10 Best Business Ideas During Quarantine


The debilitating effect of the quarantine on business was immediate. One month into the quarantine period, the global economy was estimated to have lost US$3.5 Trillion in output.

In the Philippines, 2 million residents of Luzon lost their jobs during the first 5 weeks of the quarantine.

Against this backdrop, is it a good idea to start a business at the time of the global pandemic?

Yes, because as the world shifts to the New Normal, needs, demand preferences, and behaviors will change. With change comes opportunities as new markets that need specific products and services will open up.

If you lost your job, don’t give up hope! Look at this as an opportunity to fulfill your dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

Here are 10 best business ideas to consider during the quarantine.

1. Teaching Services

The quarantine period not only disrupted work in various industries but also the activities of many institutions foremost of which is education.

When the country went on lockdown mode last March 16, schools were heading toward the home stretch. Some students were preparing for their finals while others were rehearsing for their graduation.

Not since the 1986 Edsa Revolution have we seen the educational system thrown for a loop.

And this won’t be the last.

Schools are expected to resume face-to-face classroom instruction on August 24. The guidelines have not been finalized but for sure, the rules on social distancing will be observed.

With the threat of Covid-19 literally still in the air, some parents are leaning toward homeschooling their children who are below 17 years of age – a demographic that appears to be susceptible to infection.

If you are a licensed teacher, starting an online teaching service might be your new calling card. You can conduct classes through various digital platforms – Zoom, Skype, or WebEx to name a few.

Here are a few ideas you may want to consider for your online teaching business:

  • Offer one-on-one instruction and classroom-style instruction
  • Include career assessment services
  • Get other teachers involved and teach multiple subjects

2. Virtual Assistance Services

The businesses that survived – and even thrived – during the lockdown period were the ones that had the foresight to integrate a telecommuting program in their workflow.

Telecommuters are employees who have been assigned work-from-home duties by their employers. Companies implement a telecommuting program to reduce operating costs, increase productivity, and lower attrition levels.

Trust us when we say the businesses that did not institute a telecommuting program wish they had.

But it is not too late. Telecommuting is just one example of remote work. Another one is virtual assistance.

Businesses that don’t have telecommuters can still gain lost ground by hiring Virtual Assistants.

If you noticed, more and more people are promoting virtual assistance services on social media. They recognize the value of the VA at the time of the new normal.

Virtual assistants are hired by businesses to manage specific tasks or projects. Examples of duties assigned to virtual assistants include:

  • Administrative Work – E-mail filtering, calendar management, phone handling, and appointment setting.
  • Data Entry
  • CRM Administration
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Sales Follow-Up
  • Preparation of Presentation Materials
  • Basic Bookkeeping

Virtual assistants are paid well! If you work 20 hours a week and charge $7 per hour, you can easily make over 25,000 Pesos per month while working from home.

3. Freelance Work

A freelancer is another type of remote worker. Unlike the Virtual Assistant or the telecommuter, a freelancer has a specific skill set.

For example:

  • Web Design
  • Content Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Transcription
  • Accounting
  • Translation
  • Bilingual Customer Support
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Digital Marketing

Many freelancers spent years in the 9-to-5 world. During their time in the brick-and-mortar environment, they honed their skills while gaining experience and updating their knowledge.

In time, they decided to monetize their skills and work for themselves as freelancers.

The time of the new normal IS your time to become a freelancer.

Businesses that need your core competence will hire you and pay you good money to accept their project. And like a VA, you can accept as many projects as you want.

Let’s assume you’re an accountant – a Certified Public Accountant who charges $15 per hour to do financial statements, external audits, and tax accounting.

If you allocate 10 hours per week per client, you can make over 30,000 per month per client.

Now, what if you have 3 clients?

It is no surprise that one of the highest-earning freelancers in the history of UpWork is a Filipino from Cavite who earned 7.5 million pesos in one year!

