Posted on: January 12, 2021 |

If you’ve been laid off or you’re working fewer hours during the COVID-19 outbreak, you may have wondered about how to safely start a side hustle during a pandemic. You’ve probably already thought of or found a lot of options, but it’s unclear which of these side hustles can actually make money. Asking yourself the right questions upfront and taking a hard look at what you have to work with will help you start a side hustle during the pandemic and actually make money.

How to Start a Side Hustle During a Pandemic And Actually Make Money

There are hundreds of side hustle ideas available. Generally, these gigs fall into the following categories listed below. Whether or not you can start these side hustles during a pandemic and actually make money will take a bit more examination. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, consider these ideas and which might apply to you.

  • Sell a skill online: If you have a skill, there are ways to sell it online. Websites like Fiverr, Guru, Flexjobs and many more allow you to advertise your skills. Some websites specialize in selling particular skills, such as SoundBetter for music, Soceity6 for artwork or Care.com for at-home work.
  • Teach your skill online: You can create a course on websites like Udemy or Teachable, work one-on-one with students by tutoring them, or teach english as a second language on websites like VerbalPlanet or Chegg.
  • Sell an item online: From antiques to books to clothes, there are second-hand marketplaces for all types of items. Another approach is dropshipping, selling your own crafts on sites like Etsy, or marketing another person’s goods online using your blog, website or social media accounts and sponsored links or posts.
  • Complete tasks online: Some tasks don’t require much training or skill, only time. You can get started with these right away on sites like TaskRabbit, or you can respond to surveys on sites like SwagBucks, proofread text, and much more.
  • Invest: You’ll need some money to start with for this. You might invest in the stock market, a friend’s business, peer-to-peer lending, experiment with crowdfunding, buy and sell land, or something else.
  • Rent out your stuff: websites like Airbnb kicked off the online rental economy. Now, you can rent out almost anything; your spare bedroom, garage, camping gear, sporting goods, even your wardrobe.
  • Start a small business: This will also require some start-up money up front, but you’ll have more control. If you’re not a fan of being in front of a computer all the time, these businesses are for you, since they’re not exclusively online. This can be anything from a small brick-and-mortar store, buying equipment in the vending industry, serving customers at their location, capitalizing on an invention, and much more.

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How to Choose a Side Hustle That Actually Makes Money

Starting a side hustle is already a challenge, and the pandemic adds an extra layer of consideration. However, it is possible to start a side hustle during a pandemic safely and actually make money too. As you go through the rest of this blog post, write down your answers. This will help you hone in on your perfect side hustle.

Inventory your skills and experience

First, ask yourself, what am I good at? What do I have experience with already? Choosing work that you already have some experience in will help you start smoothly and make money right away. Consider past jobs you’ve had, your hobbies, classes you’ve taken, things you’ve built or made, or friends you could ask to teach you.

Think about your passions

What do you enjoy? The success of your side hustle will largely depend on how much time you put in. If you choose a side hustle idea you enjoy, it will be easier to put in the time you need to meet your goals. Think hard and dig deep. What is an activity that causes you to lose track of time? Other than money, what motivates you? What makes you excited to get up in the morning?

Your answer might not seem helpful at first, but think creatively. For example, if you enjoy playing simple online games, maybe you could spend this time filling out online surveys instead. If you like reading, consider starting a book blog, becoming a beta reader or proofreader. If you like running a business, but you don’t have much experience yet, investing in vending might be for you.

Inventory your equipment and resources

Some work requires specialized tools or equipment, or some start-up money to buy them. Other side hustles just require time. Tools, equipment and time, just like skills and experience, all create barriers to entry. More barriers to entry means it will be harder to start a side hustle, but it also means you’ll weed out some competition. If you already have skills, experience, tools, equipment, or resources, you’ll be in a better position to start a particular side hustle. Since fewer people can do these jobs, starting these side hustles means you’ll start making more money.

Once again, think creatively. Do you have a lot of landscaping tools, woodworking tools, or crafting tools? If you don’t have the skills to use these, maybe you can rent them out. Or, if you have skills but no tools, could you borrow some? Or rent them from someone else? Try to closely match your skills, passions, and equipment or resources.

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Find your niche

Now that you’ve written down your skills, resources and passions, where do they intersect? If you have a few options, choose the one that you are either most excited about or one that will be most difficult for others to start.

Even if your side hustle has high barriers to entry, you’ll still have competition. Consider how you can stand out, such as highlighting your past work, targeting a particular audience, gaining an extra certification, adding skills, or creating a business plan. What makes your side hustle unique, especially well-planned, or compelling to customers?

Set realistic goals and expectations

If your side hustle doesn’t meet your expectations, you can quickly become discouraged. While you might be able to eventually replace your full-time job if you find your passion, you should set your expectations or goals more modestly to start with, such as making an extra $100 a month. This way, when you meet your goals, you’ll have motivation to continue reaching higher.

Make it safe

To start a side hustle during a pandemic, you also want to consider your own safety and others’. Consider how you can safely distance yourself from your customers or clients, limit the size of crowds, or work outside instead of indoors.

If you typically worked with crowds, consider how you might create smaller, more individualized experiences, or take your skill online. For example, if you enjoyed a side hustle as a DJ, maybe you could make some changes to create an online music and trivia experience. Or, if you worked in a close, indoor environment, consider how you might adapt to an outdoor environment, or help your customers take your work home with them. For example, if you worked as a chef, could you create sanitary, ready-to-eat meals for your customers to prepare at home? Or, if you taught a fitness class, could you create an online course instead, or give customers instructional booklets to take home? If you sold a product in-store, could you create to-go packets instead, move your shop online, or create custom shopping experiences?

There are many ways to start a side hustle, even during a pandemic. To actually make money, you’ll need to carefully consider what you can put into your business, and what you really enjoy doing. With the right mix of talent, passion and time, you may be able to turn your side hustle into a full time business.