Countries are still experiencing lockdowns. Economies are struggling to stay afloat. Unemployment rates have improved since April 2020’s all-time high, but are still significantly higher than before Covid hit. New variants of the virus are arising and causing fresh concern. There’s no doubt about it, even a whole year after its arrival, things are rough.
But if you think business has dried up because of the Big C, think again.
There’s still lots of business out there. Money is still being spent. Relief funds are being funneled into different projects. New economies have emerged. So if there’s enough money going around, why haven’t you seen the profits for yourself? And why have so many businesses declared bankruptcy and closed their doors? The short answer: money movement has started flowing into non-traditional forms of businesses. Emerging economies are being created, while old economies are being overhauled. And you can profit from this. Plenty of companies already have.
It’s not just the practical products like tissue paper, alcohol and food delivery that are skyrocketing, however. When their world is crumbling around them, people want some kind of escape, and this was most easily seen in the jump in online streaming subscriptions. With everyone stuck at home, e-commerce and virtual experiences such as AirBnB Online Experiences were saving our sanity. The key to making a profit has always lay in how accessible your product is during a crisis and how empowering or entertaining it is.
Here are 3 surprisingly simple ways that you can turn chaos into cash:
1. Focus on “How can I help?” vs. “How can I make money?”
When a crisis happens, people immediately think, “How can I get through this?” They know they need help, but they might not be able to pinpoint exactly what that help looks like. This is where you come in. Crisis creates need, so the moment you find a way to help answer those questions, you’ll be able to monetize that need.
While in lock-down, for instance, I received an ad from a young lady offering personal grocery shopping and delivery. The last shopping trip I’d taken had cost me four long hours, so I leapt at the offer. This genius girl just focused on how she wanted to help, found a price that worked for her, and started making offers.
“The money you make is a symbol of the value you create.” – Idowu Koyenikan
2. Focus on your biggest frustration.
Many of the best ideas come from frustrations! Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, hated looking bad in white pants so she focused on her “pain” and figured out how to make it go away. She is $1.1 billion richer because of it.
Keep in mind that whatever you’re frustrated about, somewhere there’s someone else experiencing that same feeling. You’re not the only one who can benefit from a solution. And in a pandemic or other unexpected disaster, there are bound to be a lot of frustrations.
Here are a few reflective questions to get you started:
“What is my biggest frustration right now?”
“Why am I frustrated about it?”
“What do I want to have/do/feel instead?’
“What do I want to do about it?”
“How do I create a solution around it?”
3. Focus on what you want to teach.
If you feel as though you need to have a PHD or certification in order to teach a skill or perspective, let me change your mind. When people are stuck at home, remember that they need something fresh and new to occupy their time… and learning a new skill or hobby is at the top of the list! 2020 saw an enormous surge for language learning apps such as Babbel and Duolingo, and how about that sourdough bread-making craze?
Plus, teaching can be done from the comfort (and safety) of your own home through video chats, pdfs, books, social media, or more complex platforms. It is an endeavor that is both versatile and forgiving.
If you’re not sure where to start, try asking yourself:
How do I think differently from others? How can I share that difference?
What can I teach? What do I want to teach?
What about myself or my way of living do I want to share with others?
Making a profit is always possible.
And finding your purpose, even if it’s “just for now,” is also possible. When you work at creating solutions, you’ll never run out of ideas on how to monetize any situation. And what’s great is that, since you’re focused on making life easier for others in some way, you’ll feel good—not pushy or presumptuous—about generating sales!
The bottom line: Shift your mindset from “making money” to “making a difference,” and create a solution for a problem or teach something to others. Business isn’t always about delivering or pivoting to something completely new. It’s about making the most of the resources that are already within your reach.