In our last article, Passive Income in Quarantine, we discussed some options to jumpstart a steady income while you’re stuck at home. Now, as coronavirus intensifies and American cases jump again, the quarantine looks to be shakily lifting – but not everywhere, and not all the way. If you’re still stuck in quarantine, it may be time to get started on that freelancing side hustle you’ve been eyeballing. There are no more excuses.
Not enough time for initial setup? Quarantine.
Not enough inspiration? Quarantine plus Pinterest (and financialprofessional.com’s articles on freelancing).
Can’t work with your children nagging at you because they’re bored of the quarantine? …that’s valid. Time to empty out that closet and tuck yourself away.
Freelancing is the ultimate image of freedom in the modern age. You get to sit at home, in your jammies (or pantsless), scrolling through your computer or chattering into a microphone.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of a “freelancer” has become an increasingly popular idea. In fact, for many under quarantine, freelancing work is the only option.
Some of you may already have side hustles but are looking for new types of work to capitalize on previous success. Others have a skill but have never sought to monetize it. The rest of you may not think you have any skills at all, but you need the money. At the end of the day, desperate times call for desperate measures.
One thing to note: while many people freelance through sites such as Upwork and Fiverr, those are not the only options anymore. You have coronavirus to thank for this. With many large businesses moving temporary operations online under quarantine, they are hiring freelancers and remote workers to fill in the gaps. If you’re lucky, you may be the grout they need.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Apps, Plugs, and Websites
If you prefer to tinker with development over marketing, freelancing your app-building skills during quarantine may be an excellent place to start. Alternatively, if you have an idea for an app, you can approach a marketing partner to split the burden with you. However, if you don’t care what you build so long as you have fun, then search a freelance site like Upwork to see what’s on offer.
Like many items on this list, building apps requires a certain amount of prior experience – or at least technological prowess. Nonetheless, if you (think you) qualify and are willing to try your hand at a new side hustle, there is a job out there waiting for you to discover it.
For those whose skills lie in CSS and HTML, you will have a never-ending customer base. Their pocketbook out of which to pay you is fairly extensive as well. If you don’t already know how, you can learn to code for free through Code Academy at your own pace. On the other hand, you can learn through trial and a lot of error. If you’re already familiar with one or more coding languages, there are freelance websites that cater specifically to your talents, such as Coding Ninja and Codeable.
WordPress is one of the most popular website-building tools, not least because of its plugin customization capabilities.
If you can learn the programming language, you can develop and sell your own plugins. You can turn this into a source of passive income if you’re successful in your initial endeavors.
There are several kinds of consulting work, and each comes with its own requirements. Doctors, therapists of various professions, and financial specialists are in a unique position. Quarantine offers the chance to transition practices online and serve demand in a freelancing capacity. Even if you don’t have a degree, though, there is still a consulting job out there for you, so long as you have the skills necessary to pull it off.
One place to launch a consulting business is Clarity.fm, where those who have expertise in any specific field can sign up and get paid. Getting started is easy:
- Sign up for the site, fill out your area of expertise and what makes you qualified, and wait
- Anyone who needs your skill can search it on the site
- Clients find you and set up an appointment
- Clarity confirms your appointment
- Do the work and enjoy your new paycheck
Clarity offers dozens of topics, from finance to design to skills management. Pay rates start at $60 an hour (for the qualified) and can reach into the hundreds easily. That’s right. Your minimum payment could be the average person’s hourly rate goals. Win, win, win.
Clarity does come with two catches. First off, they charge a 15% commission on all calls routed through their platform. Secondly, you do genuinely need to be an expert in your field. While the definition of “expert” may vary, Clarity checks your qualifications, and those who don’t pass their muster will have their “expert” accounts denied.
Additionally, like many other freelancing websites out there, the reviews you receive determine the success of your profile. If you can’t follow through on promises made, you can expect to be out a Clarity career reaaaaaal quick.
Resume and Career Consultants
If you’re a businessman or former HR rep, you know what sounds good on a resume. Better yet, you know what it takes for an individual to stand out in a crowd. If you’re a hiring manager, you have a further advantage: you know what employers are seeking throughout the hiring process. Roles for resume and career consultants include resume assistance, aiding in the job hunt, and interview preparation.
