There is no right or wrong way to survive a pandemic. As the spreading coronavirus continues to reshape how we work — and how we live — all any of us can do is our best.
But for those who find comfort in creativity and productivity, or who find themselves with the time or the need to find a new hustle, we’ve rounded up some startup ideas that you can plan for — and launch — from the comfort and safety of home.
1. Crafts Seller
If you have the skills, the imagination and the know-how to make something, why not put those attributes to use by making your own small e-commerce store? Supplies can be shipped in, and orders shipped out, without you or your potential customers being at risk. (These ventures can even be timely — like making masks for those who need them.)
2. Social Media or Online Marketing Consultancy
Have a way with words, and with people? There are plenty of businesses that could use your services to get the word out to customers — especially in a time when reaching them is more critical than ever. Whether you’re a Facebook pro, a gifted storyteller or a video producer, people need their narratives told and their products sold. You could help them from afar — just like Jill Davis of Alaska Woman Consulting, a social media marketer who has found success helping businesses build their brands while living life off the grid.
3. Graphic Design Firm
Internet savvy and creativity meet in this idea, all of which can be coordinated and executed from a laptop. Businesses and individuals alike could benefit from your ability to design something eye-grabbing and functional for them. Make yourself available online to assist. And, your designs don’t just have to live online, if you’re willing to think outside the box — or about boxes, like Miriam Brafman, the founder of Packlane. She used her graphic design knowledge to build a business making personalized shipping materials for other companies — something many more firms may need as e-commerce becomes the only way to shop.
4. Accounting and Bookkeeping Services
Who doesn’t need help with money, especially right now? A number of female founders have built sturdy ventures helping artists, retirees, homeless people and more gain control of their finances. If you have a phone, a reliable computer and internet service, you could join them. The pandemic has already prompted Congress to approve relief funds, delay tax filings and ease restrictions on retirement savings — all of which potential customers need help understanding.
5. App Developer
In recent years, women entrepreneurs have successfully designed apps to solve a range of problems — from safely chauffeuring children to addressing the loneliness that new mothers sometimes feel. If you have a digital-friendly idea that others could enjoy or utilize in isolation — say, an educational app for parents — build it. For some inspiration, check out this video below in which Shaan Kandawalla, founder of app maker PlayDate Digital, shares her startup story.
6. Website Design
You could make money by helping others build or revitalize their online presences. Use your coding skills and design know-how to help people and companies craft sites that make sense, run well and look great. Who knows — you could turn out to be the next Adelle Charles, a noted site designer and the woman behind the URL shortening website Bitly.
7. Life Coaching
Are you the person people turn to for advice? Why not turn that clarity of thought and ability to guide others into a business? Plenty of women have, including coaches Katie DePaola and Liv Chapman, founders of Inner Glow Circle, which trains people to become life coaches themselves. Whether you’re best suited to counsel clients (remotely!) on their careers, health, businesses or mental well-being, there are opportunities to start and grow a venture based on your talents.
8. Arts and Education Lessons
Guitarists, math whizzes, painters, photographers, book nerds, singers and other experts could take to online meeting spots like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Facetime to help others learn your field or craft. Angela McIver of Trapezium Math Club shows one way, by offering online learning resources to students. Parents with children who desperately need activities besides video games will thank you.
9. Remote Fitness Guru
A number of yoga and exercise studio owners we spoke with have found ways to host their classes online — and make money in the process. For example, Anne Koza Patrick of AnnieOm told us that she is now offering virtual classes to students via Zoom on a donation, pay-what-you-can model. So take your love of fitness online and help people stay healthy while also staying put at home.