Interestingly, social lockdown measures have brought families together through shared passion and entrepreneurial spirit, with four in 10 respondents to GoDaddy’s recent survey revealing they have started or are growing a business or hobby online with members of their family.
The web hosting company found that of those that are engaged in a new family venture, 87 per cent said it has strengthened their family relationship and a staggering 93 per cent said their new venture will continue well beyond the lockdown.
For almost half (48 per cent) of those undertaking a venture, the key motivator is combating the boredom of lockdown, while 45 per cent said lockdown has afforded the time to pursue passion projects and an entrepreneurial 38 per cent identified an opportunity to make money.
For a quarter, however, their venture has been undertaken purely with the aim of bonding more closely with their family.
“Australians are turning to a variety of online activities to help come closer together during a time when the health response to COVID-19 has kept us physically apart. This unprecedented situation has brought out the ingenuity, entrepreneurialism and innovation of families all over Australia,” said GoDaddy Australia marketing director Suzanne Mitchell.
“Whether it’s to start a business, catch up with family and friends or just enjoy an online yoga class, the fact that the overwhelming majority of Australians surveyed intend to continue their online activity is testament to the potential the internet has in helping us rebuild — both socially and economically.”
The research also showed that it is mainly younger generations providing the entrepreneurial drive, with three-quarters of all businesses started online belonging primarily to Millennials and Gen Z.
Budding business owners are also more likely to be working from kitchens and bedrooms outside of the major cities, with 18 per cent of respondents starting or growing a business or side hustle living in rural areas, despite them making up only 10 per cent of the population.
That’s certainly the case for Aidan Fitzgerald, who runs his business, Giant Tennis, with his brother-in-law in regional Victoria.
“When COVID-19 and the associated social restrictions intensified, my brother-in-law and I had some big decisions to make to safeguard the long-term viability of our business,” he said.
“We knew people were still active online, so we decided we needed to pivot and make an online presence the primary focus for us. We now send virtual tutorials to our members, so they can continue to practice, even when it’s not safe for us to coach them in person. When times are tough, as indeed they are now, you need the support of those closest to you, and the fact that we’re in it as brothers has really brought us together as we battle to keep the business moving.”
While many businesses have made online their priority during the last two months, the benefits can be long-term, too, according to Ms Mitchell, who believes Australians’ eagerness to start or grow online ventures during lockdown is indicative of the way the internet has become an omnipresent part of everyday life for many people.
“What Australian families have discovered during this period is the versatility of online interactions,” Ms Mitchell continued.
“Where previously we may have banked online, or used their social media platforms, we are now dramatically broadening the scope of our online activity.
“We are starting family businesses without leaving the house, enrolling in courses to stave off the boredom of lockdown, starting websites to promote business or express our interests, and just calling one another by video to stay connected.
“With such an overwhelming number of respondents intending to continue their online activity even when lockdown restrictions end, it’s evident that, whether socially or professionally, online is a big part of our future.”