September 1, 2020

COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work in Malaysia. Since the pandemic hit, thousands of businesses in Malaysia, many of which rely on their customers' physical patronage, have closed.

Though so, the impacts of COVID-19 hasn't been all negative. For one, it has helped push thousands of brick and mortar businesses to bring their businesses online.

As more people work from home and spend their time online, new business opportunities have also surfaced in Malaysia. For the opportunistic, this is one of the best time to explore a new business opportunity and start profiting.

So, what are the new opportunities that have become profitable thanks to the new normal?

Let's dive in:

Virtual experiences

Potential profit

RM100 - RM10,000 per experience

The problem

To help contain the spread of COVID-19, most countries have decided to keep their borders closed. This is a big problem for travel enthusiasts who love exploring new places, sights and sounds.

The opportunity

Satisfy the thirst for travel and adventure by offering virtual experiences. You can teach a skill, talk about things that are unique to your country, or even give your guests a virtual tour of a place!

How to get started

One way you could offer virtual experiences is through Airbnb Online Experiences. While not the only option available for hosting virtual experiences, Airbnb can help you get started fairly quickly.

Not sure what experience to offer? Check out the bestselling experiences on Airbnb for some inspiration:

... the list goes on!

If you love sharing something about yourself to the world and getting to know new people, find out how to host your own online experience on Airbnb here.

Selling online (e-commerce)

Potential profit

RM300 - RM100,000 per month

The problem

With no vaccine yet, Malaysians remain cautious about contracting it COVID-19. As such, we have started to shift some of our shopping online. 

The opportunity

E-commerce in Malaysia continues growing at a promising rate as more Malaysians shop from the safety of their own homes.

How to get started

Thankfully, there are many options to sell online these days. You can get started with your own e-commerce business using any of the following options:

  • Create your own branded e-commerce store on Shopify or EasyStore
  • List products on opular online marketplaces like Shopee or Lazada
  • Sell using Facebook or Instagram live

Disinfectant services

Potential profit

RM100+ - RM5000+ per gig

The problem

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that gets on surfaces. One of the most effective ways to make sure a space is 100% COVID-19 free is to get help from professional disinfectant service providers.

The opportunity

Malaysians are looking to disinfect their personal and work spaces for them to be COVID-19 free. Companies that are serious about making sure their workplaces are COVID-19 free would have already set aside a budget for professional services.

How to get started

If you've never run such a service before, you'll need to get certified first, invest in disinfection equipment and chemicals and start selling your services!

Virtual events

Potential profit

RM5,000 - RM500,000 per event

The problem

With the RMCO in Malaysia extended until the end of 2020, restriction on big events will continue to be in place. 

This is bad news for those in the events industry - there's no way to make money the way they are used to. It's also bad news for companies that have historically relied on events to grow their brands.

The opportunity

Interest in virtual events are growing. With most event companies run by non-tech-savvy business owners, you can:

  • Help event companies bring events online and recover revenues lost from offline events, or
  • Approach companies directly to run virtual events as replacement for their offline ones

How to get started

Set up a service package for those in the events industry using a virtual event management software like Hopin. Set aside a budget to run targeted ads on Google or Facebook and collect leads for your virtual events business.

Boutique domestic holidays

Potential profit

RM30 - RM2000 per guest

The problem

International travel is currently pretty restricted in Malaysia. They have all this wanderlust in them, and no outlet to express themselves.

The opportunity

Satisfy the thirst for wanderlust by offering boutique holiday adventures locally that will rival that of holidays overseas!

How to get started

Find a local activity in your city that might be interesting for Malaysians who don't live there. If you don't have accommodation to offer, consider partnering up with a business which does.

Virtual tours (real estate agents, museums)

Potential profit

RM500 - RM3000 per tour

The problem

With more people staying indoors, real estate agents may find less people willing to go for physical viewing of properties for sale or rent.

The same goes for museums, and any location where physical presence may be limited.

The opportunity

Help real estate agents, museum owners or any business owner that traditionally showcases physically bring visitors to their physical locations by setting up virtual tours.

How to get started

Buy an entry level quality 360 camera like the Insta360 One X and get familiar with how to create the best 360 experiences. While you can always use free 360 hosts like Facebook360 and Google Virtual Tour, for your customers' best experience, I'd recommend going with commercial 360 software like:

If you want to start off cheap, though, it's possible to use your phone to create panoramic images as well.

Digital marketing services

Potential profit

RM50 - RM2,000 per gig

The problem

More and more conventionally offline businesses are seeing themselves catapulted into a strange, new digital world. They need a lot of hand-holding and support to get their business running smoothly online. 

The opportunity

Demand for digital marketing services is growing healthily. For the digitally savvy, you have the opportunity to sell marketing services to newly digital businesses.

How to get started

If you haven't joined them yet, be an active member of these digital marketing related groups in Malaysia, and you might land yourself a gig!

Special home dining service

Potential profit

RM500 - RM5,000 per month

The problem

People are interested to have meals in the safety of their own homes. 

The opportunity

Even though they are eating at home, most people still want to enjoy special meals every now and then.

How to get started

Build special experiences that people might want to enjoy at home. A good example of this are hot pot services!

Google AdSense

Potential profit

RM10 - RM10,000 per month

The problem

There is a limited number of things people can do outdoors. So most people will be spending most of their time online.

The opportunity

More people are spending time online looking for info. You make money with Google AdSense by displaying Google's ads on your website.

To make sustainable income with Google AdSense, you will need a lot of traffic to your website. Normally a traffic of more than 100,000 unique visitors a month will give you a sustainable income with Google AdSense.

How to get started

If you don't want to hire someone to build a website for you, here's a guide on to create a website for under RM300 yourself:

How to Create a Website for Less Than RM300 in Malaysia Even if You Don't Know How to Code

Affiliate Marketing

Potential profit

RM500 - RM2,500

The problem

People want more 

The opportunity

Quality product reviews can help people make informed decisions about products they are interested to buy.

How to get started

If you are interested in making money with affiliate marketing, do check out my guide to affiliate marketing:

How to Make Money Online Through Affiliate Marketing in Malaysia: Case Study + Guide

Conclusion

Albert Einstein once said, "In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity."

While a lot of businesses have perished because of COVID-19, the opportunist amongst us have already profited from the new opportunities that have risen as a result.

Most of the opportunities I've listed here have existed pre-COVID-19, but have become more popular since. If you're willing to take the first step, you will be able to have the first mover advantage.

While not all of these opportunities will be affordable to start, for the right individual or business, they can be great ways to add a new revenue stream, or even convert one that has been by COVID-19.

The choice is yours - to take advantage of the opportunities, and adapt yourself to the new normal, or cling onto the world of the past.

All the best!

Over yo you - what new businesses have you tried? Share them in the comments below!

About the author 

Lu Wee Tang

Lu Wee is the founder and writer of Entrepreneur Campfire. She started her journey in e-commerce and SEO after leaving her engineering career behind. Now, she consults small and medium businesses in Malaysia and Singapore on how to digitise and grow their business.

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