During lockdown, it has become more prominent to see small businesses (or side hustles, I guess you could call them) appearing. I LOVE THAT. The last few months have been tough for so many different reasons, but I think this is such a positive to take from it all. The saying, ‘It’s never too late to chase your dreams’ rings true.
As a graduate attempting to enter the job market, I’ve (luckily) had some time amongst applying for jobs. It’s given me time to focus upon writing, which I’ve fundamentally realised is my passion. So now I’m making time to write regularly, not only for the blog, but somehow I’m now writing weekly for the local newspaper.
And I’ve seen plenty of other people my age do the same. Personal trainers, bakers, artists and crafters, to name a few, have increased, whether that’s as a ‘side hustle’ or a plan to hopefully result in a business one day. I asked my Instagram followers and the poll showed that 88 PERCENT of the people who responded had thought about setting up their own business or becoming self-employed during lockdown.
There seems to be some entrepreneurial spirit floating around and many are grabbing it with both hands. I mean, how great is that?
Here are my thoughts.
- There has been more awareness to a self-employed career option. Even though I know many ‘successful‘ people who are self-employed, I don’t feel it is particularly encouraged by universities. Over lockdown, I’ve learnt more about self-employment, about local businesses, an option that I had never really considered as an option post-graduation. The job market is incredibly uncertain at the moment so maybe that suggests it’s time to take things into our own hands?
- We have to support local businesses. In my opinion, local businesses have adapted accordingly to the difficult situation lockdown presented to them. They acted with entrepreneurial spirit in order to remain operating. Examples include local shop deliveries, online workout classes from instructors/gyms and takeaway options from cafes/restaurants. But I think the community spirit to support local (at least in my neck of the woods) has shone through.
- It is important to fulfil your passions. 84% who answered the Instagram poll said that they had rediscovered a passion during lockdown and 76% had found a new activity during lockdown. It just shows how lockdown has encouraged us to do something different; the passions that were mentioned ranged from baking to embroidery. To be honest, both of those could be turned into some kind of ‘side hustle’ if they wanted to be.
- Social media is such a business tool. FaceTime, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been a huge part of the pandemic, using them to stay in touch with our loved ones. But for businesses, selling sites like Etsy and Depop have proven to be incredibly useful, whilst social media sites like Instagram introduced a ‘support local businesses’ sticker. This enables Instagram users to share their favourite local businesses and the best way to imagine it is as a heightened ‘word-of-mouth’ promotion method. I think it shows how the power of the internet.
Finally, the reason why I have written successful in inverted commas is because I want you to ‘define success’ in your own mind. As a recent graduate, I’m sure we are all susceptible to believing success is linear with career progression. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but is there a right answer? I’ll leave you with that thought…