October 13, 2020 12 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Even if you have a full-time job, there’s nothing wrong with putting a little extra cash in your pocket. It’s not about greed: Having an additional income stream means that you get out of debt or fatten your savings.
But, there’s another possible outcome. You may be able to make this into a bonafide full-time job. That means you can be your own boss or generate a passive income.
If you never thought about this before, 2020 should have opened your eyes — especially if you’re struggling as a business owner or have unfortunately lost your main source of income. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that life can drastically change in the blink of an eye. As such, it makes sense that you have a financial safety-blanket so that you can weather whatever life throws your way.
While the world has definitely changed, there are still ways that you can make extra money. You may even discover the next great business idea during this difficult time. If you need some ideas, then here are 20 suggestions for your side-hustle consideration.
1. Deliver food
Even prior to Covid-19, delivering food was one of the most popular side hustles. The reason? Third-parties like UberEats and DoorDash have allowed more restaurants to offer takeout. Another perk? The schedules are flexible with peak times being during lunch, dinner rushes and Sundays. And some people have claimed that they’ve made on average $18 an hour.
Besides third-party apps, you could contact local eateries, like pizzerias, to see if they’re in need of part-time drivers.
2. Shop for others
Similarly, you may also consider shopping for others. Instacart is one of the most popular examples of this. Just sign up and work whenever you have the availability. Best of all? You have the option to be only a shopper or to shop and deliver groceries.
Instacart not available in your area? Then check out alternative services like Shipt.
3. Flex your Amazon muscles
According to Statista, Amazon captured 45 percent of all U.S. ecommerce spending in 2019. That figure was expected to rise to 47 percent in 2020, but I suspect that will higher for obvious reasons. As such, Jeff Bezos and Co. need people to deliver these products. And that’s exactly what Amazon Flex is for. Just like with ride sharing or delivering food, you use your own vehicle. You can also set your own schedule, and Amazon claims that drivers make between $18 to $25 per hour.
4. Hop like a (Task)rabbit
Are you handy around the house? Can you assemble that tricky IKEA furniture, set up smart devices, mount TVs or fix simple plumbing or electrical issues? If so, you can sell these skills on TaskRabbit or similar sites like Handy.
Other services you can offer would be delivering groceries, helping people move, painting or yard work. Depending on where you reside, the task you’re performing, and flexibility, it’s possible to earn more than $2,000 per week.
5. Uber or Lyft driver
If your vehicle meets the requirements and you don’t mind taxiing people around, this is one of the most common side gigs. Mainly because you can do this whenever and wherever you want. Plus, it’s feasible to rake in over a grand each month in supplemental income.
At the same time, Covid may have impacted this side business depending on where you live. You might even have health concerns. If that’s the case, then you can still make money off your vehicle by renting it to others through Turo or Getaround. Some have reported that they’ve been able to make between $500 to $1000 renting out their vehicles.
6. Become a freelancer
How do I love freelancing? Let me count the ways.
First, there are hundreds of marketplaces to land a freelancing gig. Second, it’s incredibly flexible. Third, there is no shortage of ways to make money from this. At the minimum, this includes writing, proofreading, editing videos, graphic design, bookkeeping, virtual assistant and transcription work.
The sky is the limit when it comes to freelance work. If you have a unique skill to offer, or are willing to learn a new one, there’s a way to capitalize on it.
Are you well versed in a specific subject matter? If so, then why not help others who are struggling with it? You actually might be able to earn $45 to $100 an hour, either in-person or virtually, through platforms like Wyzant.
8. Teach English online
Although you do not have to be a certified teacher, it would be beneficial if you have experience working with children — even if you’re a parent. From there, you can apply to teach English to students on platforms like VIPKid.
If accepted, this is one of the best side hustles you can ask for. It’s flexible, not extremely challenging, and it’s 100 percent virtual. Best of all? You can earn up to $22 per hour.
9. Teach a skill
How you decide to cash in on the skills you possess is totally up to you. For example, you could host music lessons from your home. Are you a talented chef, baker or stylist? Then you could launch your own YouTube channel.
