How to go viral and start a business on social media

  • Women have been among the workers most affected during the pandemic.
  • After being made redundant or quitting their jobs, women started almost half of new businesses in 2020.
  • Here’s how 10 women built their brands on social media, went viral, and generated thousands of dollars.

When the pandemic rocked the world two years ago, women workers were among the hardest hit. Today, they are part of a new class of entrepreneurs who are changing the small business sector with their pursuit of social media and their unique midlife hobbies turned into careers.

One in four women considered leaving the workforce or downgrading their career during the pandemic, compared to one in five men, management consulting firm McKinsey reported. In addition, between February and August, mothers of children 12 and under lost 2.2 million jobs compared to 870,000 jobs lost by fathers, the Brookings think tank said. Finally, women felt more exhausted, exhausted and under pressure than their male colleagues, according to a 2020 Women in the Workplace study from McKinsey.

But many of these women turned desperation into determination by starting their own businesses. Almost half of the people who started businesses in 2020 were women, up from 27% in previous years, according to a survey of around 1,500 entrepreneurs by the human resources platform Gusto.

“The pandemic has rocked what seemed like a safe path for most people,” said Meredith Meyer Grelli, professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon. “If the thing you thought was certain – your job – doesn’t seem safe anymore, the leap that seemed like such a big risk doesn’t seem so big anymore.”

Plus, when we put on our masks, stood 6 feet apart, and closed our doors to the world, we opened our phones as well. Social media use increased 61% during the first wave of the pandemic, according to a study by Kantar, a media trends research platform. Women have been among the entrepreneurs to harness this push, creating businesses with little more than a passion, a smartphone, and a social media account. For example, in August, over 53% of TikTok creators were women.

Insider has found 10 women who started businesses during the pandemic to get their best advice on going viral and growing a business using social media.