a level of “survival” or “paying the bills.” Think about what it will take to THRIVE. This is your opportunity to make some powerful moves!
Step 2: Assess Your Resources
While the quarantine is a shared experience, access to resources differs from person to person. Some are living week to week; others have emergency funds or savings that can help them in the coming months.
The important thing is that you know what you can work with. Know which of your accounts are liquid, including the cash value of your whole life insurance, and how much you have. If you’re currently unemployed, you’re likely receiving unemployment benefits, which can be helpful when you’re looking to make a big transition.
As we’re starting to see, this is a long-term situation, and we must continue to treat it as such. Do what you can to save and preserve cash, as well as trim expenses where possible. If you’ve been contributing to a 401(k), consider halting contributions and instead putting that money towards an emergency/opportunity fund.
And don’t even THINK of prepaying your mortgage! Save and invest where your money will be accessible until you’re settled in a new career or steady freelance work.
And don’t forget your non-monetary resources:
- What intellectual capital can you leverage and repurpose?
- What are the relationships or networks you’ve built that can support you?
- Where is your influence or social capital?
- Who are your contacts? This is one of your most valuable assets.
While you conserve your money, you should expand your reach. Rather than waiting for normal, determine how you can invest in yourself right now. And by trimming expenses, you’ll have that bit of capital to get started when you see the right opportunity.
Step 3: Create Income
It’s been said, “There’s no shortage of money, only a shortage of ideas.” And there are truly unlimited ways to make an income from home, when you think about it. Even if you don’t do something new, there are plenty of existing opportunities in high demand.
Have Office Experience? Be a Virtual Assistant.
If you’re capable of doing the following:
- Data entry
- Email marketing
- Social media management
- Customer service
- Updating websites, or
- Managing calendars
…you could work from home as a virtual assistant.
Have Marketable Skills? Freelance!
Freelance content creators are in high demand, in most categories you can think of. Writers, artists, musicians, graphic designers, and marketers are all popular options, and that’s just scratching the surface.
Tech Savvy? Launch a Career in Tech.
Sites like Udacity offer “nano-degrees” that give you quick, on-demand training in dozens of skills. Or learn how to code with a program like Code Academy. Tech isn’t going anywhere, and is only getting more advanced. Quarantine is proof of the power of virtual services, and you can be on the front lines of this innovation.
Have a skill that you can teach? Use Zoom.
Whether you’re a yoga or martial arts instructor looking to continue your classes, or a chef without a restaurant—move your classes online! You can do anything from a gardening class to music lessons to painting parties. If it’s teachable, it’s possible to do it online!
Offer private lessons through Zoom’s conferencing platform, or even via Facebook’s live feature. Then you can collect payments or donations through the payment app of your choice! Need to get up to speed on the technology? Register for a class to learn the basics.
If live classes aren’t your speed, or you’re looking to scale your teaching platform, film an on-demand course. Teachable, Udemy, Thinkific are all platforms where you can host your courses. Or you can become a Skillshare instructor. All of these platforms are ideal for sharing what you know, and can be scaled up. It’s important to note that the creators making six-figures have large platforms or databases of potential customers, so marketing is a must.
Are you a maker? Sell your products online.
Platforms like Etsy, Shopify, and WooCommerce are all ideal places to sell your wares. If you craft, sew, draw, or even “flip” items, one of these platforms could be a great fit. If you’ve ever been on Etsy, you know you can find almost anything—so nothing is really too “out there.” The latter two options are for those who want to host their own storefront.
Have a great voice? Do voiceover work.
Websites such as Amazon’s Acx.com can help you collect income and royalties from audiobook narration.
Have a car? Make Deliveries.
Some of our most vulnerable populace still need groceries and meals. Become a delivery driver or personal shopper to help them stay inside. InstaCart, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats are all popular options, and the demand is high. Here’s an in-depth look.
Have Intellectual Capital? Set Yourself Up for Future Income.
Any entrepreneur knows the power of a recurring income, and this is the perfect time to set yourself up for that passive future money. You can:
- Write a book on Amazon
- License intellectual property
- Sell photos on stock websites
- Invest in cash flowing real estate or mineral rights
- Buy (or sell) an income-producing website on Flippa or Deal Flow Brokerage (both can be profitable, but require research and/or professional advice)
Have a Strong Message? Be a Content Creator.
Many successful entrepreneurs make their money from YouTube, by building up a following and gaining sponsorships and ad revenue, or promoting their online courses. Blogs function in a similar way, and allow you to organically grow an audience. For YouTube, Sunny Lenarduzzi can help. For blogging, we recommend looking into Problogger.
These platforms can also help you grow your following, allowing you to make the most out of platforms like Patreon or Skillshare. Blogging or vlogging can be profitable in the long run, but are not to be considered quick cash. They take commitment and time to build up a devoted audience.
Step 4: Move Forward
Working from home and/or freelancing is not as easy as it sounds—it requires focus and discipline. It may also require setting boundaries; something that may be especially challenging if your whole family is at home with you.
In order to set yourself up for success, be disciplined. Get out of bed early. Resist the urge to indulge in media. Don’t depend on government handouts (because what happens if they vanish?). Empower yourself by actively seeking ways to provide value and earn results.
In the end, your success does not depend on your resume. It depends on the value people believe you can provide for them, and the results only you can achieve.
Looking for support?
Nathan Teegarden at Your True Calling helps people transition into work that has meaning to them.
Tammi Brannan of The Blueprint Process has a gift for helping people discover “what’s next” by shining a light on their natural talents. (She is also the “caretaker” for new Prosperity Economics Advisors, and Kim Butler’s sister).
Unbelievable Times; Unprecedented Opportunities
These are extraordinary times.
We have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips.
We can connect with virtually anyone.
Much of what we have perceived possible only in person has been proven to be possible virtually.
And we are all in this together.
See this time as one of endless opportunity—you have talents and gifts to offer the world, and it’s possible to do something with them right now. And not only is it possible to create success for ourselves, it’s necessary. Focus on what you can control, innovate where you can, and collaborate for connection.
How are you making strides? We invite you to share in the comments below.