You could even add on to your existing business. For instance, if you owned a gym or yoga studio, then you might want to offer online classes. Or, you could launch a membership site where customers can access exclusive content.
I would be remiss if I didn’t add that unless you already have an audience, these suggestions won’t being-in money overnight. In fact, it might take months or years. So, if you need to make money sooner than later, you might want to look elsewhere.
You will need to manage your time carefully so that you don’t overextend yourself — especially if you have another full time job. Brush up on time-management skills.
10. Child or companion care
Perhaps one of the oldest side hustles is childcare. Examples would be babysitting for your neighbors when they want to go out or watching your niece or nephew after school. And, because you aren’t actually running a daycare facility, you don’t have to be concerned with any red tape — you’ll probably get paid in cash, too.
What’s more, with parents currently working from home, they may call on you to lend a hand. For instance, if they have a virtual meeting, they may pay you to get the kids out of the house or at least not let them come in during the meetings duration so they won’t get interrupted.
A slight variation of this would be eldercare. Several years ago, I would spend my Friday mornings running errands for my grandparents and making sure they were set up for the weekend. And because my schedule was flexible, I could also take them to their doctor’s appointments.
Many parents are so busy with their own children that they will pay for a couple of hours a day for you to sit with their own parent. Sometimes a quick visit in the evening with an aging individual can be done after work and adds to your cash reserves.
Considering that the U.S. population is aging, there should be plenty of companion care opportunities available.
11. Walk dogs or petsit
As a dog owner, I can’t stand leaving my baby alone all day. Thankfully, when I’m not working from home, she usually comes with me. However, not everyone is as fortunate. As such, they won’t mind shelling out the money for someone to walk and check-in on their four-legged friend through platforms like Rover.
However, take a look around your neighborhood: there are likely neighbors looking for a familiar face for their furry friends. Check out your local dog park, and you’ll likely find some dog to babysit there, running around, and you could check out the personality before committing to the job.
If you’re looking to make more and love having dogs around, you can also petsit when their owners go out of town. In some cases, you might be able to fetch at least $70 for an overnight stay.
12. Clean houses or small businesses
There’s nothing like a pandemic to highlight the importance of cleanliness. But, to be honest, this is also a profitable side gig. I know plenty of people who keep up with the day-to-day cleaning. But, they’ll hire someone either once a week or a couple of times a month take care of heavier cleaning — such as windows and dusting.
If you have the cleaning supplies and don’t mind getting a little dirty, there’s definitely potential here. And who knows? Maybe your little business on the side takes off. Maybe eventualy you can hire other people making this a passive-income-stream business idea.
Flipping is basically taking an item and selling it for a profit. The idea is that you already own said items or purchased it cheaply. For instance, you could sell your old electronics on Declutter. Or, you could hit up a yard sale or visit Craigslist free section. From there, you clean up or refurbish the item and try to make a profit off of it.
Years ago, I met a woman who went to the local second-hand clothing stores and purchased items and then spent the day selling them on eBay for a little more, after postage. I couldn’t image that she was making much after the work of it, but she claimed it paid her car payment and side needs.
14. Create stuff to sell
Thanks to platforms like Etsy you can easily sell your creations online. It could anything from candles, jewelry, custom face masks, furniture or green cleaning supplies. You could also sell electronic files, such as teaching plans or blueprints for a treehouse, as well.
15. Referee or ump
If you don’t mind getting some lip, this could be an interesting side gig. According to the Bureau of Labor, “Employment of umpires, referees, and other sports officials is projected to grow eight percent from 2019 to 2029.” That’s much faster than the average payment for all occupations.
Moreover, the median annual wage is $28,550. Not shabby for something that you’ll do either after work or on the weekend. By the way, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to be calling professional sports games — even though that would be awesome. Instead, this would be for more local sporting events, like referring a high school football game or girls volleyball.
16. Lawn care and snow removal
There’s an increasing demand for grounds maintenance for both homeowners and businesses. The earning potential can be from $5,000 to $50,000 in their first year. Besides, spending time outside is great for your health and well-being.
During the colder months, you could provide other services. Examples could be raking leaves or removing snow.
