The internet taking over everything was never in doubt, it was just the timeline that was a bit hazy. We had no idea how quickly it would change workplaces and work routines. Now that so much more can be done from a phone in your pocket anywhere on earth, you can forget the office and the typical nine-to-five hours that come with it.
While this has sensibly thrown a lot of older business models into a crisis, it also means it can be an opportunity for people willing to put the time in and spend more of their lives in this virtual world.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Anything
It’s no surprise that the publishing industry has taken a big hit since the rise of the internet, as people have pivoted from reading paper to reading screens (and essentially for free). One popular book that we must remember forlornly is the Yellow Pages, as it was a great source for local business advertising, completely replaced by the Google search.
While it has become easier to search for anything on earth, however, one thing that still remains a challenge is ‘finding good help nowadays’. Recommendations for things like doctors, plumbers, and cleaning help are still trusted more when a friend is doing it, rather than a search result. This is why if you have one of these trade talents you have to definitely have one foot in the real world and the other in the digital.
Even if you don’t have a particular trade, starting out as a delivery person or doing odd-jobs in your community, even helping escort seniors on their daily errands, just to help your favourability ranking. This is not just a way to grow your bank account, but to grow your reputation as well, and that is still worth its weight in gold.
Sometimes the gripe people have with buying or hiring someone via the internet is that they don’t truly know what they’re getting until the product or person is on their doorstep. However, if you are able to have people talk about you in glowing terms – as well as write about you in glowing terms on a review site – you are well on your way to starting a valuable services company. The good thing about this sort of work is that it is very hard for advances in technology to master a friendly smile.
If you have a bit of showmanship inside you, and you don’t mind playing the master of ceremonies of your own life in front of a camera on your laptop, then consider streaming. What was once a vlog (a video blog) for five-minute chunks of whatever you wanted to talk about has now become hours and hours of living your life and addressing all the people peering in.
How you spend your time can range from playing video games (with all the people commenting in real time about your skill or lack of it), watching other videos and reacting to them (don’t be afraid to act extra shocked for your take to go viral), or just talking about how you’re feeling.
The biggest website for this is Twitch, an Amazon-owned property that mainly focuses on watching people play video games, but has branched out recently and now features streamers broadcasting yoga classes, cooking sessions, or ‘just chatting’, which is rapidly becoming the most popular category. The key to making money here is to get popular enough that other site users congregate during your broadcasts and ‘cheer’ you on with an in-site currency called bits, which can be exchanged by you for real money.
If you get enough people watching, you can become a Twitch Affiliate and then a Twitch Partner, both of which allow you to get a chunk of the subscription fees that advanced members pay. You can also play ads during your stream from time to time to add more ‘bits’ to your wallet (but if you play too many, you may scare users away). If you have hundreds or thousands of people tuning to whatever you are planning to do, then it’s possible that sponsorships and brand deals can increase your revenue.
The challenge then is becoming popular on this platform, as you are in competition with tens of thousands of other people who are competing for the same pairs of eyeballs and the bits in their digital pockets. Having a regular streaming schedule can help, and if you do have a flair for the dramatic, editing some of the videos you’ve made into shorter pieces and putting them on other video sites like YouTube as advertisements can help as well.
Just Ask For It
Do not mistake this for digital begging. Just as artists have long had patrons and entrepreneurs have had wealthy investors, there are methods to present your talents, abilities and grand plans to the world, and let them send you money to support them.
Websites like Patreon and Ko-Fi allow you to set up an account as a content creator (you can decide what the content is) and have people put money towards your goal. You can set an amount of whatever you like, and you reward these donors by giving them swag or maybe a behind the scenes look at development. Sometimes the donations can be a monthly subscription you are making regular content, or a lump sum if you are trying to create a product that can be purchased by the wider community.
It’s become a hot topic for plenty of Wall Street insiders since it can be a good way to discover new talent. In some sense, this is like the world’s largest (and longest) episode of Dragon’s Den, where you can hope that someone with deep pockets and an eye for good ideas might come across your profile page and decide that what you are shilling is a good fit for their business.