Some really cool stuff has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. In our earlier blog post, we mentioned 5 profound items that were invented in the Great Depression and why we need OT entrepreneurs. There is never a great time to start a small business or develop your idea than now. This post outlines some popular trends that have come out of COVID-19 and major areas of need with gaps in occupation. You could be the next one to help your local community and those in need.
Examples of innovative ideas from COVID-19 so far:
- 3D printed “ear saver” for face masks
- Contact tracing apps
- Apps to deliver X product or service with social distancing
Popular products and services
- Amazon and E-commerce sites
- Shopify for launching your brick-and-motor store on the Internet
- Zoom video conferencing
- iPads issued to patients for Facetime
- Video games and video game consoles
- Bicycle demand
- Variations on hand sanitizers
Bike shops try to keep up with demand after the coronavirus pandemic sparks surge in sales
Popular Pandemic Activities (Good and bad)
- Online learning – create a valuable course to students
- Video conferencing – improve video conferencing
- Social media & Tiktok – write a new social app
- Stock trading
- Board games – design a new board game
- Video games – create a new video game
- Baking – start a baking blog
- TV, Netflix, Streaming, Youtube – create your own content
- Alcohol consumption – start a new product
- Snacking and food consumption – start a new product
- Pet adoption – the pet industry continues to grow
These industries, sectors, or services have been either stopped/paused or been severely altered due to mandatory orders and social distancing. How can you modify or solve the problem to enable them to resume? Many of these industries were huge and have had a large impact on our economy.
- Bars & Nightclubs
- Retail stores
- Concerts & Shows
- Events & Fundraisers
- Parks and Outdoor Recreation
- Personal, Amateur, and Professional Sports
- TV and Movie Filming/Production
- Healthcare visits, e.g. Dentistry
- Casinos and adult entertainment
- Any large social gathering
Looking at this list of occupations that have been affected makes you wonder how humans are facing occupational deprivation – “prolonged restriction from participation in necessary or meaningful activities due to circumstances outside the individual’s control.” Keyword, outside of our control. You can imagine many people are struggling both physically and mentally. So another, often overlooked area of need is psychosocial and mental health services.
Mental health has been historically overlooked and many clients have been underserved. The CDC has a great resource on coping with COVID-19. Many are facing isolation, stress, anxiety, and depression. I do not have the numbers, but suicide is probably on some people’s minds and likely to be on the rise. The economy has been and will be affected for years to come. Graduates will have a difficult time finding an internship and landing a job.
Is OT Safe?
Even occupational therapy students who once regarded occupational therapy as a stabilize field are left to question the climate of jobs during and after the pandemic. For example, my employer has frozen all new hires for therapists. Per diems are not getting many hours. Older adults are turning down-home health therapists in fear of coronavirus infection.
The ripple of effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health will affect everyone in some way or another for years to come. It will likely not be a return to normal, but a new normal. It is not easy to change one’s habits and routines. Add to this one’s personal beliefs, culture, and religion, and you are left with many challenges in the post-pandemic world. Therefore, there is an area of need for entrepreneurs more than ever in psychosocial services. Turn your frustration into mOTivation.
You may be a student.
You may be still working.
You may be working – remotely.
You may have been just laid off.
You may be per-diem but not getting any hours.
You may be on unemployment.
No matter who you are, you need to pay the bills and your loans, feed your family, and save for your future.
Don’t leave it up to your employer or your politicians.
Now is the time to embarking on your journey as an entrepreneur and start your side-hustle.
Stay safe and stay curious!