Part of the reason this is such a compelling career is the sheer range of individuals in need. Many people require help in creating a solid resume and netting their dream jobs. That includes the extremely successful executives who insist on paying rates aligned with their own wages. The potential clientele makes this choice (potentially) absurdly lucrative for those who can boast relevant expertise and/or skill.
Online Dating Consultants
As silly as it may seem to some, some people are too awkward to go on a date without preparing. That’s where a dating consultant comes into play.
As online dating grows in popularity, so do the number of individuals who don’t know what to do during an online date. This has sparked a demand for online dating and relationship experts. If you think you’re experienced in the ways of love and matchmaking, online consulting may be the way to go.
New Baby Consultant
Ah, babies. Loud, messy, stinky, up all night…where’s the bundle of joy that was promised?
For those new parents who are wondering why they sacrificed their sleep schedule for the next three years for a screaming bundle of…not joy, new baby consultants can be a lifesaver. Services you can offer include nursery setup, breastfeeding support, cloth diaper systems, and sleep coaching.
For parenting consultants, the best way to grow a new business is through word of mouth…er, text. (Laptop? Keyboard? Don’t judge, I’ve just named all my houseplants…) When getting started as a new baby consultant, market locally at first. Offer your assistance to your friends and family through Facebook and Twitter, post on local parenting boards and online listings, and advertise services on Craigslist.
Financial services are always in demand, though finding a brick-and-mortar accounting job may be difficult in some areas. Freelancing online – during quarantine or otherwise – removes those geographic and economic boundaries and broadens your potential clientele exponentially. Coronavirus may be your opportunity to prove to yourself you can do the work. (Not to mention that building a portfolio of clients now may help you land your desired in-house position later.)
Bookkeeping is a business that can be done from anywhere through online and cloud accounting programs. For instance, Freshbooks and Xero are excellent softwares if you’re good with numbers and want to try organizing everyone else’s finances. You can advertise your services on Facebook, Craigslist, or other online marketplaces to start. Conversely, if you prefer a more targeted approach, you can head over to a dedicated freelance site.
Fun fact from a Certified Nerd: bookkeep is the only (non-hyphenated) word in the English language with three consecutive sets of double letters. (Subbookkeeper is the only word with four successive sets. Nerds for the win!)
For those who want to get further involved in the world of numerical order, freelancing professional accountants make bank. Upwork is an excellent place to start for those with a finance degree or plenty of experience.
Clients you’ll serve as a freelancer are often small businesses who don’t have the finances to employ a full-time CFO. Freelance accountants may run the books and report the facts, but in smaller companies, they’re also sought for advice on specific monetary decisions.
It’s tax season, and the federal government has extended the filing deadline until June 6 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is good news for everyone who has been furloughed or laid off – and for the freelancing professionals doing their taxes in quarantine.
To get started, all you need is some experience in finance, accounting, or bookkeeping. Register with your local tax authority, promote your services on freelance sites, Craigslist, or Facebook, and (hopefully) watch the work roll in.
Graphic design is in steady demand in the modern technological age. Coronavirus has only made the art all the more relevant. If you have digital design or editing skills of any kind, there is a freelancing gig out there waiting in the depths of quarantine. Some popular niche options for graphic designers include:
- Social media posts
- Children’s books
While a new graphic designer may sell an hour’s worth of work for $10, those with a little business savvy can earn over $30 an hour. One key point in building a brand quickly is to have a public portfolio on your own website. Wix, Wordpress, and Weebly are all excellent choices to set up an attractive, free profile to sell yourself.
Information Products and Online Courses
If you have a teaching degree – or any degree – then you have knowledge that someone else doesn’t. Those someones will pay handsomely for you to teach them. With quarantine shutting down schools or forcing their classes online, there are a lot of people out an education – and you can use your new freelancing job to reach out to them.
On top of those who find themselves suddenly in need of your services, there are plenty of others looking to learn what they’ve never had time to study (and are slowly going crazy between their 38th consecutive binge of The Office and giving their corgi cornrows).
