As the global pandemic confined us within the four walls of our individual homes, several ideas and potential career options blew away in the wind. With our movements capped at minimum, the productivity aspect for most of us is appalling.
With new ICT Policy 2015 in place, aimed at the deployment of ICT application and services, thereby creating conditions for more private sector investment in the market, it makes the ICT market an intriguing choice for starting a business and offering several career opportunities. Though the ICT Policy 2015 strategically planned to push the internet penetration to 100% of the population, 64.46% is what we stand currently at.
The overall goals of the policy will be achieved through the mobilization of both public and private sector resources. The policy framework is expected to create conditions for private sector investment in the sector complemented by public sector resource mobilization based, among others, upon universal service obligation commitments through the use of the Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF).
The possible grants and technical assistance from bilateral, multilateral and other international agencies could also be used. This gives a lot more potential to the broadband ISPs and a little more to the netizens like us to start a full-blown business or a career in the ICT market space.
With that said, if you intend to invest your valuable time in starting a business or to turn it into a dependable career option, here are 10 business ideas that you can start at home with a reliable data connection and that might trigger your fancy.
Content Writing and the internet go hand in hand. As long as there’s the internet, the demand for content writers will be there. The good part is that there’ll always be work and the bad part is that there’ll be a cut-throat competition.
Content Writing covers almost all aspects of the internet such as newsletter articles, E-mail campaign content, blog writing, social media, video scripts, paid advertising pitches, white papers, e-books, technical writing, online magazine and trade journal articles, mobile phone app content, interactive content, multimedia content and much more.
If you have a penchant for content writing, you can start off by writing for an individual, a website, a business, or anything that you’re willing to put up yourself through. Adding to the ease of access is that you can work from the comfort of your home and you can go freelancing which will in turn help you polish up your skills and generate a good amount of income writing for the web. Or if you are a dialect, you can generate income by translating contents from one language to another.
YouTube has now become the second most viewed website on the internet as well as the second most popular search engine (P.S. Google remains first). With that said, YouTube has turned out to be a digital powerhouse. Just like every other platform, you need proper clarity on who your audience would be and what your content is going to be. For instance, you may start a channel on YouTube that’s focused on fashion and lifestyle, gaming, tutorials, song covers, product review, comedy sketches, and almost anything and everything you can wonder about or you can start vlogging.
Vlogging has caught a lot of attention lately in our country as well with more people using data and being connected in social media. The reason why vlogging channels are swarming in is that it’s fairly simple to start and can be done using your smartphone and some video editing apps like Adobe Premiere Clip, Powerdirector, Quik, etc.
But just like every other content-oriented business model, consistency is the key. Sure, you can experiment with the type of content you put forth but you shouldn’t move away from the core subscriber base of your channel. Apart from the YouTube income, sponsorship, ads, and launching your own merchandise can be a way to generate a respectable sum.
App Development and Startup
With access to the internet and increased use of smartphones all over the place, apps are gaining popularity and the number of apps available at your fingertips has grown exponentially. But numbers don’t tell you the entire story and a unique idea is always appreciated. App development requires you to set clear goals on what you want the app to do and who is to benefit from it. Once you’ve figured that out, app development may be useful to build your own startup company, to run a mobile app development shop, and help you modernize your old business.
App development is not so tough and you can pretty much work your way around developing an app with some great resources online that teach you how to code for free. If you want to learn how to code, Team Treehouse and Code Academy may serve you just right as a platform to learn coding using video lessons and providing you with all the tools that are needed. If learning coding is not your intent and you just want to simplify things up, use app builders. Look for existing templates and examples of generic applications.
Some app builders you can refer to are, Build Fire, appinstitute.com, ibuildapp.com, and many more.
Social Media Influencer
Almost every other person is on social media these days and their online presence brings in ads and marketers to invest in social media marketing. For many in Nepal, Facebook is the internet. In order to make your online presence bankable, start by choosing your niche and optimizing your social media profiles. But the crucial aspect is understanding your audience and posting regular and relevant content consistently.
