Unemployment creating more home businesses

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Hundreds of people in middle Georgia are unemployed due to COVID-19.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 37 million Americans have filed for unemployment since February, including over 1.6 million in Georgia.

As a result, thousands of people around the state are struggling to make ends meet. Those without jobs are looking for new ways to make money from home. Kim Evans says her family has been impacted by COVID-19.

“All of the restaurants were ordered by the governor to shut down. This was right before the beer festival, the Just Tapp’d beer festival in Macon. So now with the festival being canceled and restaurants being closed my husband is not working as much as he would have,” said Evans.

Her business was called “Lilly Cups Cupcakes” before the pandemic, but it’s now called “Lilly Crafts”. Her company sells wreaths and home decor.  She says crafting is helping her family make ends meet.

“In order to supplement and help out with the family, I decided to bring back Lilly Cups but made it more just Lilly Crafts to stick with the wreath making… That’s what we’re doing to get by, just crafting as much as we can. Unfortunately, right now though, nobody is working so no one has a lot of extra money to spend on home decor,” said Evans.

Newtown Macon, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed, says that starting a home business can be difficult, especially during such a challenging time.

Emily Hopkins, the Director of Place at Newtown Macon, shares a simple tip on how to be successful.

“Consumer confidence is definitely a little shaky right now. People are not sure what the future holds so people are holding onto their money a little bit more than they had been in the past. So the thing we tell our business owners is that you need to be showing how you can solve a problem for your customers,” said Hopkins.

Newtown Macon emphasizes that social media can be key in times like these.

“The key part of using social media platforms to sell these products is to make it as easy as possible for people to understand how they can actually purchase that item. You want to make it very clear in any kind of post that you’re writing that this is the call to action that you can purchase this item,” said Hopkins.

Newtown encourages startups to create a website if they can, to make things even easier for their customers.

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Peyton Lewis is a 20-year-old reporter from Stockbridge, Georgia. She graduated in December of 2019 with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She found a love for reporting after receiving a video camera for her 8th birthday. She and her friends would make mock newscasts in her backyard other creative content. Peyton's love for writing and creating videos pushed her to pursue journalism. In order to kick-start her dream of being a reporter, she left the traditional high school experience at the age of 16 to attend Gordon State College as a full-time student. She graduated with her Associate's degree two weeks before graduating from high school. Previously, Peyton worked as a news intern for 11 Alive in Atlanta, a radio intern for the Joy FM, and a reporter/ technical manager for Grady Newsource. Peyton dreams to become an investigative reporter that leaves a lasting impact on the world around her. She loves Disney, dogs, spicy food, musicals, and her family. Peyton also enjoys reading, watching movies, cheering on the Dawgs, and going on new adventures.