President Ramaphosa’s lockdown announcement on the 23rd of March came as a shock to many businesses that will be closing their doors for three weeks in order to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But many thrifty home-based businesses and individuals are using the lockdown to make extra cash or migrate online.
“We 100% want everyone to comply with the lockdown, which means staying indoors and avoiding unnecessary social contact,” says Gumtree GM Claire Cobbledick. “However, there is also an increased demand for capable remote workers with internet access as well as a flood of new services.”
Online consulting, including finance and marketing, is particularly popular. “Using a free service like Zoom or Skype enables you to provide advice via video. Dealerships and repair shops that have been hard-hit by the lockdown are offering online advice on car repair or which cars to buy to suit your requirements or pocket.”
The lockdown is also a great time to clear out your unwanted items and sell them for cash. “While you can’t meet your neighbors in person, you can list and photograph the item and sell for collection in three weeks’ time. Help your kids sort through unwanted toys, books and clothes and list it for sale. It’s a great way to teach them about being green and entrepreneurial!”
Gumtree will keep listings live for two months’ instead of thirty days in order to assist regular sellers.
You should also use your free time to update your CV. “Interviews and screening is done online, so use the time to update your profile and go after your dream job. Do research about the companies you’d like to apply to, complete an online short course, ask someone to mentor you. That way you can hit the ground running when the lockdown lifts.”
Cobbledick does warn against profiteering – stockpiling essentials like baby formula and toilet paper. “We will remove listings with overinflated prices for essentials and have taken a very strict stance against this already. Be entrepreneurial, but not at the expense of your health or your community.”