In a time when most people face unexpected and inevitable changes due to the health and economic crises, what can one do to earn extra money without compromising health and safety?
Losing a full time job may be a nerve-racking experience amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a report published by US News, unemployment rates in the United States peaked at 14.7% in April 2020 — highest joblessness rates since The Great Depression in the late 2000s.
The birth of a ‘new normal’
The declaration of emergency lockdowns and the shutting down of various businesses — leaving millions of Americans unemployed has forced us to live in a so-called ‘new normal’ set-up. The fear of catching the virus has massively affected people’s lives around the world — from the way we go to work, how we do our chores, to even the simplest things like getting a haircut.
True enough, life in the early part of the pandemic was challenging; but that definitely did not stop people from thinking of ways to survive. Some even took advantage of the situation and turned hard times into profitable ventures.
No wonder, online gigs, and services that help people continue on with their lives saw a huge increase in demand for manpower.
10 best side hustles without breaking COVID-19 protocols
Yes, it’s high time for people to consider thinking about earning extra money to improve persoanl financial status, but that should not be an excuse to forget that we are in the middle of a health crisis. So here are some of the side hustle ideas to consider to help you bounce back responsibly:
1. Help people move
Since Americans are taking preventive measures by staying at home to self-isolate during the COVID-19 outbreaks, many companies that offer delivery services took advantage of the situation, as they’ve seen a surge in bookings despite an economic slowdown.
In a report published by The Wall Street Journal, Amazon announced in March that they would be hiring 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to help them meet the current influx of orders.
Domino’s Pizza on the other hand had to hire 10,000 employees just to help them sustain their operations. Food orders through delivery services received an overwhelming number as businesses move to a work-from-home set-up.
COVID-19 safety tips: If you choose this side hustle, you’ll have to go out and around to perform your duty. The chances of you picking your customer are less likely, so you will never know whether they are infected or not. It’s important to invest in personal protective gear to ensure your and others’ safety. Wear a mask and bring disinfectants with you for you to disinfect anytime. Have a safe ride!
Annual income: $28, 720
Exposure level: high exposure (73%)
Source: New York Times
2. Teach online
COVID-19 posed so much threat to public health and safety that it forced schools all over the world to close. In order to protect the children from the virus, schools had to switch to distant learning.
As a result, the demand for online tutors is on the rise, making it one of the best ways to make money out of your spare time.
Graphics by Business Wire, Research conducted by Technavio
According to market research conducted by Technavio, the online tutoring services market in the US will see an incremental growth of USD 12.81 billion from 2020 to 2024.
This can be supported by the fact that parents are looking for ways to supplement their children’s online classes, as many families, not only in America, are adjusting to an abrupt change in both work and school schedules, as well as lifestyles.
What makes tutoring a perfect side job amid pandemic is that it is done online — zero contact with the client and can be done at the comfort of your home.
Does it require someone to have a special degree or a teaching certificate?
Most of the time, online tutors are professional teachers. But online tutoring is also possible for subject-area experts. Although these credentials are not strictly required all the time, it might help you get the trust of parents a little easier.
In addition, tutoring does not only refer to teaching the usual core subjects, as it can go beyond teaching Math and Sciences.
Salary range: $12 to $20 per hour
Covid-19 health tips: Although this job doesn’t possess much threat than the others, it’s still important to take care of yourself to avoid any unwanted trip to hospitals. Take care of yourself at home by eating the right food, taking your vitamins more religiously than before, and getting adequate sleep.
3. Start an online workshop in social media
Although this is somewhat similar to online tutoring, it’s safe to say that online workshops are more personal. By personal, it only means that you are in control of what skill, talent, or special knowledge you want to share with potential clients.
Of course, nobody wished to live in this current set-up. But one positive thing that this crisis gave is that lockdowns forced people to stay at home and rekindle their old passion and habits.
In social media alone, posts about gardening and growing your own food have become a huge trend across the world. If you have advanced knowledge in gardening, you can help those not skilled with it understand planting better.
Many people who wish to learn about the basics of gardening have been watching free videos from various platforms. These videos are helpful enough, but can you imagine showing them your secret technique on how you grow a supply of fruits and vegetables in your backyard?
Having an expert to answer queries on the spot makes a huge difference than just merely watching a how-to video.
You may start by taking advantage of free soc med platforms that have billions of users globally. Build your reputation by sharing what you know about gardening, you may publish a before-and-after photo comparison of what your garden looked like pre-pandemic and how you were able to make it better. Tell them stories about the positive effect of growing your own food.