When it comes to influencer marketing, post and audiences’ engagement is the key factor as this will enhance your social media presence and attract more brands. As influencer marketing has spiked up, social media influencers have been cashing on their online following.
These days, though, anyone can become an influencer on social media, as long as they spend some time learning to become a social media influencer and then put some work in. Content creators are our new celebrities, in part because they’re able to specialize in niches. Then there are nano influencers and micro-celebrities, people at the top of their highly specialized field.
As per the stats, influencer marketing is on the rise and there’s an increase in the number of individuals that are able to make a living off of social media. So if you find yourself passionate about living that influencers’ life, you’d better do that soon. Many startups are aware of the impact of social media, and thus, choose to work with either an influencer or a social media agency to help market their brand on these popular platforms.
Online shopping has become the new norm, as it is much safer and helps your business reach the masses. But to start off, research is the key and even if e-commerce seems simple, there are different business models on which they operate.
So before you take your store online and make that leap of faith, understand the niche and research about e-commerce. After that, validate the target market and research about product ideas. What’s popular and what does the target market demand? Who are your competitors? Find answers to these questions. Once you’ve done that, start by registering your e-commerce business and brand name.
Finalize your e-commerce business plan (wholesale, manufacture, or dropship) and create your online store. One such example of understanding the market is Daraz’s Seller Sahayatri Program which provides retailers and businesses across Nepal with a platform to take their ventures online.
Marketing your store is the key to good business and in order to do so, you can use social media and redirect traffic to your store (Example: Facebook pages, Instagram profile) or you can drive traffic through paid ads. Once everything is up and running, use analytics to get a detailed insight into the market and the customers. It is a direct source of income i.e. sales is directly proportional to profit. E-commerce business is intriguing yet challenging.
Another option to vouch for is freelancing business, as it not only gives you the luxury to work from home (mostly) but also gives you financial freedom i.e. you work for yourself.
The reason why freelancing is growing so popular is because of its part-time nature which has been attracting students who want to earn some quick bucks.
In order to get into freelancing, firstly you need to define your goals and find a stream that you consider to be profitable enough and have expertise on. The next thing is to identify the clients you’ve targeted to offer your service. There are plenty of freelancers out there in the market and the competition is tough, hence the prices for your services should be strategic.
This brings me to yet another crucial bit of freelancing, Portfolio; a portfolio is what a client sees first when he stumbles on your profile for a job so putting examples on what services you can deliver, is a clever way to get noticed. Unlike other businesses, freelancing is all about pitching yourself as a product; what makes you special and why you? Then comes the monetary aspect, you can freelance as a part-time job as well as make it into a business and you’ll not be disappointed.
It does take some time to get recognition on freelancing platforms but once you’ve got some pretty good reviews from your clients, you’ll be making a decent sum of money. If you want to get started on freelancing, Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr are some of them to check.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is based on analytics and algorithms of search engines like Google. An SEO consultant is someone that helps to tweak websites in order to achieve higher Search Engine Rankings. To simplify it for you, when searching for any content online, did you ever click on the links that are beyond the first page? The answer is more likely to be never.
Just like several other online courses, you can take an SEO course online and can learn by optimizing someone’s website for them. SEO plays an important role in marketing in this day and age. An SEO consultant is not someone who changes meta tags on a website but has a much wider range of work to do.
Since Google’s algorithms keep on changing, one has to keep a keen eye on demographics, logistics, and behavior patterns. If you’re willing to learn SEO and feel intrigued by it, you can become an SEO expert from your own desk and even your smartphone with social media SEO. Since more and more businesses are going online, you can work as an SEO consultant by starting a business of your own or by working for someone else. Regardless, you can make a good amount of money off of it.
Consulting services have always been in demand, be it a career, education, finance, or something else. The Internet has boosted consulting businesses drastically and consultants have gotten the opportunity to expand their services globally via the internet. A consultant is an expert in a particular field who works as an advisor either to a company or to another individual.