If you think you have what it takes to teach, there’s no time like coronavirus to try a new career.
Tutoring can be done through dozens of online platforms dedicated explicitly to learning, such as Tutor, Wyzant, and UniversityTutor. These sites allow you to verify your qualifications to build trust with your clients before you get started. You can also post offers to help with specific subjects on your social media or freelance sites and see who bites.
Furthermore, there is big money in preparing students for life-determining exams. The SAT, ACT, CMA, LSAT, and other professional and collegiate tests are a gold mine for the discerning tutor.
English Language Courses
English is one of the fastest-growing languages in the world. If you’re in the United States, you very likely speak it. There are millions of people overseas (or just over the border) who want to learn how to speak and write fluently. With a little patience, you can help during quarantine through your new freelancing service.
VIPKid is designed to help native English speakers connect with young Chinese students. It offers flexible (usually evening or early morning) hours, up to $22 an hour pay, and no teaching degree required. All you have to do start earning is prove your experience working with children. Viable exposure includes tutoring, babysitting, or raising your own.
If you have or are willing to get an ESL degree (English as Second Language), there are other site options as well that target different or nonspecific demographics, including DaDaABC, Hujiang, and Magic Ears. iTalki is another good site if you prefer to teach through Skype.
Marketing and Influencing
Money is what it’s all about, and marketing is the way to get it. No matter how brilliant the business or the person behind it, a company can only be as successful as the customers it keeps.
For most small business owners, however, knowing how to market themselves effectively is a bit of a challenge. Building a successful marketing campaign can be difficult anyway, but for those who aren’t aware of what they need to be doing, it can be a fantastic failure.
That’s where you, the brilliant marketing whiz, come in. Coronavirus quarantine has only made marketing all the more paramount, and savvy, freelancing specialists can make bank if they play their cards right.Marketing and influencing are often online-only gigs, which is perfect in a global economy afflicted by coronavirus. If you think you have what it takes to make someone else a bunch of money, these marketing jobs might be for you.
Digital marketing agencies combine many skills from marketing, website design, writing, and consulting. If you have these skills (or know multiple people who can come together to create quite the beast), digital marketing may be your next big thing.
Social Media Marketing
Having a social media account is a must-have for any business looking to break into a busy market. As such, business owners will pay good money for someone else to run it for them. If you’re savvy with social media, from posts to trending topics to who to contact to build exposure, social media marketing is an excellent place to hone your craft – for a price. Social media marketers can make $75 plus per hour for a skilled set of fingers and a keen business eye.
You can start selling your services on – where else? – social media, but it’s also a good idea to put up offers or apply to jobs outside of your current network on a few freelance sites to net your first few clients.
If you think you have what it takes to influence minds by the thousands, Instagram is the place to be. If you don’t want to be the center of attention, you can influence people to bake the perfect cake, coo over your dog, or enjoy those gorgeous sunset photos cluttering up your laptop. Once you’ve built a brand around your own posts, you can monetize your efforts through one of several ways, such as:
- Sponsored posts
- Selling products
- Taking over Instagram one purchased account at a time.
Influencing is a cash cow for those who have the skills to cash in. The average high-profile influencer charges $200 to $400 per post, and that number can quickly rise into the thousands if you have enough followers and a big name.
Influencing is a fickle career, and you definitely should not quit your day job (at least at first). However, even if you’re only somewhat successful, worst-case scenario you’ve established a platform with which you can drive customers to a future side hustle.
Facebook Ad Management
Facebook ads are lucrative for both the business owners benefitting and the ad manager doing the heavy lifting. Once you get the ball rolling, you can look forward to pulling in $1000 per client per month if you play your cards right. As businesses ease slowly ease out of quarantine, there is a big market for freelancing social media managers to recoup their coronavirus losses.
Facebook ad management includes duties such as:
- Client acquisition
- Building and maintaining client relationships
- Creating catchy ads
- Testing ads on audiences
Facebook ads are so valuable primarily for their effective ad targeting and their reach. While big companies have been using Facebook for years, many small businesses are just realizing the value of Facebook marketing.
