Business ideas for entrepreneurs in lockdown


Jared Kruger

11 Jul 2020

Reading time: 8 min Thought leadership articles
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An international pandemic… Yup, that happened. How could anyone foresee this kind of global catastrophe? Ok, except for Bill Gates. Aside from the multibillion-dollar man himself, no one even considered it.

Yes, initially, the world went into a flat spin and every country handled the COVID crises in unique ways. Thankfully, now that South Africa has transitioned to Level 3, we are able to move around a bit more freely and some businesses are back, but sadly, others have taken a knock. For many of us it may be time to consider other streams of income. 

Let’s take a look at those options

Those in the small and medium business sector have been most hard hit, and if you haven’t lost your job you may have suffered a significant pay cut. It may feel like the end of the road for your career and, let’s face it, the naysayers on the news aren’t exactly lifting our spirits. 

Just hold on, before you hang up that professional hat and begin a strict diet of 2-minute noodles, allow us to present you with possibility.

Here are three things to consider when deciding what’s next:

  • What skills do you have?
  • What resources are available to you?
  • What are you passionate about?

Three easy points on the roadmap, keep them in mind as we throw out a few ideas for you to consider.

Take the practical route

Many successful entrepreneurs are pragmatists, spotting a need and then coming up with creative solutions. 

Delivery service owner/driver

People are becoming more reluctant to visit physical shops than ever (understandably). According to Matthew Leighton, spokesperson from OneDayOnly.co.za, “Since the start of the lockdown period, we’ve seen a 40% increase in page views per user, and a 15% increase in basket sizes.” 

If you have a driver’s licence, this is the perfect time to contact big companies and offer your services. Or better yet, start an independent delivery service and cater to many different clients.

Corporate cleaning services

Consider the fact that almost every public space is now being subjected to intense cleanliness regulations. Schools, offices, restaurants and places of worship are all forced to comply with legal sanitisation standards. 

Most of the organisations themselves lack the proper materials and time to comply. This means there is a big need to outsource this service to capable teams who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves.

Get creative

If you have secret skills, or even a quirky hobby or side hustle – consider allowing it to take centre stage.

Clothing design

Got a passion for fashion? Maybe now is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind, dust off that sewing machine and begin your first range of clothes, bags, hats, or whatever else gets you excited. Make use of social media pages to market your pieces, post some high quality images of what you’ve created and voilà: you’re a designer. 

Second hand clothing sales

Alternatively, join the very active second hand scene – vintage is still in and people pay good money for quality sourced clothes. These can be purchased at thrift stores for next to nothing, or sourced online, and then washed and sold out of your garage at a marked up rate. 

Virtual art class instructor

If you’re more inclined to be drawn to a canvas, then consider hosting painting parties or teaching art classes online. Adults and children alike will be happy for a change of scenery, even if they are painting it on paper!

Don’t be afraid to take risks – it could lead to your dream job (or at least a few weeks of fun!) Like Madiba said: “There is no passion to be found in playing small…in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” We couldn’t agree more.

Mould minds and motivations from a distance

Online teaching is certainly not a new idea, but the need has exploded in the last few months due to severe restrictions. 

Online educator

Although schools have largely opened their doors again, some parents have opted to keep children at home. Ask any parent that has been forced to maintain rigorous curriculums at home, and they’ll tell you that teachers and tutors are golden. 

Online English tutors are also in constant demand and this venture provides a consistent flow of income, no matter the global climate. Training is provided and once you have passed the entry level exam, you are qualified to teach – no degree needed! Here’s one place to consider

Life coach

Stress. We are all feeling it and many people are in need of support and guidance professionally and personally. Being an entrepreneur for any length of time provides one with lessons of your own, or, at the very least, experience and a sympathetic ear. 

Using Skype or Zoom makes it easy to connect and coach your clients. Warning: this job has the added benefit of being very rewarding, you may never want to do anything else!

Offer something new

Doing what’s been done before might be less scary, but where’s the fun in that? Maybe you’d prefer to think outside of the box.

Owner of a drive-in

South African cinemas are open, but in many other places like Australia, the States and South Korea, drive-ins are making a comeback! The perfect answer to entertainment while social distancing, the idea is simpler to execute than it seems. 

Effectively you need a parking lot with a white wall or make shift screen (even a large piece of material will do the trick) and a projector. The novelty for young people and nostalgia for the older generation is a sure win. 

The option of partnering with refreshment stands creates even more opportunities and broader income. The sky really is the limit (literally!).

Personal guided tours of interesting areas

Ok, so, tourism as we know it has effectively shut down, but that doesn’t mean that exploration has. There are many outdoor places of historical, botanical, geographical and cultural significance in our country to be experienced. This venture would require a knowledgeable, passionate speaker and not much else!

Well, we have come to the end of our list, but these suggestions are just the beginning. We encourage you to get your creative juices flowing. With vision and ingenuity, anything is possible. 

If you have the idea but aren’t sure how to get started, remember that we offer all the resources you need through our flagship online Entrepreneurship course. Get in touch!


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