Over the past several months, COVID-19 has plunged the world into crisis. Think it’s a terrible time to start a business? While there are considerable challenges to overcome, many successful enterprises have started in downturns. General Motors, Burger King, and Airbnb were all founded when the economy was in the toilet.
If you’re prepared to hustle, you can transform your life while in lockdown. In this post, we’ve got 44 shovel-ready ideas queued up for you. Now, get out there and make it happen – just don’t forget your mask!
1) Website Design/Maintenance
Did you work on your employer’s web properties before getting furloughed? Get excited – as we speak, untold thousands are looking to launch their own projects. Many of these folks are doing so out of necessity, as there’s nothing on the horizon for them.
In a world trapped at home, they are going to need a web presence. Not knowing where to start, they’ll turn to people like you to build their site.
2) Become An SEO Consultant
However, if those businesses don’t make their presence known online, how will customers know they exist? If you’ve regularly applied SEO principles at work, there’s no better time to become an SEO consultant.
Any enterprise that doesn’t appear on the first page of Google may as well be invisible. You have what it takes to get your clients into the first five results. Remember – organic traffic converts 400% better than everything besides e-mail marketing. Get results like that, and you’ll have a thriving agency on your hands.
3) Online Bookkeeping
So, apparently there’s a pandemic going on. Meanwhile, over at the IRS, it’s Tuesday. They don’t care what’s happening – they want your money, and they wanted it yesterday. At times like these, beleaguered businesses and individuals could use a skilled accountant like you.
Launch a website, do proper SEO, and put out your virtual shingle on social networks. Soon, you’ll be reducing tax bills and inflating refunds for clients all across the country.
4) Pro Blogging
If you’re passionate about something, ANYTHING – there’s a way to make a living off of it. Most consider blogging to be a hobby, but that’s because they take a “skin deep” view. Do you think whoever writes B2B blogs does it for free? Think about that face mask post you just read – did the links have affiliate codes?
From writing content for businesses to hawking products, pro blogging is a viable career. If you can commit to at least six months of posting, promoting, and community building, it is possible to profit from this venture.
5) Virtual Assistant
As thousands of neophyte entrepreneurs begin to scale their startups, they are going hit a wall. At some point, they’ll figure out that one person can’t do everything.
That’s where you come in. As their e-mail and call volumes reach unsustainable levels, you can step in and manage things for them. You can also handle scheduling, research, and other necessary (but time-consuming) low-level tasks.
If you’re a furloughed/unemployed administrative assistant, this is your lane. Get in there and dominate.
6) Create Arts & Crafts
Handy with wood? Nimble with knitting needles? Take your handiwork, and turn it into a stream of income. On marketplaces like Etsy, crafters everywhere are turning their creations into cash.
From coasters to key chains, the possibilities are endless. Just be sure to start a companion e-commerce website once you’ve gotten traction. Why? Because Etsy skims 3.5% off every sale, they charge high currency conversion fees, and the list goes on.
However, with all the built-in traffic Etsy offers, it’s an excellent place to start.
7) Create Face Masks
So, you’re a skilled knitter, but you have NO idea where to start. Well, as we speak, a HUGE opportunity looms. As COVID-19 continues to rage out of control, municipalities are enacting mandatory mask bylaws.
These proclamations are creating surging demand for reusable, cloth face masks. While some will opt for solid color masks, others are trawling the web for something that matches their personality.
Figure out who your “avatar” is, and create a mask specifically for them. You may be surprised by the results.
8) Create Face Shields & Checkout Barriers
For some, though, face masks aren’t enough. Some folks, such as older adults and immunocompromised individuals, are at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19. Retail workers are also uniquely vulnerable, as they engage in close-range interactions with dozens of customers daily.
People in these situations require additional protection. If you have experience working with moldable plastics or Plexiglas, you could create face shields or checkout barriers.
9) Craft Your Own Line Of Hand Sanitizer
Of all the goods that have spiked in popularity during 2020, hand sanitizer tops the list. During the opening days of quarantine, finding the portable hand cleaner became impossibly difficult. Unless that is, you were willing to pay a Craigslist scalper many times its retail value.
If you have distilling experience, you already have what it takes to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do local stores require you to use sanitizer that is sticky/goopy? Create a superior product. Infuse your brand with different scents. Get in there and create a brand that consumers/businesses love.
10) Resell/Drop Ship Wholesale Goods
Throughout America, malls and stores have re-opened. But do you feel safe? If you don’t, know that many agree with you. While the start of lockdown was marked by a spike in online sales, people continue to shop online at elevated rates.
