These are the voyages of the New Millennium. Our mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek out home-based business opportunities, and to boldly go where no entrepreneur has gone before (without leaving the house). Are you prepared for the fabulous adventure in front of you? You have two choices. Suffer in solitude as the fear of global pandemic shuts society down, or embrace the new reality where home-based businesses will thrive and grow.
There’s a silver lining in every cloud and the glass is neither half empty nor half full. It’s both. Your perception is what determines how you classify the condition of your reality. Working from home can be viewed as an inconvenience or you could look at it as an opportunity to discover the new world of professional freedom that so many Americans have already embraced. I’ve been home-based for over fifteen years and I live a very comfortable life.
All the Cool Kids are Doing It
In October 2019, CNBC published an intriguing article on wage disparities between people who work from home and those who commute to work. Not surprisingly, the at-home workers with advanced degrees out-earned their traveling counterparts with median earnings of $42,442. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released 2019 numbers that showed 42% of working Americans with college degrees had spent at least some time working from home.
Roughly eight million people, 5.2% of US workers, work exclusively from home. I know several dozen of them personally. Not a single one of my home-based friends complains about their professional situation. Personally, I spent a few months back in 2012 doing the Leominster-to-Boston train commute. I will never do that again. Today, I work for myself, I sleep in when I need to, play golf when I want to, and sometimes binge-watch Netflix in the middle of the day.
Unemployment is Freedom, Part 2
In 2002, there were 145,000 layoffs directly related to the terrorist actions on 9/11. During the financial crisis of 2007-2008, unemployment numbers increased from 4.4% to 13.2%. Somewhere in between those two crises, I wrote an ebook called “Unemployment is Freedom.” It was mainly about how to start a service business using free advertising on Craigs List and other billboard sites, so I’ve since taken it offline, but it inspired a lot of folks to launch new ventures that in many cases are still prospering today. With enforced social distancing, I think it’s time to revisit the concept.
Craigs List is no longer a good source for advertising your business. Don’t waste your time or the $5 per listing they’ll charge you to run a service ad. If you’re looking for free promotion, build a Facebook Business Page and invite all your friends. That will get you started. If you have a few dollars you can spend, use Facebook Boost. I’ve found Boost to be effective and not too expensive. This combination is not a long term solution, but it will get you off the ground.
Another option is to visit some of the many freelance sites out there and set up profile pages. If you’re a writer, go to Textbroker first. They don’t pay all that well, but it’s easy to get approved, it’s free, and you get some practice honing your craft. You could also sign up for Upwork. Their standards are higher, the pay is better, and they have a much larger variety of work available. Upwork is a pure freelancer site for writers, coders, sales professionals, virtual assistants, even photographers and videographers. It’s a great place to turn your favorite hobby into a full-time, at-home business.
Online Technology and Educational Opportunities
The stock market may appear to be crashing, but if you look closely you’ll see that certain sectors are doing okay. F.A.A.N.G. stocks, such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google are doing just fine. My financial advisor told me last week to buy Zoom stock. These are the tools that we will need to function in a home-based society. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the world will simply “go back to normal” when the Covid-19 crisis is over.
Get an education online right now. The $42,000 median salary quoted earlier in this article was an at-home number for workers with advanced college degrees, bachelors or better. If you’re not in school, enroll. If you don’t have the money, take out a loan. The government is waiving federal student loan interest for the remainder of 2020. Take advantage of it. If you have a service job in a restaurant or event venue, you’re not going back to work any time soon.
Have you ever wanted to build your own app for iPhone or create websites from scratch? I learned most of my coding skills from CodeAcademy. They offer different levels of access, one of which is FREE. Would you like to become a writer? Go to OpenLearn and pick up a free class on how to do it. These are just two of the hundreds of learning opportunities online that you can take advantage of while you’re sitting at home these next few weeks. Sure, it’s different from what you do now, but exploring strange new worlds leads to amazing discoveries. Try it. You just might like it.
Expanding Your Existing Online Business
If you already have an online business and you’re concerned about how the current economic crisis will affect you, call me. I’ve put together some cost-effective marketing and consulting packages designed specifically for home-based and smaller businesses who are struggling right now. Online stores using Shopify and other eCommerce apps can grow in this climate, but you’re competing with bigs like Amazon. Service businesses are closed or limited in scale, so relaunch and re-opening campaigns need to be carefully planned. I can help. Call me. Kevin Flynn. 617-913-5512.
Kevin D. Flynn is the founder and CEO of AdvisorScale Financial Writing. When he’s not writing or on the golf course, he spends his “free” time designing WordPress websites or creating business sales processes for start-ups. In addition to AdvisorScale, Mr. Flynn is also the Executive Director of H.E.L.P. for Young Readers and Managing Editor at October Golf Magazine. He lives in Leominster, Massachusetts, with his wife Evelyn. They have four adult children, two cats, and eight wonderful grandchildren.