17. Go mobile
Obviously, businesses like landscaping and delivering food are mobile. But, what I’m talking about here is taking businesses that typically had a physical location and converting them. For instance, you could go to someone’s home and cut their hair, groom their dog, or detail their automobile.
Sure. The convenience factor is a huge plus. But, you’re offering a service to those who might still be hesitant about going out and doing these simple chores in a post-Covid world.
18. Work the polls
Unless you’ve been completely off the grid, you already know it’s an election year. Hopefully, you’re going to do your civic duty and vote. But, since you’re already registered, you might be able to make some extra cash on election day as well.
Between Covid-19 concerns and the fact that 58 percent of poll workers were 61 or older, there’s certainly a need for poll workers. “In normal circumstances, election officials find it very difficult to have enough poll workers to run elections,” Sylvia Albert, Director of Voting and Elections at the watchdog group Common Cause, told NPR. In 2020, she says, “the problem is exponentially larger.”
If you’re able to work all day on election day, which could roughly be from 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m, you might be able to make anywhere from $200 to $500. Of course, this varies by jurisdiction. But, once you’re trained, this could be a recurring side gig whenever there are elections taking place.
If interested, sign up through the Fair Elections Center.
If you are thinking in the direction of picking up a side gig to make ends meet or get some extra cash, you likely already have the soft skills to pull off getting the work. Hopefully, these ideas can be a jumping off point for you and your next side hustle.
The Trump campaign celebrated a growth record that Democrats downplayed.
The White House celebrated economic growth numbers for the third quarter released on Thursday, even as Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign sought to throw cold water on the report — the last major data release leading up to the Nov. 3 election — and warned that the economic recovery was losing steam.
The economy grew at a record pace last quarter, but the upswing was a partial bounce-back after an enormous decline and left the economy smaller than it was before the pandemic. The White House took no notice of those glum caveats.
“This record economic growth is absolute validation of President Trump’s policies, which create jobs and opportunities for Americans in every corner of the country,” Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign said in a statement, highlighting a rebound of 33.1 percent at an annualized rate. Mr. Trump heralded the data on Twitter, posting that he was “so glad” that the number had come out before Election Day.
GDP number just announced. Biggest and Best in the History of our Country, and not even close. Next year will be FANTASTIC!!! However, Sleepy Joe Biden and his proposed record setting tax increase, would kill it all. So glad this great GDP number came out before November 3rd.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2020
The annualized rate that the White House emphasized extrapolates growth numbers as if the current pace held up for a year, and risks overstating big swings. Because the economy’s growth has been so volatile amid the pandemic, economists have urged focusing on quarterly numbers.
Those showed a 7.4 percent gain in the third quarter. That rebound, by far the biggest since reliable statistics began after World War II, still leaves the economy short of its pre-pandemic levels. The pace of recovery has also slowed, and now coronavirus cases are rising again across much of the United States, raising the prospect of further pullback.
“The recovery is stalling out, thanks to Trump’s refusal to have a serious plan to deal with Covid or to pass a new economic relief plan for workers, small businesses and communities,” Mr. Biden’s campaign said in a release ahead of Thursday’s report. The rebound was widely expected, and the campaign characterized it as “a partial return from a catastrophic hit.”
Economists have warned that the recovery could face serious roadblocks ahead. Temporary measures meant to shore up households and businesses — including unemployment insurance supplements and forgivable loans — have run dry. Swaths of the service sector remain shut down as the virus continues to spread, and job losses that were temporary are increasingly turning permanent.
“With coronavirus infections hitting a record high in recent days and any additional fiscal stimulus unlikely to arrive until, at the earliest, the start of next year, further progress will be much slower,” Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note following the report.
Black and Hispanic workers, especially women, lag in the U.S. economic recovery.
The surge in economic output in the third quarter set a record, but the recovery isn’t reaching everyone.
Economists have long warned that aggregate statistics like gross domestic product can obscure important differences beneath the surface. In the aftermath of the last recession, for example, G.D.P. returned to its previous level in early 2011, even as poverty rates remained high and the unemployment rate for Black Americans was above 15 percent.
