By: Jennifer Bloom

What is a side hustle you might ask? A side hustle is a way to make money outside of a traditional 9 to 5 job. In times of great economic uncertainty it’s not a bad idea to look at other ways to generate revenue. In the pre-COVID era there were lots of side hustle options that involved driving people to the airport, pet-sitting or performing odd jobs like moving furniture or painting a room.

While those are still options, I want to go through some of the virtual side hustle options that are contact free and allow you to make money from the confines of your home. A good side hustle should allow you to earn additional money and have flexibility in terms of when and how you can do the job. Here are some ideas that you may not have thought about.

Become a Virtual Assistant

If you are good at organization and communication this might be the right job for you. This gig is appealing because it requires minimal start-up costs, a computer and a strong internet connection. In a world where so many businesses are being taken online, there is a strong demand for virtual assistants across industries that do everything from book keeping, social media management, data entry and beyond.  Virtual assistants can make between $12-40 per hour depending on their experience and skill set. You can find postings for these kinds of jobs on popular job sites like Upwork or Ziprecuiter. There are also some great online courses which help you to brush up your skills so you are able to command a higher hourly rate.

Rent Out Your Car

During COVID when so many of us are working from home there are lots of cars sitting in garages going unused. This is a side hustle that might be a perfect fit for someone who is planning to work from home for the foreseeable future. These services allow you to list your car for rent on your terms. You set both the price and the schedule for when it’s available. So if you are working from home from 9-5, Monday-Friday you could elect to make the car available only during your work hours when you know you will not need access to a vehicle. Another great feature of these services is that they take care of the insurance so you know both you and the driver are protected. My favorite part of these services is that you are able to do zero contact rentals buy using a lock-box or through a remote access phone app which allows you to message the renter a code to unlock the car. There are three main platforms you should check out if you are interested in this side hustle Turo, Maven and Getaround. One thing to note is these platforms have a cleaning and disinfection policy between rentals so be sure to read up on what you need to do as a host to keep everyone safe.

Drop Ship Business

For the more entrepreneurial side hustler consider starting a drop ship business. A drop shipping business is where you are able to sell merchandise to your customer without purchasing any inventory. A customer purchases an item from your store at retail price and you then forward the order to your supplier. Your main focus here will be the marketing and customer service so if you have a strong marketing background and want a side hustle that plays to your strength, this might be a great fit. This is one of the rare side jobs allowing you to scratch a true entrepreneurial itch since you get to be the owner of your very own business.
With drop shipping, you can start a business focusing on your favorite passions. Do you love gardening? How about starting an online store for all of your favorite gardening tools and equipment? You can even start a blog to talk about the products and potentially generate ad revenue once you have enough of an audience. With this kind of side gig the sky is the limit-so get creative! Take a look at platforms like Wix or Shopify to get started!

Contact Tracer

According to the CDC, as a contact tracer, your job would be to locate and talk with the patients who’ve been affected by communicable diseases (in this case it’s COVID-19), assist with patient isolation plans, and work with patients to identify people they’ve been in close contact with so you can locate and warn them of possible exposure. This job requires you to be comfortable discussing sensitive subjects via phone and could be a good fit for someone who understands patient confidentiality and likes doing research. Contact tracing jobs can earn between $17-$25 per hour and for full time employees offer benefits. As of now there isn’t one site to find jobs as a contact tracer but check the website of the local health department.

Online Tutoring

If you have a special skill set or expertise to share then consider online tutoring as a side hustle opportunity. There are a multitude of sites dedicated to matching tutors with students; from music lessons, to ACT tutoring and teaching English, there are online tutoring jobs for just about any area of study. Lessonface matches kids with music teachers who can teach banjo, bass guitar, flute, and more. Parents can purchase one lesson at a time, or opt for a series of lessons. Varsity Tutors offer students hour-long lessons online in anything from geometry to ACT prep to French. Tutors have the flexibility to choose their hours, and the average hourly salary on the site ranges from $15 to $40 per hour. VIPKid hires tutors to help Chinese students learn to speak English fluently. If you are a night owl and don’t mind working on Beijing’s peak hours, you can earn extra money since the hourly rates are higher! Teach Away, and QKids will all pay up to around $25/hour for your services. You don’t need any teaching experience to join these sites, but most require you have a Bachelor’s degree. Once you’ve picked up a few regular clients and made a name for yourself, you can create your own tutor website so you can start charging your own rates and keeping your full fee.

Before you start narrowing down the jobs that could be a good fit for you, it’s important to understand that there are a ton of job scams on the internet. It’s easy to get duped, so you need to keep an eye out for red flags that come with these scams. Here are a few:

Asking you to pay for anything upfront: office equipment, software, training fees, or “investments” into products you’ll sell;

Pay to play: if a job is asking you to pay for applying or working, it’s a scam;

Requesting bank or credit card information: this may seem obvious, but scammers are sophisticated and can get this information out of people in clever ways;

Asking for your Social Security number: you’ll need to provide this on your employee paperwork, but if a company asks for it during the application process, you should be wary;                    

Unprofessional email addresses or emails: if the address on the email you receive isn’t from a professional website/company, or if the emails you receive are full of grammar issues, it could be a scam;

No online presence: if you can’t find the company online beware!


To avoid being targeted by scammers, there are a few things you should do, including:

 

  1. Only apply on reputable job sites:LinkedIn, Indeed, or other job boards — avoid Craigslist or other scammy sites;

 

  1. Don’t offer personal information:not until you’ve had a video meeting or face-to-face chat with the potential employer;

 

  1. Verify the company exists:look online to make sure it’s a real company and verify that the person you’re speaking to works there;

 

  1. Follow your gut:if it feels wrong, it probably is.

 

Side hustles can be a terrific way to earn extra income, so do your homework and look into the opportunities that interest you. I would love to hear how you are thinking about earning extra income. If you have ideas please email me at Jennifer@BloomAssetManagement.com.