If ever wanted to start a reselling hustle, now’s the time. Buy private-label products cheap from wholesalers, create your own brand, and sell high.
11) Create Your Own Product
Don’t just want to buy generic crap from China and slap your logo on it? No problem – there are still plenty of problems that need solving in this crazy world of ours.
Do some market research. Then, craft a beta version of your “thing” and see how it sells. Based on initial feedback, make changes and continue pushing forward. Remember – everybody’s at home bored out of their minds. Give them something to spend their money on.
12) Tutor Students Online
School’s out… forever. Or, at least it feels that way, given how 2020 has gone. Even though our government is keen on forcing teachers and kids back-to-school, it probably won’t last.
Since another furlough seems likely, it’s time you and your fellow teachers got acquainted with online tutoring. Platforms like Wize are great, as they don’t charge a commission on tutor pay. However, take time to shop around for the best deal before making an account.
13) Start A Home Baking Business
If you follow foodies in your local area, you may have picked up on a peculiar trend lately. With nothing but time and shelves of hoarded flour, home cooks have begun making delightfully-tempting baked goods. At some point, a few decided to go pro.
Here’s how they work: 1-2 times per week, these pro home bakers take orders from social media followers. Over the next week, they fulfill and deliver to customer’s homes.
If your baking has always gotten rave reviews, this opportunity might be the one for you.
14) Gourmet Meal Kits
Own a small neighborhood restaurant that’s been closed due to Coronavirus? Re-opened, but business is still stubbornly slow? Jump on the meal kit bandwagon.
While meal kits were once a passing fad, they have made a huge comeback thanks to stay-at-home orders. Even with the re-opening, virus fears mean that people are still cooking at home.
Give your customers – who miss your food – a chance to recreate their favorite dishes. Besides raw ingredients and instructions, provide wine/beer pairing tips, music suggestions, and more. Have fun with it!
15) Become A Freelance Programmer
Sarcastic jokes about “learning to code” aside, there’s no better time to pick up a programming language. Need for coders isn’t slowing down, and the pay for certain disciplines is fantastic.
For instance, Python programmers can charge $60-$80/hour for their services. With torrid demand continuing amid the pandemic, what are you waiting for? Start learning.
16) Program A Mobile App
If you already have programming chops, you’re ahead of the game. But, if you’re sitting at home waiting for things to “return to normal”, stop – there are people out there who need you.
81% of Americans now own a smartphone – that’s up from 35% from 2011. These devices aren’t fads anymore – they’re now a 21st century Swiss Army Knife. Our fellow citizens have boatloads of problems you could solve with a well-thought-out app – are you up to the challenge?
Whether you charge for your app or go with an ad-supported model, you can make serious bank doing so.
17) Create A Mobile Game
Into entertaining people rather than solving problems? Live your childhood fantasy – become a game developer. If you’re worried about getting lost in the noise, don’t be. Every day, sub-par developers clog marketplaces with poorly-animated, poorly thought-out, and poorly translated games.
With the care you’ll bring to the process, you’ll make a dent in the market before long.
18) Create WordPress Themes
Currently, scores of people are building websites to support their new businesses. Many of them will be on the WordPress platform. Sadly, many will choose default themes provided by WP.
With your programming skills, they could have a template that looks far better than their competition. Design unique WordPress themes, and put them on sites like Creative Market. From there, sit back and watch as satisfied customers grow your passive income tree.
19) Become A Professional Photographer
Do you spend your free time snapping photos? If you’ve done it for a while, you’ve probably gotten quite good at it. If you get complimented regularly for having a “good eye” for photography, then why not go pro?
Sharpen your skills through sites like Digital Photography School. Start uploading to stock photography sites. Set up a website and advertise to potential local clients. Eventually, you’ll gain enough traction to turn your hobby into a career.
20) Begin A Membership Website
Already got an online following via your blog, e-mail newsletter, or social media? Provide ongoing value by starting up a membership site. Of all the hustles out there, membership sites offer excellent value, as they provide relatively stable, predictable monthly income.
Of course, you only get to that point by providing continual value to your fans/customers. Let’s say you’re a pro photographer – in your membership website, you could provide a forum where you offer one-on-one coaching. Also, exclusive videos and insider tips & tricks are other ways you can keep the value flowing for your members.
21) Launch A Social Media Marketing Agency
The engagement that most companies have with their customers (if it even exists) today is beyond terrible. Almost a decade after Gary Vaynerchuk published The Thank You Economy, corporations and small businesses are still using social media like a megaphone.
