Thanks to COVID-19, financial insecurity is an unfortunate reality for many Americans right now. Since mid-March, over 35 million people have filed for unemployment, and the job market continues to look grim, as many businesses remain closed for the foreseeable future. If you’re looking for ways to make extra money right now, you might have to get a little creative.
Ahead, we’ve gathered some ideas for how to make money while maintaining social distancing at home, whether you needing to pay off bills, or just trying to save for the future. These methods probably won’t land you a windfall, but sometimes, every little bit counts.
Resell your stuff
Consumer-to-consumer e-commerce has been big since the advent of eBay, and there are plenty of people today who make their entire living being a reseller. eBay has seen a rise in popularity over the past few months, in fact. Take a look around your house; maybe you’ll find that you have some items that are in demand right now. (Just don’t become a price gouger if you happen to have a large supply of disinfecting wipes.) If you’re specifically interested in selling locally, which is often best for items like furniture, try Facebook Marketplace. If you want to sell clothes, you can use sites like Poshmark, ThredUP, or TheRealReal.
Make something to sell on Etsy
One small silver lining of quarantine has been exploring new hobbies to occupy your time spent at home. Whether you’ve been making art and crafts for a long time or have recently discovered your talent for it, now could be a great time to turn it into a small business. Whether it’s something you’ve knitted, a beautiful painting, a custom Nintendo Switch skin, or the cloth masks you’ve gotten good at sewing, Etsy is the place for selling one-of-a-kind handcrafted items.
Private tutoring can be competitive and require specialized skills, but online English tutoring can be a more approachable entry point. You’ll need to be a native English speaker and have a Bachelor’s degree (it usually doesn’t matter what your degree is in). You’ll also need a computer with a working webcam. Companies like VIPKid offer the option to flexibly schedule short classes and even gives you a curriculum to follow so you don’t have to come up with lesson plans. The company is based in Beijing, however, so you may have to keep any applicable time differences in mind when booking classes.
Caption or transcribe
A variety of companies hire freelancers to caption videos or transcribe audio. One of the biggest names in this field is Rev, but it’s unfortunately not hiring right now. There are plenty of services that pay people to transcribe, though, including TranscribeMe, and you can also find transcription jobs on UpWork. For those looking for some side income fast, transcription is a valid way to make money that doesn’t require an extra-special skill.
User testing is when companies pay people to test a site or app, soliciting thoughts on its usability and whether there are any bugs or errors. You need to have an internet connection, a working mic, and be able to elucidate your experience of the website/app clearly. There’s also usually an application process, and tests are especially competitive right now due to more people participating. You can find assignments through sites like UserTesting.
I know, I know. It sounds sketchy. You can just see the all-caps spam email subject lines or Craigslist posts: $$$ UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! GET PAID RIGHT NOW JUST ANSWER THESE SURVEY QUESTIONS!!!! WOW!!! $$$ There’s no shortage of paid online surveys that are shady; even if they actually do pay you, what you might really be selling is your personal data. But there are also paid surveys that are more legitimate. Prolific, for example, is a startup that only hosts surveys from academic researchers. If this is something you’re interested in trying, make sure you’re well-informed about which sites are trustworthy.
Make Youtube videos or stream on Twitch
This one might take a lot more effort than all of the above combined, but in an age of influencers, who hasn’t dreamed of making the kind of money that comes with an internet following? If earning some side income is going to be a long-term commitment and not just something to help pay your next bills, it might not be the worst idea to try a long-term investment. Making YouTube videos might take a fair amount of time but they can continue to rack in ad revenue, especially if you do a little research. If you’d prefer interacting with a live audience, try streaming platforms like Twitch, where people stream themselves playing games, creating art, cooking, discussing politics, or just chatting about everyday life. If people like your content, they can buy a subscription to your channel in tiers up to $24.99 a month.
Look for gigs on freelance boards
There are a lot of miscellaneous tasks or jobs that get posted on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork that are quick and easy to pick up when you need that extra money. Both sites cover vast categories of freelance work, so if you want to make extra money by doing something that has relevance to your career, sites like these are a good bet.