Almost every day since the coronavirus outbreak, we have heard stories about business closures. However, new businesses have also been launched during the pandemic at the fastest pace in more than a decade, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Some of these new businesses and side jobs are being launched by Americans over 50 from home. Here are stories from three of these entrepreneurs who are using smart marketing tactics, networking of friends, family, and business connections, and good old-fashioned wit. They could inspire you to start your own business from home. Glen Muñoz: From Recording Studio to Podcasting For the past 10 years, Glen Muñoz, 52, of New York City, had been operating a recording studio in rented space in lower Manhattan. Then COVID-19 stopped its business, which provided audio services for TV shows and other customers, in its tracks. In early April 2020, Muñoz came up with an idea that would allow him to use his more than 30 years of experience in digital marketing and audio services: he would create a full-service podcast production and distribution company, Pod Pro Audio, that you could run away from the safety of your home. “I had enjoyed listening to podcasts for years,” says Muñoz. “I knew they were still growing in popularity and I thought it would be fun to do them.” It filled in the podcast knowledge gaps with research from Google GOOGL, + 0.38%, and the New York Public Library, which began offering video conferencing with research librarians during the pandemic. “There was very little expense involved in setting up what I needed for podcast production,” says Muñoz. He used his existing desk and bought software for his home computer ($ 149), a webcam ($ 79), a basic USB microphone ($ 49), and some quality headphones ($ 249). Total cost: just over $ 500. Related: Pandemic startups: These New York entrepreneurs did the unthinkable during COVID-19 Muñoz knew that one of their biggest challenges would be competing with low-priced competitors. “I offer a premium service,” he says, “but the Internet allows anyone to be a ‘podcast producer’ from anywhere. That means a kid in his room in Billings, Montana, can afford to do it for next to nothing. ”In early conversations with others about his business, Muñoz found that many potential clients were unfamiliar with podcasting and were nervous about the equipment and technology involved. Therefore, he developed a handful of short “How-To” manuals that helped them understand how to be a successful podcaster, which also showed the value-added services he provided. His first client was an acquaintance from college who wanted to launch a podcast to support a new consulting business. Muñoz produced that podcast in April. In the first few months of launching the business, Muñoz was making a profit. After three decades of work, Muñoz has built a large network Reaching them is the number one way you get customers. “If my contacts aren’t interested in podcast production services, I ask them to refer me to two or three people who can use my services or provide any other guidance, ”he says. They often do. Muñoz offers this advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “Be agile and responsive to what the market demands. In my case, my initial goal was to create original content podcasts similar to serialized fictional stories like old school radio drama productions. But the demand for my skills and service lies in working with professionals and brands looking to create ‘branded content.’ Samiksha Rawool: A Tasty Side Job Samiksha Rawool, 50, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, is a Senior Business Analyst for Heartland Payment Systems and a self-described techie by day and a lover of cooking and good food in her off hours. In January 2020, Rawool started a food blog, Yummy Tummy Recipes, (like Samiksha Sanwet, using her husband’s last name) to share her passion and recipes for cooking healthy, easy and tasty Indian meals. Success has come quickly. “In the first month of my blog launch, I had $ 1200 in revenue,” he notes. That came through ad networks like Google AdSense and Media.net, which show ads on your site. Today, Yummy Tummy Recipes receives around 7,000 unique monthly visitors and continues to be profitable. Rawool earns a minimum of $ 250 per day through ad networks and promoting products and services from the Green Chef meal kit delivery service on his blog, through an affiliate relationship. Plus: These small business owners are still making it work, the coronavirus and all. She spent $ 125 to start her blog: $ 11 for a domain name, $ 70 for annual website hosting, and $ 44 for a website design. Since Rawool was handling his hustle while working full time, he spent weekends and holidays learning skills to help advance his blogging business. Web platforms, including Udemy and Udacity, taught you about digital marketing and web development. Rawool says that the two most effective marketing tools he uses to drive traffic to his site are organic search (people who find Yummy Tummy Recipes through Google and other search engines) and social media marketing. She spends around $ 50 a day on Facebook ads. To boost your organic search traffic, when writing your blog posts, Rawool has targeted keywords with high search volume but little search competition. In addition, it has focused on improving page load speed and landing page experience; both have boosted the site’s ranking in searches. Some social media campaigns have also paid off. “I went to countries like India and Indonesia,” says Rawool. Rawool believes that another reason for the blog’s initial success was the niche it covers. “When I started there wasn’t much competition, but now there is,” he says. His advice to others considering starting a home business: just go for it. “The fear of failure often prevents us from taking the first step. Just take a leap of faith and trust that your business idea will definitely work, ”says Rawool. Rotate if necessary. “As you build your business, keep in mind that you will face obstacles. Don’t let that stop your progress and get ready to make changes, ”says Rawool. Look for mentors and experts. If they are not available in person, you can find them electronically via email, social media and blogs, or in books. Two of Rawool’s favorite authors: Tim Ferriss (“The Four Hour Workweek” and “Lifestyle Design Blog”) and Marc Ostrofsky (“Click Rich!” And “Word of Mouse”). “A lot of what I’ve learned about blogging and marketing has come from reading material from these authors,” says Rawool. Lesa Forrest: Launch of a life coaching business Lesa Forrest, 55, of Las Vegas, suspended from her customer service role at a restaurant supply company in March 2020. When she wasn’t called after a month, she made a decision. “I had originally planned to retire in 2025 and do something that I was passionate about and still earn an income,” says Forrest. “When the pandemic happened, I realized: ‘I’m at home and I have all this time. You could also launch the business now! ‘”The business: First Step Family, which offers life coaching services. With his $ 1,200 stimulus check and some savings, Forrest spent a total of $ 2,000 on online classes to set up a website and social media marketing, as well as a logo and legal work to start the business. (He had already received training and certification as a life coach in 2019). His biggest challenge: getting customers. Forrest got his first two through friends of friends. To find out how to attract others, he watched YouTube videos, studied online family life coaches, and hired his own coach. Here are some of your key takeaways for others considering launching an advisory business: Focus on a niche. Forrest drew on her experience as a mother in a mixed family of six to focus on helping birth mothers and stepmothers in mixed families. Offer a free 30 minute consultation. “I’ve never had anyone on the phone who hasn’t become a customer,” says Forrest. Complimentary sessions allow potential clients to better understand how Forrest can help them. Use social media. “I created two free Facebook FB groups, -0.15% to build a community,” says Forrest. In the first group, Moms Helping Moms Las Vegas, they tried a free group coaching program. “It helped build credibility and also allowed me to make adjustments to the paid group coaching program that I am implementing shortly,” says Forrest. Consider buying leads. “I found my coach through Bark [an online marketplace to search for professionals] and signed up to get leads from other people looking for coaches. That way I have gotten several clients, ”says Forrest. Read next: Start a small business by taking advantage of these 4 trends. She has already recouped her initial investment, and thanks in part to low overheads, Forrest’s coaching business is profitable. Today he offers individual and group coaching sessions nationwide, via telephone, Zoom ZM, -3.39% or Skype calls. “Even if they call me back to work, I will continue to train in the evenings and on the weekends,” he says. “This is something I will definitely do until I retire and beyond.” Margie Zable Fisher is a freelance writer and founder of The 50-Year-Old Mermaid, where she and other women in their 50s share their learnings and experiences about living their best lives after 50. Her website is margiezfisher.com . This article is part of America’s Entrepreneurs, a Next Avenue initiative made possible by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and EIX, Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange. This article has been reprinted with permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved. More from Next Avenue: