The Covid-19 pandemic shutdown is being lifted at least partially in some places. But the economic effects will surely linger for awhile. But as I see it, many aspects of our economy were brittle to start with, and the shutdown just illuminated the cracks more brightly.
I really love hearing stories about people who have been prompted by the shutdown to start their own businesses, or get serious about the side-gig that is their true passion. Like baby birds being nudged out of the nest, some of us have to be nudged out of our comfort zones in order to create something that ends up being much better for us and for the people around us.
Here’s a great story I read on Facebook today, from a brand-new business in my city called Debbie’s Mobile Pet Care: “OK, I got my business cards, flyers and magnetic. It’s official my own business. Never thought this would happen. An amazing story and it had to take a master world shutdown for me to get creative and realize what my true calling is and that’s caring for God’s creatures. I have been blessed to meet such good people already. Thank you all.”
Don’t you just love that?
Some years ago, when I was living in Austin, a guy who had lost his IT job in the dot-com slump needed a way to pay his bills, so he started making soup from fresh veggies and other high-quality ingredients, and delivering it by bicycle! The Soup Peddler later went on to become a brick-and-mortar establishment that was always packed with happy customers whenever I went.
And then there is the story of the Kale Café in Daytona Beach, which was also spawned by a job loss some years back. Kale Café started out as a smoothie stand at the farmer’s market and went on to become a full-on restaurant downtown, and a light of the community. It’s a true Mom-and-Pop (and kids!) business.
I really hope to hear more stories like this in the coming days, as people seek their footing in the altered economic landscape. One thing I’ve realized over the years is that no matter what kind of catastrophe hits, some people always end up prospering. I would like to see more everyday people be among those “some people.” I would like to see large numbers of people gain economic autonomy and creative freedom while meeting real needs in their local communities.
Some businesses I see as having a lot of potential in the “new normal” are anything having to do with pet care; neighborhood-based delivery services (including bicycle-based); academic tutoring; barbers and other personal grooming; and online education (be it academic, health & fitness, or practical skills such as gardening/homesteading skills). Also local farms. And for sure, handmade greeting cards (providing a personal touch as people don’t yet feel safe traveling, or have money to travel, to see their faraway loved ones). And mobile businesses of all kinds: mobile welding service, mobile knife-sharpener, and how about a mobile nail-manicure artist!
Oh, and I’m not big into the stock market, but I bet you’re smiling right now if you bought stock in Zoom!
I hope we’ll see a rise in hyperlocal businesses that operate on trust and person-to-person connections.
A lot of my artist friends are telling me they’re pursuing their arts on a deeper level; exploring new mediums — in a way they would not have if it hadn’t been for the quarantine. (And at least one of my artist friends is doing a great business making face-masks imprinted with her art!)
There have been many times in my life where I would not have moved forward unless life had nudged me out of the nest. The cushy-but-unchallenging gig that dried up 15 years ago, nudging me to find and pursue my deeper calling. It felt scary at the time but I am so grateful now. And for sure, thrift and low-footprint living have been instrumental in my ability to stay afloat.
Another thing that nudges me out of the nest is when my staleness or inertia becomes more painful than the thought of expending effort and plunging into the unknown. (The truth is I am just lazy sometimes! Far lazier than most people know.) Yesterday I finally removed my book from Amazon (it was the old edition), and sent off the new & improved edition’s PDF file to a local printing service and also to an independent online print-on-demand service. New copies of my book will now only be available direct through me. So now I will be a true independent author-publisher, and will get to keep more of the money from my book sales. Note to those of you who have already purchased my book via Amazon: If you haven’t seen my “corrections” post, drop me a line and I will send you the corrections. I will also send you a “signed by the author” page that you can print out and stick in the book if you like!
How about you? Are you being nudged out of the nest right now, whether occupationally or in some other way? Is there something you’ve been wanting to pursue but are hanging back? What would it take to nudge you out of the nest?
P.S. If you’re in the Daytona Beach area and need pet-grooming services, you can find out about Debbie’s Mobile Pet Care by calling 386-500-8901. (This does not constitute an endorsement; I have no pets and have not used her services. I am rooting for her success though! And for yours.)