While having a professional certificate showing that you are really an expert about what you do helps you gain trust, never underestimate knowledge gained through experience. Besides, people are becoming more result-driven.
Gardening is just one idea out of many skills and talents you can teach online. You can teach everything from flower arrangement, graphic designing, to basic cooking and baking.
Income: Your income will depend on how much you will charge your clients for part time or full time commitments. There is no standard price when it comes to teaching skills. What you can do is to list down all of your expenses – includes all the gardening materials and gadgets (video and live streaming) you will use, your time, and your professional fee – divide it to how many people you will allow to join per session.
Covid-19 safety tips: If you have a private backyard you will be perfectly fine. The key to keeping yourself away from the virus is to make sure you are staying six feet away from others or what we refer to as “social distancing”.
4. Get paid to test
Yes, it’s possible! And it could land you to a legitimate win-win situation: you get extra income by giving your assessment about the products and you get to keep the product for free.
Are you a coffee lover? Imagine receiving boxes of coffee makers to try out. Almost too good to be true right?
In an article from deedeedoes.com, a stay-at-home mom who blogs said that she never purchased potty training pull-ons when her son was doing potty training years ago.
“I remember I was sent about 10 weeks-worth of trainers and received payment for my feedback as well.”
It may sound easy but the side hustling won’t knock at your doorstep and present itself to you as a gift. Make use of your time wisely and start searching up sites that recruit potential testers and get paid.
It is important to keep in mind that not all companies are going to pay you in cash. Instead, they will give you a voucher in return (which you can sell and turn to actual money, or keep it for personal use). A lot of times, allowing you to keep the products free of charge may count as a ‘payment’.
You don’t need a diploma or certificate to qualify and get started as a product tester. Companies will let you fill out questionnaires that usually ask for your personal information and even your preferences, lifestyle and taste. So it is very important to pay attention to detail. This way, the company will know what product will suit you best.
These are the things you need to remember when applying as a product tester:
- Know the companies you want to work with and sign up with them
- Make sure to only choose products the interest you
- Be honest in answering the questionnaires
- Get serious with your assessment
- If you are asked to return a gadget that is included with the test package, do it at the time agreed.
It could be makeup, shoes, sports gears, office gadgets, or food. What’s important is you give your best opinion to any product that is assigned to you.
Average earning: $15-$45
Covid safety tips: Although you will probably be doing the test inside your home, being a product tester means that you will receive parcels from time to time. Make to wear your mask when interacting with people, disinfect the package, and wash your hands after handling the items.
5. Blogging and building websites
In the online world, content is considered king. Especially now that most people decided to stay at home and businesses switching to a work-from-home set-up, content creation has undoubtedly increased because people have more time to read and to watch in between house chores and tasks.
Even if you feel that your writing is not as good as professionals, you can still start your own blog and talk about your interests – be it about dog care, beauty, motherhood, sports, car, lifestyle, or politics – as long as you can come up with a decent article.
Unlike other side hustles, money does not come quickly with blogging. It takes time, effort, and brainstorming in order for you to hit the perfect style and approach that could give you real readers and followers. But once you are able to establish credibility among readers, you will most likely start to earn extra cash out of it.
Bloggers usually earn from advertisements when they are able to drive more traffic to their sites. If you are good enough, you can also earn from selling digital products like eBooks and blueprints. You may also offer online consultations and talk about your field of expertise.
Here are the things you need to consider when you want to start according to Blogging Basics 101:
- Get a good domain name
- Use a cheap and reliable hosting solution
- Write quality content
- Market your service to readers
- Choose an advertising firm suitable to your blog
- Learn SEO techniques
Although earning from blogging is a bit slow, starting your own blog may help you improve your writing and content creation skills. Keep on improving your content and your style, while narrowing down the niche you want to talk about. Blogging can also serve as your online portfolio for future writing gigs.
Average monthly salary: $2,000
COVID-19 health tips: In a time of pandemic when health and financial worries escalate, writing is a great way to keep your mind busy from panic causing thoughts that can lead to serious problems.
6. Baking and cooking
Several restaurants have recently closed down as the pandemic made it unsafe for people to dine in – staying in an enclosed and crowded establishment for hours makes you susceptible to the virus.
Some restaurants are still running and surviving because many have relied on deliveries as people are still figuring out work-from-home set ups. But sometimes, everyday consumption of fast food meals may do you more harm than good. Thus, people started to look for home-cooked ones.
If you love cooking or baking, maybe it’s about time you let people have a taste of your specialties. If you like cooking food out of scratch, and free from artificial flavorings, that could be one great edge.
