COVID-19 has had an unprecedented financial impact on millions of families across the world. In an effort to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus, businesses are shuttering and schools have closed, leaving all but the most essential personnel with reduced hours and in many cases, reduced income. With the global health crisis threatening to trigger a recession in the next few months, finding new ways to diversify income is a top priority for many Americans. Many of them are looking into how to start a business from home.

If you’ve ever considered becoming an entrepreneur, now may be an excellent time to weigh your options and begin working for yourself. Here are five things to consider if you’re looking to start a business, along with action steps that you can take right now.

1. What do people need right now?

The spread of the epidemic is unprecedented in many ways. Although the world saw a similar influenza pandemic in 1918, it was a long time before Facebook. Jump on social media and see what people are saying. They may give you an idea of how you can fill an underserved niche.

*ACTION STEP: Get your feet wet by delivering for UberEats, Seamless, Postmates or Instacart.*

2. What can you do from home?

Many internet-based businesses are thriving right now as more people than ever turn to their screens for information and entertainment. Is there a way that you can provide a service or start a business from home? If you already have a business or work for yourself, can you expand your current offerings to include digital services?

*ACTION STEP: Go through your email and look at the promotions you’ve received. Many of your favorite brick-and-mortar businesses have taken their services and inventory online—you may find some inspiration.*

3. What new skills do you need?

With a reduction in hours (or at least, commuting time) many of us have more free time than ever. Put those hours to use and invest in yourself.If you’ve considered going into business but never had the time to master the needed skills, now is a great time to start.

*ACTION STEP: Try taking an Excel class, learning bookkeeping, Adobe Suite, or read a book by a leader you admire. Many of these resources are available for free.*

4. What do you need to get started?

The process of starting a new business can feel intimidating at first. Use this time to ask for advice, research small business requirements in your area, and look for funding.

*ACTION STEP: Begin writing your business plan. The process of putting everything down on paper will help you keep your thoughts organized and ask important questions you may not have considered.*

5. Who can you ask for help?

Every entrepreneur needs help to get (and keep) going. Who do you know that could be a potential client, resource, or advocate for what you want to do? People are looking to do something new and different, and life as we know it has changed.

*ACTION STEP: Make a list of everyone who could benefit from your services or who has a business that complements yours. Reach out (they’re probably home) and tell them what you do!*

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  1. […] Just getting started? Use that cash to handle the necessary but less fun aspects of your business. Incorporate or register your LLC, hire an accountant, or check in with an attorney. With a little legwork, you should be able to take care of all three for under $1200, giving yourself a great foundation for your business to grow (and potentially saving thousands of dollars in headaches down the line). […]

  2. […] With over 40 million unemployment claims in the United States, many will be re-evaluating their options and stretching their budget. If you’re among the newly jobless, begin by planning your post-pandemic budget. Once you have an idea of what you need to make, you can start brainstorming ideas to earn income. While many businesses are facing challenges right now, there are a surprising number of companies hiring right now. If the nine-to-five isn’t for you, it might be the right time to start a business from home. […]

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