How to Survive In A Post Covid-19 Economy: Season of Side Hustles

“Don’t settle for easy. Grind hard and make it happen.”

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It seems like overnight the world has changed. The economy has changed. The side hustle, in many cases, has become both plan A and plan B.

I’m one of those individuals who typically enjoy keeping a side hustle in my back pocket, so to speak. I’ve always got my ear to the ground about viable options of gigs to do for extra income. I share them with individuals that I coach and in some cases, they were able to convert their side hustle into a full time stream of income.

If you’ve never read Emilie Wapnik’s How to Be Everything: For Those That Still Don’t Know What to Be When They Grow Up, I highly recommend it. If you’re not much of a traditional reader, it’s also available on Scrib’d or Audible. One of the points that she makes in it is that a traditional 9-5 may not work for everyone and she offers options that may work for us instead. One such option includes maintaining several part time gigs. That is the season I am in right now.

For a time, I did try out what she refers to as the Einstein method. In the Einstein method, he was able to work on his dream while he worked at the patent office. I had what I call a mindless hustle with Instacart. Though it did require thought, the mental load was nothing like the other things I’d done. I didn’t read (listen to) the book until after my time there. But when I did, it encouraged me that I had been on the right path. I loved working there because it didn’t compete with the dream, I got to study the business model from the ground floor and I was serving my community. I looked forward to going into work and as each task was performed, I felt a sense of accomplishment versus large projects that the sense of completion is spread out a bit farther.

Since then, I’ve tried many, many more things. I’ll share a few with you here today.

1) Delivering Things. There were quite a few options out there. I’ve tried Instacart, Shipt and Postmates. Of the three, I really love Shipt, primarily because I also enjoy it as a customer. I love the idea of outsourcing domesticity but even as the Covid-19 concerns remain in place, it’s almost become a necessity. You are paid per order completed and 100% of the tips are yours to keep. You can define a timeframe in which to schedule your orders or you can simply take them as they come. You can choose the area to deliver to and take as few or as many orders as you desire. If flexibility is what you’re after, Shipt may be a good bet for you. The application process for all three was incredibly simple. Shipt and Postmates were done entirely online and offers great bonuses/incentives after a specified number of deliveries. The current offer is an additional $275 after about 50 deliveries. Postmates also allows you to get paid instantly. Shipt requires a short video and training was also done online. Instacart began online and was completed with in-person interview and training. They offer in-store and delivery positions. All three of these allow you to get started fairly quickly after passing the background test. But the entire process is simple, easy and worth a try.

“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

-Colin Powell

2) Cut Grass. Have mower? Will travel? It’s super old school but if you’ve got a little bit of hustle and don’t shy away from the classic door to door routine or word of mouth referrals to round up customers, this may be the side hustle for you. Not everyone is looking for a landscape architect. Some people just need their grass cut, preferably on a consistent basis. This hustle requires very little start up capital and can be done around any other irons you’ve got in the fire.

“Greatness is sifted through the grind, therefore don’t despise the hard work now for surely it will be worth it in the end.”

-Sanjo Jendayi

3) Powerwashing. The equipment is relatively inexpensive in terms of start up capital required and fairly easy to master if you have the aptitude for that sort of thing. You can powerwash houses, driveways, boats, etc. Grit and hustle required.

4) Freelance. There are so many companies out there that offer “freelance” work. Most of these companies are not legit or the commission is so minuscule that it’s a complete waste of time. Fiverr on the other hand, is well established, the platform is gorgeous and easy to use. You can either earn money as an affiliate or as a freelancer. They offer a wide range of services. I used them for formatting my books for publishing, logo work, creating a promo video or three, and finalizing cover art for my book. Now I also utilize Fiverr for the affiliate sales income and outsourcing what I don’t have time for. There are also several companies that offer opportunities for freelance writing. Sweatpants & Coffee offers $10 for every 1000 unique views (some additional restrictions apply). Or you can try your hand Writing slogans and tag lines.

