With more time on your hands, there’s never been a better time to work on the side project you’ve always dreamed of. Whether it’s study, growing a business, or developing new skills, here are some tips to get you off the couch – and into your new project.
Like much of the world, you’ve probably spent most of the past couple of months confined at home. And if the initial novelty of binge-watching Netflix, baking up a storm, and doing jigsaws is wearing off, you may be itching to do something more productive.
For some, working from home and home-schooling may mean there aren’t too many extra hours in the day. But if you’re in a position to put your spare time to good use, here are some good tips to help get you started.
Have you been meaning to upgrade your current qualifications – or retrain into another area of work altogether?
If that’s the case, now could be the perfect opportunity to hit the books. And, depending on the study you choose and your personal situation, you could be eligible for financial support from the government. From May onwards, if you’ve lost your job due to the coronavirus pandemic you could have your fees partially subsidised through the Higher Education Relief Package.
The package will cover 20,000 students who enrol in full time study, and complete and pass four units of study before December 1, 2020.
The package applies to studies in the areas of:
- teaching, and
You can find out more at open.edu.au/coronavirus
Indulge your interests
Maybe you’re happy with your qualifications, but you’ve always had a hankering to study ancient history, learn more about the environment or better understand human behaviour. Why not study for fun and for free through the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)?
MOOC courses, or MOOCs, are run by top universities around the world. They offer a huge range of subjects to choose from and are available online. Best of all, the only entry requirement you need to satisfy is a desire to learn.
Evening colleges may be closed for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t attend them online. Some colleges are posting materials to students to do the course work from home or running practical courses, like art classes or dancing lessons, through Zoom.
There are also a range of cost-effective apps that you can download to help you master a new skill. Simply download an app to brush up on your high school French or Japanese, perfect your downward dog, cultivate inner calm, or play guitar like a pro.
Start a new business
Do you have a great idea for a start-up business, or a hobby you’d like to monetise?
If it’s something you can run online, now’s a great time to get it going. But even if your idea requires offline contact to succeed, you can still use this downtime effectively. By investing your free time researching, planning and setting up your business now, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running once the lockdown is over.
To get started, analyse your business idea to make sure it’s viable – and that you have the skills and passion to help it succeed. Research your potential market and work out who your major competitors will be – and decide on what your unique point of difference will be.
You should write up this information in a business plan – a blueprint for setting up your business for success. Include your business and organisational structure, sales strategy, marketing plan, and financial information, and any data you have about your competition. You should also do a risk analysis – including how you plan to mitigate those risks.
The Australian Government’s Business website is a good place to find resources and tools to help you get started. You should also check ASIC’s business name registration to make sure the company and website name you want to use is available.
Be sure to read the Starting your own business section of the ATO website to find out any tax and super obligations you may have. And don’t forget to investigate what kind of insurance you’ll need to protect your business.
Need some advice?
There’s no doubt that the coronavirus has presented a range of serious challenges for us all. But at the same time, it’s created opportunities to learn and grow.
We can help you make the most of those opportunities and meet any challenges successfully, by helping you manage your finances, so they support your goals and dreams.