If anything, this recent pandemic has highlighted our vulnerabilities in a dramatic way. Who would have ever thought that our jobs and livelihood could be labeled “non-essential” and then placed on hold overnight with no definite end in sight?
After the first four weeks of the national lockdown, people were beginning to feel the increasing sense of urgency and financial insecurity. By week eight, real problems began to arise as many people didn’t know how they would pay their monthly running costs and no end in sight to the lockdown.
The economic crash of 2006 – 08 was devastating to the offline world but the online world was still growing. Much the same is happening today with the COVID shutdown. Lots of folks are forced to stay at home and faced with the reality of little to no job security.
Many more people are realizing the wisdom in setting up and securing online income streams that will eventually shore up their finances and pull them through the next time a crisis hits.
During the financial meltdown of 2006-2008, we discovered new and innovative ways to run a business, moving from a brick and mortar style of business to a virtual online business.
Two of the biggest new economies that were born out of the crisis was the Airbnb and the Uber industries. They created a huge job market and revenue opportunities. It also created new options such as a beach house instead of a hotel room.
The Impact of COVID-19
We see some of that same innovation trend today with the COVID crisis. The biggest impact is that more and more people are getting far more comfortable with ordering everyday items online such as groceries. Commuting time can be cut in half which leaves more time for other things in our daily lives.
Instead of getting in the car and driving a half hour to physically visiting my doctor, I can now have a virtual visit with him through Zoom that took less than 15 minutes. Same goes for office meetings which are now done almost exclusively through virtual conferencing. Companies such as Xerox, American Heart Association, and Intuit are just a few of the companies now adjusting to permanent remote job placements.
Education is now pushed even further into the online streaming world than ever before. Through live streaming or pre-recorded class webinars, you can easily condense a 5-6 hour school day into half the time.
People are quickly realizing they don’t have to travel to get an education any longer, opening up massive opportunities for students to apply to schools well outside of their state. This also dramatically cuts the cost of travel and renting dorms.
Think about the impact that the ebook industry has had on education. Remember those hugely expensive course books we were all forced to purchase every semester? Now that schools and universities are transitioning online faster, the ebook industry will continue to grow dramatically.
The one main outcome of this COVID-19 crisis is that nearly every aspect of our daily lives has been pushed online.
People are now adopting and getting far more comfortable with video chats and conferences with co-workers, family and friends. Essentially, eliminating the distance and cost of travel and time.
Last Easter, we couldn’t have the big traditional family dinner but we did have a really great virtual zoom visit and even got to see cousins we haven’t seen in years. Sure it’s not the same as being there, but it was a great introduction to online chat for those who had never used it before.
Online vs Offline
Offline retailers and small brick and mortar shops have been hit hard by the lockdown. In the United States which represents the world’s largest economy, more than 26 million jobs were lost in the first five weeks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s unemployment rate of 4.4% in March was the highest since August 2017.
Online spending by contrast, is up substantially. People are getting comfortable shopping online and incorporating it into their daily routines. This isn’t necessarily going to stop when markets open up again. As more and more people are having very positive experiences with online shopping, online business owners will continue to see an uptick conversion rates.
Lots of large fortune 500 companies are pairing down and cutting costs. The hardest hit markets is in the travel and hotel industry. As such, Expedia is cutting back rather dramatically in their ad spend. This open ups some more opportunity for the smaller independent airbnb or e-commerce business owners to fill.
Since early 2000’s, we’ve been able to fine tune online transactions into a seamless process that’s easy to use. The financial industry moved online years ago so now you can have customers from all over the world seamlessly purchasing online through sites like Paypal for instance.
It’s not a far stretch to think that one of the biggest outcomes of this forced COVID lockdown is that more and more folks are coming to the realization that there are a lot of inefficiencies in their daily lives that can be improved upon.
The Security Of A Second Income Stream
Another big effect of the forced shutdown has caused a lot of people to educate themselves on starting an online business and building up a second stream of income. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide found themselves out of work when their industries were labeled “non-essential”.
This pointed to a huge vulnerability not previously identified. With more time on their hands, a large percentage of these folks started spending far more time online researching alternate income streams.
This again, represents an exciting opportunity for the online business realm than ever before. People are realizing that there’s an incredible amount of opportunity online.
7 Thriving Online Niches
Sites like Udemy for online courses are going to continue to evolve. The overhead is much less with these online educational services not only for the student but also for the marketer. Consider that you only have to create an online course once and it can be distributed to a large audience 24/7.
Zoom stocks have exploded with the advent of the forced shutdown. Communication in terms of online conferences, education, and more has really taken off as more and more people are becoming more comfortable with online communication.
Health & Wellness
Health clubs and gyms have been hit hard with this pandemic. But searches for online classes and online purchases for bar bells and home gyms have had a big boost in recent months. Companies such as Peleton have seen a big increase in their product lines because of their online spin classes. People are looking for alternatives to traditional gyms given the risks of infection they now pose. Pretty ironic isn’t it?
Work From Home
If anything, this forced shutdown has been a wake up call too many people who have had to come to grips with the fact that their job security may not be the best. Who would have ever thought that ta politician can label your employment as “non-essential” and put you out of work overnight? It’s this realization that is driving the surge for online or work at home alternatives.
Gardening & Home Renovations
Now that people are spending more time at home, they are tacking the long overdue list of repairs and improvements. Google and YouTube have seen an increase on searches for home repairs and gardening.
I don’t know about you, but many shelves in big name grocery stores are running bare more often. Few things will send people into a panic faster than a food shortage. As more people are realizing that food shortages can happen and are searching for ways to build gardens than ever before.
Medical Equipment & Safety
It goes without saying that this one topic is huge, and on nearly everyone’s mind. Sales of face masks are now trending as the #1 product sold online today. Cleaning supplies have also shot up in sales and in some cities are hard to come by. Retailers quickly run out and spend most of their efforts keeping up with the demand.
Online Business & Affiliate Marketing
Naturally, this crisis has sent many online looking for solutions. There’s been a marked rise in e-commerce and affiliate business training subscriptions. Waiting until a crisis hits isn’t the best time to start but it does serve to wake a lot of people up.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear, there are no shortcuts! Building an online business takes time, patience and endurance as you proceed through the learning curve. I beg of you, don’t fall for the overnight success blowhards out there that are long on promises and fall far short of results while leaving your wallet a lot lighter than before.
Online entrepreneurs that started years before the 2020 pandemic were in a much better place having established an online presence and where already drawing in enough steady income to see them through.
It’s these folks that have seen a boost in their own online traffic and revenue streams during this time due mostly to the high number of online searches.
If nothing else, this pandemic crisis many of us are still in has emphasized the critical mistake of relying on one source of income. It also demonstrates just how easily our livelihood can be in jeopardy, that is, literally overnight.
I started my online endeavors nearly two years ago and I’m so glad I stuck it out. It’s my hope you’ll join the ranks of many who now face their vulnerability, and begin to research and build second and third income streams for your own financial security.
Feel free to leave your two cents below. Thanks for your time and your input.