As the Covid-19 pandemic continues and unemployment remains at record highs, many people are turning to part-time work, the gig economy and the side hustle to make ends meet.
Some of those are better than others. It's probably not a great time, for example, to become a driver for rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft. Ridership at Uber is still down 75% in the three months through June, according to The Washington Post.
Covid-19 has definitely altered the jobs landscape. Kevin Ha, who runs the blog Financial Panther, details what he makes each month from side hustles. In June 2019, he earned $1,589 through Airbnb. This June, zero. However, last year, Ha made just $786 making deliveries. This year, he crushed his monthly $1,000 target on deliveries alone, earning $2,866.
"There's been some buzz in the Side Hustle Nation Facebook group about some good old-fashioned manual labor side hustles, like pressure-washing, grout cleaning [and] mobile car detailing," said site creator Nick Loper.
These days, Loper says, anything that touches on outdoor sports and recreation is extremely popular.
Plenty of online and socially distant opportunities exist, from delivery services to teaching kids English.
One of the following might be the right fit.
Between the pandemic and a politically charged upcoming election, surveys can be a big side job now.
Taking a survey from a site like SurveyJunkie might net you a few bucks, but some online research projects can pay as much as $150. Respondent lets you browse projects by compensation range. San Antonio, Texas, residents who are credit union members can earn $135, according to a recent post.
Remember, everything you make is reportable income. Focus Group, which conducts online research, cautions you'll be responsible for the payment of any taxes, and says they will issue a Form 1099 to anyone who makes $600 or more.
Run the name of a website you'd like to work for plus the word "reviews" into a search engine or visit SideHusl.com, which aims to make the risks and rewards of working with online platforms much more transparent.
"You should absolutely know how much you are going to earn in advance," said Kathy Kristof, who created SideHusl.com to rate platforms and give pay estimates.
Be aware of the risks and the costs. "Many of these platforms will mislead you about your potential earnings," she said.
Side Hustle Nation has ideas and a wealth of info on starting your own business, and SideHustleSchool.com offers encouragement and information via podcasts.
Delivery is booming.
Instacart's order volume in April was more than 400% higher than a year ago. The company is expanding its service through a partnership with Costco to deliver prescription drugs in addition to groceries and household goods.
The other big four in the delivery space are Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub. Opportunities are likely to expand, with DoorDash now getting into the grocery delivery space. According to Loper, users report earning $10,000 in a year delivering groceries and takeout meals with the JoyRun app.
You can deliver much more than food, Loper says. If you want to pick up and deliver laundry and dry cleaning in your neighborhood, try Rinse. Get paid to deliver alcohol through Saucey. People who sign up with Amazon Flex earn $18 to $25, according to the site.
Remote opportunities are legion, Kristof says. "Teaching and tutoring are great ones, and you can teach anything from music and dance to language," she said. "Primarily teaching English as a foreign language would be to Chinese kids, where your main requirement on some sites is that you be a native English speaker."
Most of the dozens of online tutoring platforms pay around $15 per hour or more. And the English tutoring platforms are all conducted on Beijing time, Kristof said, so you'll likely be working when your own kids are asleep.
You can list services for practically anything on Fiverr, and it's not just editorial tasks. "Cast a hex on your ex [is an offering]," Kristof said. "Someone else said they'll give good advice about relationships."
Her main advice: Structure your offer so you know exactly what you're earning.
IKEA stores are reopening.
Whether customers brave the hours-long lines or order online, that flat-pack furniture still has to be assembled. If you can wield an Allen wrench and decipher the Swedish retailer's wordless instructions, you can come to someone's rescue via TaskRabbit. Recent projects in New York included moving boxes, planting flowers and cleaning a bathroom and kitchen.
Since you'll be in someone else's apartment, wear a mask and gloves, and maintain the recommended six-foot distance from your client.
Forget about becoming an overnight success with a blog.
"My guess is that it takes more than two years for most people to make more than pocket change," said Kristof. And don't forget about the tremendous amount of upfront work to build it.
The right topic might help drive traffic. Gardening, hydroponics, microgreens and vertical gardens are hot now, Loper says.
Comparison-shopping is also doing well, says Loper, who points to FinvsFin.com as a prime example.
The site's owners earn affiliate commissions when someone buys a product that's been reviewed. "They write really detailed comparison posts," Loper said. A recent example: Farm Fresh to You versus Imperfect Produce.
If you love drilling into a product and finding out every single useful thing about it, this could be the dream side hustle you've been waiting for.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.