The year 2020 has proved a tough one for the U.S. economy, as tens of millions of people have had to file for unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic. Although the economy is seeing major job gains, it will take some time before many of those seeking full-time employment find work again.
And even lots of people with a day job have been turning to part-time jobs and side hustles to make some extra cash, whether to save for a goal, pay their bills, keep up with student loans or pay down their debt.
Some side businesses can be lucrative without being difficult because they allow you to capitalize on skills or expertise you already have: Experts from lawyers to plumbers who shared knowledge on the website JustAnswer, for example, made an average of $2,900 in May 2020. Some virtual assistant positions, which pay an average of $19 an hour, require only 5 hours of work a week.
And some gig economy experiments can be labors of love, especially if you start with a great idea. A fan of Rothy's made $24,500 in 18 months customizing pairs of shoes and turning flats into "wearable art."
If you're looking for ways to earn money in your spare time that still let you limit your risk of exposure to Covid and don't require huge investments of capital or energy, here are seven easy side hustles to try.
Dog walking has always been a popular side hustle for people who both love animals and have pockets of free time throughout the day. Though summer can be a great time to get started, since the weather is often warm and sunny, demand is usually consistent throughout the year.
Consider signing up for a dog walking service like Rover, Barkly Pets, or PetBacker. PayScale estimates dog walkers make an average of $14 per hour. Note that the service platform takes a cut: For example, PetBacker charges dog walkers a 15%-25% fee from each reservation.
To reduce your risk of contracting the coronavirus, make sure to maintain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's social distancing protocols, including standing six feet apart from your clients or anyone you encounter outside and wearing a mask.
Video by David Fang
Kids around the world learn English in school beginning as early as third grade, and many parents invest in English lessons for their kids even after they've come home for the day. Sites like Magic Ears, VIPKid, and GoGoKid pair English-speaking teachers with Chinese students for 25-minute classes online.
Teachers pick time slots at their convenience, and all three companies provide the lesson plans. The number of students per class varies: GoGoKid and VIPKid classes are taught one-on-one, while Magic Ears classes have four students per teacher.
GoGoKid teachers earn $14 to $25 per hour, VIPKid teachers earn an average of $22 per hour, and most Magic Ears teachers earn $17 to $26 per hour, according to their websites.
Summer is typically a popular time to relocate, and movers remain in high demand even during the pandemic. If you own a truck or a pickup van and are comfortable with heavy lifting, services like GoShare let you book various moving gigs for average earnings of $42 to $66 per hour, according to their website. Sites like TaskRabbit also enable you to list your moving services; some movers there charge more than $150 per hour.
Even if you don't have a truck, you can still sign up to help other movers on sites like Dolly, where movers make as much as $15 per hour, or Bellhop, where movers make up to $21 per hour, according to the sites. Note that some services require you to be able to lift at least 75 pounds.
When making transactions with clients, make sure to follow all social distancing protocols like staying six feet apart and wearing a mask, and clean surfaces like those in your vehicle regularly.
Love telling friends, family, and followers about your favorite businesses? A new app called Drum enables "Drummers," as they're called, to share promotions on social media or via email or text by businesses selling anything from mattresses to fruit. Drummers typically get a percentage of any sale that comes from their promoting efforts.
"The way that most businesses get their best customers is actually through word of mouth referrals," explains Eric Nalbone, head of marketing at Drum. The company realized there was an opportunity for businesses to track this activity and for referrers to profit from it and created the app an answer for both.
While it's hard to say exactly how much Drummers will make on an ongoing basis, as every offer and promotion they'll be touting is different, Nalbone estimates an average commission for a referral that results in a purchase will be between $10 and $12.
Selling your stuff online can get a great way to generate some extra income, but renting your stuff can bring in money, too. If you do it regularly, it can even become a stream of passive income.
Got some equipment you don't plan to use every day of the week? Consider renting it out to people who would.
- Bike: Apps like Spinlister let you list a bike for an hourly rate, say, $13 per hour, a daily rate, say, $50 per day, and a weekly rate, say, $150 per week. It's free to list, and Spinlister takes 17.5% of all transactions.
- Surfboard: You can rent your surfboard or paddle board on sites like The Quiver and get paid up to $500 per month, according to the company. Users list their equipment for anywhere from $7 per hour to $125 per day. The company charges a 10% transaction fee, and PayPal charges its own fees as well.
- Boat: Apps like GetMyBoat let you rent out various types of boats, ranging from a $25-per-hour kayak to a $400-per-hour private yacht. It's free to list on GetMyBoat, and the site takes an 8.5% fee for every rental.
Make sure to wear a mask when you meet up with renters, and to clean and disinfect your equipment regularly.
Video by David Fang
When stay-at-home orders took effect throughout much of the country in March, many people began to rely on grocery delivery services like Instacart and Shipt. As the virus still poses a real threat, these services remain popular.
Consider signing up to make grocery deliveries on Shipt, where shoppers make an average of $22 per hour, according to Indeed, or Instacart, where shoppers make an average of $13 per hour, according to Glassdoor.
Make sure to adhere to the principles of social distancing in supermarkets and grocery stores, and ask your employer what kind of contactless delivery system is in place to mitigate your risks of contracting the virus. Make sure your employer has a break system in place to allow you to wash your hands frequently and to rest.
Got specific know-how on topics as diverse as mending an animal wound to fixing a fridge? Sites like JustAnswer offer users with questions for anyone from lawyers to appraisers the chance to pose these questions on the site and get a response from an appropriate expert within minutes.
You must apply to become an expert on JustAnswer, which has an acceptance rate of 10% to 12% of all applicants. The site's wide range of experts get paid anywhere from $18 to $50 per answer, depending on their field. Experts made an average of $2,900 in the month of May, according to a representative from the site, while an antiques appraiser made $73,000 in one month alone during the pandemic.
Among the most popular subject areas are IT questions, legal questions, and home improvement questions.
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