With the unemployment rate still hovering near 7 percent and millions out work, a growing number of Americans are picking up side hustles to help cover expenses and build a savings cushion for an uncertain future.
In a recent survey by financial wellness app Acorns (where I’m the Chief Education Officer) and Opinium Research, a third of respondents surveyed said they had already picked up a side gig alongside their regular jobs, and nearly 20 percent of workers said they’d like to start one.
Last month, Acorns launched a new Job Finder feature, powered by ZipRecruiter, that includes millions of listings not just for full-time jobs, but part-time roles and side hustles, too. Early data shows the most popular side hustle categories were work-from-home opportunities—not surprising given the pandemic, and recent surge in cases, has many people looking for ways to earn more money from the safety of their home.
Here are six good-paying side hustles that you can do from home to earn extra income.
“The great thing about being a VA is that it doesn’t take a lot of capital,” says Tasha Booth, who lives in Albuquerque and started a side hustle four years ago providing virtual assistant services to online business coaches and course creators.
Soon, she was making more from her side hustle than her full-time job as a health and wellness director at a health club chain. She quit soon after to focus on her business full-time. Now her business (the Launch Guild), which she says has brought in more than $1 million in revenue since she officially launched two and a half years ago, has expanded to include a range of digital services.
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Initially, Booth was just providing virtual assistant support to online course creators and coaches. But she has since begun teaching others how to become successful virtual assistants, too, and has a popular podcast that provides tips and support for virtual assistants.
Other companies include virtual assistant staffing companies like BELAY and Zirtual, as well as platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. The average rate of a virtual assistant is $19 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter.
Take surveys online or answer questions by phone about different products for market research companies like Shifrin Hayworth or Schlesinger Group’s Focus Group. Shifrin Hayworth says its studies can include one-on-one interviews, telephone interviews and focus groups. Studies typically last from 30 minutes to three hours and pay between $50 and $250 depending on the client, length and topic.
The site Find Focus Groups has also compiled a list of paid survey companies it says are verified and legitimate.
User Experience Tester
Sites like usertesting.com pay users to go through websites and explain why they would or wouldn’t convert. Users sign up on the site, filling in details like age and location, and can then take tests online at various time lengths. Tests pay from about $10 to $120 each.
Other testing sites include uTest—which pays you for testing new technology and finding bugs, submitting test cases and completing usability surveys—IntelliZoomPanel, which pays about $5 per test, and Enroll, which pays less (roughly 10 cents to $1.50 per test, according to SwiftSalary).
Online Teacher (live and pre-recorded)
Shalena Broaster was already an online business coach, but the pandemic prompted her to focus more on live streaming and videos. In early May, she signed up on the platform, Podia, and began teaching several virtual classes on topics ranging from how to be a Zoom superstar to setting up a home studio to growing your brand.
She’s made more than $95,000 since then. Broaster already had a business and Facebook group with more than 1,500 members, which helped. But she said there’s more opportunity now for good course creators to earn money with skills-based online courses because so many people are home and looking for ways to improve their skills and expertise to become more marketable.
Udemy spokesperson Patrick Heffernan agrees, adding that the global learning platform has seen a surge in student enrollment and course creators since the March. Within two months of the initial shelter-in-place orders, Udemy saw a 55 percent jump in new course creation, says Heffernan. He notes that course enrollments have grown by 425 percent with people signing up to improve their skills or learn new ones.
As coronavirus cases have surged, so has the need for more contact tracers, who call close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients, providing them with information about the disease and encouraging them to self-quarantine for 14 days to potentially avoid infecting others. They may also address questions on testing and other related topics.
“We’ve had over 50,000 people apply to be considered for part-time contact tracer roles through us since the pandemic started,” said Steve Waters, the founder and CEO of CONTRACE Public Health Corps, a Washington D.C.-based organization that provides private and public sector clients with Covid-19 contact tracing.
Waters said there’s been particular interest in the part-time roles, which are often home-based.
In general, states with the largest populations (like California, Texas, Florida and New York) have the biggest need for contact tracers. The National Association of County and City Health Officials estimates there should be about 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents.
The Centers for Disease Control offers a full description of the contact tracer roll and requirements, as well as contact tracing training modules. You can apply through organizations like Contrace or directly through state and local job listings. (New Yorkers can apply here, for example. Orange County, Florida—where Orlando is located—has also put up a job posting.)
The remote job generally pays between $17 and $25 an hour.
You can generally earn $15 to $100 an hour as an online tutor, depending on your level of experience and the subject matter. Ziprecruiter finds the average online hourly rate (based on yearly salaries) is about $21 an hour. But Care.com reports that certified teachers with experience can earn $100 or more per hour.
Online platforms include Wyzant, TutorMe and Skooli and pay fixed rates between $16 and $36 an hour. Varsity Tutors offers students hour-long lessons online on a range of topics from reading to LSAT prep to language instruction. Tutors on the site have the flexibility to choose their hours, and the average hourly salary ranges from $15 to $40 per hour, according to SideHusl.