Our world has been turned upside down with this virus, Covid-19. It is a highly infectious disease that attacks our respiratory system, and affects everybody differently with a range of symptoms that can be mild, or create complications leading to death. No one person gets affected the same.
Employment is required to provide shelter, food, and luxury items such as mobile and landline telephone, cable or satellite services, and internet access, to name a few. It’s not just for self but family and loved ones too including our pet named, Boo.
Employee’s of these particular businesses forced to close their doors and not considered essential has left many people without employment, and receiving unemployment benefits is a short term program. So, what is one to do for on-going financial security?
Lower your Bills
One of the first tasks, is to take a look at all expenses, and reduce these costs :
- can you lower your service bills to more basic costs?
- can you suspend your services?
- evaluate your food needs and trim groceries. Set up meal plans to most basic following national healthy diet standards.
- food insecurity and shortages are being faced by many people and families. Search online and learn how you can extend your food stuffs with preserving methods such as dehydrating fruits and meat, freezing pre-cooked meals, and/or canning.
- Purchase dry food stuffs. Beans and lentils, soup bouillon cubes, or powder packages, and powdered milk or eggs. Search online or check around for stores that carry dehydrated foods, and you may just find a jackpot, such as Bulk Barn.
- Vehicle costs may not be negotiable but call and check if they’re open to negotiating lowering the cost by $50.00, and offer to repay this amount after a year. $50.00 x 12 = $600.00. It’s a temporary savings for extra funds but also one cost that will be due in full by year’s end. So, you must keep that in mind. They may say no altogether and you will have to decide to keep or forego the vehicle. This idea may be applied to rents or mortgages but again, check with your bank or landlord. These may require new ‘agreements/contracts’ and make sure to read the fine print so no extra charges are being applied since money gouging can be reported.
Government Essential Services & Jobs
Finding regular employment is the next step. One can always join the workers at the ‘essential’ businesses allowed by Ontario in areas such as:
- food and convenience stores
- food manufacturers and processors
- packaging and delivery
- liquor stores
- health suppliers for human and pet consumption
- gas suppliers and related services for ground and air
- pharmacies and pharmaceuticals
- food preparation, delivery and take-out
- hotels, motels and rental units, residential and students
- maintenance, repair, sanitation and security services for residential and commercial buildings
- office and business suppliers
- IT and communications services
- safety equipment suppliers/manufacturers/distribution chain
- transportation, taxi’s, delivery truck fleets, rail, air, and marine providing delivery of essential services
- warehousing and storage of essential service products
- truck stops and tow operators
- business support providers for upkeep of transportation, etc.
- agricultural services, harvest, processing, manufacture and distribution of foods for human and pet consumption.
- business support providers for safety of primary food supply chain (livestock auctions, feed mills, farm equipment and feed suppliers, food terminals/warehouses, animal slaughter plants, and grain elevators)
- veterinary pet care providers, and related animal health and welfare services
- waste management services
- construction services
- financial services, bank and credit union, insurance, payroll support, and pensions
- business suppliers that support global continuity of mining products, processing, manufacturers, oil and gas
- environmental management/monitoring, spill emergency response, and related support services
- infrastructure and safety government services, sewage, fire, police, water treatment, electrical grid, courts, and related support services
- newspapers, radio and telecommunication providers and support services
- medical research and support services
- LTC homes and related services, medical devices, equipment, etc.
- health providers, dental, hospital, mental health, optometrists, etc.
- non-profit organizations for homeless, food banks, shelters, and related services providing food, shelter, protection, disabled, and economically disadvantaged
- Other : mail and courier services, legal services, laundromats, funeral service providers, security services (security guards), temporary staff services, childcare for essential workers, home childcare for less than six children, cheque cashing businesses
A problem with finding employment with some of these ‘essential’ service providers that’s been in the news, is that they have Covid-19 ‘outbreaks‘. It seems that the more people working together in such close proximity raises the risk factors of getting infected. Secondly, there may be a huge pay difference as some of these ‘essential‘ businesses only offer minimum wage. Nobody wants to bring the virus home yet having a job with regular pay is needed, for our most basic needs, shelter, safety and food with the current high costs of living.
