‘If Not Now, When?’ – Women Entrepreneurs Launch Mid-Pandemic - The Story Exchange

‘If Not Now, When?’ – Women Entrepreneurs Launch Mid-Pandemic - The Story Exchange


‘If Not Now, When?’ – Women Entrepreneurs Launch Mid-Pandemic - The Story Exchange

Posted: 14 Apr 2021 12:00 AM PDT

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Pandemic life has fostered a groundswell of entrepreneurial spirit, especially among women. (Credit: Image by MaximeUtopix from Pixabay)

Last year, as Covid-19 spread, Suzie Qualle felt more toxicity creeping into her corporate workplace. She even began dreading video calls with her boss.

For solace from the stress, she turned to a long-forgotten pastime of hers: making tasbih, or Muslim prayer beads. "It took me about a month of making tasbih again to decide that this is what I was going to do," she says. "I was going to quit my job and career, and start my own business." She followed through on that promise this past August by launching Grounded Revival, a jewelry store based in Alberta, Canada.  

The pandemic, she says, gave her "the time to research and come up with designs for my product line. I am not sure I would have gotten here if it wasn't for [it]."

[Related: 5 Home-Based Small Business Ideas for Starting Up in 2021]

They say necessity is the mother of invention — it is, at the very least, a parent of many startups. While the coronavirus crisis has forever altered our lives, and has had devastating economic consequences for millions of people, it has also fostered a groundswell of entrepreneurial spirit, especially among women.

The U.S. Census Bureau saw a significant uptick in new business filings over the course of the pandemic, with more than 4.4 million new firms created since March 2020 — a 24-percent increase from the previous year. Data compiled for The Washington Post by LinkedIn found that female entrepreneurship grew 5 percent during roughly the same period, more than double the pre-pandemic average.

A Pandemic Startup Boom

Much of the rise in entrepreneurship is a consequence of unemployment, which continues to run rampant, with 114 million jobs lost worldwide last year. In the U.S., rates "peaked at an unprecedented level, not seen since data collection started in 1948," says the Congressional Research Service, a public policy institute. By December 2020, the number of permanent jobs in America lost swelled to 3.3 million.

In what has been dubbed a "she-cession," women have lost more jobs than men as industries dominated by women — think service or retail — have been hit the hardest. Internationally, women suffered 5 percent more job loss overall than men, the International Labour Organization says. 

[Related: Yes, the Pandemic Has Been Devastating on Working Women. But There's Hope]

Mel Tepeyac was one of them. After 9 years as a manager at a legal institute in Phoenix, she was let go during the pandemic. "I needed income and … everything appeared to be shutting down. And with two small children, one of whom has Down syndrome, I was put in a situation where it was 'sink or swim.'" 

In April 2020, she started up a bilingual digital marketing firm, Mevios Media, which caters to education and healthcare firms, as well as an Etsy shop that she runs as a side hustle. She learned the ropes of building and running her online businesses by watching tutorials. It hasn't been a smooth path, she says, but she's landed several clients so far, and it's kept her family afloat.

A joint survey from global payroll service Gusto and the National Association of Women Business Owners shows that Tepeyac isn't alone in her need-driven reasons for launching. A third of new women entrepreneurs polled cited job loss and lack of new opportunities as their reasons for starting up.

The Ladies Who Launched

We recently put forth our own call for women who started up mid-pandemic to tell us their experiences. It yielded well over 100 replies from entrepreneurs near and far who have been navigating the tricky process of starting up while also surviving a pandemic.

And they've launched everything — from online consulting firms for fellow entrepreneurs or parents, to virtual activity centers for people of all ages, to e-commerce sites that sell makeup, toys, clothing and more. 

Jen Hogan of Atlanta is one such entrepreneur. After a 20-year career in corporate marketing, strategy and finance both here and abroad, Hogan had just taken a job in 2019 managing Delta Airlines' SkyMiles program. "Then the pandemic happened," she says. "Airlines and pandemics don't go along well."

[Related: 5 Pandemic Pivots That Show the Resilience of Women Entrepreneurs]

When Delta began cutting back, Hogan took a voluntary severance package last July. "I figured that there were people who needed that job more than I did," she says. That same month, she launched her own business coaching firm, Sakura, to share what she'd learned in the corporate world with others. 

"This was my chance to do something that I truly loved," she says. "It was like the universe was telling me that the nagging voice I had at the back of my mind no longer had any excuses clouding it."

Indeed, a common thread in the responses we received from new business owners was that this radical shift in our lives forced them into taking a leap — whether because they had to, or simply because they wanted to — that they may never have taken otherwise.

Theresa Levine gets it. She's the founder of her own law practice, which she launched in November 2020 — 7 months after the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything for her.

"I left one of my city's largest, most prestigious law firms to begin clerking for a newly elected New York judge in January 2020. The courts shut down in February. By the end of March, I no longer had a job," the Endwell, New York lawyer says.

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"The pandemic allowed me to really focus — less distractions, less 'busy-ness' — while still having plenty of time for myself, for walks, for the simple things," says Vikki Louise, who started her life coaching business last year. (Credit: Vikki Louise)

She describes the experience, and the months of unemployment that followed, as "horrible," "devastating" and rife with shame. But Levine had years of experience and a robust support network to fall back on — and over time, she began to see the professional potential in our now largely-online way of life. So last fall, she launched her virtual firm, which helps clients (in particular, survivors of domestic violence) start their own small businesses.

