That's the million-dollar question right there, isn't it? Is the pandemic a good time to start a business? You know what, it might be a perfect time. It seems crazy, doesn't it? Kind of, but hear me out.
Is starting a business in the middle of a pandemic a good idea?
There's a chance that you might have more free time to work on developing your business idea. Are you working from home? If so, you're not commuting anymore, and that might have freed up 1-2 hours or more every day. That's a lot of extra time to put into your dream.
Most of us are staying home a lot more than usual and have fewer social plans during the week. Many people are complaining about being bored. Rather than spending your time watching Tiger King for the 3rd time or scrolling Facebook yet again, you might find yourself more engrossed and interested in learning or growing your business.
Are you feeling a bit uncertain at work or seeing friends or family members be laid off and wondering if you might be next? Those weekly unemployment numbers are downright scary. The economy is in a bad spot right now, and many companies have furloughed staff, laid people off, or shut completely. We've heard Nordstrom say they're permanently closing some stores, Pier 1 is closing all stores, Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation is closing all restaurants. Sadly, there are probably more closure announcements to come. Even if you haven't been impacted yet, it might be a good time to get your side hustle started so that you can build yourself a little bit of a safety net in the event it does happen to you or someone else in your family.
Are you at home with the kids and starting to wonder if they're going to go back to daycare or school anytime soon? Juggling both the kids and work is getting to be too much for a lot of us. It's hard. I am at home with a 5-year-old. I know how hard it is right now, especially with young children at home. Are you wondering when you'll have childcare again and thinking man, I wish I'd made that change already? Let me tell you, having a flexible schedule would make this situation a lot easier. It's not EASY, but it's easier because I can control my schedule, and some of my friends can't. What if daycare and schools close again?
There are many reasons why starting your own business might sound very appealing, but the thought of doing it in the middle of a pandemic might be scary. Do you know what, people are still spending money? Even with the economic downturn and the layoffs, there are still a lot of lucky families that haven't been impacted financially by the pandemic. Think about how many delivery trucks you see drive past your house every day. Some parts of the economy are still booming.
Some big companies founded during economic downturns include Microsoft, Trader Joe's, GM, Uber, Airbnb, Burger King, Mailchimp, Square, Groupon, and Venmo. What is the lesson to be learned here? An economic downturn isn't a bad thing. Get scrappy, think differently, challenge the norm, and who knows what you might build. Many of the companies that came out of the Great Recession in 2008-2009 timeframe challenged the status quo for business – Airbnb, Uber, and square all changed how things are done in lodging, transportation, and merchant payments. They took businesses that were historically corporate and made them more consumer-friendly.
Don't let the pandemic stop you from chasing your dreams. Take advantage of the opportunities it's presenting and come out of this stronger and ready to grow into something even bigger.
Now probably isn't the time to start a brick and mortar business. I wouldn't recommend opening a new clothing boutique, a dance studio, or a restaurant right now. Those businesses are going to have a tough time over the next few years due to reduced capacity and social distancing requirements. Anything, where customers have to come into your shop to purchase your products or services, could be challenging until we reach the end of the pandemic. Honestly, I suspect the move to more things being online will have long-lasting effects. I think the way we shop for food, clothing, etc. will change from here on out. I suspect we'll see more merchants move to bigger e-commerce focus and smaller in-person retail because the profit margins are hard to meet in the brick and mortar retail world. Rent payments are high in many areas.
If you've been thinking about building an online business now or have an idea for a business that could be online, now is the perfect time to get started. I suspect more and more will move online over the next few years. As we transition to this new normal people realize they can work from home, they can manage distance learning (even if distance schooling for their kids is something they hate, it may open them to taking an online course for something they're curious about), they're finding they enjoy working from home and don't want to go back to the office. If you've thought about coaching or consulting projects or even taking 1:1 client work, all of those things can be offered virtually. I've worked with clients for years, and I've never met them in person. I have clients all over the country, and I have clients right here in Arizona. You can serve clients via phone, video chat, email, etc. Video chat is a powerful tool for business right now, and many of the programs are available to use for free.
If you've been thinking about this for a while take advantage of this opportunity. Others might not want to start working on their business right now, so maybe you'll have less competition in the market. Wouldn't it be great to start earning an extra $500 or $1,000 a month right now and grow from there? Guys, you can get started right now if you want. If you're not sure what type of business you want to build, start by downloading my Business Builder's Guide and learn more about the different types of businesses and then read this post on How to Start a Business from Scratch and it will walk you through the first 10 steps you need to take to get going. Finally, plan on joining me in Business Builder's Blueprint in September (when the kids are hopefully back in school), and we'll go through the process of learning how to build and market your new business in a step-by-step manner so that you can do this. You'll be the first to know when enrollment is open.