Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have become unemployed. Many are turning to the gig economy to make money. And it’s booming.
“Obviously online shopping has become huge, and so delivery services are packed. You’ve got Amazon Flex trucks practically ramming into each other,” says Kathy Kristof, editor at SideHusl.com, a website that reviews hundreds of online money-making platforms.
Here’s how to choose the right pandemic side job for you.
• ASSESS YOURSELF FIRST
As you begin searching for a side hustle, think about your experience, skills and interests. But more importantly, consider what you’re comfortable doing.
Are you willing to be in close contact with other people, or would you prefer a socially distant position? Are you part of a high-risk group for COVID-19? What would happen if you got sick and couldn’t work?
If either your health or financial life could be ravaged by illness, you’re going to have to be more careful than the people without those risks, Kristof says.
• EXPAND YOUR DEFINITION OF ‘SIDE GIG’
“Side gig” has become synonymous with a handful of jobs: dog walking, delivering groceries and driving for Uber or Lyft. But these aren’t the only opportunities occupying the space.
You can teach a virtual yoga class, for example, sell clothing online or work as a freelance designer. Through services like TaskRabbit, you can get paid to do odd jobs like yard work and assembling furniture.
Side and part-time jobs tend to rise during economically uncertain times, according to Brie Weiler Reynolds, career development manager at FlexJobs, a job-search site for remote and flexible jobs. Chances are there’s something up your alley.
Remote jobs posted on FlexJobs in career categories such as marketing, sales and project management have increased over 50 percent since March, according to a recent analysis from the site.
• PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FINANCES
You can avoid surprises by looking up a company’s Better Business Bureau rating, reading through the fine print on its website and checking out reviews on sites like SideHusl and Indeed.
“Let’s say you’re interested in delivery jobs, and you’ve got DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates. You want to look at each site and see what the fees are,” Weiler Reynolds says.
Many platforms charge registration, listing or commission fees, which can cut into your earnings. Some gigs also require you to pay expenses like gas and insurance for your vehicle. If you’re a rideshare driver, delivery driver or mover, your personal auto insurance policy doesn’t cover you for commercial risk, Kristof says.
“Some online platforms automatically cover you with a commercial policy. Others do not. So you should always look for that if you’re working for an online platform,” Kristof says.