Entrepreneurialism During Lockdown
Last night, during an interview, a talk show host asked me what I was looking forward to when the pandemic is over. I told her that I wasn’t going to wish my life away, that I had done enough of that when I was younger.
That said, I see so many of the opportunities that the lockdown has engendered in this economy, the new service lines, the new products, all created by an entrepreneurial generation coupled with the panic of COVID-19. While many of these ideas were floating around before, they have matured astronomically since quarantine began.
I had used Zoom and Google Hangouts for virtual meetings a few times in the past, but now that they have become a part of my everyday life, connecting me to colleagues, friends, family, teachers, doctors, workout buddies . . . everyone! Although Zoom is but one of the many video conferencing applications now available, Zoom has an easy-to-use system that even the older generation (yes, me!) can learn to navigate. Aside from the occasional participant being caught virtually in a compromising and hysterical position, Zoom has proven to be the option that most of us use to stay in touch with the people closest to us.
Although Zoom is like many similar platforms, it has taken off during the pandemic because it’s customer-driven and spends the money where it counts so that its product is easy for everyone to use. The proof is in the pudding; Just look at the increase in its stock prices since the lockdown ensued!
Food and Grocery Delivery and Pickup
Seriously, how would we make it through this quarantine without Amazon? From puzzles to popcorn, most of my safer-at-home needs can be met with a few clicks of my computer. Sure, the delivery takes a bit more time right now, and products like toilet paper and Airborne aren’t usually available, but if I decide I need a new bike or Bundt pan, I’ve got it!
The same is true for the restaurants that are trying to stay operational and relevant during the quarantine. Many offer free delivery through their own application or website or, for a modest delivery fee, through third party services such as Uber Eats or Postmates. You can also pick up food and groceries that you order online in contact-free portals.
And don’t forget to take advantage of these specialized, albeit limited, service lines if you want your favorite restaurants to survive into the virus-free future!
Fashion Protective Wear
Yes, even the fashion industry is finding a way to stay relevant, with designers like H&M offering customers designer protective wear. It will be interesting to see how we all look once this pandemic is over and we’re still wearing our fashionable masks and matching gloves. What new fashions will be created? What new hairstyles will result?
Online Medical Appointments
I can even see my doctors online! And this isn’t just helpful during a pandemic. When I have a wellness check, I don’t want to drive all the way to an office or hospital, to sit for an hour or more with sick people in the waiting room, only to talk with my doctor for five minutes about the questions that I have. In some circumstances, online appointments will continue to be time effective for both doctors and their patients.
Of course, there will be times when you need or want to see your doctor in person, and, thankfully, even now, those important appointments can still be arranged at certain times.
From meeting weekly with teachers and classmates to connecting online to educational apps like ABC Mouse and GoNoodle, the protocols imposed on us by the pandemic have spurred the creation and expansion of online education opportunities. Homeschooling had already begun a dramatic rise in popularity, but, with necessity, its ascent has now become meteoric. And, as more parents discover the ease and benefits that homeschooling affords, it is unlikely to decline back to its previous levels.
You can even go on virtual tours of museums and zoos, so we’re able to “visit” historical sites all over the world that we wouldn’t have considered taking our children to visit just a month ago.
Yoga? Barre? HIIT training? Strength training? Pilates? A combination? There are now live, albeit virtual, fitness opportunities everywhere you look. Although our gyms have closed, we can work out throughout the day with different trainers who are just a computer screen away. Such training not only keeps you physically and emotionally healthy, but your trainers are learning new skills, increasing the types of services they offer, engaging new clients, and burning off steam of their own.
In fact, I know trainers who, if their days aren’t already full of virtual sessions with their own clients, are training each other to improve their own skills and to extend the range of their individual service lines. Such services will not vanish just because the quarantine ends.
Improve Your Profile
If you have an online presence or are ready to develop one, lockdown is your opportunity. Most of us are spending even more time than usual in front of our computers, so whether you’re blogging, TikTokking, Instagramming, or whatever social media strikes your fancy these days, now is the time to really build that profile so that you can increase your followers. There are important partners out there just waiting to be found!
These new service lines and products will not disappear when the panic subsides but, rather, will continue to serve us when we are back to our offices, firms, and everyday workplaces. (Although, that said, now that you or your employer has discovered how capable you are of working from home, how many of you will continue some form of that protocol?)
And I’m curious; what new product or service has the quarantine suggested for your business? Reach out and share with me at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com.
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About this week’s author, Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.