Business Ideas to Pursue While on Furlough

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Being furloughed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be tough. The good thing about it is that you don’t really lose your job, so it is a relief to know you have a company to return to after the furlough period. However, being on furlough also mean you don’t really earn much either.

This is the reason why a lot of new entrepreneurs are born during tough times–people need to make new streams of income for a living. Starting a small business by banking on your talent to earn more money can even be your new career.

For all entrepreneurs-in-the-making, here are some business ideas you can pursue while you are still on furlough.

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Freelancing Business

The gig economy is growing. All you need is your skills, a laptop or smartphone, and the Internet and you can definitely get freelance gigs. As long as someone, somewhere, has a need for your skills, and is willing to pay, you are good to go.

Freelancing is a broad business to be in. The world is your oyster. You can capitalize on your different talents–composing, video editing, acting, writing, graphic designing, coding–anything goes, really.

There are also a lot of gig economy websites available that connect freelancers to a multitude of possible clients. A few examples of such websites are Upwork, Fiverr, and Guru.

All you need is a portfolio of your best works, a sharp resume, and a profile to get started.


During the quarantine, a lot of businesses moved their stores online. You can jump in on the e-commerce bandwagon too by reselling, wholesaling, and drop shipping.

You can start small by selling things you own but are not using anymore. From there, as you get the hang of it, you can start acquiring brand new products to resell, or bulk items to wholesale. You can even set up a website and partner with manufacturers overseas through dropshipping.

Just be sure to check if there are required permits or licenses in your business.

Develop & Create Your Own Products

Creating and selling a product is at the heart of running a business. These days, there is a huge market for digital products as much as for physical goods.

This is good news for a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs and creative, as digital products do not require factories, heavy machinery, and raw materials. Instead, all you need is the necessary gear: a laptop, a software, your research skills, and inspiration. Of course, you also need your skills and expertise.

Some examples of digital products you can create and sell online are ebooks, music, and mobile apps.

Digital Marketing

A lot of things in the physical world have their digital counterparts now. The same goes for marketing. Companies rely on digital marketing as much as traditional marketing strategies.

If you have skills in Facebook ads, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and content marketing, you can use this to your advantage. Content writers are in demand, with a lot of companies looking for ways to engage their customers online and provide valuable content.

Social media marketing is another in-demand strategy. If you have social media know-how, can curate photos and videos, can write captivating captions and are updated with trends, this might be a good business for you.

Bloggers and vloggers can also do affiliate marketing while on furlough. The bigger your audience is, the better.

Online Teaching/Tutorial

It is your chance to upskill while you are on furlough, as a lot of others are already doing. This is where teaching comes in. As people look for ways to learn new things and expand on what they already know, you can take the opportunity to create courses you can sell.

Websites like Skillshare allow users to learn new skills and improve current ones. You can also earn by posting tutorials that users can purchase.

Moreover, as kids are stuck at home, parents are looking for ways to keep them engaged and learning. Homeschooling has become the norm, but a lot of parents struggle with it. If you can swoop in and help in the learning of a household, you would be considered godsent by parents’ who are already at their wit’s end.

Food Delivery

Food will always be in demand because it is a basic need. If you have a flair for cooking or baking, you can capitalize on that and start a food business.

A lot of people are focusing on their fitness, and diet is one of their major concerns. You can whip up a calorie-intake meal plan and have them pre-packaged and delivered.

Some people can’t cook or find it too much of a hassle. This is a great opportunity to gain ground in the area of gourmet delivery services.

Virtual Assistant

People mistakenly think that pretty much anyone can be a virtual assistant. You just need to take calls, schedule appointments and pretty much organize your client’s life.

However, virtual assistants do much more than PA work. Now, virtual assistants also do organizing social media posts, producing podcasts, and building and maintaining websites. They are also responsible for blog posts, emails, direct mail marketing, and bookkeeping.

Virtual assistant work is pretty much recession-proof to some extent. You need to have at least five years of experience as an executive assistant in a corporation in order to be recognized. You also need to be very organized and quite tenacious, as a VA usually juggle six clients at a time.

Skilled/Non-skilled Labor

Time and skills are commodities. For people who have actual skills like automotive repairs, plumbing, electrical work, and gardening/landscaping, you can offer some repair and maintenance work to your local neighbourhood. You can also use apps similar to Task Rabbit or Handy to get more clients who might be needing your skills.

Other forms of direct labour can be non-skilled labour, such as furniture assembly and grocery shoppers. There is a lot of work you can do with your bare hands that can earn you more money.

In recessions, there are always winners. How to become a winning business in a recession can be tricky, but you only have to start. A lot of these business ideas can be pursued continuously even after your furlough. You can even expand some of them and make it a small business on the side. As an entrepreneur, what you need most to succeed is the ability to see opportunities even in the toughest times, and to know what in your arsenal can be used to your advantage.

Annette Ferguson

Annette Ferguson

Owner of Annette & Co. - Chartered Accountants & Certifed Profit First Professionals. Helping Online service-based entrepreneurs find clarity in their numbers, increase wealth and have more money in their pockets.

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