4. Business Consultancy

According to a study conducted by U.K. think-tank Oxford Economics, the Philippines’ economy has so far lost 1.1 Trillion pesos due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Keep in mind that 99.6% of businesses registered in the Philippines are categorized as small and have limited resources. We can surmise that many of these small businesses have either closed down or struggling to stay open.

If you have the experience and expertise in running businesses, starting a business consultancy will be an opportunity to launch a new career and help failing businesses go through a complete turnaround and profit.

Statistics show that nine out of every 10 small businesses in the Philippines close down within five years.

If you can use your business management skills to improve that statistic to eight or seven out of 10 businesses, can you imagine how strong our economy would be?

Here are our ideas on how to start an online business consultancy service:

  • Put up a website for your business consultancy. Think of your website as your “virtual calling card”.
  • Set up webinars about topics that are relevant and useful to entrepreneurs and small business owners such as streamlining costs, finding clients, managing personnel, searching for online opportunities, setting up telecommuting programs, and developing business leaders.
  • Create online training materials – videos, e-books, modules, and PDF manuals – about business management.
  • Offer one-on-one virtual consultation services.
  • Blog regularly on your website and distribute them through various online channels.

5. Food Delivery

The restaurant industry has been identified as one of the key sectors that will be severely affected by the pandemic. If you still want to get into the food business, the best model to follow is the delivery service.

First, the overhead cost is very low. Second, because food is prepared upon order, the risk of wastage is much lower. Finally, there is still strong demand for food delivery.

Home-cooked meals are great. But sometimes even when you’re just staying at home, you won’t have the energy to cook food for yourself or the family. Besides, eating specialty food is a wonderful way to de-stress and feel better.

However, for food delivery service, your area of coverage may be limited to your community especially if another lockdown will be implemented.

With this in mind, we offer the following suggestions for your food delivery service:

  • Sign up for food courier/delivery services but have a dedicated rider on stand-by.
  • Offer meals that are quick-and-easy to prepare from scratch.
  • Don’t offer meals that spoil fast such as pansit, spaghetti, or anything with dairy as an ingredient.
  • Come up with a signature dish – one that can only be found in your business.
  • Offer customer loyalty rewards such as discounts and freebies.

6. Web Design

In 2017, more than 50% of businesses surveyed reported that they did not have a website.

Fast-forward to 2020 – during the lockdown period – and these businesses probably have “put up a website” as the first item on the agenda once the quarantine is lifted.

The businesses that lost money or closed down were mostly the ones without an online model. Either they did not have an e-commerce website or have the digital systems in place to support a telecommuting program within the workforce.

The quarantine period also highlighted the advantage of being an online entrepreneur – one who works from home and uses the website as his Internet-based office address.

If you’re knowledgeable about websites and have a track record of building high-performing ones, you will have a waiting list for your services assuming you promote your business properly:

  • Create a business website that has client testimonies and showcases your best designs.
  • Promote your business on social media. LinkedIn should be the social network on the top of your list.
  • Blog extensively about the benefits of having a website. Focus on how having a website is a prerequisite for businesses to thrive under the New Normal.
  • Share your knowledge of website design. Blog about the importance of having a mobile responsive website and why it needs SSL certificates.

Vary the pricing of your website to give your clients more options. A simple and basic business website with a blog page can range anywhere from $300 to $500.

E-commerce websites are more complicated. Depending on the features, it can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per website.

7. Digital Marketing

In his study, digital marketing wizard Neil Patel reported that investments in digital marketing have dropped since the quarantine. However, Neil noted that these were primarily in industries severely affected by the closure of operations particularly the airline and hospitality sectors.

Neil shares his opinion that this is the best time to aggressively invest in digital marketing because there is less competition in the industry.

If you plan to start a digital marketing business, you must have the following services:

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Writing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Paid Advertising
  • Website Design
  • Graphic Design

You shouldn’t do everything yourself. Build a network of contacts who have these skills then assemble a team to handle specific projects

8. Mobile Barber Shop

On average, men get a haircut once-a-month. When the Philippines re-opens for business, many Filipino men would not have had a haircut in more than 3 months.

