Next stop: Uncharted Territory

Opportunities after Corona

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

Life will never be the same.

We know that.

What we don’t know is how it is going to be and more importantly what can we do to increase our chances of surviving whatever comes next.

Whole industries will collapse while others will thrive.

Sinking ships

Movie theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, gyms, and many more are gone…forever.

This is the end of low cost airlines, cheap tickets and most business travel.

The public is going to stay at home or travel nearby. On a positive note, this could revive domestic tourism.

This is the biggest industry in the world by revenue but also the most expendable. Travel is a luxury and we can’t afford it.

I don’t see people going places for at least a couple of years and that’s only if nothing else happens.

After that, things will begin to pick up but by then most of the infrastructure will have to be rebuilt.

Die-hard travelers will always be there but they only represent a fraction of the total. The future is niche tourism: diving, biking, climbing, etc.

Amazon is taking no hostages in the retail industry. Very few shops will reopen. Commercial property is a ghost town and will remain so for a while. Perhaps for good.

There is an opportunity for specialized shops that can tailor customer needs and provide a personalized experience. Bike shops, delicatessen, beauty, DIY, groceries, pharmacies and the like.

Industries that will thrive

The crisis will provide many opportunities for those who are flexible, creative and dynamic.

Sharing your skills, ideas, experiences or work online will become the next big thing. You might think we are already there but we haven’t even started yet.

Anything that you share online — youtube, podcast, blog - will become your business card, your resume and your connection to the world.

You have to start developing your personal brand because whether you like it or not you are the product. For this, you will have to learn digital marketing skills, build your email list, manage social media and interact with your public. But once you start, one thing will lead to the next and before you know it, you’ll be living off your ideas.

Don’t think you need to become an expert in a particular industry. You could start learning to play the guitar today, for example, and in 1 month you could be teaching it online. Impossible! I hear you say. Not at all. Beginners need to relate and often prefer somebody who is within reach rather than a superstar.

Just be yourself, don’t copycat others, people value authenticity and vulnerability.

You already have plenty of skills, just pick one and practice communicating it online.

This is not only about teaching skills, it’s about sharing experiences. When you go climbing, trekking, cycling or any other activity you can make a short video about it and see what happens. Try many different approaches and see what sticks. What you think will work, won’t work and the opposite is also true.

Sharing problems you have overcome is another big area of inspirational content. Whether you have dealt with obesity, laziness, addiction or depression, by communicating it you’ll build instant rapport. If you manage to save one person, all your effort would have been worth it.

The future of content creation is niche. Find your tribe, interact with them, motivate them and they’ll happily part with their cash.

Let’s face it, we haven’t seen the end of it yet. And it’s not the last crisis we are going to face.

Covid19 has been a wake up call.

By Now, we have realized we are fragile and we depend too much on systems outside our control.

It has become apparent that we have to be prepared to fend for ourselves.

People are going to get ready for the next Black Swan.

The following products and services will be in high demand and if you can provide them you’ll make a bug or two. This means making, selling, fixing the stuff and teaching how to use it.

  • Tools and materials. DIY was a hobby, now it is a necessity. You should be able to fix most things without help. Imagine being without electricity for days because of a fuse. This also means anyone teaching DIY online can make a big following.
  • Sports equipment. In order to stay fit and sane, you need to exercise, for this you need to make your own home gym. That’s also the reason behind the huge success behind exercise videos during the crisis.
  • Food. Grow it, catch it, or preserve it. Food is vital for survival and people don’t want to get caught off guard again. Anything relating to gardening (even indoors) — foraging, hunting, fishing, cooking, and long term storing — will become popular.
  • Water. Being able to collect and purify your own water is a lifesaver. You can build a business around water with plenty of liquidity (pun intended)
  • Mind-altering substances. We all use them, we all need them. From coffee, alcohol, tobacco, aspirin, marijuana to mushrooms. You can grow, process, and sell them for a profit providing it’s legal in your area. Making your own beer or wine or growing mushrooms or marijuana is already big but it will be bigger.
  • Energy. Solar energy + batteries are going to be huge. You can become a distributor, installer, or consultant. Keep in mind that cars are going electric so this means you’ll be fueling the transport industry.
  • Internet. Could you survive without the internet? Not ideal but possible. Make sure you have enough material to keep you entertained and current when you are off-grid. Failing that, there are ways to create local intranets that communicate phone to phone via Bluetooth by creating a Mesh network. Hong Kong protesters have used this to avoid being tracked by the Chinese government. There is going to be a demand for this technology, which includes networks, apps, antennas, and other equipment. Now is the time to look into that. When SHTF is too late.
  • Privacy protection. Anything that limits the power of big brother is going to be high in demand. VPN, Tor, Encryption, Linux, walkie talkies. Governments all over the world are going to try and use this situation to spy on us. The bracelets are only the beginning. Once we lose our liberties they are gone forever. Again you don’t have to become a hacker, just using these products and reviewing them online can bring you an audience.
  • Emotional support. Loneliness is growing. Whether we have to isolate or not, there is a solitude epidemic. Finding ways to connect to these people and offer moral support can be an ethical way to make a living — Life coaches, counselors, therapists, etc.
  • Virtual dating. Everything is becoming more virtual, relationships too. This creates many opportunities for intermediaries — Apps, online platforms- anything that can build trust between strangers will become very popular. There are many of those already but there is room for more specialized, niche, local solutions.

I think and I hope that if we have learned anything about this drama is the need to rely more on ourselves.

At a national level that means Autarky — the ability to survive for prolonged periods with no external help.

All countries should be aiming for this, not doing so is suicide. This means every country should:

  • Produce its own food
  • Produce and maintain the technology for strategic sectors
  • Become energy self sufficient. Solar, wind, biomass. No more oil please.
  • Become self sufficient in medical supplies.

Accumulate large stocks of anything that can’t be made domestically.

Globalization is great until it’s not. During this crisis we’ve seen many countries hoarding materials and food. Let’s face it, when it’s about survival is each to their own.

This will create many opportunities to boost the local industry which will create wealth and jobs.

Predictions

The world has become too interdependent. Globalization is great when things go well but we can’t rely on China or Amazon when SHTF.

I see many giants with weak legs that are going to struggle to survive. This will create many opportunities at a local level.

Some of this dinosaurs are:

  • China. Can we keep depending on China for everything? Medical supplies, technology, clothes, etc. 90% of factories are located in the far east. This situation will change that. Local industries are going to come back and that will shift the global market.
  • Amazon. They have benefited from this crisis but I see two threats: 1. They rely on China 2. They hardly pay any taxes outside the US. Are governments going to allow them to do business and destroy the local economies without contributing? I doubt it.
  • Google, YouTube, FB. Again, same thing. If the world starts de-globalizing these will suffer against local competitors. This has already been achieved in China, no presence of the GAFA there. Europe could be next and then the rest. It’s very difficult to be dependent on companies that belong to a third country and therefore have their own laws and regulations. Plus the tax thing.

I think the world has become too monolithic and now is time to become more diverse, more niche and more local.

Conclusion

Big changes ahead, that means uncertainty, risk and disruption but it also means huge opportunities for everybody.

Don’t shy away from trying new things and taking some risks. Learn, experiment, research, discover and share it with us.

Don’t make the mistake of looking for another 9 to 5 job. It’s too risky. When they sack you, you have nothing to fall back on. You have to rely on your wits. When you become a solopreneur you can pivot and adjust to any situation.

The world now has a lot of room for improvement and you can be one of the leaders of change.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make it count

Student of life. Trying to make sense of it all, be happy and help others achieve their dreams. Join me at: albertotheauthor@gmail.com

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