But you know better. As you lounge in your PJs at home, launch your very own social media agency. With it, you’ll help businesses use social media as a “caring” tool, not as a way to sell people stuff. And, in doing so, they’ll improve their long-term relationship with customers.
22) Create Custom Resumes
In June, the unemployment rate languished at around 11%. Even with the reopening, people will be searching for work for some time to come. If you are a skilled writer/designer, you can help these folks stand out from the masses.
Custom-designed resumes help in this regard. From crafting bold designs to using industry-specific keywords, these CVs will get the attention of hiring managers and algorithms alike.
23) Create Resume Templates
Of course, with over 17 million unemployed, you’ll be terminally busy writing resumes. If you don’t want to get burned out, consider creating & selling resume templates instead.
Spend serious time crafting them, then upload them to sites like Etsy or Creative Market. If your idea catches fire, make your own site and avoid transaction fees!
24) Start A Public Relations (PR) Firm
These days, one COVID exposure event is all it takes to sink a business. It’s not really the fault of businesses, though – thanks to the lack of government action, COVID is everywhere.
That’s why PR firms are so important – they help set the record straight. With everything going on, existing agencies are jammed with business. Launch your firm, and it won’t be long before you get your first client.
25) Create Online Courses Based On Your Expertise
We’ll all got something we can teach others. If you’re a laid-off tour guide, you probably know a thing or two about public speaking. Lawyers can help students ace their LSAT exam. And, if you’re a COBOL programmer, you can pave the way for others trying to join this suddenly-hot field.
Just get a high-quality camera or screen-casting software and start shooting. Then, edit the footage and upload it to Udemy. Name your price and watch the passive dollars roll in.
26) Start Your Own Fashion Line
Want to make a statement in today’s world? If you’re passionate about clothes, shoes, bags, or anything else fashion, start your own fashion line. People wrongly assume that only wealthy people and celebrities like Kim Kardashian can afford to get into this business.
However, if you’re serious, you can get started for as little as $500. From there, harness social media and local relationships and who knows how far you’ll get.
27) Try Your Hand At Online Poker
Stop laughing. Seriously – it is possible to turn a long-term profit playing cards. People constantly lump poker with other forms of online gaming. Unlike other casino games, though, you play poker against other players – not the house.
Of course, you can’t just join a site and start clicking buttons – you have to learn how to play smart, aggressive poker. Start by studying the game on sites like TwoPlusTwo.com, then apply what you’ve learned over thousands of hands. Good luck at the tables.
28) Become A Day Trader
If you succeed at becoming a profitable poker player, you can also learn how to make money trading. Both disciplines emphasize the importance of making smart, aggressive bets within one’s bankroll.
Take the time to learn about companies, technical analysis, and bankroll management, and you too can make thousands trading in your underwear.
29) Become A Professional Videographer
As the internet economy grows, stock video footage is becoming as important as stock photography. Master this complex art, and you’ll be able to capture clips that get mass downloads. By making videography your freelance profession, you’ll also get work doing weddings, corporate shoots, and even on indie films.
30) Freelance Graphic Designer
All those new founders will require more than good copy to succeed – they’ll need compelling visuals, too. If you crafted logos, illustrations, and graphs for your old employer, you can do it as a free agent.
Build up a portfolio and testimonials by doing work on Upwork. Then, start your own site ASAP. That way, you’ll avoid Upwork’s punitive fees and further establish yourself as a professional.
31) Content Writing
Don’t think you can make a living writing? Answer this: Where does the content on B2B sites come from? More often than not, a pro writer crafted that copy.
Most businesses don’t have room in their budget for full-time writers. So they hire freelancers as needed to create/update content. From landing pages to e-mail newsletters, writers do it all.
Content writing can make you a decent living. Copywriting can make you a killing. Here are a few numbers for you to chew on – sales pages can earn you $5,000 apiece, while marketing white papers can net you $6,000 each. Meanwhile, if you get a royalties deal, earnings from a single sales letter can soar well into the five-figures.
33) Start A Cleaning Service
As we head back to work, many of us are apprehensive. With the virus still out-of-control, how can we trust that common surfaces are free of COVID?
If you’re aware of the risks and want to make some serious cash, get into the cleaning business. The ones that existed pre-pandemic are booked solid. Start learning on-the-fly about this niche. Invest in bulk disinfectant, TYVEK suits, and electrostatic sprayers. If you get in now, you could make some serious coin.
