The most crucial part of the term ‘cash flow’ must be the “FLOW” bit, right? The best things in life flow freely without any obstacles. Our cash is no different in this regard, but for most of us the “spend handbrake” is firmly up, and the money water well is running awfully dry during this COVID pandemic. It kinda feels like ‘cash go-slow’ rather than cashflow at this stage, doesn’t it?
So, what can we do about it?
At the moment, not much is in our control, but some aspects are. That is the good news. No matter how bleak our financial situations are, we can find always find ways to improve on things.
A good portion of the South African working population is back to work this week (the 1st week of June 2020) and fingers crossed we start moving down the lockdown levels without taking too many steps backwards.
While we slowly get back to work and pick up the pieces, being aware of how we spend our hard-earned bucks and implementing a few COVID cashflow strategies might be the order of the day, week or even the rest of the 2020 calendar year.
In the next few blog posts we are going to focus on specific ways you can either pull in the reins or start making some more money. Both are great strategies when times are tough, and these are some of the toughest times we find ourselves in.
Have you considered a side hustle?
If you don’t already have a sideline gig, perhaps this pandemic and the drawn-out lockdown has got your creative juices flowing. It really is time for all of us to combine our unique God-given talents by answering a simple question – “What service or product can I offer my neighbour?”
Here are 6 questions you can ask yourself, to help you start your side hustle journey:
1. How can I practically implement my side hustle idea?
Spend some time doing your research. Gather all the info that you can; what’s already out there, how will I set my pricing, who’d be my competition? Doing a little homework upfront goes a long way.
2. How much time can I commit to this?
If you’re working from home at the moment (or for the foreseeable future) you can find an hour or two a day to get started. In fact, if you’re really keen on earning additional income, you WILL find the time; even an hour a day before or after work will move you in the right direction. And if you’re not working right now then you have all the time in the world to get started today!
3. What are my unique talents?
And by this we don’t mean belly-dancing or banjo-playing; think more along the lines of am I good with my hands/ personable/ sales driven/ well connected? Can I write, bake, teach or play an instrument?
4. What problem in my community am I looking to solve?
If you are looking to start something on the side, make sure you’ve identified a real gap in the market that your product/service can fill. Decide whether your offering is really solving a need. Because you will be using your spare time to invest into this side hustle, you don’t want to pour your life and soul into something that wasn’t viable in the first place.
5. What additional income could I earn?
This depends entirely on what you choose to do and how profitable it could be. But any additional income is better than none, right, especially while you are testing the waters?
6. What do I need to get started?
A plan is always a good starting point. Then you’ll need to assess what you may need for your particular offering; a bigger oven, a bakkie, a new sewing machine, a better laptop, staff, or faster WIFI? And if you’re feeling stuck, reach out to like-minded people to brainstorm ideas with them.
Need a few examples of what a side hustle looks like? We’ve listed a few below:
What will Marley do when he hasn’t been walked for 8 weeks because his owner has an underlying condition and is too afraid to leave home? Why not offer a dog walking service? Post your service on your community Facebook groups or advertise locally. If you have kids, you could get them involved and they can earn their pocket money at the same time?
What about food? Everyone needs to eat. Fancy yourself as the new Nigella or Jamie? Why not look at selling baked good or ready-made meals?
For those of you who are trained or retired teachers, why not promote yourselves to your community by offering zoom tutoring sessions. A lot of parents out there are battling to keep up with the new homeschooling system and plenty would happily pay for assistance.
What about morphing your business to offer more online solutions?
Do you sell products only in a physical store? Are you stuck with stock that isn’t moving? Online shopping has boomed since this lockdown started and we expect it will continue this way. So get an online shop going in whichever way you can; Facebook offers a really good platform and uploads are free (which is always a bonus) or if you’re looking for something more professional, get a designer to create an affordable online shop for you.
Perhaps it’s time to do an online course to upskill yourself in a particular line of work? What about life-coaching? Or web designing? Online marketing? Now that we can successfully learn things online, the doors have been thrown wide open for students of all ages.
Do you enjoy taking photos? Are you any good at it? Why not upload and sell some of your photos online? Hook up with a framer and offer a framed version as well? Think gorgeous landscapes, wicked wildlife or classic black and white portraits. Why not look into learning more about the craft by taking a digital photography course online? Then think outside of the box and start offering front door COVID-life shoots (family and pets, with and without masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines) as a keepsake of this unforgettable time in our lives.
Are you handy around the house? Why not offer a handyman service to people in your community? Fix a window handle, paint walls, hang a picture or tile a spare room? These are all needs that you could be fulfilling if armed with the right tools and transport.
As this year has taught us, nothing is guaranteed. But what it has also taught us, is that everything can change after a single speech. It’s important to constantly be looking for new opportunities and to never have, as my grandma used to say, ‘’all your eggs in one basket”. It’s time to push ourselves into new unchartered territory. Be brave and start!
If you’ve already dabbled in side hustles, we’d love to hear your stories – leave a comment below.
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team