Virtually assisting is the perfect job for anyone who craves human interaction but doesn’t want to be around people. There are people out there who have incredibly busy lives that would crumble without the help of their trusty VA.
To be a virtual assistant, you will need excellent time management skills – not just for yourself, but for your client too. You’ll need to be highly organized and have excellent communication skills between yourself, your client, and your client’s clients.
Virtual assistants can complete any task that can be done online or over the phone. Such tasks include:
- Social media management
- Project management
- Research and/or content creation
- Basic to full accounting/bookkeeping services
- Email services
- Scheduling appointments and meetings
- Various data entry
- Event management
Depending on the client, you may be running all of these tasks, or you may just in charge of one or two as part of a team of assistants. This will all depend on your client’s needs and your skills. A good virtual assistant, regardless of the tasks performed, can bring in up to $50 an hour with the right clientele.
Pinterest Virtual Assistant
One subset of virtual assistance that has gained ground in recent years is website-specific virtual assistants. Pinterest is a prime example of this. VAs on Pinterest can make up to $500 per client a month for simple tasks such as:
- Creating pins and/or developing a Pinning schedule
- Keyword research
- Optimizing images
Becoming a Pinterest virtual assistant might be for you if you spend a lot of time on Pinterest anyway and have decent computer literacy skills.
Wordsmithery (I Won’t Say It’s My Favorite, But…)
The world of wordsmithery is filled with clients who are eager to pay top dollar so they don’t have to write their own materials. Here, freelancing is not the exception – it’s the rule. There are a lot of people out there who can’t write and want to pay you to write for them. Others think they can write and want you to edit their scrawlings into a bona fide manuscript. Still others can write (and do it well) but need a second set of eyes on their work to proofread.
The point is, there are a lot of people who want their lingual affairs handled for them. Regardless of which situation a client falls into, they are hiring someone with a quick eye and quicker fingers – and that’s where you come in. If you have a gift in any of the above, there’s a freelance option waiting for you in this quarantine. (The best part? If you have the gift of language, there’s no education required. You can start on a freelance site like Upwork and build clientele through reviews, no massive student debt needed).
Writing is a career for those who really love to see their words on a page and have the patience to accept nitpickiness from clients who wouldn’t know a comma from a colon if it bit them in the ampersand.
While some writers may be relegated to $5 an hour on Upwork, good writers can quickly work up to $30 per hour or more. The trick is to leverage your personnel skills (read: negotiation) and lingual talents effectively. Bonus: while some clients are particular about submissions, the ability to download Google Docs as a Docx means that anyone can submit a Microsoft Word-style document. There’s $100 a year saved off the bat. You’re welcome.
For those who like to write but don’t know what to start with, considering what content you want to produce should be the first step. Job options that freelance sites pay big bucks for include:
- Marketing campaigns (great for the salesmen among us)
- Content articles (what you’re reading now is a content article, for the curious)
- Technical writing
- Grant writing
- Resume writing
Coronavirus is the perfect time to build a good side hustle writing business. While working a regular job can make it difficult for writers to get their feet off the ground, coronavirus has left many of us with so much spare time we’re bored. Get to it!
If you’re already established on a freelance site but you’re ready to level up, it may be time to take the next step. Creating your own website or hosting through a site such as ProBlogger could be your next step. Sites such as Upwork can make bank if you’re really, really good, but there’s a lot of competition for relatively few high-paying jobs – not to mention Upwork takes a significant cut of your profits.
Blogging on your own is another freelance writing option, and it comes completely boss-free. The key to successful blogging is to start with a niche you’re well-versed in. This could be yoga, health trends, food, lifestyle, travel, books, how to write (oh, the irony), politics…
Find your gift and stick with it. You’ll build reliability for online scrollers who are searching for exactly your brand of English (or whatever language you prefer to type in).
Blogs can be monetized in multiple ways. One of the most common is affiliate links and product reviews. You can also sponsor other sites or add dropshipping products.
If you don’t have a customer base already, blogging may not be your saving grace. But if you’re writing anyway and home due to quarantine, starting a blog now may mean bringing in the big bucks in six months or a year. There’s no time to get started like the present disaster!
