MAIN STORY: It’s a nightmare for jobseekers. There just aren’t any jobs available. Unemployment is a growing issue in this country, especially with young people.

Maybe it’s a good thing that there aren’t many jobs. Lack of jobs is encouraging young people to be creative and enterprising and innovatively self-employing themselves.

And social media is helping them achieve all these.

Tenzin Nyenda is a graduate and lives in Phuentsholing. He doesn’t go to a regular 9-5 job like many. He works from home. He takes orders from people through the social media sites and delivers the goods to customers.

The 30-year-old has been doing the online business for almost five months now. And the business has picked up. He’s always seen busy on his phone or laptop, posting pictures of branded clothes and shoes brought from various online shopping sites in India. He notes the orders carefully and gets the items to be delivered.

“It’s a good experience doing online business. It’s been good so far,” Tenzin Nyenda said. “Although profit margin is small, it helps.”

It is easier for Tenzin Nyenda to get the goods being in Phuentsholing “Products are delivered till Jaigoan. I collect them from there and deliver them to customers.”

Tenzin Nyenda hopes to open an outlet in Thimphu. “If the business goes well, I’m hoping to expand it in Thimphu.”

Rajiv Chettri, another graduate, has also been doing online business for the past one year. He started a small home-based business. Today, he has a shop in Thimphu. Rajiv takes the orders from shops. So far, it’s been a great experience.

“I got the idea of doing online business by looking at various Indian shopping sites. I started posting the products on social media sites. Reach is far greater on social media. Everyone’s there,” said Rajiv Chettri.

Rajiv Chettri’s customers grew from friends to people from as far as Bumthang and Trashiyangtse. He gets goods from dealers in Bangalore and Delhi, India.

“Posting the products on Bbay, a Facebook page, helped me reach to everyone in the country. My customer range is only expanding,” he said. Rajiv delivers products that are available online in various Indian shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay, among others.

Lack of good quality products in Thimphu shops, said Rajiv, was one of the mains reasons why he got into the online business.

“Most of the things that we get in the shops are products from Thailand or Bangladesh, which are very expensive. Most of them, however, are not worth spending,” Rajiv said. “I realized it would be a great business if people got these products, which are not only branded but are also affordable.”

Rajiv then started getting various branded and original products, and sold them at mrp. “It’s better to spend money on genuine products than on the fake ones,” he said. “Today, many have realized this and have started ordering good quality products for affordable prices that are available online.”

Rajiv makes an effort to deliver the products within two weeks from the date of the order.

But there are also downsides to doing online business. Rajiv said that some customers fail to make payment. “After ordering the goods, they either switch off their mobile phones or they don’t respond.” But it’s still better doing business from home because it does not require paying tax and rent for space.

“It’s a very hectic business. There is a lot at risk but one has to do something, anything, for survival. There’s not much hope looking at the job market,” Rajiv said.

While there are businessman like Tenzin Nyenda and Rajiv Chettri who do such online business alone, there are others like Dorji Khando who work with a group in Gedu hoping to make their online business a success.

Dorji Khando, 21, works with a teacher in Gedu Higher Secondary School who came up a site for online business. It’s a family business. The site sells various products such as clothes, shoes and accessories that are sold at reasonable price.

“Our online business is very convenient since anyone can order from anywhere, one doesn’t have to go through a lot of troubles. It’s like any good online shopping site,” Dorji Khando said. “One can use their visa card or credit card. We offer a lot of discount as well.”

It’s been just over a month since the shopping site was developed. “We had a tough time to gain the trust of the customers since the idea is new to most people,” Dorji Khando said. “People were reluctant at first but now number of customers is growing by the day.”

Whenever new products arrive, Dorji Khando uses other social medium such as Facebook to advertise the product. “Doing business from home is a new trend and a new way to do business. Many customers are getting the hang of it and many are now ordering online,” he said. “Technology is shaping the very way we do business and it’s great if you know how to utilize such platform.”

Dorji Khando said that goods are brought all the way from countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Korea, China and India.

As fashion continues to evolve, more and more people hit the online sites to shop.

Thinley Zangmo