‘Not all hustle is loud. Sometimes hustle is just you, all alone, grinding, while no one hears a sound.”

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5) Teach. There are lots of platforms that offer opportunities to teach and earn money. These are the ones I found. Q-kids, VIPKids, Outschool and EdX. The VIPKids application process was super simple though it did involve an example lesson video. It’s flexible and the platform is easy to navigate. However, of all the platforms I enjoyed Varsity Tutors the most. The platform is easy to navigate. The application process is thorough but simple. Most of all, I enjoy the variety of classes I get to teach.

6) Invest. You don’t have to be a licensed broker to make some money in the market. If you are, great. If not, you still have options, pun intended. Stockpile allows you to purchase micro shares or fractional shares of your favorite stocks. You can create a watchlist of stocks you may be interested to watch how they perform before you push the button. Trading has a $0.99 fee per trade which is very minimal. You can add money easily. Robinhood has no fee trading available, offers a lot more flexibility than Stockpile. It also offers a debit card to give you access to your earnings more easily. Best part is that the cash you keep available on the debit card earns you interest. Robinhood also started offering fractional shares. Then there is Acorns. Acorns will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first platform that I was brave enough to try and it offers me a retirement account and a long term trading option that behaves like savings. They also offer the debit card feature. Unlike Stockpile and Robinhood, you don’t choose the individual stocks. You fill out a short questionnaire to help them determine which investments are best for you. The big benefit with Acorns however is that they allow round-ups which lets you transfer the change from a debit card transaction, to your investment account. They also offer cash back at a ton of retailers that translates into free money to invest. Because my grandmother used to say “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” I use all three of these platforms. Can’t say that I have a favorite, although Robinhood does give you free stocks for telling your friends about them.

“Invest in your dream. Grind now and shine later.”

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7) Sell. You can gather items (shoes, purses, clothing) that are taking up space in your home that may better serve a new owner. The amount you can earn per sale depends on the platform. These are the ones that I have experience with: Offer Up, Let Go, PoshMark, Thred Up and Mercari. Of these, I prefer Offer Up because of it’s ease of use. All of them are easy to upload to. PoshMark, as the name might indicate, is for name brands and designer items. I favor Thred up because they send you a bag to fill and they sell the items for you. They can also send a bag upon request for you to donate to charity.

8) Blog/Podcast/Youtube Where the real money comes in here is through affiliate sales, ads and sponsors. You can also create your own merch to sell on whichever platform you choose (see option 10 for details). Depending on the topic, you can find companies that offer a marginal commission for being an affiliate or for referrals. For example, on my blog Maybe Not Zed the topic is functional minimalism. You know, sustainability, eco awareness, and clean energy. The companies whose products I use anyway were a good starting point for me. I didn’t want to recommend something I had never experienced. Some of those companies are: Truman’s and The Grove Collective.

9) Cash back- Of all the items on this list, this is probably the most difficult to generate massive income on it’s own. This is one of those things that I do congruently with my other hustles. I have received checks from Rakuten, earned cash back with my PayPal business debit card, earned cash back with Ibotta when I purchased groceries and other things. I used the cash back within the platform for gift cards for Christmas. Of these my favorite is Acorns because I earn cash back to invest, as I mentioned before.

10) Make Merch. Start your own dropshipping side hustle. Tshirts, no overhead. Spreadshirt will pay you to be a designer. There is also Bonfire and Tee Mill for those that are eco conscious.

“You can’t cheat the grind, it knows how much you have invested. It won’t give you anything you haven’t worked for.”

If your looking for a get-rich-overnight-side-hustle, you won’t find it here. Anything worth doing requires effort. But there is a big difference between requiring effort and impossible. One or two of these in the right combination can become a viable stream of income. But they all require some grit.

Hard work+perseverance will pay off. Keep at it. You got this.

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