Ghostwriting is another form of freelance writing, but it comes with a caveat: you won’t receive credit on your work. While ghostwriting can make decent money with the right clients, you won’t be able to share even your proudest, bestest works with…anyone. Ever. You can mention that you’ve completed ghostwriting work, and hopefully, your clients are willing to write reviews or serve as references. Still, no one will ever know that you are the author of that killer new autobiography from Katy Perry.
Resume writing is one of the most popular requests online, and it also has the chance to pay the most. If you can bang out a top-notch resume in an hour, and your client is willing to pay $150 to have it done, that’s $150 an hour – and not necessarily an exception. $150 is at the high end of the fixed-price range, but $25 to $60 an hour for resume writing is a very reasonable expectation for the talented.
Editing and Proofreading
Proofreading and editing can be tedious work. Genuinely, it can be challenging to know when and where you need to make an edit. Personally, I find the process of seeking written mistakes and organizing literature to be soothing; for a nut like me, it’s perfect.
Proofreading is ideal for those who are anal about their grammar, syntax, and overall style. Not only are you seeking out the bastardizations of whoever versus whomever versus whomsoever, but you are also polishing off the content ensure it follows a logical progression. Every detail from comma to quote has to be flawlessly perfect and precisely located. If that sounds like a job for you and your compulsions, it might be time to take the leap.
If you’re good with Amazon Kindle, publishing your own work – or others’ works – can be a lucrative freelancing hustle in quarantine. Such work even has the potential to translate into long-term passive income. Write the right material, publish it professionally through the world’s largest online retailer, and say your prayers – you might have just put out a bestseller, single-handedly.
Money-making options include how-to guides, your expert knowledge and opinion on relevant topics, and self-help books. If you know a city or state well, you can write a travel guide on experiencing life as a local. Even collection books such as cookbooks, sewing pattern books, or ideas for woodworking can become best-sellers.
If Amazon Kindle offends your sensibilities, or you want to go into business for yourself. Alternatively, you can start your own publishing company. If you’re a skilled editor or marketer, you may just be the key for a new writer to break into the world with style. APA style.
Voice-recognition software and AI can’t do it all. Some have trouble distinguishing certain accents. Some can’t articulately format previously typed information. Others are just too damned expensive for the needs of the project. Whatever the reason, there’s a market for real people to transcribe audio instead of handing it over to a machine. That’s where you come in.
While transcription isn’t exactly wordsmithery, it requires many of the same skills: good listening, excellent typing speed, and elementary knowledge of grammar and the structure of a well-formatted document. Podcasters, YouTubers, TedXers, and others have a need to see their spoken words put in print. This is good news for the savvy freelancing transcriptionist bored to tears in quarantine, as clients will pay good money to foist the job on someone else.
If you have access to a transcription software, you have an automatic advantage. This means that you can skip most of the typing and go straight to editing and formatting. Much of the value in a human transcription is not getting the words on the page but formatting them in a sensible way.
Translation work can focus heavily on the writing aspect or on the translation only. If you’ve ever used Google Translate to figure out what that catchy Spanish song is actually saying, you’ve gotten a peek at how far mechanical translators have to go before they’re reliable for real-world needs.
For those who are fluent in more than one language, there are thousands of people out there looking for someone with your multilingual skills to bring their writings into a new domain. Upwork alone has over 200 translation jobs, both text-to-text and audio-to-text, as this article is being written.
What if Freelancing in Quarantine Isn’t for Me?
These freelancing options are perfect for those who have a marketable skill, an internet connection, and enough time and patience to construct a business from the ground-up in quarantine. While the initial investment may be incredibly time-intensive and mundane, what better do you have to do during coronavirus?
If the answer is “not a freelancing gig,” we’ve got you covered on that too. For those who need some cash now, no matter how much, check out our article on how to make a fast buck with freebies and a few quick investments. If you’re seeking to use your time off from your day job career to do the heavy lifting on a side hustle while you have the time (and boredom), the last article in our series, Side Hustles in Quarantine, has you covered.