Start with a recipe that you know pretty well. You can sell anything from the simple fried chicken, whole roasted chicken (in garlic, pepper and rosemary!) to rice bakes. In cooking, your creativity and knowledge is the limit.
Usually, the materials you need are already in the kitchen. But that still depends on how you would want to prepare your food or bake goods.
After deciding what to offer, conceptualize how you will let people know how they can order from you. You may opt for a grand launching of your business in soc med or you could do a low-key announcement among your friends and neighborhood so you won’t have to worry much about delivery for your first batch.
Average income: Your income will depend on how you calculate everything from expenses to how much you charge for your labor. So make sure you have included everything on the list so you could avoid losing potential income.
COVID-19 safety tips: Cooking in your home won’t expose you to virus. But if you will be visiting the grocery stores and markets to buy ingredients, make sure to wear proper protective gears, bring a bottle of disinfectant and keep following social distancing.
7. Rent your car
Transportation and mobility were gravely affected by lockdowns left and right, and even if the situation gets a little better, the ride-hail industry may remain unstable for the coming months and years.
Uber, a big ride-hailing company, has recently laid off 3,700 employees. Some of their drivers tested positive with the virus. Even their rival company, Lyft, also had to lay-off nearly 1,000 employees.
Although more Americans are afraid to step-out of their houses, there are people who would still want to travel to the nearest destination to relax and breathe in some fresh air.
Do you have a spare car? You may register your car to sites like Geataround, for travelers looking for a vehicle to rent.
Average income: $500 a month
Covid-19 safety tips: More people are getting conscious with hygiene these days. If you are planning to allow people to rent your car, it is good to invest in disinfectants for your and your clients’ protection. Make sure to disinfect the car before and after lending.
8. Carousell it!
Haven’t decluttered for a while? Maybe this is the best time to do a general cleaning of your house and look for things you can sell. And if you are creative enough, you may start upcycling your old furniture and have it sold.
You may not realize it, but there are many things you can sell and earn actual money from it. For instance, old appliances and scraps may look useless to you, but there are recycling and scrap centers that are willing to pay for it.
Does your space look crumpled-up because you have too much furniture? You may take advantage of free buy and sell apps. Take a decent photo of the things you want to sell and post it on your account. Don’t forget to include your ‘reason for selling’ in the caption and mention any damage or defect of your products, if there’s any.
Average earnings: $500-$2000
Covid-19 health tips: Decluttering is the perfect way to keep your house in shape. Keeping our space fresh and clean can do so much goodness in our physical and mental health.
9. Rent your property
Not all jobs can transition to a work-from-home set-up.
Some businesses are renting apartments and let their employees use it to minimize their exposure by bringing them closer to the workplace to lessen travel time.
Workers who have high exposure outside, hospital workers for example, opted to move out of their home because they are scared they might bring the virus to their household, therefore putting older family members at high risk.
Take pictures of your space that you want to put on rent using various angles, then post it on various social media accounts or sites like Trulia, and make a reasonable offer.
If your space is near hospitals or business centers, raising your rates is acceptable.
Average income: Your income will depend on how much you will charge your clients and how big your expenses are.
COVID-19 safety tip: When interacting with people face to face, make sure to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and follow social distancing.
10. Virtual customer service
Companies are going the extra mile to improve their customer service.
As going to a physical office to air concerns is too risky and almost impossible, companies need extra workers to help them communicate with their customers and give the support needed – otherwise, the company is bound to experience a social media backlash.
As a virtual customer service provider, you will be a virtual assistant or a representative of the company. It is your job to answer all the queries and provide solutions to their problems by guiding them to simple step-by-step troubleshooting.
The interaction usually takes place via email, live chat, video chat, social media, or website.
It may be wise to check if the equipment you have is suitable for the job. The requirement varies from company’s need but if you are lucky enough, there are companies that provide their employees with everything they need
And the most relieving part is that you can do it in your home.
Browse job offerings here.
Average salary: $2,500
COVID-19 health tip: Once you’ve started, try to come up with a realistic everyday schedule without compromising activities that could help you strengthen your body and boost your immune system. Drink plenty of fluids and move around.
Bounce back responsibly!
Businesses are trying their best to survive, and anyone can be affected by layoffs and other labor issues. It’s understandable that drastic changes and uncertainty brought by COVID-19 pandemic make people anxious about their financial needs.
But we must always remember that we can always take advantage of the available technology and start thinking of ways on how you can bounce back. Don’t let this crisis get you – instead, get a side hustle that best fits you.