The COVID-19 threat is gradually fading away. People are gathering in thousands for different protests across the world without worrying about the virus. Many people believe, there are more important things to worry about than the corona virus. As we are getting over the health crisis, we are left to deal with the economic consequences. How do we move on from here? Many people have lost their jobs, and means of livelihood. Businesses are struggling to get back on track. Economic metrics are not looking good for most countries.
No doubt, the pandemic lockdown have had damaging effects on economies. But it has also unlocked opportunities and given a boost to some industries. In this video, you will learn about 4 of these important opportunities the lockdown due to COVID-19 has unlocked.
Before I dive in to explain the 4 opportunities covid-19 lockdown unlocked, there is something I need you to understand.
You see, there are two ways people change; they either change by their own choice or they change by force. Many businesses may not have had tremendous success if not for the SARS outbreak in the beginning of this century. Many businesses may not have been successful if not for the 2008 global financial crisis. For example Uber and Airbnb were created at the recovery stage of the financial crisis. The ride-sharing service helped people cut down on spending for transportation while the home-sharing services helped save on lodging.
The point is that events of this magnitude force a shift in people’s behavior that tends to stick. This behavioral shift creates waves of opportunities for businesses and individuals to ride on.
When people were focused to stay at home for months, we adapted. The process of adaptation forced many people to consider options that have always been there; options they have ignored due to lack of urgency. However, the lockdown created urgency that left people with few options. Embracing these options is what created the wave of opportunities that smart people are already taking advantage of. So what are these waves of opportunities?
1. Expansion of the Freelance Market
The caption could have been, “The Rise of the Freelance Market”. But the truth is that the freelance economy has been on the consistent rise for years. In the US alone, the freelance economy was estimated at $1.2 trillion in 2019. It’s a much larger market when you look at the entire globe.
However, the COVID-19 lockdown set off a new wave in the gig economy. As people lost their jobs and businesses needed to cut down cost, the freelance market came to the rescue. Businesses were forced to experiment as they examined how cost-effective and efficient working with remote contractors would be for their businesses.
In addition, a significant share of the work force, were focused to explore freelance alternatives for the first time. The professionals and businesses who had not been interested in the freelance market learned lessons that will alter how they look at jobs and work going forward. The result of all this is the expansion of the freelance economy; both from the demand and supply side. This is a wave of opportunity anyone interested in making extra or full time income can explore by offering freelance services.
2. Ease of collaboration
Last week, someone in South Africa reached out to me with a proposal to co-author a book. We scheduled a Zoom meeting with three people in attendance from South Africa, Hong Kong and Nigeria. The meeting happened and we are on to something. This week, I will be having a Zoom training with some of our freelance workers; all of whom I’ve never met in person.
A lot of virtual meetings have been going on since the COVID-19 lockdown. Partnerships are being formed, deals are being sealed, and knowledge is passed across; all due to easy online collaboration tool. What’s interesting is that these tools have always been there. There is nothing new about virtual meeting and online collaboration tools. Just that most people were reluctant or unaware of them. But thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, people were forced to explore the options of virtual meetings and online collaboration. And people are asking themselves, “why didn’t I think of this before now?”
This presents a lot of opportunities on how we meet, network and collaborate with others. You can easily put a face to your brand or business when dealing with potential partners, sponsors or team members. You can offer tutorials, training and coaching sessions with ease – and so much more.
3. Online education
Since the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown, my company has worked with, and continues to work with a number of online education institutions. Education providers are aggressively capitalizing on the wave of opportunities the COVID-19 lockdown created by running massive digital marketing campaigns.
While online education has been growing steadily over the past few years, the covid-19 lockdown rapidly paved the way for even stronger market growth. Millions of people worldwide had to quickly adapt to a new reality; connecting solely online to teach, work and learn. Coursera – a global online education provider – saw drastic growth during the peak of the outbreak with more than 25 million new enrollments since mid-march – a 520% increase from the same period last year. Udemy, another online learning platform, also reported 425% increase in enrollments of students and 55% increase in courses created by instructors. These companies experienced 5 years worth of growth within 4 months.
We may argue that this spike in growth would fizzle out as things return back to normal. But considering the same phenomenon that plays out in other fields, when people are forced to experiment what they had not considered in the past, they are likely to discover one of two things; that this was something they had been missing or that they were right to not have consider it. The indication is that – thanks to COVID-19 lockdown – more and more people are embracing online education. There is now an unlimited access to knowledge and skills to learn virtually and conveniently. And there are large numbers of people looking to develop their skills.
4. Online shopping
Few weeks ago, I reached out to a local shoe store online. This was a fairly large business that has been around for some time. I asked to visit the physical store to properly examine my options. They responded that they no longer have a physical. Every of their business transaction is now done online. Like many businesses like them, they’ve probably weighed the cost of running a physical store versus an online store and resolved to settle with a full time online store.
The lockdown compelled retailers that had been reluctant with investing significantly in online shopping to explore the option. And many of them learned in the process. Retailers that, for long, perceived ecommerce as an auxiliary part of their business model are now reconsidering. While those that have long embraced ecommerce are doubling their efforts.
The case is not different for buyers. As people were lockdown at home, they had to buy stuffs. Since going out was risky, even the skeptics had no other option but to shop online. The result of this shift in behavior from the demand and supply side have created a wave of opportunity in ecommerce and online shopping. And this behavioral shift will likely leave a lasting impact on the industry.
What this means is that there are more online shoppers today. More people are willing to buy items online today than ever before. That in itself is a wave of opportunity for small businesses and retailers.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown might have brought irreparable loses. But it unlocked waves of opportunities you can ride on as a business owner or a professional. If you found this video helpful, like and share it with someone. If you are yet to subscribe to After School TV, now is a good time to hit the subscribe button. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!