When we talk about second sources of income, people tend to think of “new” things they’ve always wanted to start doing to earn money. However, a global pandemic and economic depression is a far-from-ideal time to unveil a new business to the world. We’re primarily sticking to our routines and the people/places/things we know.
However, everybody misses stuff they enjoyed doing pre-Coronavirus, from the basic to the bougie. Therefore the best advice I can give on pandemic side hustles is to focus on providing a product or service that you KNOW your own network likes and has been having difficulty obtaining. You being a known person (to your network) providing something that folks need or miss, is basically the easiest sale in the world.
I have a friend in Boston who started baking cupcakes and delivering them to her neighbors and friends. She sends a group text on Sunday with the flavors for that week, and you have to send her your order by Tuesday. She makes the cupcakes and delivers them herself (contact-free) for $5-$6 each over the weekend and takes money via Paypal and Venmo.
A stylist I know has been traveling to her friends + family’s homes to do haircuts and color while wearing a mask (essentially bringing the salon to them).
Another friend who has multiple dogs offers a drive-by dog grooming/nail-clipping service in her driveway for other dog owners who cannot go to the groomer.
Get creative. Consider repair services, cleaning services, or beauty services that you already do for yourself. What do you know how to do, that you could offer to people you already know in a way that WON’T feel sales-y but fun? Take advantage of the fact that for a majority of your network, you might be the person they trust to come over and do something vs a complete stranger who might have COVID-19.
If your network is very small or you can’t think of anything, another approach is to take advantage of business closing sales and create a secondhand market amongst people you know or can contact directly. One of my overseas readers does Reformer pilates in Paris — at a studio, which shut down during quarantine. She went on local eBay and Craigslist- type sites to search for other reformer studios who were going out of business and liquidating their equipment. After finding a great deal for herself, she helped several people from her studio buy their own deeply discounted reformers — taking a $100-$150 service fee each transaction.
Don’t underestimate the power of eBay and Craigslist. People are definitely online shopping for things they can’t find elsewhere or want a good deal on. My partner sold a bunch of unused electronic and computer equipment using eBay/Craigslist, and I’ve been selling old clothing via Poshmark and eBay.
Finally, it’s a great time to learn a new skill for a backup career if you think you might need one in the future. Go on Udemy or another online learning portal and takes some classes on coding, virtual project management, social media marketing, web design…..basically anything you think the world will need more of, post-pandemic. More people will be out of work, more things will be online. I expect some colleges may even offer discounted classes and degree programs (to offset the losses they incurred from people dropping out during the pandemic or who are waiting for in-person classes to resume).
We are going to get through this! If you would like to share your creative ways of saving/making money during quarantine, please email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure to feature in an upcoming post!
In the meantime, please stay safe and sane!