My family has been fortunate to not have lost a lot of work during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, I do know many families who were the opposite. For some, unemployment isn’t enough, for others it’s non-existent. Those who are smart have found ways to make a little extra money from home using their hobbies and talents. Let’s face it, after things get back to normal-ish, having that little extra income still won’t be a bad idea. There are several ways you can, or even prepare to leave the nine to five and work for yourself.
1. Canning and Selling Food at Farmers’ Markets
The virus shut down work for my sister-in-law. She was also unable to get unemployment. But she found a way to make money with some on-the-side work. Even if you are living in a small town, there are plenty of opportunities. Their village hosts a Farmer’s Market once a week. They did have to adjust their schedule by emailing customers an order form that listed what all the vendors were offering that week. People placed orders that were then boxed up and placed in the customer’s car as they drove through the parking lot.
My sister-in-law got in on the vendor side of things by making and canning jellies, pickles, relishes, and vegetarian chili. She would buy ingredients based on the orders she received and added a couple hundred dollars to her weekly income. She plans to continue doing this, adding chocolate and peanut butter fudge when the holidays roll around.
When visiting flea markets or farmer’s markets in the past, I have also seen vendors with homemade breads and treats, such as cookies and cakes.
2. Instacart or One of Several Other App-Based Jobs
I wasn’t familiar with app-based jobs until one of my friends started doing it. Due to the virus, her husband lost half his income. She had previously worked for Instacart, trying to make a few bucks a week to do fun things with her kids, so it was natural for her to pick up even more orders with it. Instacart is an app where people can place a grocery order and someone will shop and deliver those groceries to their front door, usually within an hour. During the pandemic, it was a financial life saver for my friend. She was able to make about $600 a week.
Another friend of mine began working with DoorDash. This is an app where people can place a restaurant order and someone else picks it up and delivers it. That’s not a bad idea for when you’re feeling lazy, don’t want to cook, and don’t want to go anywhere. It wasn’t a bad gig for my friend, either. She was able to make about $200 for two hours’ worth of work.
Of course, with any app-based job, how much you make depends on where you live and how many orders you can pick up. Larger cities will obviously produce more orders than small towns. To get the most benefit, work for more than one app at the same time.
3. Writing Articles
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Here’s your chance. Writing is not in any sense of the word a get rich quick scheme, but it can add to your income or even become a full-time business. If you have knowledge people want, you can make a living writing. If you are going to be serious about it, purchase the Writer’s Market Guide that lists all sorts of magazines and blogs that are looking for writers to fulfill their needs.
You could also start a blog of your own. Find a niche and fill it. Make money by using affiliate links to products related to your writing. It takes time to build up a blog following. Share it on as many social media sites as you can, write excellent copy, and eventually you might be able to earn a decent income.
4. Online Teaching
Are you talented as a teacher? There are several online programs you can sign up to teach from your home. VIPKid is one resource a friend of mine used. She had one little one at home and was expecting another. She had previously been in the school system, so it was an easy transition for her. There were set times she had to teach, but it was normally early in the morning or later in the evening, allowing her time to take care of her family and still bring an income into the household.
With so many choosing to homeschool their children, even before COVID-19, online teaching offers many possibilities. If you are knowledgeable in a certain area, create a curriculum and offer to teach it to homeschool groups. Set all your classes up through Zoom, Google Classroom, or another similar online communication site. Set a fee for the class and collect payments electronically. This would also be a good option for students that need tutoring one on one, which can also be done fully online.
5. Starting an Online Store to Sell Homemade Crafts
This is something I do regularly. Sometimes I need to get away from the screen or just need to let a writing idea simmer, so to my sewing room I go. Sewing quilts and making other crafts is relaxing for me. Unfortunately, I don’t have space to keep everything I make. There are several sites for online stores, such as Etsy, ArtFire, Amazon Handmade, and Zazzle, just to name a few. Create your products, take great pictures, write thorough descriptions, and set up your online store. Collecting payments is easy when using a company like Square or PayPal. You can send invoices to customers for easy online payments.
To make even more money selling crafts you’ve made, find alternative outlets. Look for online vendor events as well as local in-person ones. If you use Square for payments, they’ll send you a card reader so you can take in-person payments that way. You do need a smartphone and a cell signal. Try different events. Some will be more profitable than others. For online events, the cost is minimal, it normally lasts longer than a local vendor event, the reach is long, and you don’t have to pack up all your stuff or leave your house.
6. Meal Delivery
Another friend of mine started a home-based business during a time when she was temporarily laid off. She loved to cook for people, and to keep herself busy while waiting to return to work, she prepared meals and delivered them to friends, family members, and some people she knew that could use a pick-me-up. Her services blossomed and people asked her to deliver meals and be paid for it. This was perfect when everything was in lockdown and restaurants were closed. People were tired of cooking for themselves and she was more than happy to do it. She could easily create a local Facebook page, post a menu, and take orders for the nights she was cooking.
Babysitting may not seem like something that could make you much money, but it can be an option for you. While many businesses are closed, many are still open. And those essential employees may need childcare. You will find that many parents only need a few days a week. When children are in daycare, parents have to pay for the entire week regardless of how many days the child attends. This is where you can be mutually beneficial. Charge a set fee per day and keep your numbers down to about two to three children per day. Charging $40 per day per child, you could earn $600 a week. You may want to check with your locality to see what the laws are and how many children you can watch without registering as a daycare.
8. Customer Service
Like to talk on the phone? There are a large number of companies that are transitioning to at-home customer service employees. Nationwide is just one of them. A friend of mine worked at a local office years ago. When the office decided to close, they chose employees to continue working for them from the comfort of their own home. Each company will tell you what the necessary requirements are, but be prepared with good high-speed internet service and a home office space.
9. Building Websites
Have a knack for technology? Think about starting your own business offering a service many people need but aren’t able to provide for themselves. With so many home-based businesses going online, they all need websites. Fortunately for you, not everyone has the know-how to build one. Build your own website being sure to include a variety of samples of what you can do and put your name out there. Post advertisements on social media to reach as many potential customers as possible.
10. Recording Audiobooks
If you have a voice that is easily recognizable and people remember, look into reading for audiobooks. Authors post their needs on sites such as ACX or you can post a portfolio on Brilliance Audio. If the author chooses you, they will either opt in with a flat fee or with a royalty share where the two of you split the profits for the audiobook. Audiobook narration is good for residual income. The more you do, the more you can make.
Don’t let any type of pandemic or difficult times get you down for too long if you’re out of work. The above is just a few of the ways where you can make a living from home or do all your work online. No matter how bad times may get, there is always work to be done if you look hard enough. If you work even harder, you can make it a new way of life for you even when times are the best. Wouldn’t it be nice to work for yourself only a few days a week? Look into at least one or two of these things and get started. The more you do now, the better off you will be later. The next time something drastic comes up in your life or the world, you will have no worries over your future finances.
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