34) Begin Offering Remote Fitness Classes
The headlines are heartbreaking. Across America, gyms are failing due to lockdown restrictions. Even as we re-open, patrons are staying away due to infection fears. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. If you’re a suffering gym owner or personal trainer, know that you can take your profession online.
Innovative fitness professionals are now offering lessons via live stream. Many faithful gym members are happy to pay for ongoing guidance. Implemented correctly, it can restore part of your income or keep your business afloat.
35) Become A Professional YouTuber
We’ll level with you here – this one sounds far-fetched. But, remember – like you, all professional YouTubers were once amateurs. By committing to the art of video making, listening to their viewers, and learning traffic-building techniques, they built their channel to where they are today.
You don’t need to be like Pewdiepie. YouTuber Joe Scott vlogs about science, and potentially earns as much as $30,000 per month. Simon & Martina used to cover K-Pop. Now they document their lives in Japan and get upwards of $52,000 per year for it.
36) Work-From-Home Consultant
Alongside thousands of sudden entrepreneurs are MILLIONS of new remote workers. However, the transition hasn’t gone smoothly for everyone. Setting up a workplace in your spare bedroom is harder than it sounds. Keeping to a schedule without a manager watching you is even tougher.
A work from home Consultant can help with these issues. Whether you target newly remote employees or their employers, there’s potential for a real business, both now and post-pandemic.
37) Marketing Consultant
You got to feel bad for all those newly-made startups. They’re working long & hard on their products/services. However, when they launch their websites, many will get little-to-no traffic.
If a consumer can’t find a business, does it even exist? That’s where you come in – with years of marketing experience, you can offer your services to companies who need exposure. By designing campaigns designed to attract attention, you’ll quickly build up clout in this economy.
38) Open A Virtual Pub/Bar/Nightclub
Before you roll your eyes at us – this concept already exists. Really – you can now go to a virtual nightclub. When COVID-19 forced the world into lockdown, it plunged extroverts and the nightlife industry into a state of crisis.
Meanwhile, a Russian marketing agency saw an opportunity. So they founded the Stay The F**k Home Bar – a virtual nightspot where people the world over can meet over a drink.
Nothing is stopping you from doing the same. Steal their idea and adapt it to American audiences. For instance, a pub-like atmosphere would work. The original concept feels a bit too “clubby”, so turn around and satisfy an unmet need.
Even as COVID-19 rages, intentional business grinds on. As it does, the need to translate documents is ever-present. If you are fluent in languages like Spanish, Chinese, French, etc., you have an opportunity to build a freelance career at home.
40) Make COVID Travel Kits
As we speak, international travel is starting up again. It may be proceeding at a snail’s pace, but people are getting out into the world. Even our fellow Americans are getting in on the act. While the EU has banned us, we can still get into Mexico and the Caribbean.
With this shift comes a business opportunity. Give nervous travelers everything they need to stay safe – put together a COVID travel kit. It could contain travel-sized hand sanitizer, face masks, a thermometer – or anything else you can think of.
41) Domestic/Local Travel Consultant
Even if we aren’t ready to get on a plane, we are eager to hit the road. This summer, many of us will be exploring our backyard. If you are a laid-off travel agent, you could offer your services as a local travel consultant.
You could advise clients where they can go while staying close to home. Using your knowledge of destinations, you can steer them towards places and activities they can visit/do while staying socially distant. Take your training and look inward this season.
42) Start A Food Truck
People may not be willing to risk restaurant dining right now, but they’ll hit up food trucks. These businesses exist outdoors, allowing patrons to collect orders from their car. Capital and overhead costs are also lower than starting a conventional restaurant – a vital factor for those operating in uncertain times.
43) Get Into Investment Real Estate
If you have tons of seed capital to invest, get ready. According to recent reports, just under 8% of households are in forbearance. If the economy doesn’t recover and quickly, many of these cases could proceed to foreclosure.
Don’t misread us – this is, without a doubt, a gravely unfortunate situation. However, someone’s about to scoop a bunch of cheap houses – it may as well be you. Once you acquire these properties, you can rent them for cash flow, or fix and flip them.
44) Become An Airbnb Host
Given everything that’s going on, we’ll leave this one up to your comfort level. But, as we stated earlier, lockdown-weary Americans are looking to getaway.
If you can’t find renters to fill your properties, you could list them on Airbnb. As long as you heighten your cleaning protocols, you and your guests will be just fine.
Let Your Imagination Run Wild
As long as problems exist, we can always find ways to make a living. With a little ingenuity, it is possible to thrive even in a pandemic.