One fix does exist but will require additional effort on your part. Take a minimum wage job and include a side hustle aka a part-time Gig. This will bring in extra monies to help maintain your current quality of living, or at least help with household bills. Exploring alternative self- employment ideas can help such as providing your own services that may be similar or complementary, to the existing essential services. A few other home business ideas and side hustles to consider:
- offer dehydrating food services
- offer canning food services
- make large bag of cereal trail mixes for sale
- offer two hour childcare services for six, or less children
- rent an extra room, or garage space for temporary/seasonal storage
- check web sites with Apps offering services such as Rover . com, Handyman . com
- join App sites that offer coupons, and cash back for purchases
- join a call centre for customer service, an online job
- write articles and get paid by web sites looking for writers in topics you know
- sell photographs to those business sectors looking for photo’s
- make how-to videos for Youtube and include advertising
- start your own food service business (food catering truck)
- offer securing packages services for homes (Amazon, Wayfair, etc., packages) and deliver when home owners return home
- house or pet sit
- make and sell freezable meals
- mobile-curbside pet groomer
- join a court paper processor service delivering summons to court for legal offices
- mobile curbside mechanic
- offer translation services
- offer new language classes (learn speak Italian, Arabic, Russian)
- make and sell fresh bread from home
- work with property managers/landlords to clean, repair, update apartments
- offer computer repair, recovery, security service
- become a Drone operator
- learn and offer Drone repair services
- join Rent-a-Friend, Rent-a-Cyber-Friend, or similar sites online but keep personal safety in mind too
- explore becoming a Street Vendor
- offer to sell personal safety products to families. Find a security business wholesale supplier that offers personal safety products such as personal alarms, GPS products, nanny cams. Order products at wholesale and sell at retail prices.
- Personal Support service, offer to run errands, pick up and deliver orders, check in on elderly family members.
- Offer to digitize family photos and make slideshows, offer them to buy flash USB memory cards (electronic data storage devices) as an extra service
- income tax services, or bookkeeping
- offer handwriting services for birthdays, anniversaries, etc., for business executives
- sell small craft items on consignment with a few essential local stores
The employment news has not sounded great lately but we can take initiative and use a work-around. We just have to be okay with the idea of a minimum wage job, and a side hustle rather than concerned with our pride. It may be tough with a full or part time minimum wage job and a side hustle depending on the work output required. At least the HOURS and WHEN you do the side hustle is under your control, and to include how many gigs to reach a certain earning level. I will also highly recommend checking government INDUSTRY standards and laws which are governed by Acts. Lastly, you’ll need to set and diligently follow, a time schedule of your side hustles, and manage your available time. Keep a smile, respect confidentiality, and trust will be earned by paying customers.
The exercise to trim your expenses to the near barest minimum will help extend what monies you have, or can earn. Hopefully, you have found that minimum threshold needed for your bills, maybe the small bills, and now got to focus on the large higher cost items such as mortgage and vehicle payments.
The second exercise to reassess your food shopping will help further reduce costs and extend food security. The bonus results are extra monies you can apply towards the costlier items that require payment, and maybe, learning to cook with new foods.
You’ll need to research your connected services online and see if they have lower cost service bundles, or suspend/cancel them outright. You can then calculate how much money is needed for all expenses. Wouldn’t it be cool if the government required businesses to cut prices in half? this would apply for the businesses too with their own costs, of course.
Learning to work two different types of jobs will also require you to change hats. You may find this may need taking a few moments to meditate. Close your eyes, breathe, and separate from a job requiring you to work for another, and switch your thinking to boss and delivering a service, to others. It will take practice and some take to it quickly while others struggle to find the balance but it can be done. Most of all, have faith in yourself that you got this.
Over time you’ll find your expenses manageable, and new sense of financial security. Strict management of your finances will be needed to keep up your new normal but you and your family will be safe with shelter, food and control of your bills. Changes to our lives with this novel virus will be our new normal but humans are adaptable too.
Waiting on Science & Personal Well Being
Today’s health scientists have made many medical advancements, and working hard, to bring a vaccine, to the people. As said earlier, we just need to give them that time, and do our best to protect ourselves, and each other with masks, social distancing, and keeping our gatherings, as small as possible. This pandemic will eventually come under control. For now, stay strong, keep faith, stay safe.
I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to leave your comments and Share your new found knowledge with others. It is FREE to subscribe by email or RSS feed.
An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Gins writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us.