Lost your job? Turn your side gig into new career opportunity

This article is more than 12 months old

Ms Cecilia Loh was just 27 when she got laid off from her first job as a brand executive at an international beauty brand three months ago.

Ever since she graduated four years ago, she had dedicated most of her time to boosting campaigns, maintaining analytics and brainstorming.

She was a workaholic but a happy and willing one at that.

In her new-found spare and seemingly endless time, Ms Loh did not know what to do. So she signed herself up for some affordable online lessons to brush up on social media skills and take up a new language.

However, she could not help but berate herself for not taking them on during the weekends while she had a job, as she thought she would probably be more employable and could even be a freelance consultant by now.

Ms Loh is just one of those without additional skills or a side income who were let go during the pandemic.

Here, entrepreneurs who started their career as either side gigs or by taking up freelance projects - Ms Charmaine Lee of training provider and digital marketing agency Sky Digital Agency, and lifestyle YouTubers and sisters Tiffanie and Michy Lim - dish out tips on how various side hustles work.

Research and identify market gaps

Identifying your niche can be difficult at first.

Instead of going about it blindly, Ms Michy Lim suggested looking at the market gaps and conducting due research.

"You have to put in the effort to analyse your competition," she said.

"There are so many types of videos uploaded to YouTube every hour, but there are bound to be gaps in the content."

And you may be surprised at what people will pay for. Even if you think your skill is not something worth marketing, others may think otherwise.

Ms Lee said: "I always encourage people to adopt the habit of wanting to share their knowledge. Teach what you know, even if you don't think other people might be interested."

Choose your medium

You need to be comfortable with the platform you are putting your content on.

Knowing what kind of medium you are adept at is important when it comes to creating useful content. It also helps you easily troubleshoot issues in future.

Ms Lee said: "Start sharing your knowledge in the format you prefer to create. It can be e-mail marketing, blog, infographics, e-book, video or even podcast."

She added: "The best way to test for demand is to create content in bite sizes online first to observe response and traction.

" The mini-content can be a one-hour webinar, or a test run for your brand (like a two- to three-hour workshop) to see if there is demand and whether learners are comfortable learning online."

Adapt your business to changing times

When Ms Lee first took over Sky Digital Agency, the digital marketing courses offered under the company site were not as client-friendly as they are now.

She received many questions about the services and realised it took way too long to address the issues one by one.

She said: "We realised that (with) every project consultation, we are providing a mini-training to clients before onboarding them. Some of our meetings took half a day.

"That was when we knew we had to rebrand and start offering public training courses at our agency so that clients know what we do as an agency and our approach to digital marketing."

The Lim sisters agreed: "Once in a while, video trends or social media trends may arise. Such trends are opportunities for us to appear on search pages as there will be a more-than-usual number of people searching for such videos or posts."

This article was first published in Her World Online (