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Am I mad to try and start an online business in this climate?

14 replies

ImOnTheWrongPlanet · 10/07/2020 21:07

Long time lurker I've signed up to see if I can get some advice. My pre-covid plan was to start working online.

The ideas I was looking at are selling on Etsy, creating a product on Amazon, and setting up a website for online life coaching. Long term retraining as a website creator and graphic designer which I could also eventually do online.

I've reduced my outgoings so that initially I only need to earn £1000 a month to get by.

With a recession and no deal brexit looming am I crazy to go ahead?

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cosycatsocks · 10/07/2020 22:48

What are you going to sell on etsy/Amazon? What makes your product special or desirable?

Why would people want to use you as an online life coach and how will you get clients?

Asking because if you have good answers for those questions you will probably be OK

My biggest worry at the moment would be a second wave, which will really stuff the economy. Maybe wait until there is a vaccine and do some ground work for your biz in the meantime?

ImOnTheWrongPlanet · 10/07/2020 23:30

Clothing on Etsy, I've found something I can make and sell that is popular but currently only being sold in the states, and the wait time for delivery is a couple of months, so I could do it faster.

I haven't decided on an Amazon product yet as it takes a lot of research to find one and am trying to determine if all the work is worth it.

I have the qualifications to specialise in anxiety related issues with regards to life coaching, some really unique stuff, I think that might be needed at the moment. I'm thinking I'd find clients through building a social media following, and I have a specific tool to build a website so that it gets good niche traffic.

Could be waiting years for a vaccine though. I need to find a way to make money but I'm just scratching my head as to how to make it work now. If only I could make antibac hand gel :)

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MarkRuffaloCrumble · 10/07/2020 23:38

Online is where it’s at. And will be for some time. So I’d say there’s never been a better time tbh! Obviously there is a lot of economic uncertainty but if you can pursue both of your ideas, and have a few different streams of income, you’ll have a better chance.

There’s an entrepreneur course run by NatWest, which is ‘fully funded’ (they don’t like to say ‘free’ as it sounds cheap, but it’s free!) called the Accelerator programme. Worth having a look to see if there’s one near you (although presuming that’s all done online now too, maybe it doesn’t need to be nearby). They give you loads of support, workshops, mentoring, a community and industry contacts etc. I don’t know how well it translates to an online course, as a lot of the benefit to me was from interacting with other entrepreneurs, discussing our businesses, having a professional workspace etc but I’m sure they will have adapted it as much as possible for Covid times.

cosycatsocks · 11/07/2020 06:12

We will have a vaccine by the end of next year, 95% certain. And probably more than one.

In your shoes I'd start the clothing business as a side hustle, and start building content for your life coaching business sm profile alongside.

I'm intrigued by the special tool you have to build a website, what is it? I have been in digital for well over a decade so I'm curious!

speakout · 11/07/2020 06:16

Perfect time for online industry.
I am a small business selling online- since Covid my sales have quadrupled- I am struggling to keep up with orders.

Thesuzle · 11/07/2020 06:29

Avoid Amazon, they are not a good place to be, as a seller or buyer

speakout · 11/07/2020 06:53

Amazon is a great place. I sell loads there.

monkeyonthetable · 11/07/2020 06:59

Can I be honest? You don't sound focused. All your suggestions are ways to make a little bit of money here, a little bit there, not a single viable business that you are passionate about and can grow to earn a living from. To make a business work during a recession, you have to really specialise in something that either you do better than anyone else or that no one else is providing but lots of people need. Which of the ideas you listed is the one that excites you most?

speakout · 11/07/2020 07:06


I agree. Graphic design/web creator/unsure of product to sell/ clothing/life coaching.
All sounds very confusing, and no real passion.

Wecandothis99 · 11/07/2020 07:18

Great clothes idea, probably will work well right now. I don't know why but life coaching annoys me, that so many people think they can tell you how to do life :-) but each to their own on that one. Good luck

newphoneswhodis · 11/07/2020 07:23

It's all a bit jack of all trades master of none. Even just one of those things would take all of your time. I don't see how you'd have the time to make clothes/manage your orders/build a following whilst also life coaching/building a client base/manging bookings/finances while also doing something on amazon whilst also setting up websites and graphic design.
Also to sell on amazon the most important thing is the product. If you don't have one you can't sell on amazon.
You need a focus.

newphoneswhodis · 11/07/2020 07:25

Also clothing probably wouldn't bring in much money. It takes time to make clothes and materials can be expensive. Add on the fact that most people can buy most things cheaply id be worried it would just be enough to cover costs. What's so unique about it?

BSintolerant · 11/07/2020 07:59

Niall Doherty, who is very helpful, has some excellent resources and advice regarding online businesses on his website:

There’s nothing wrong with looking at several different ways to make money. Portfolio careers are great fun if you have lots of things you’re passionate about. Having more than one source of income is a sensible thing to do in these uncertain times.

You might also like Marianne Cantwell’s book - she’s got plenty of good advice and understands that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to creating a business.

Good luck!

ImOnTheWrongPlanet · 12/07/2020 14:05

Thank everyone for the replies and info.

BSIntolerant yes a portfolio career is what I'm looking to eventually build. Multiple streams of income. Just downloaded Marianne Cantwell's book to have a look at this afternoon, thanks.

I don't wish to do just one thing, if for nothing else than because I would become bored very quickly and burn out. I thrive on wearing different hats. But at the moment I am really at the pre-focus sifting through ideas phase to work what's most attainable in this new climate.

Thanks MarkRuffaloCrumble I'll definitely have a look at the Natwest course, it sounds useful.

Online seems like the way to go.

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