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About a quarter of all U.S. jobs were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Erica Groshen, a former Bureau of Labor Statistics commissioner.
If your full-time job has been impacted by the coronavirus, you may be looking for new ways to make money.
This may especially be the case as of the end of July, when the $600 weekly payout the federal government was providing as an additional unemployment benefit expired.
Some states are offering an extra $300 per week, but this may not be enough to support your financial obligations.
Fortunately, there are plenty of gig economy jobs available online.
Working as a gig worker could provide you with a steady income to boost your bank account as you wait for your job to return to normal.
And, if all goes well, you could even keep this job into the future after returning to your full-time job.
Having a side gig could help you catch up on bills and get back on track.
In this article, we give you the know-how to get started.
What Is a Gig Economy Job?
A gig economy job is a position where workers work contractually or on-demand.
The United States currently has more than 57 million gig economy workers, making up roughly 33% of the entire U.S. workforce.
These workers are commonly referred to as:
- Gig workers
- Contract workers
- Independent contractors
Workers can have more than one job or project on their plate at one time.
They can also set their own rates and determine how much they would like to work.
There is typically flexibility on when and where workers can work from, so long as deadlines are met.
This is one reason why it’s an attractive work-from-home option.
Workers can choose whether they would like to work part-time as a side hustle, or full-time in lieu of a typical 9-5 job.
If you’re looking to make a bit of supplemental income, you can also choose to work only on a short-term basis, taking on smaller projects to avoid long-term commitments.
Gig workers are responsible for marketing themselves and finding work opportunities.
There are forums and resources available to help them do so, like the rest of this post.
How Much Extra Income Can I Make?
Freelancers make an average of $21 per hour, breaking down to $39,000 per year.
However, this information includes those working both part-time and full-time.
Your earnings will fluctuate depending on whether you’re freelancing for extra money on the side or to replace your full-time job.
One of the best things about gig jobs is that you often have the ability to set your own rates.
This isn’t always the case, like if you work as a food delivery driver for a company like Postmates or DoorDash.
But if you choose something like dog walking or freelance writing, then you have a bit more leeway in setting your own rates.
By setting your own rates, and not working for an hourly wage, you directly determine how much extra cash you make.
Gig Economy Jobs Available During Quarantine
If you’re new to the gig economy, you may be looking for ways to break in.
Below are the jobs that you should consider targeting during quarantine (scam-free!).
Note that you don’t have to pick just one.
It’s possible for you to work multiple gig economy jobs at once.
With in-person dining shut down or severely limited in most states, there is a need for delivery drivers.
If you feel comfortable picking up food orders and dropping them off around your city, then you can work as a freelance delivery driver.
You can set your hours for when you would like to work and will earn both wages and tips.
Consider looking at Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats delivery services.
Depending on where you live, you don’t even need a car for this to work.
A scooter or your own two feet are often allowed as modes of delivery transportation.
Since many people don’t feel comfortable going to grocery stores, you can also become a grocery delivery driver.
Instacart and Shipt are two companies known for grocery delivery, although there may be more local ones offered by your local grocer.
If you own a car, you can consider offering ridesharing services through gig economy apps like Uber and Lyft.
Both of these companies have put restrictions in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19, including not allowing passengers in the front seat and requiring windows to be open.
Pet Sitting and Babysitting
With more and more people working from home, they may not have time to walk their dog or watch after their kids. Pet sitters and babysitters are in high demand.
Check out Wag and Rover for dog walker and pet care services or Sittercity for babysitting jobs.
You can also consider looking at Care.com for caregiver services.
There are plenty of online survey sites that allow you to earn money by answering a few questions.
Because this is such a unique time, market research groups are constantly looking for information from people like you.
Popular sites include Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and InboxDollars.
These sites often pay in gift cards that you can use at various online businesses.
Other Online Jobs
There are tons of online jobs available — we’ve just scratched the surface.
Many of the jobs below require an initial skillset, but maybe you’re already well-equipped for something listed here.
You’ll need to have a computer and a stable internet connection to work in these roles.
Consider the following opportunities:
- Web developer
- Web designer or programmer
- Photographer or videographer selling on sites like Shutterstock
- Graphic designer
- Blogger, writer, or search engine optimization (SEO) specialist
- Editor and proofreader
- Tutor, teacher, or English as a second language teacher
- Social media manager
- Virtual assistant
- Voice actor
- Bookkeeper or personal finance manager
- Data entry
- Affiliate marketing as an influencer
- Seller on an e-commerce online store like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist
When it comes to skills required, there’s a good chance that you are able to find some overlap between your former job and a freelance opportunity.
If not, you can work on developing your skills as you work in a more entry-level opportunity, as we touch on below.
Frequently Asked Questions
As you’re beginning to pick up freelance work, you probably have some questions about getting started.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about gig economy jobs.
1. I’m looking to develop new skills. What are the best ways to do so?
If you want to take your spare time during quarantine to learn a new skill, there are plenty of resources at your disposal to do so.
A quick Google search for “free courses” reveals online courses from popular sites like Coursera, edX, Udemy, and even Harvard University.
Many schools have begun offering courses for free online as a result of the coronavirus.
Since you may have extra time on your hands, there’s no better time for you to invest in your career and learn a new skill.
Learning skills like blogging, programming and coding, or graphic design could land you a side job that pays well.
2. Where can I find the best gig economy jobs?
If you’re all-in on the gig economy, you will need to start looking through various postings for freelance jobs.
First, start with Gig Worker’s soon-to-be-released forum, built specifically for independent contractors.
FlexJobs is also another great website to help get you started on your job search.
FlexJobs compiles listings only for part-time jobs and remote workers.
Note that FlexJobs does offer some jobs where you would be considered an employee of a company, as opposed to an independent contractor.
For example, you may find a listing for shift work as a customer care representative for a call center.
Upwork and Fiverr are other sites for freelancers.
On these sites, you build a profile that interested clients can see.
You can browse projects that potential clients have posted and make offers for various work opportunities.
Lastly, there are sites built specifically for different types of jobs.
For instance, TaskRabbit is designed for those offering handyman services.
You can search for job boards specific to your skillset.
If you search “job board for freelance writers,” for example, you’ll come across a site called ProBlogger.
There are other high-quality, niche-specific sites available for everyone from transcriptionists to virtual assistants.
3. Do I need to pay taxes on my earnings?
Because you are an independent contractor, you will need to pay taxes if you make $600 or more per year.
This income is susceptible to your federal, state, and local income taxes.
Furthermore, you’re also going to need to pay what’s known as the “self-employment tax,” a 15.3% tax you must pay on your own.
As an employee of a company, 7.65% of your gross income goes toward Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Your employer pays another 7.65% on your behalf.
However, when you work for yourself, you are responsible for paying both portions.
Try New Ways to Make Money Online as a Gig Worker
If you’ve been furloughed as a result of COVID-19, or simply feel that now is the time for a career change, then working in the gig economy could be right for you.
Many gig economy jobs allow you to set your own schedule and work from home.
No matter if you are looking for a supplemental income stream to pad your savings account or need an entirely new full-time source of income, the gig economy offers plenty of opportunities.
A lack of experience should not deter you from making the switch to a gig economy job, either.
If this is your first year starting your own business, be sure to check out our guide to starting a freelance career with no experience.
There, we teach you everything you need to know about making the switch, including how to set up a portfolio of work on your own website.
If you are willing to put in a lot of work to build your new small business, you can find yourself earning a lot of money.