CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County reached an unemployment rate of 15.8% last April, which forced some people to get creative about their income.
“I had a lot of responsibilities I had to take care of, so I thought what can I do?” says local business owner, Ema Rodriguez.
That same month, Rodriguez says her hours were cut at her previous job, so she decided to turn her project into something more.
“Connecting with spirits with blessed and honorable ancestors was something that as a huge part of my life already," she said. "I thought, well, if I share it with others maybe there's a want for that, maybe there’s a need for that."
As the creator of Weird Corpus and owner of Skeleton Weird Curious, a downtown reading room and spiritual bodega, Rodriguez says her project turned into a full-time job.
During the pandemic, Rodriquez says she couldn't take clients into her reading room so she turned to virtual solutions like booking private shopping appointments and card readings through Instagram live and zoom.
She says this process helped her reach a larger audience from her home.
“Which turned into Instagram live videos of me reading cards and that was kind of the catalyst that brought me clients, brought me people that wanted their own private sessions,” says Rodriguez.
Experts say Rodriguez did what many others should be doing now - turning to the internet and social media to help promote their business and themselves.
Business launch strategist Destinee Berman suggests clients make the switch to marketing themselves and their business on social media.
“One, if I knew I need to be more visible to get attention then two what systems?” says Berman, who adds that career setbacks can be used as an opportunity.
“So, if there is a voice inside your head saying look this is something I want to do,' is worth exploring.”
Berman says there are ways to find a job by using social media to market yourself.
Her advice is to first ask yourself if you want to go back to what you were doing before or if you want to try something different.
And between the passion economy and the knowledge economy, people are realizing they can start a business online.