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Have 2020’s financial failures given new businesses a fighting chance?

By Jesse Lopez

In March of 2020, the US and many developed countries started shutting down and restricting businesses operating hours. The CDC and the World Health Organization recommended social distancing, washing hands more regularly, and wearing facial coverings. Overnight the whole world changed. Many privileged and uneducated citizens acted like spoiled kids grounded by crappy parents here in the US, and they revolted in the same immature fashion. We watched the world as we know it transform into an entirely different place. That scared many and enraged others. No matter your stance on the subject, COVID-19 was here, and it was killing our immunocompromised.

Companies and conglomerates furloughed and laid-off millions of employees. The stock market rose and fell more this year than any other in my lifetime. Companies like Macy’s, Neman Marcus, JC Penny’s, Hertz, and Frontier Communications went bankrupt as lost profits didn’t allow these companies to meet forecasted projections. Established small businesses like local gyms, restaurants, cafés, and boutique shops suffered as people stayed at home watching the Tiger King and TV show reruns on Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. But all was not lost. These corporate financial failures have become a benefit to new emerging businesses. With so much extra time on everyone’s hands due to quarantine during the 2020 pandemic, we saw millions of people starting new projects and side hustles.

With the unemployment rate reaching lows unseen since the great depression, and millions of Americans falling on hard times, we have to ask ourselves one question. Will 2021 be the year of the side hustle? Nowadays, you can turn your intellectual property into profit easier than ever. Daily, apps like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube have inspired thousands, even millions, of people to learn a new art or craft. Websites like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, and Offer Up allow entrepreneurs to sell their products without needing a retail distributor or contracts, and these sites are full of competition. We are watching as brick and mortar is slowly vanishing and becoming extinct. Working from home is the new norm we still haven’t all quite gotten accustomed to.

For many, this newfound freedom, the ability to work in our personal space and sell products with good profit margins, is working out. These side hustles are the main reasons many Americans could make ends meet during this unfortunate 2020 pandemic. These startups have low overhead costs and can partner with companies like ShipStation, and to handle logistics internally.

If you are one of the millions of people struggling and need to find extra income, do what others are doing. Find yourself an online swap meets like the examples given above and turn your hobby or craft into cold hard cash. Because if 2020 has taught us all anything, it’s that you can never stop hustling or believing in yourself.

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