Job openings hit a record 9.3 million in April, according to the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, with leisure and hospitality the leading industry looking for talent. Yet employers are having a hard time filling roles, which economists attribute to factors including child-care issues and ongoing fears about the pandemic.
If you're looking for a side hustle or part-time work, helping companies solve issues stemming from staffing shortages and other problems could be smart. "Ask yourself, 'What is the problem that needs to be solved right now? Where can I fit in as a part of the solution?'" says Angelina Darrisaw, a career coach and founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach.
Here are three ways to make money by capitalizing on what businesses need right now.
Many employers are having trouble finding applicants. "One big problem these companies have is they don't know where to look for their job candidates beyond posting a sign on their door or advertising on a traditional jobs website," says Angelique Rewers, founder of The Corporate Agent, a consulting firm that helps small businesses land corporate clients. "But a lot of the people they are looking to hire aren't there."
"If you have marketing experience, especially when it comes to social media or email marketing, you can create a side hustle helping companies promote their job openings in a way that gets the opportunities in front of the right demographics," she says.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
Maybe you start a Twitter account for that business promoting their openings, or you post openings on local Facebook groups on their behalf. If you have digital savvy, think about how you can use it to help businesses get the word out about their needs. Social media managers make a median $16 per hour, according to PayScale.
"If you have experience in party or event planning, you can help companies to host their own private job fair day or even help a few local companies to partner up for a job day right in their shopping center area," says Rewers. Event planners make a median $17 per hour, according to PayScale.
The leisure and hospitality industry has seen both a surge in hiring and a surge in clientele in 2021, as people emerge from lockdown. And warehouses have been inundated with demand since the beginning of the pandemic. There are ways to help managers in such in-demand industries with their various administrative tasks as they juggle an influx of duties.
One problem these businesses might have as they try to staff up, for example, is when candidates don't show up for their interviews, Rewers says. "If you have experience as an administrative assistant or virtual assistant, you can provide a service to help make phone calls and text messages to the job applicants to not only give the extra nudge to get them there, but also know ahead of time when someone has backed out," she says. "Busy store managers don't have the time to do this."
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
Additionally, if workers needed for physical tasks such as dishwashers or warehouse runners don't show up, it can mean "that normal administrative tasks, bookkeeping, ordering supplies and handling inventory, hiring a new cleaning company or finding new vendors, and so on just aren't getting done," says Rewers. If you have experience doing those things, it's a service you can offer as a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants on sites like Thumbtack charge as much as $35 per hour.
Many people are still electing to stay home or simply enjoy getting their food delivered more than they used to before the pandemic. And local eateries "that can't find full-time drivers but also can't trust their deliveries to services like Uber Eats" need people to deliver their goods, says Rewers. The same may be true of other businesses such as florists or laundry services.
Consider offering your delivery services to local vendors on sites like TaskRabbit, where drivers charge as much as $23 per hour.
As you figure out how you can be of assistance, it's wise to be flexible and to listen to what the market wants. "If 2020 taught us one thing, it is that we have to prepare ourselves to be ready to pivot as needed," says Darrisaw. "It's vital that even amid challenges, you use strategic thinking to shift your mindset and make room for possibilities."
"If one company you pitched said no, ask yourself, 'If not this, then what?'" she says.
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