Finding the Good

The circumstances that led these women to startup life may have been dire. But optimism and yes, even appreciation for new opportunities were also recurring themes in the callout replies we received from women business owners.

"The pandemic allowed me to really focus — less distractions, less 'busy-ness' — while still having plenty of time for myself, for walks, for the simple things," says Vikki Louise, who owns a life coaching firm in Manchester, United Kingdom, that she launched last February, leaving behind a 10-year career in finance and tech just as the pandemic was spreading. It was a shift she had wanted to make anyway — lockdowns simply gave her the excuse to go for it.

Justyna Malota, the New Jersey-based founder of accessory brand Isle Wilde, says the additional time at home led her to "revert back to what made me feel fulfilled" by giving her a chance to, at last, focus more on her jewelry line. She also holds down a job as a project manager for an AI software company. Before Covid-19, she contented herself with working on her creations in whatever small pockets of time she could find. "I knew I wanted to make it an official business, but that little voice told me I wasn't ready and that I just need more time." Like Louise and others, time was what she got by being forced to work from home, and she launched her venture in August 2020.

And some of these new business owners see great potential in our new collective virtual savvy — which is why New York lawyer Levine says she plans to keep her offerings online no matter what. "Taking calls on video in a secure manner is commonplace now. Exchanging documents securely and receiving timely updates should not be a special accommodation. Video conferencing can handle captioning, so making accommodations for individuals with different abilities is easy, if you take a few minutes to offer it," she says. "It's a brave, new, more inclusive world, if we allow for it."

Between the new professional opportunities and the personal benefits — such as more time for themselves and their families — women appear to be finding some good amid an unthinkable global tragedy and the economic collapse that has followed.

As digital marketer Tepeyac sums it up, "I had to [start up], but I found gratitude in that necessity."

[Related: Practical Ideas for Re-Opening Businesses in a Post-Pandemic World]

8 Startup Business Ideas With High ROI for the Successful, Hardworking Entrepreneur - The Good Men Project

Posted: 18 Nov 2020 12:00 AM PST

Have you been looking for a profitable small business idea? Excellent! You've chosen to become an entrepreneur. If you are highly motivated and organized, you can successfully start a small business and make big profits.

Some of the ideas for small businesses might not occur to you — from running your own FedEx route to opening a bakery — but many of these ideas are high ROI and perfect for the hardworking man.

Here are some ideas to get your imagination flowing:

Skin Care Products Business

Opening your own skincare product company can be a great venture for a man. Before you think about getting started, you should learn about the skincare product world. A good option is to visit some local cosmetic centers in your area to see what their big-selling items are.

Today, there is a more significant focus on all-natural products, so having a natural product line would be wise. To minimize the startup expenses, you could start with essential skincare products and eventually branch out.

Catering Business

One of the best small business ideas for men is the catering business — the industrypulled in $61.5 billion in sales in 2018. People love eating and entertaining guests, so the market is growing for caterers. If you are patient, organized, and creative, you could fall in love with the catering business. You can travel to different parts of your area and enjoy various functions, from business meetings to weddings to birthdays.

Keep in mind that running a successful catering business involves more than cooking delicious food and delivering it. You need to find clients, interact with them, talk to guests, and deal with any issues that come up. Professionalism is always important, and you have to adapt on the fly, as you will be preparing foods in many different environments.

Running A FedEx Route

You may have never thought of this small business, but you can purchase an established FedEx route in many parts of the country on various websites if you have startup capital.

While the startup cost is high – $1 million and up – the cashflow on many established routes is hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Bakery Business

A bakery business is one of the most profitable small business ideas. You typically run your business in commercial locations. Retail bakeries sell their products to customers, which they bake in house. They might offer small seating areas for customers.

Good baking requires skill and is a bit of an art. Competition is high, and most people in the business love to bake. The best-selling bakeries do not always have the best-tasting products, but they make their product with a lot of appeal, and that brings in the paying customers.Here's another good reason to consider opening a bakery: The small commercial bakery industry makes about $7.5 billion per year.

Translating Business

A translating business provides translation services from one language to another language while keeping the meaning the same. They also must maintain the confidentiality of their clients. It is vital to ensure that grammar and spelling are the same, and the context does not vary from the original text.

English to Spanish and Spanish to English is especially needed these days, so if you are fluent in Spanish, this could be a great fit.

YouTube Channel Business

This is one of the most profitable online businesses. It only takes a few minutes to set up your own YouTube channel. But you need to have a detailed plan before you start this business. You will need to have a good video camera and other accessories to make videos that people want to watch.Think about a niche that you enjoy and know that you could make videos about. Once you've uploaded some videos about your subject, you need to optimize them to get followers.

E-Book Store

An e-book store is a good business idea for men, as e-book readers and tablets have changed how books are sold. It's estimated that $500 million in e-books are sold per year. You can earn money by selling copies of e-books on your site and also through Amazon and eBay.

Event Planning

Event planning is a profitable business because you help your clients organize events of all types and sizes, including weddings, birthdays, promotion celebrations, inaugurations, graduations, and more.

To be successful, you need to run a few successful events and get referrals. Event planners make money by getting a service fee for planning and operating these events. The profit margins are good, and the business continues to grow.

If you are ready to work hard and be your boss, starting one of the companies above could be the start of a great business and high ROI!

This content is sponsored by Larry Alton.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

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