Business

4 side hustles that can earn you money during the lockdown

While social distancing regulations have been relaxed in some areas, most of us are still largely in stay at home mode. That provides an opportunity to start on the entrepreneurial endeavor of your dreams—or at least make some extra money. Today, side hustles are more makeshift and flexible than ever before. That flexibility means you have the ability to earn extra income without ever leaving your home.

Here’s a look at some side hustles you can do entirely remotely.

1 Teach a virtual class

By this point, virtual calls are a part of our daily lives. Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Teams all provide a great way to keep in touch with people, whether they’re two blocks away or on the other side of the country. And they’re also a strong opportunity for income.Think of something you’re passionate about or have a lot of experience with. Maybe you’re an expert at cooking or you really enjoy woodworking. With people spending more time at home, they’re eager to learn and try new things. Give them that experience via a virtual class: a step-by-step tutorial on how to cook your favorite recipe or craft a wooden bowl.Websites like Teachable and Bluprint offer the ability to create full-on courses, but you can keep it even simpler than that. Set up a PayPal or Stripe link and share it with people you think might be interested. You’d market your class just like any other local event, even if your participants are coming in from across the globe. Share it on your social channels and Nextdoor, send out emails, and ask your friends and family to help promote it.People have always craved experiences. An experience nowadays might look a little bit different than, say, visiting a pop-up shop for a painting and wine class, but the demand still exists.

2 Create a how-to ebook

Does the thought of getting on camera in front of people make you shudder? How about putting pen to paper (or keystrokes to computer screen, in this case)?Again, we all have expertise in something. You don’t need to be the definitive authority on a topic, either. You just need to have more knowledge than at least one other person and you’ll seem like the wisest guru to them.An ebook is a terrific way to distill all your knowledge in one place. Whether you’re sharing tips on sewing, how to perform magic tricks, or the tools you need to start a remote business, the process will be similar. Start with a main idea or theme and figure out how you can break it down into smaller, more focused sections.For example, a sewing ebook might have one chapter on different techniques, and then subsequent chapters on something you can create with each of those techniques. Wrap it up with a few additional tips people might not know, and you’ve got yourself a solid collection of material.Once you’ve created your content, you can use free tools like Reedsy to perfectly format your ebook, choosing fonts, layouts, and other details. When you’re happy with the look and feel of your ebook, you can upload it to a distributor at no cost. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords are among the most popular and easy to use, though, with the growing popularity of ebooks, there are plenty of options to choose from.Just as with a virtual class, don’t be afraid to market your book. Share a link to purchase with your family and friends. Post about it on social media. Comment on message boards, groups, and forums discussing related topics. If you have your own website, you can include it as an incentive to join your mailing list.As a bonus, your ebook will be an evergreen source of income. People may find it even years later—a good reason to periodically update yours with fresh content—and make a purchase.Host a trivia or game nightBoard game and puzzle sales have risen dramatically since mid-March.

3 Puzzle maker

Ravensburger reported an increase in sales of 370 percent that month, while game company Hey Buddy Hey Pal sold 4,000 percent more the final week of March. Board games provide a sense of camaraderie, especially if the game itself is a collaborative one, rather than competitive.However, many games are best enjoyed with multiple people, which makes an online trivia or game night so effective. You’ll charge a “cover” fee and then serve as the game emcee, ensuring things run smoothly throughout the event.For trivia, that means developing questions and answers for several rounds of play. Luckily, you have the internet at your fingertips, so there’s a wealth of fun facts and tidbits you can use as inspiration. You can also do a “name game” round or two, showing pictures of celebrities or playing snippets of songs and have people try and guess the correct answers. Present the questions in a PowerPoint or other slideshow and have guests provide their answers on Google Forms. You can even reach out to local businesses to see if they’ll “sponsor” the night by offering a gift card or other perk.For a game night, your main duties are presenting the games and making sure everyone knows the rules. While you could certainly run the game from home and broadcast what you’re doing, you could also keep things entirely online. Tabletop Simulator offers a wide variety of classic games (and the ability to create your own), and the irreverent party packs from Jackbox Games can provide hours of fun. In both cases, simply share your screen to keep everything moving, and be ready to answer any questions along the way.

4 Write about a unique experience

Have you done something you’d consider unusual? Perhaps you participated in a pun-off competition or sailed aboard one of the world’s few tall ships?Websites and magazines are always looking for additional content, but you can also share posts directly to a site like Medium. It’s easy to get started, even if you have zero writing clips to your name. The blogging platform is incredibly user-friendly and each story you post can be put behind Medium’s paywall. When people read and engage with it, you get paid.

More of a book fan? The Chicken Soup for the Soul series has stood the test of time and routinely holds calls for submissions. If your story fits, they want to hear from you and will offer money to share your story. Plus, you can say you’ve been published in a book, and that’s pretty cool.Test websitesAccording to Netcraft, there were nearly 1.3 billion websites as of January 2020. That number has grown since then, and in fact, a few websites have launched in the time it’s taken you to read this sentence.The point is, there are a lot of websites out there, and for the most part, they’re all striving to be helpful in some capacity. These sites also know the power of market research and will pay people to test out different website functions.For example, a site like UserTesting offers companies the “fastest way to get quality human insight.” They ask customers to go through a website process, such as purchasing a specific product or testing out a course, and honestly share their thoughts. Even if your tech expertise is lacking, it’s a quick and easy way to earn some extra cash, which is paid through PayPal.Start a podcastPodcasts continue to grow in popularity, and with people spending more time at home, there’s never been a better time to start one. We’ve got plenty of resources on podcasting, whether you’re just starting and want to learn how to make yours stand out or need tips on recording.Most people view podcasting as a way to talk about their interests and share their expertise with others. You can also monetize your podcast by reaching out to sponsors or using a site like Podcorn, which curates opportunities for you. What fewer people realize—and take advantage of—is that podcasting is a two-way street.Think of it this way: every guest you have on your podcast is an opportunity to network. Whether you have 10 or 10,000 downloads per episode, you’re getting a chance to meet someone you may not have ever bumped into otherwise. That can lead to great conversations, introductions to resources that can help you, or additional freelance work down the road.The best part? Almost everyone will say yes to appearing on your podcast. It’s a chance for them to promote their personal brand or business, and they’re honored you thought of them. You can reach out directly to people you’re interested in or browse online communities like SpotaGuest and Facebook groups that are already discussing your focus area. Pro tip: these communities aren’t just a place to find guests, but they also offer a built-in audience for your show.Sell your craftIf you’re an artist or wordsmith, you can set up an online shop in any number of ways. Shopify, Printful, and Etsy are some of the most popular ecommerce sites, and you can use print on demand services. That means you don’t have to stock inventory and you’ll only pay for materials when someone buys a product.Even if you’re not the next Picasso, sites like Canva make it easy to design gorgeous images or text graphics. Create a few different files and then put them on shirts, hats, socks, mugs, or just about anything else.Are you musically inclined? Have a relatively soundproof room to play in? You can record and produce music all from the comfort of home and release it as a “Couch Sessions” YouTube series or as an album on Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services.

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