With COVID-19 protocols in place, many people have been forced to learn how to work from home or even find a new job altogether. Businesses that operate on reduced hours or have been shut down entirely are unable to pay their employees regular wages. Small businesses that have had to close down and large businesses that cut employee hours around the world have had a tremendous effect on the global economy. While the current state of affairs appears bleak, there has been a bright spot with an increase in individual ingenuity and innovation among many individuals who have started their own small businesses from home.
Over the last year, the world has seen an uptick in individuals who have made an effort to put their skills to use and get paid for it. From artisans who make custom textiles to designers selling clothing to consultants selling their knowledge to improve other businesses, the world of small business is booming. Many online platforms that have hosted online stores for over a decade have reported that new shops are popping up across their sites each day.
Individuals who have had their hours cut or lost their job entirely have managed to take advantage of the time at home as they’ve tapped into their creative side. Artists and digital creators have taken advantage of the additional time to perfect their craft and find ways to make money from it. Nowadays there are so many options for selling online. You can sell your products via online marketplaces or even create your own free e-commerce website. With so many great e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces that have risen recently, people are finding it easier than ever to make money from their hobbies and skills.
Online marketplaces like Etsy and Web Retailer have become the new flea and farmer’s markets. The pandemic has most people spending their time inside shopping online rather than socialising and shopping in storefronts, so creatives have used this as a great opportunity to sell their products and services online.
Increased traffic with online marketplaces has been a preferred choice of some artisans because of the simplicity of the host site. An online marketplace allows a seller to set up their individual shop without the knowledge of building or the maintenance that comes from their own e-commerce website. However, sellers who use the online marketplace route must pay a commission for each sale to the host site. Additionally, some marketplaces like Etsy require that the sellers must make the products themselves. Some sellers don’t fit into this category and must look elsewhere.
Conversely, e-commerce websites provide sellers with a more versatile and dynamic business experience. While small business owners who are looking to sell handmade items may want to host their online shop on a marketplace, those who are going to sell other goods and services can set up their own branded shop. Most platforms have a tutorial process that will walk the site owner through the necessary steps to build a functioning site. There are so many e-commerce platforms available today that make this process easy enough, even for people who have no web design or coding knowledge.
Ecommerce websites allow sellers more freedom when it comes to the products they sell and how they want to run their shop. Graphic designers and artists have found e-commerce websites as an easy way to sell their art by working with drop shipping services. A company that offers drop shipping will fulfill customer orders for business owners on-demand without any upfront costs of building a large inventory to fulfill orders. Many small business owners have found this is an effective method of order fulfillment without the cash reserves that come with starting a business.
However, not everyone is opening a shop to sell custom products. Many people are sharing their industry knowledge by starting up consulting firms. Those who have worked in industries that require a specific level of knowledge and skill have found that their knowledge can be shared at a price through consulting. Additionally, consulting firms have been able to take advantage of the work-from-home movement to reach a larger client base than what is in their immediate area. Video conference technology from companies like Zoom has been improved and allows consultants to reach clients who are geographically distant.
The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world and its economy has been immense. Many who thought they had stable jobs took pay cuts or were forced into another line of work. The e-commerce and online marketplace industry saw a boom in growth from those who decided this was their opportunity to start their own business from scratch.
While the pandemic has had a mostly bleak outlook on the global economy, individuals have used it as an opportunity to make money on hobbies by selling their work. An unknown future with traditional employers has led many to seek their own income stream by starting online businesses that can be run from home.