Starting a gig during the Covid-19 pandemic

By Chee Jo-Ey

STARTING a venture is probably not one of the things that come to your mind when facing a crisis-hit economy. But in actuality, there are plenty of successful companies that were born in challenging times like now, such as start-ups Groupon, Uber and Pinterest.

For some, the coronavirus pandemic has served as a catalyst to creations that cater to the demands of the new norm.

Since the lockdown started on March 18, people have been spending a lot more time at home which has given them the opportunity to turn their passion projects into viable businesses.

Make-up artist Celin Chin picked up baking, a skill foreign to her prior to the movement restriction order.

The self-taught baker thought that the unique idea of using healthy ingredients like the dragon fruit would appeal to consumers.

The outcome: Chin has sold around 150 loaves of bread at RM15 each in less than two weeks since she started the side gig, counting her family and friends as her first customers.

“Initially, I made the bread for my family but now it has given me some side income. I’m making the bread at home so I can’t do bulk orders but I will continue selling as long as people are interested in the bread,” she said.

On the other hand, Khairunnisa Ramzi hopes that her nasi ayam goreng sambal kicap will fulfill people’s cravings for bazaar dishes this Ramadan. The office executive had partnered with her friends to start ‘Ayam Bong’ after her full-time income was jeopardised by the pandemic.

Khairunnisa has a physical store at a food court at TTDI which is available for takeaways. People can make online orders and pick up their food at the stall.

“There were some orders when we first started as this is an essential business but once the easing of restrictions was announced, but orders started pouring in as people still want a taste of Ramadan bazaar even during the lockdown.

“The nasi ayam goreng sambal kicap is a family recipe I cook for family and friends. It is a simple household dish everyone loves,” she said.

The movement control order (MCO) has been extended until June 9 despite the positive developments in curbing the Covid-19 virus.

Many employers are considering implementing cost-cutting measures like pay cuts to keep their businesses afloat which might propel employees to take up side jobs for supplementary income.

Talentbank CEO Ben Ho predicts that there will be a surge in supply and demand in the gig sector, a huge change to the job market.

Permanent hiring will decline and it might take as long as six to nine months for a candidate to get employed and naturally a lot of fresh graduates will face difficulties in landing a job as they compete with working adults, said Ho.

“Covid-19 has definitely prompted more people to start side gigs and passion projects. This includes sectors like graphic design, video and animation services, writing and translation, digital marketing, web programming, and so forth.

“There is also the possibility of retrenched workers starting their own gigs in the form of providing consultancy services especially in their domain expertise,” Ho told FocusM. – May 12, 2020

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