woman exercising at home watching laptop
From virtual personal training to errand services, there are several businesses that have exploded in popularity as a result of COVID-19, and the growth is expected to continue. — Getty Images/CentralITAlliance

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on restaurants, events, personal services and any other business that relies on close in-person interactions. On the flip side, service-based businesses that require little or no person-to-person contact have had an unprecedented opportunity to thrive.

With a new wave of positive cases popping up across the country, the era of social distancing won't be over any time soon. For aspiring entrepreneurs, now is an excellent time to consider launching a business that will be in high demand for years to come, even through the current economic downturn.

Keep a close eye on these service-based businesses that are poised to grow in the post-COVID age.

[Read: How to Start a Business After COVID-19]

Box subscriptions

Even before COVID-19, box subscriptions for everything from meal preparation kits to beauty products were thriving. These businesses have recently seen a surge in new customers who want to avoid crowds and get everything they need delivered right to their door.

Aside from the obvious convenience of not having to leave the house, the biggest advantage of box subscriptions is their ability to curate product recommendations based on the individual consumers' tastes and preferences. Top-notch products combined with a superior customer experience will help any subscription service stand out in the crowded market. When deciding what type of products to include in their boxes, entrepreneurs should consider catering to consumers' renewed interest in home-based hobbies and DIY activities like building model planes and trains, origami and sewing.

Commercial cleaning

Commercial cleaning services have been essential to helping brick-and-mortar businesses like gyms and salons bring customers back in the door as parts of the country reopen. As office-based businesses begin contemplating their timeline for returning to their physical workplace, they'll need help deep-cleaning and disinfecting their work stations to ensure their employees' health and safety.

Even after the initial deep-clean, businesses will want to have a commercial cleaning service handy in case an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and the office needs to be disinfected again. These services can set themselves apart by using and advertising EPA-approvedgreen cleaning products to reduce the impact on the environment and employee health.

Errand services

Third-party food delivery services like Seamless, Uber Eats and DoorDash have kept many gig economy workers employed throughout the pandemic. But consumers — especially older individuals and other high-risk groups — need more than takeout meals delivered to their home.

That's why errand services have become so important during COVID-19. People with increased health risks can hire someone to pick up and deliver essentials like groceries, medicine and personal care items, or run to the bank and post office on their behalf, thus reducing their need to leave the home and expose themselves to the virus. Contactless payment options through digital apps makes this an ideal COVID-era service business.

[Read: 15 Small Businesses Thriving During Coronavirus]

Like many in the healthcare field, therapists and other mental health professionals who offered in-person client sessions have been shifting their services to the virtual realm.

Freelance copywriting and design

Nearly every business has had to pivot its marketing and communications strategies during the coronavirus pandemic. To successfully meet the demand for relevant, helpful content, many companies are relying on freelance copywriters and designers to produce blogs, social media posts, thought leadership articles, webinar scripts and other content marketing assets.

Since the pandemic and state reopenings are evolving quickly, freelancers who can deliver high-quality, well-researched work on a tight deadline will gain and retain clients.

IT and cybersecurity consulting

Businesses that didn't have a remote work policy in place before COVID-19 may have experienced a difficult transition from in-office to at-home operations, especially from a technology standpoint. Companies may have cobbled together a remote work IT infrastructure as a temporary fix, but as working from home becomes more widespread and normalized, they'll need to put more permanent — and secure — solutions in place.

An IT consultant can work with these companies to recommend the best programs and tools for keeping business data secure, while ensuring remote employees have seamless access to their work files. They might be responsible for things like VPN and multi-factor authentication setup, cybersecurity maintenance and training staff on new remote work software.

Teletherapy

Social isolation, canceled milestones and celebrations, and illness or death of loved ones have become common experiences during COVID-19. All of these factors, plus the recent civil and political unrest over racial justice in America, have taken a serious toll on people's mental health.

Like many in the healthcare field, therapists and other mental health professionals who offered in-person client sessions have been shifting their services to the virtual realm. Teletherapy through HIPAA-compliant chat and video services has become an important lifeline for people struggling right now, and the demand is likely to grow as more individuals feel comfortable discussing mental health.

[Read: 8 Small Business Trends That Are the New Normal]

Virtual personal training

Between gym closures and remote work orders, it became easy for many Americans to stay sedentary and gain a few extra pounds. Now, people are looking to shed the "Quarantine 15," and they might need a little more accountability and personalized guidance than a home workout app or group fitness class can offer.

Virtual personal trainers can offer one-on-one live sessions via video conference and work with clients from the comfort of their homes. They can also share digital guides with exercises and meal plans, and offer text or email-based support to clients between workouts.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published July 08, 2020