Keep Calm, Keep Working: Ambitious Side Jobs For Ambiguous Times
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Keep Calm, Keep Working: Ambitious Side Jobs For Ambiguous Times

Young woman gardening to make extra money, side jobs

The number of COVID-19 cases now stands at more than two million in the U.S. And while many municipalities are reopening business and welcoming customers through the doors, many more are holding off reopening. Furthermore, as many as 100,000 small businesses have already closed for good due to the pandemic, with more likely to follow due to the inability to keep the doors open with reduced capacity or former customers unwilling to return. That’s why many people are considering getting side jobs in our uncertain economy.

Making up for lost employment funds is a daunting task, whether your office reopens or relocates permanently to your home office. State unemployment funds don't always cover most daily necessities. The side jobs you once considered a source of fun money or occasional practice at another line of work with the hope and dream of making it full-time, now becomes a source of refueling your bank account.

Moving the side hustle from sometime stint to regular shift while staying safe and working full-time or caring for others at home makes for a long day but a more reliable source of controllable income. But how do you manage to score the perfect side hustle while holding everything together?

Seven ways to work smart, safe and overcome the side job hurdle

Delivery driver

Contactless and pay-ahead delivery make this less risky than earlier times, when paying by cash often meant drivers carried too much of it and were easy robbery targets. New apps make paying and tipping online safe and secure for drivers, business owners, and recipients alike. You need your own car and insurance, but the time you spend delivering anything from pizza to prescription medicines is your own.

Overnight store shelf stocker

Grocery stores have seen fewer in-store shoppers, but people are spending more on essential food and paper products, buying in bulk, and relying on shopper services to pick up and deliver to their doorstep. If you're trying to limit contact with others, consider a job cleaning or stocking shelves overnight, when the store is closed. It's a service to others with minimal person-to-person contact.

Freelance writer/photographer

These positions are some of the best and most creative side jobs you can pursue right now. The writing, editing, and blogging talents you possess are useful to marketing services, magazines, newspapers, general content websites, the entertainment world, resume writing services, retailers, travel companies, and just about any company that needs words, pictures, and videos describing their products and services. Visit freelance writing websites and general employment services and look under the tabs Writing, Editing, Copywriting, Blogging, Grant Writing, and Tech Writing to find your niche.

Technology guru

Do you know a lot about technology? Well, tech side jobs are definitely a good way to go right now. Staying safe at home means older people with fewer digital skills are now isolated, unable to see or contact loved ones because they've never learned how to operate a computer or use video conferencing software. Offer your skills to nursing homes, assisted living facilities (as your municipality allows), senior communities, and your older friends and neighbors. Provide instruction on how to operate their devices, recognize and avoid online phishing and scam emails, and connect with family; it's a new skill that engages the elder mind, fights loneliness, and establishes a larger world for them.

Tutoring online

Summer isn't downtime for many students; it's a learning opportunity. Take your teaching skills off hiatus and sign up with your local school district or a private tutoring company as an online tutor. Many parents pay well for their children to take extra courses that offer an advantage for college admissions.

Lawn, garden, and home maintenance

A skill set that includes lawn care, power tools, plumbing, electrical, or general automotive repairs is a skill set that sells very well. Many consumers would prefer not to visit a packed home repair store, auto center, or garden shop at this time. If you can bring your knowledge, tools, and trade to their home and follow CDC guidelines for hand-washing, mask-wearing, and general sanitizing of equipment, your business will be the one the client always calls.

Online or one-on-one cooking lessons, food prep

More time inside means more time (trying to learn to) to cook. And many people admit to failing at the basic cooking and baking skills. Put your friendly online presence, collection of simple recipes, readily available ingredients, and talent on YouTube, and offer a series of your classes as a subscription. Or provide one-on-one instruction at a client's home for those who need an in-person demonstration. Or skip the lessons altogether and use either your own or the client's kitchen to cook, providing a week's worth of meals, frozen and refrigerated, for clients to conveniently heat and eat.