There’s no doubt about it – COVID-19 hit us hard. Some of us struggled to make the switch to working from home. Others were put on no-pay leave, or worse, lost their jobs. Businesses had to figure out ways to pay rent, and some had to close down. Even seeing the doctor felt more intimidating than ever. And not being able to meet loved ones and friends IRL? Bummer.
The reality is, COVID-19 is here to stay. We don’t know for how long, but we know the only way to keep carrying on is to make the most out of what we have. So here are 6 ideas on how to take what COVID-19 life throws at you, and turn it into something more like lemonade, less like lemons.
- Keep the income coming in
- Go local, even if what you want is international
- Extra time means extra opportunities
- Spend time with family, even apart
- Shift an offline business online
- Share what you have, because it’s a great pick-me-up
#1: Keep the income coming in, even if it’s just a little extra
Every little bit of income counts in this time. When Valerie (@tiffzty) lost her freelancing gigs during the lockdown in Singapore, she decided to use her free time to create more comfortable reusable masks for her children instead. “I am a full-time makeup artist. I’d lost all my gigs and with that, all my sources of income,” said Valerie.
It became a hit with her friends and family, and the 3-month-old seamstress decided to open a business focusing on customised reusable masks on Carousell. Her latest endeavour? Matching couple masks for wedding suits and gowns for pandemic weddings!
With the lockdown now over, Valerie is a make-up artist once more. However, she isn’t about to give up any additional income she can get. She shares, “I’ll continue selling for a while more. Instead of taking pre-orders, I might make whenever I can and sell what is available.”
#2: Go local, even if what you want is international
It’s hard to imagine life without our favourite international brands, especially in a time where distribution and shipping are so widely connected around the world. But what happens when manufacturing facilities, retail shops and even shipping lines are closed?
Meiki thought to use her downtime during Hong Kong’s lockdown period to start preparing for her newest hobby – scuba diving. Imagine her disappointment when she was unable to find the most basic of scuba diving items – goggles – with retail shops closed and online brands stopping international shopping.
Thankfully, her fervent search led her to a treasured find on Carousell – her ideal pair of goggles in her favourite colour, listed by a local seller.
She wasn’t the only one who managed to get her international shopping fix locally – in the last month in Malaysia and the Philippines alone, we saw more than 10,000 shoppers turn to their local neighbours to find what they were looking for 🤝
#3: Extra time means extra opportunities
Some of us who were lucky enough to discover extra time at home, thanks to time saved from commuting, were also lucky enough to put that time to better use. Kudos to all the new buff bods emerging out of quarantine thanks to quickly assembled home gyms!
Fion (@_blockbyblock) decided to use her extra time during the lockdown in Malaysia to sell crafts to raise funds for domestic violence victims. She shares, “I decided to start BLOCK by BLOCK, hoping to train my business skills and share this hobby to everyone and spark happiness in their lives!”
In the Philippines, Annika (@annikacarlos) decided to declutter during her free time instead, and was amazed when her old iPad was sold within 3 hours of listing.
There are some of us who may not have as much free time at this point, but here’s hoping that whatever extra free time you do get, gives you extra opportunities to declutter, get business-savvy, or even just rest.
#4: Spend time with loved ones, even apart
It was a real pain being in lockdowns across Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, when festive and special occasions are meant to be celebrated in person with loved ones. In the Philippines, Raffy (@raffysm) bought a speakerphone from Carousell for his sister and mother, to better communicate online with his nieces – because they had to move their daily art lessons online!
In Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, as the yearly Ramadan Bazaar for Hari Raya was cancelled and visiting was not allowed, we decided to bring the bazaar online to Carousell. We saw 4,641 sellers across the three countries join us in our online bazaar, and 4,792 gifts and food packages sent to loved ones in the first week of Hari Raya.
#5: Shift an offline business online
F&B outlets typically rely on in-person traffic flow, but during the lockdowns in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, it was virtually impossible to upkeep the same level of traffic. Carousell worked with Unilever Food Solutions to on-board thousands of F&B sellers in these countries, even though many had never tried selling their dishes online, and found other platforms too expensive to list on.
Going online may be painful when you’re just getting started, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, the possibilities of growth for your business can be endless. I mean, have you seen how enterprising property agents took to virtual viewings and Facebook Lives to help interested home seekers seek advantage in this time of crisis?
#6: Share what you have, because it’s a great pick-me-up
In this period of social distancing and not-so-normal times, sometimes being extra nice to someone else isn’t good only for the other person – it can be a uplifting for you too.
Gabbi from the Philippines (@wibwab) decided to sell her preloved clothes to raise funds for local businesses and daily wage earners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
And these bursts of optimism and sharing can be infectious – in the first week Carousell launched the Free Items category in Taiwan alone, 2,420 listers put up their items to give away for free!
No doubt that without COVID-19, life would be a lot easier. But because we managed to make it through despite the extra challenges, life is all the more sweeter. If you’ve been #MakingTheBest of all setbacks in this period, you deserve a virtual medal 🥇 Tell us if you’ve got more ideas to turn COVID-19 into your advantage – we’d love to hear!
*All user stories shared here were shared on social media platforms with the Carousell teams in each country. Rights for the story and images belong to the users.