Aggregate statistics could be even more misleading during the current crisis. The job losses in the initial months of the pandemic disproportionately struck low-wage service workers, many of them Black and Hispanic women. Service-sector jobs have been slow to return, while school closings are keeping many parents, especially mothers, from returning to work. Nearly half a million Hispanic women have left the labor force over the last three months.
“If we’re thinking that the economy is recovering completely and uniformly, that is simply not the case,” said Michelle Holder, an economist at John Jay College in New York. “This rebound is unevenly distributed along racial and gender lines.”
The G.D.P. report released Thursday doesn’t break down the data by race, sex or income. But other sources make the disparities clear. A pair of studies by researchers at the Urban Institute released this week found that Black and Hispanic adults were more likely to have lost jobs or income since March, and were twice as likely as white adults to experience food insecurity in September.
The financial impact of the pandemic hit many of the families that were least able to afford it, even as white-collar workers were largely spared, said Michael Karpman, an Urban Institute researcher and one of the studies’ authors.
“A lot of people who were already in a precarious position before the pandemic are now in worse shape, whereas people who were better off have generally been faring better financially,” he said.
Federal relief programs, such as expanded unemployment benefits, helped offset the damage for many families in the first months of the pandemic. But those programs have mostly ended, and talks to revive them have stalled in Washington. With virus cases surging in much of the country, Mr. Karpman warned, the economic toll could increase.
“There could be a lot more hardship coming up this winter if there’s not more relief from Congress, with the impact falling disproportionately on Black and Hispanic workers and their families,” he said.
Ant Challenged Beijing and Prospered. Now It Toes the Line.
As Jack Ma of Alibaba helped turn China into the world’s biggest e-commerce market over the past two decades, he was also vowing to pull off a more audacious transformation.
“If the banks don’t change, we’ll change the banks,” he said in 2008, decrying how hard it was for small businesses in China to borrow from government-run lenders.
“The financial industry needs disrupters,” he told People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, a few years later. His goal, he said, was to make banks and other state-owned enterprises “feel unwell.”
The scope of Mr. Ma’s success is becoming clearer. The vehicle for his financial-technology ambitions, an Alibaba spinoff called Ant Group, is preparing for the largest initial public offering on record. Ant is set to raise $34 billion by selling its shares to the public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to stock exchange documents released on Monday. After the listing, Ant would be worth around $310 billion, much more than many global banks.
The company is going public not as a scrappy upstart, but as a leviathan deeply dependent on the good will of the government Mr. Ma once relished prodding.
More than 730 million people use Ant’s Alipay app every month to pay for lunch, invest their savings and shop on credit. Yet Alipay’s size and importance have made it an inevitable target for China’s regulators, which have already brought its business to heel in certain areas.
These days, Ant talks mostly about creating partnerships with big banks, not disrupting or supplanting them. Several government-owned funds and institutions are Ant shareholders and stand to profit handsomely from the public offering.
The question now is how much higher Ant can fly without provoking the Chinese authorities into clipping its wings further.
Excitable investors see Ant as a buzzy internet innovator. The risk is that it becomes more like a heavily regulated “financial digital utility,” said Fraser Howie, the co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.”
“Utility stocks, as far as I remember, were not the ones to be seen as the most exciting,” Mr. Howie said.
Ant declined to comment, citing the quiet period demanded by regulators before its share sale.
The company has played give-and-take with Beijing for years. As smartphone payments became ubiquitous in China, Ant found itself managing huge piles of money in Alipay users’ virtual wallets. The central bank made it park those funds in special accounts where they would earn minimal interest.
After people piled into an easy-to-use investment fund inside Alipay, the government forced the fund to shed risk and lower returns. Regulators curbed a plan to use Alipay data as the basis for a credit-scoring system akin to Americans’ FICO scores.
China’s Supreme Court this summer capped interest rates for consumer loans, though it was unclear how the ceiling would apply to Ant. The central bank is preparing a new virtual currency that could compete against Alipay and another digital wallet, the messaging app WeChat, as an everyday payment tool.
Ant has learned ways of keeping the authorities on its side. Mr. Ma once boasted at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about never taking money from the Chinese government. Today, funds associated with China’s social security system, its sovereign wealth fund, a state-owned life insurance company and the national postal carrier hold stakes in Ant. The I.P.O. is likely to increase the value of their holdings considerably.
