Earning extra income through a side hustle, gig app or freelance job is a legitimate way to stretch your budget, jump-start financial goals or pay off debt.
And during the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are searching for remote opportunities to supplement income and employment disruptions.
But not all side hustles are created equal or will fit your goals appropriately. So before you get started, do some soul-searching. “You need to keep three things in mind: your priorities, strengths and deal breakers,” says Julia Pollak, labor economist for online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter.
Beyond those considerations, evaluate whether you need to make this extra $1,000 every month or just during a one-time dry spell. Consider whether you are willing to spend any money on start-up costs. Think about how you will balance it with your full-time job if you have one.
Don’t forget to evaluate the various policies, fees and requirements levied by the apps, companies or employers with which you hope to work. Additionally, COVID-19 may impact the experience of working for certain side-hustle apps or in various jobs. Make sure you’re up to date on any social distancing and cleaning practices, and verify that the money-making opportunity you’re eyeing is still allowed in your city or state.
Once you’ve mulled over those considerations, learn how to earn more money with these 10 ways to make an extra $1,000 this month:
— Teach or tutor.
— Sell your stuff.
— Freelance your skills.
— Leverage your writing talents.
— Take advantage of your language skills.
— Get a seasonal job.
— Rent out a room.
— Drive for a ride-hailing app.
— Take up dog walking or dog-sitting.
— Negotiate with your current employer.
Read on for additional information on these creative ways to make more money.
[See: 25 Ways to Fix Your Finances Fast.]
Teach or Tutor
“Everybody has skills they can share with the rest of the world,” says Chris Haroun, instructor for online learning platform Udemy and CEO of Haroun Education Ventures, based in San Francisco. These days, experts don’t even need to head to the classroom to share their knowledge. Instructors can monetize their courses through sites such as Udemy or Teachable, Haroun says.
During the health crisis, the need for online instructors and tutors is especially high as schools in many states and communities remain closed to in-person instruction.
Lecturers can log on to websites such as YouTube to post instructional videos, but keep in mind that making money on YouTube may be a slow process as you gradually build a subscriber base.
If you live in an area where in-person schooling is still taking place, and you’re comfortable with the risks, reach out to neighborhood schools, mentoring organizations or community colleges, which may be able to utilize your expertise as a classroom instructor.
Sell Your Stuff
Those who’ve been practicing minimalism or are inspired by Marie Kondo’s tips for tidying may have garages full of unused or unneeded clothes, electronics, furniture and kitchen items. Consider posting your wares to Craigslist, eBay, Poshmark or ThredUp.
[See: Best Buy and Sell Apps for Used Stuff.]
Freelance Your Skills
“Look internally: How can you monetize the skills you have currently?” asks Alison Sullivan, a Glassdoor career trends expert based in San Francisco. For example, copy-editing skills, web design know-how or coding knowledge may be valuable to a business or individual. Or you could shop out your managerial skills as a virtual assistant. Consider searching for freelance jobs through sites such as Upwork, Glassdoor or Remote.co. Fiverr is another popular option for freelancers, although experts caution that international workers can create stiff pricing competition.
If you’re looking for more traditional part-time jobs, Pollak notes that flexible job postings are on the rise for positions such as home health aides, nurses, customer service representatives and administrative workers. Some of these positions, such as customer service representative, are increasingly available for remote work.
[SEE: 12 Best Part-Time Jobs to Pay the Bills.]
Leverage Your Writing Talents
If you have skills writing and editing, take advantage of those strengths by using them in a side hustle. “We see a lot of writing and editing and proofreading jobs,” says Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at FlexJobs, a service for finding flexible and remote work. You may be asked to write an article or proofread some technical writing. To ensure that these jobs pay enough to meet the monthly $1,000 mark, make sure you select professional-level positions that don’t require you to churn out dozens of quickly written stories or edits per week, Reynolds says.
Take Advantage of Your Language Skills
If you speak two languages fluently, seek out translation and interpretation gigs online and in person, Reynolds says. Even if you only speak one language, you can find opportunities teaching English as a second language to Chinese school students and other learners over the internet, she says.
Get a Seasonal Job
Work a seasonal side hustle when the season calls for it. For example, customer service jobs for the holiday shopping season start hiring in August, Reynolds says. Look for holiday jobs, summer jobs and other seasonal work to boost your budget during a particular month.
Rent Out a Room
If you have an empty room, unused apartment or vacant in-law suite, consider renting it out on Airbnb or another vacation rental site. Tourists will book your accommodations through the site, and you’ll pocket a portion of the rental fee.
Before you rent, however, make sure you understand any rules or regulations in your municipality, restrictions from your landlord and gaps in your insurance. During the coronavirus pandemic, room-rental sites may implement additional cancellation policies and other best practices for hosts. Make sure you know the new guidelines and follow best practices.
Drive for a Ride-Hailing App
Driving for Uber and Lyft are popular ways to make extra money in a month when you need it. You’ll use your personal automobile to chauffeur riders around your city in return for a percentage of the fare. Remember that driving for a ride-hailing app can have tax consequences, so you should track expenses and earnings and report them appropriately at tax time.
Check with the app you’re using to verify any safety and disinfecting procedures required during the health crisis.
[Read: 10 Easy Ways to Pay Off Debt.]
Take Up Dog Walking or Dog-Sitting
Animal lovers can start dog walking or dog-sitting with apps such as Rover or Wag, or by sharing services on community boards or by word of mouth. Compensation will vary by location, app, frequency and the rates you charge. Users of these apps typically set their rates and work through the app to schedule boarding and walking requests from dog owners.
During the pandemic, take note of any local restrictions or app-mandated requirements to keep dog owners and caretakers safe.
Negotiate With Your Current Employer
Nobody enjoys negotiating salary, but if you’re in good standing with your employer, it’s worth asking for a raise. Be cognizant of the overall health of your industry and employer during the COVID-19 health crisis. But despite tough times in many industries, employers often want to keep top-notch talent. If a half-hour conversation results in a promotion, raise or bonus, it could be the most time-efficient way to make extra money you’ve ever tried.
The takeaway: As you seek out creative ways to earn more money this month, remember that not all apps and methods are the best match for you. Keep in mind that side hustle apps such as Uber, Rover and Airbnb will take a percentage of your booking fees and that you will be treated as an independent contractor, not an employee, which may have its challenges. The coronavirus pandemic will also impact your experience earning extra cash. You may see increased competition, new safety procedures and a new focus on remote opportunities.
No matter how you earn your income, you may need to report it to the IRS at tax time, so keep good records and track expenses. And remember that you shouldn’t let your part-time or gig work detract from any full-time or salaried position you already hold. Says Sullivan: “Make sure to be diligent with your time, so you are still able to do your full-time job while making deadlines for side hustles and freelance work.”