As the U.S. jobless rate hits nearly 24% and unemployment claims reach 40 million, the American job market remains in shambles. To exacerbate the problem, no one’s quite sure when employment opportunities will return to normal—if ever. If you’re unemployed due to COVID-19 and you’re searching for a job, you might need to bolster your income online to weather the storm. Here are some tips on how to earn some cash to supplement your unemployment earnings or savings until you get back on your feet.
Monetize a Blog
Do you have exemplary knowledge in one or more topics or hobbies? Turn it into income by starting and monetizing a blog. For a person who’s never blogged before, blogging can seem more like a hobbyist pursuit than a way to earn a living. But in actuality, a blog that’s well-written and well-designed can earn a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month. Ways to monetize a blog include:
- Affiliate marketing
- Ad space
- Sponsored posts
- Write an ebook
- Sell merchandise
- Write tutorials
- Write product reviews
Using one or more of these monetization techniques, you can turn something you’re passionate about into a way to bolster your income online.
Use Freelancing Platforms to Offer Your Services
If you don’t mind doing one-off projects, you’re a quick worker, and you just want to earn a few bucks, try out a freelancing platform. Although most freelancers will denounce these platforms for a variety of reasons, it can become a decent supplemental income. The upside of freelancing platforms is that they connect service providers with people who need them. By doing this, you can cut out the middleman and avoid the hassles of cold-pitching. Although freelancing platforms may not earn you a ton or provide you with a career stepping stone, it will bolster your income online while looking for a job.
If you’re new to freelancing platforms, here are some of the most popular:
If you’re more of a hands-on person, you can also check out Taskrabbit. This app matches freelancers with local consumers to help them complete labor tasks or errands. A great upside is that you can do a variety of work each day.
Try Peer-to-Peer Lending
If you have some extra money to invest, peer-to-peer lending sites such as Prosper and LendingTree may give you a way to earn some quick cash. Instead of going through a bank, these websites provide a platform for people to provide loans to other people. Rather than earning the 0.1% interest rate that many banks offer on savings accounts, you can gain 5% to 10% on your investment.
Find Temporary Gigs on Virtual Vocations
The Virtual Vocations job board is full of full-time and part-time jobs. But you can also find short-term contract jobs in a variety of industries. By signing on to a project that lasts a month or two, you can earn income that’s similar to what you were earning before, as well as gain experience that could help you land a job in the future.
Unlike the seemingly endless amounts of scams on the internet, Swagbucks is a legitimate site that will give you money to fill out surveys and watch movies, news programs, and television. The amount you earn will probably hover around minimum wage. But if you have time to spare and want to make a couple of bucks, it’s easy money.
Check Out Ibotta
Sometimes you have to spend money to earn money. With Ibotta, you might have more money going out than coming in, but at least you’ll earn money on the stuff you’re going to purchase anyway.
Ibotta is a phone app that lists products in dozens of categories. More times than not, these products are toiletries, makeup, alcohol, and groceries…the essentials. So if you’re in the market for any of these products, search Ibotta. You’ll find detailed listings that offer rebates on thousands of products. Hang onto your receipt, take a picture, and Ibotta will put the money into an account. Some thrifty shoppers have even found ways to maximize savings and monetize the app!
Try Online Data Entry
If you have experience in data entry or clerical work, finding a data entry job is a great way to bolster your income online. Though the work may seem tedious to some, it’s work that many companies and individuals must complete regularly. Therefore, you can find projects and short-term gigs relatively frequently. You might make $10 to $15 an hour, but it’s far more than you’ll make twiddling your thumbs.
Teach Lessons Online
Everyone has a hidden (or not so hidden) talent that can turn you into an online teacher overnight. It doesn’t matter what the talent is, just so that people will pay for your services. Some of the most popular online lessons include:
- Guitar lessons
- Voice or piano lessons
- Web design/coding classes
- English or other foreign language classes
You might not know exactly what you’re good enough to teach, but a bit of brainstorming should provide you with some ideas.
Earn Money Through Photography
Whether you’re an amateur or you’ve invested thousands in a telephoto lens, selling photos is another way to bolster your income online. Both Shutterstock and iStock allow you to upload your work onto their website. Each time someone downloads one of your photos, you’ll earn a few cents or a buck. After a few hundred downloads, you can earn some great supplemental cash.
Buy and Sell on eBay
Although eBay may have taken a backseat to the low prices of Amazon, the auction website is still alive and well and waiting for you to earn some cash. If you know what you’re looking for and can get a good price, you can buy and resell memorabilia and other collectibles on the website. If you’re resourceful, you can also purchase broken items, repair them, and resell them.
Use Your Creativity and Talent
Just because you’re an accountant doesn’t mean you don’t have a creative side. If this describes you, let your creativity bolster your income online. Sites like Etsy and eBay allow you to post items that you make. The more original or interesting, the better chance you have to sell them online. From stained glass to jewelry to customized lamps, these websites turn your hobbies into cold hard cash.
Turn a Room of Your Home into an Airbnb
Post-COVID-19, travel probably won’t return to normal all of a sudden. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the old college try toward becoming an Airbnb host. This works especially well if you live in a popular city or area. It doesn’t cost you anything to list your place on Airbnb. And with a few decent photos and a well-written description, you might earn a few hundred bucks over the course of a month.
Use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is an outsourcing service that pays people to do menial tasks when they sell a product. This includes classifying receipts, printing shipping labels, and transcribing videos. The amount of money you can make on this isn’t great for everyone. But if you’re quick and find the right clients, you can earn around $10 an hour.
Even if you know little about investing, apps such as Stash and Acorn have made investing easier than ever. With free tutorials and articles about how options, selling short, and mutual funds work, you can invest your money into securities based on the amount of risk or return you require. Be aware that you can also lose money in the stock market, so keep a watchful eye over your investments and read the latest investment news to hedge your bets.
Try Your Hand at Facebook Ads
Digital advertising has become a money-maker for companies and individuals around the globe. But one particular type of advertising has a lower learning curve than others: Facebook Ads. Once you understand the ins and outs of Facebook Ads, you can offer your services to small businesses and local companies to increase their reach and sales. For bonus points, you can also grab a Facebook Blueprint Certification, which demonstrates your in-depth knowledge of Facebook Ads and may increase your clout.
Become an Influencer
Do you have something to say, a keen eye for photography (or at least photo framing), and a story people want to hear? Try your hand at becoming an Instagram influencer. Once you’ve earned 1,000 followers, you can monetize your following by hawking the products of clients. Interestingly, the amount of money you typically earn as an Instagram influencer isn’t dictated by the number of followers. It’s actually a result of interaction between your posts and your followers. Make sure to turn on the charm before your next post.
Keep Looking for a Job
Just because you’re earning a temporary living off unemployment benefits or moonlighting doesn’t mean you should slow your search for a job. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote jobs are becoming more popular than ever. And maybe that’s just where you should start looking.
Using Virtual Vocations’s remote job database will give you an idea of what jobs are available, if you qualify, or what you can work toward in the future. Don’t forget about the telecommute toolkit or our career services page to learn more about remote work and get a custom-written resume that is sure to catch the attention of recruiters and hiring agents.
Earning money online isn’t without its drawbacks. Weeding out scams and figuring out if your time is worth the pay is part of the equation. Yet if you can find legitimate ways to bolster your income online, you can turn what you’re good at into a temporary living. Who knows, you might just find a new skill that translates well to future employment. Stay motivated, keep earning, and hopefully, you’ll find your next job in no time.
iStock image: Prostock-Studio
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