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Business ideas for 2019: Online coaching and consultancy

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the UK public loves convenience.
After all, why navigate a crowded shopping centre when you can order things online? Why hurry home to watch your favourite TV show when you can stream it later? Why cook when you can order a takeaway with a few taps of your phone?
Having grown used to accessing key services whenever and wherever they want using tablets and smartphones, consumers have developed a big appetite for on-demand digital services. But this much isn’t new.
What we’re predicting, as we head into 2019, is the next phase of our obsession with digital convenience: the rise of 100%-online experts who provide specialist expertise that, until now, we wouldn’t have dreamt of turning to on the internet.
Yes, from doctors’ appointments to personal training to buying property, 2019 will see traditionally face-to-face services begin their evolution towards the digital realm.
The innovative entrepreneurs who lead this movement will assist customers flexibly and remotely – through AI, phone calls, online chats and video links – instead of ever physically meeting with them. Convenience and flexibility will reign, for online coaching entrepreneurs and their clients.
And there’ll be a number of ways to go about it. Entrepreneurs might become freelance experts, providing independent advice and coaching as and when needed. Or, they could build specialist consultancy platforms that perform a particular service online.
In any case, 2019 is set to present plenty of opportunities to get creative, and use your individual expertise and interests to capitalise on the world’s attachment to its smart devices…

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Business ideas for 2019: Digital detox

There’s growing awareness of the negative effects of too much screen time. Businesses that help consumers disconnect could reap big rewards in 2019
The on-demand lifestyle created by smartphones has brought unprecedented convenience and connection to consumers. So why are rates of anxiety, depression and social isolation rocketing?
Unfortunately, we have realised too late that an overreliance on our devices might have a negative impact on our wellbeing. And it’s proved much harder to put them down than it was to pick them up.
According to Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends 2019 report, social isolation will be one of the six big trends of next year. The report says that consumers who increasingly live their lives through smartphone screens are becoming “isolated from each other, both physically and emotionally”.
Our digital obsession can cause problems in the workplace as well. Absenteeism due to stress costs the UK £1.24bn annually, as people feel like they can never switch off from their jobs.
Last year, investment manager JANA Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System called on Apple to give families more options to guide how children and adolescents use their devices. And, as you’ll see below, they took it on board.

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Business ideas for 2019: Living with less

The sharing economy was partly borne out of necessity (a new economic landscape after the recession), and partly from the proliferation of smartphones and online platforms.
What started with ride sharing (Uber, Lyft) and property sharing (Airbnb) has spawned a multifaceted global industry, where consumers have access to nearly every good and service at the touch of a button.
Evangelists hailed it as a revolutionary way to alleviate the world’s more pressing problems, including unemployment, environmental damage, and lack of access to goods and services. But others see it as a tool for corporations to exploit gig workers for cheap labour.
Increasingly, the sharing economy is being used to help people live with less. Rather than buying expensive items that they don’t use that often, people can borrow second-hand from each other and not be burdened with the costs and upkeep that ownership entails.

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Is rethinking plastic a good business idea?

Single-use plastics have recently come under the environmental spotlight, and in 2019, UK consumers will be looking for help in reducing their plastic waste.
The war on single-use plastic is here, and in 2019 we expect to see more consumers than ever taking up arms against this non-reusable, non-recyclable modern menace.
Sitting in landfill for decades, clogging our seas (an estimated 12 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year) and inflicting horrendous suffering on wildlife, single-use plastics were, in April 2018, condemned by prime minister Theresa May as a “scourge” on our planet – and much of the UK public wholeheartedly agreed.
But plastic has been around for a long time, and its dangers haven’t been a secret – so why are we seeing such an outcry now? (Many of the environmentalists who’ve been warning us off plastic for years are, in fact, both pleased and bewildered by this.)
A growing awareness of the consequences of plastic has played a big part, driven by increased press coverage, social media and its shareable videos and images, and of course, the unprecedented effect that an alarming episode of BBC nature documentary Blue Planet II had on the public in December 2017.
Plus, rectifying our plastic overkill just seems more achievable than other environmental causes. Fighting global warming might feel like squeezing a water pistol at a raging forest fire, but vetoing disposable water bottles for a reusable one is something we can all do.
And with real-world results already yielded – if you’ve been to your local Wetherspoons recently, you’ll know that plastic straws are out and biodegradable paper straws are in – consumers feel more buoyed than ever to buy into plastic alternatives and keep the momentum going.

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