“That’s how the state gets its payoff,” Mr. Howie said. With Ant, he said, “the line between state-owned enterprise and private enterprise is highly, highly blurred.”
China, in less than two generations, went from having a state-planned financial system to being at the global vanguard of internet finance, with trillions of dollars in transactions being made on mobile devices each year. Alipay had a lot to do with it.
Alibaba created the service in the early 2000s to hold payments for online purchases in escrow. Its broader usefulness quickly became clear in a country that mostly missed out on the credit card era. Features were added and users piled in. It became impossible for regulators and banks not to see the app as a threat.
A big test came when Ant began making an offer to Alipay users: Park your money in a section of the app called Yu’ebao, which means “leftover treasure,” and we will pay you more than the low rates fixed by the government at banks.
People could invest as much or as little as they wanted, making them feel like they were putting their pocket change to use. Yu’ebao was a hit, becoming one of the world’s largest money market funds.
The banks were terrified. One commentator for a state broadcaster called the fund a “vampire” and a “parasite.”
Still, “all the main regulators remained unanimous in saying that this was a positive thing for the Chinese financial system,” said Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.
“If you can’t actually reform the banks,” Mr. Chorzempa said, “you can inject more competition.”
But then came worries about shadowy, unregulated corners of finance and the dangers they posed to the wider economy. Today, Chinese regulators are tightening supervision of financial holding companies, Ant included. Beijing has kept close watch on the financial instruments that small lenders create out of their consumer loans and sell to investors. Such securities help Ant fund some of its lending. But they also amplify the blowup if too many of those loans aren’t repaid.
“Those kinds of derivative products are something the government is really concerned about,” said Tian X. Hou, founder of the research firm TH Data Capital. Given Ant’s size, she said, “the government should be concerned.”
The broader worry for China is about growing levels of household debt. Beijing wants to cultivate a consumer economy, but excessive borrowing could eventually weigh on people’s spending power. The names of two of Alipay’s popular credit functions, Huabei and Jiebei, are jaunty invitations to spend and borrow.
Huang Ling, 22, started using Huabei when she was in high school. At the time, she didn’t qualify for a credit card. With Huabei’s help, she bought a drone, a scooter, a laptop and more.
The credit line made her feel rich. It also made her realize that if she actually wanted to be rich, she had to get busy.
“Living beyond my means forced me to work harder,” Ms. Huang said.
First, she opened a clothing shop in her hometown, Nanchang, in southeastern China. Then she started an advertising company in the inland metropolis of Chongqing. When the business needed cash, she borrowed from Jiebei.
Online shopping became a way to soothe daily anxieties, and Ms. Huang sometimes racked up thousands of dollars in Huabei bills, which only made her even more anxious. When the pandemic slammed her business, she started falling behind on her payments. That cast her into a deep depression.
Finally, early this month, with her parents’ help, she paid off her debts and closed her Huabei and Jiebei accounts. She felt “elated,” she said.
China’s recent troubles with freewheeling online loan platforms have put the government under pressure to protect ordinary borrowers.
Ant is helped by the fact that its business lines up with many of the Chinese leadership’s priorities: encouraging entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, and expanding the middle class. This year, the company helped the eastern city of Hangzhou, where it is based, set up an early version of the government’s app-based system for dictating coronavirus quarantines.
Such coziness is bound to raise hackles overseas. In Washington, Chinese tech companies that are seen as close to the government are radioactive.
In January 2017, Eric Jing, then Ant’s chief executive, said the company aimed to be serving two billion users worldwide within a decade. Shortly after, Ant announced that it was acquiring the money transfer company MoneyGram to increase its U.S. footprint. By the following January, the deal was dead, thwarted by data security concerns.
More recently, top officials in the Trump administration have discussed whether to place Ant Group on the so-called entity list, which prohibits foreign companies from purchasing American products. Officials from the State Department have suggested that an interagency committee, which also includes officials from the departments of defense, commerce and energy, review Ant for the potential entity listing, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Ant does not talk much anymore about expanding in the United States.
Ana Swanson contributed reporting.
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