Barber service was one of the businesses that were inexplicably declared “non-essential” when parts of the country move from Modified Extended Community Quarantine (MECQ) to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

Social distancing concerns notwithstanding, Filipinos will never take their local barber for granted ever again! Having your hair grow far beyond its normal levels of thickness and length can be very uncomfortable and cumbersome.

Mobile barber service will be in-demand even if barber shops re-open for business. People will still be concerned about social distancing and hygiene.

For your mobile barber to ring the cash registers:

  • All barbers should undergo training in sanitation and hygiene.
  • Barbers should be “armed” with the right products for sterilizing their tools and themselves.
  • Barbers should cut with protective gear – masks, face shields, and bodysuits.
  • Provide your barbers with transportation.

You can arrange with the barber to provide his transportation but cover his expenses for gasoline and supplies.

9. Online Fitness Training

Like the airline and hospitality sectors, the health and fitness industry has also taken a huge financial hit from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gyms will remain closed during the GCQ and it’s uncertain when these facilities will be allowed to operate.

With the absence of a vaccine, the only defense we have is a strong immune system.

Along with following a healthy diet, taking supplements, and getting good quality sleep, regular exercise is a proven way of strengthening your immune system.

The continued closure of commercial gyms has increased the demand for home gym equipment. This means Filipinos recognize the importance of staying fit through exercise. Not many are knowledgeable about proper exercise form, technique, and programming.

If you are a licensed professional trainer, offer your services online. Here are a few ways you can help people stay in shape while they are at home:

  • Offer online fitness consultation.
  • Sell exercise programs.
  • Sell e-books about health and fitness.
  • Conduct personalized sessions via Zoom.
  • Regularly engage with your clients and track their results via fitness apps.
  • Share your success stories via social media and your website.

You can also earn extra money by becoming an affiliate marketer for companies that sell home gym equipment.

10. Counseling Services

Other than losing their jobs, Filipinos are also growing despondent over their loss of personal freedom and other liberties.

The presence of checkpoints, the ever-changing guidelines of the quarantine period, the prevalence of negative reporting in the news, and the abrupt changes in lifestyle are causing more emotional distress among Filipinos.

Because of social distancing, dating becomes more difficult. Hanging out with friends at a bar on a Friday night has given way to drinking sessions over Zoom – that is, if there is no liquor ban.

For those who are dealing with loved ones infected by Covid-19, they are distraught of the idea that they could die alone. And for those who have died, wake and a traditional funeral may have to give way to a quick cremation.

It’s not a happy time for many Filipinos. Ranting on social media is not a sustainable solution. For the most part, the responses may only make the situation worse.

This is where counseling services come in.

Some people just want to have someone to talk to – someone who will listen. If you have a degree in Psychology or have experience in social services, you may want to put up a business that provides counseling services.

Anonymity is important. Give them an option to choose with or without video. You can run the service through Zoom, Viber, or Skype. Charge your customers per minute or hour.

This type of work can be an emotionally-draining. It may be a good idea to just limit the number of clients per day.


Will we ever go back to the “old normal”?

We don’t know. The future remains very much uncertain. The greatest minds in science are working ‘round the clock to learn as much about the Covid-19 virus to find a vaccine.

There is no clear indication of how far away the scientists are to finding a vaccine or a cure. There have been discussions that intermittent periods of quarantine might be imposed if the number of cases continues to show an upward trajectory.

What is a certainty is the resiliency of the human spirit.

Mankind has overcome more dangerous viruses in the past – we can be certain that in this day and age of technological innovations and the latest advances in science – a cure WILL be found.

In the meantime, work and life must go on.

Small business has always been the economy’s most powerful engine of growth. By starting a business during the quarantine, you will be breathing life into the economy.

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