If you hold excellence in any particular line of work, the possibilities are endless. If you’re a doctor, a professional consultant, business personnel, etc. taking your consultation services online is the way to go. It exposes you to the vast majority of potential clients. You just have to be knowledgeable about the subject you’re consulting in.
An online consulting setup requires a computer with a webcam and a microphone and an all in one app like Xero and Evernote to help you schedule your appointments. Thanks to the online transactions, payments can be made online and you can ask your consultation charges to be accredited to your bank account. This is a potential service that will eventually boom in the near future. Keep this in mind.
A series of Digital Audio files that are made available on the Internet for downloading on to a computer or mobile device. Podcasts expose you to a different crowd — a crowd who might not consume long textual format of contents. Over the last few years, podcasts have gotten popular and are considered an excellent way to build an audience from scratch. Apart from that, podcasts allow you to create a more personal relationship with your audience and also helps you redirect traffic to your website or online store.
Firstly, you need to identify the theme of your podcast and make sure whether or not you’ve sufficient ideas and plenty of grounds to cover on that particular topic. Then comes the structure of your podcast; Solo, more than one host, narrative/storytelling, hybrid (a combination of two or more formats). After that, the length of the episodes. To turn a podcast into a full-blown series, the length of the episodes should be capped almost the same. And to do all of that, all you need is a smartphone with a decent microphone and an app to record your voice. Some popular app choices for recording podcasts, that work on both Android and iOS are Anchor, Spreaker, and iRig recorder.
Create and Sell Stock Photos
Creating stock photos means producing images that can be sold through some stock agency to individuals or businesses, who purchase the right to use it for their intents and purposes.
If you have a creative eye or have a penchant for photography, this business might be the best suit for you. Once the photos you clicked are online, a tiny amount of money is credited to your account for every download and purchase of your photos. This might not sound like much of a business but if you upload images in bulk, the chances are you can easily earn a decent sum out of something that would otherwise be just eating up your storage.
The best part about it is that you can create and sell photos from your smartphone as well through apps like 500px and Shutterstock contributor.
Major Challenges in Nepal
Wrapping things up, the internet has really opened up horizons for those who want to make it big in their lives. These 10 ideas can very well set you off on a journey to making a career online, regardless of where you are. All that you need to operate is a stable internet connection.
Almost 15 years have gone by since the government put forth various IT policies that were meant to enable e-governance and turn Nepal into an IT Hub. Though at a really slow pace, ever since the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT), they have started implementing it in government policies and development plans as well. From learning to schooling, shopping to consulting, slowly we are making a shift towards a digital era for all good reasons contributing towards the Digital Nepal vision of the government.
But why is it that we are still running behind? The major bottleneck as it seems is the mediocrity of ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Most of us are still clinging on to traditional ADSL, while some of us are inclined towards broadband internet for faster speeds and better service in general.
As the percentage of the population having access to the internet rocketed up to 64.46%, the quality of the internet continues to trickle down. With many broadband ISPs competing head to head against each other, internet premiums have gotten cheaper but did we get faster speeds and reliable service going that route? The answer is a big NO — we haven’t.
During the lockdown Internet usage went berserk, making the internet surfing experience even poorer. Now that we’re even more reliant on the internet and are dependent on the internet, even for groceries, problems have actually surfaced and complaints such as slow internet speeds which means 30Mbps isn’t really 30Mbps and the volume of data one can consume are capped. This has all boiled down to users complaining ISPs for not being truly unlimited and FUP (Fair Use Policy) caps despite the higher internet pricing.
Other issues include not getting support (on-site) for their home internet, internet not working and the list goes on. Since the internet has become an integral part of our lives, we try to get the best internet surfing experience and go for unlimited data volume with a high-speed connection and we’re even willing to pay slightly more premium for that.
But with these issues recurring and several issues with almost every single ISPs, it is getting tougher and tougher for us to recommend any ISP that’d fulfill your browsing needs so that you could get started with the given business/career choices.
Which ISP do you use and what are the issues that you’re facing? If you were to start an online business, what’d it be? Do let us know via your comments. And for more independent projects, business, and career alternatives you can start from your home, stay tuned to Enepsters.