Here is how to make some extra money during lockdowns
Life in 2020 really is not business as normal. With large numbers of people out work, closures of many businesses and the fact that the economy is inevitably shrinking, lots of people are looking for ways to find a job or make some money. Here are a few ideas that you can try.
We can expect lockdowns for at least a month, closures of many businesses for another 3 months, other restrictions that will continue long into the year, and a global recession that might last into 2021. So these are just some ideas I have been hearing or reading about. Tell us your stories in the comments and if you have any ideas or suggestion, I would also love to hear about them.
Make money online
There are lots of places that tell you that you can make money online by doing things such as taking surveys, playing games or participating in free lotteries. Others include asking questions, writing short reviews of businesses and so on. I am not going to mention any of them here, on the grounds you have probably seen their adverts already, and really most don't pay much money, so I don't want to promote any of them.
While theoretically, you could make up to $300 a week doing this, in reality, you will find that you are lucky to make more than a couple of dollars an hour and while some have tasks that pay more, the number of opportunities are fairly limited. So it is much more likely you will struggle to make more than $20 a week and it would require a lot of work and some luck to make more than $50 a week. So this is not going to pay the rent.
But if you don't have any other opportunities, limited income and lots of free time, then bringing in an extra $20 can actually be a lot. Think about the amount of rice and beans you can buy for that, or what sort of special family meal you can make for $20.
Their main advantage is that they usually pay on the spot. Once you have earned enough money you can claim your gift card, which might be a store card or prepaid credit card. They don't send it to you in the mail but give it to you as an online voucher, so you get it right away. For example, if you see a $20 or $30 online survey opportunity, you can do that survey which might take several hours, then have you can have a nice dinner that night.
Selling old things
Many people are taking the time stuck at home to sort through the items that they have acquired, mostly with the idea of throwing them out. But it is also a great time to find things that you no longer use but would still be worth a bit of money.
The best way is to sell online rather than face-to-face. So garage sales are out, eBay is in. I prefer to buy and sell items online at a fixed price, though you can get a lot more sometimes using auctions. Remember, you want to focus on things that you can easily mail out. Fixed priced satchels are good for selling things in Australia and it is easy to quote on international postage.
Some items that are worth selling include old camera equipment (like that DLSR you bought but don't use anymore because your phone's camera is pretty good now), hiking and camping gear your bought, but never use, and fashion items. What you want to avoid is large items like furniture, and of course, if you sell most technology, it will be worth only a fraction of what you paid for it new.
More and more people are running a business on the side. Some people make handcrafted jewellery, others import items and sell them. I know people making homemade jams, relishes and sauces, and others with hydroponic microgreen setups. There are podcasters, bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers, all leveraging the world online to make some extra money. Some people do this as a hobby, and others with the hope of turning it into an online business.
If you are out of work or underemployed, now is the chance to start, ramp up, or pivot your side hustle into something serious. Of course there is more to this than just devoting more time on the business. With customers reluctant to part with their money, you might want to focus on what is needed now.
While I am not sure if my idea of making t-shirts that say "I love you, now move back 1.5 metres" is a good idea or not, others are making a lot of money by making decorative and fun face masks, some people are creating hand sanitisers, and then there is a large need for soap.
With the right idea, by the end of the lockdown period, you may not want to return to an ordinary job, because you have turned your side hustle into your full-time opportunity. At the very least, you could have taken it up a level so that you have a choice.
The gig economy
For a number of years, the ability to find work through the gig economy as a stop-gap measure between jobs has kept many people solvent. This includes driving for Uber, Didi or Ola, as well as doing food deliveries or even odd jobs through places like Airtasker. This has often mean earning around minimum wage for some of the work, but enough to pay rent and put food on the table.
However, due to the climate of uncertainty a lot of this work has slowed down. Certainly, with few people going anywhere, the need for Uber trips is quite low. Food delivery drivers are reporting that work is still fairly slow, and of course with more people trying to pick up work in this area, there is less opportunity.
Overall, heading to the gig economy can be a way to earn some money on the side, but it won't be as lucrative as in the past. Some companies, such as Didi, are paying their drivers more per job, though it really will depend on how much work you can get.
Find a job
With many people losing work, especially in the tourism, retail and hospitality industries, and many other businesses struggling, there is not that much work out there. Even companies that are doing well are putting a moratorium on new hires during this climate of uncertainty. However, there are also some areas that are either experiencing growth or face significant labour shortages.
Image of queues from the 1930s courtesy of State Library of Victoria
The obvious place that is hiring is in health care. We can expect that this will be an area that will need people for at least 3 months to handle Coronavirus needs, as well then needing additional staff to handle the backlog of other health care needs. Jobs in this sector are fairly wide-ranging, including drivers for pathology labs, cleaners, cooks, orderlies and so on. The priority at the moment is on recruiting people with some sort of first aid certification and training them up on fairly easy duties. The most basic qualification you might look at doing at this time is the Certificate II in Health Support Services, which can help you get your foot in the door.
The government is committed to ensuring food supply. This means jobs in supermarkets and distribution centres, as well as factory work and farm work. Farms have been relying on an international labourforce for some time, but with many returning home, and new backpackers not able to come to Australia, there may be some opportunity here. But it does usually mean relocating to a regional area, with some places have rules about self-isolation before doing this. You can find fruit picking work for farms near cities. Basically, they pick up labourers from the outer suburbs and take them to the farm and then back at the end of the day.
Security work is something where there is a growing demand. Supermarkets are adding security staff out the front to police the number of people entering the store, markets as well are doing the same thing. Meanwhile, with many businesses closed, there is a need for more security patrols to check on those offices. The most basic course here is a Certificate II in Security Operations and there is no special requirement for security to use force. Many jobs are just monitoring cameras or sitting behind a desk in a building more or less providing reception duties.
Another area that might suffer from labour supply shortages are mines. They need lots of people with trades experience, from people whose experience is doing various basic fixes, through to people with experience operating a range of specialised and heavy equipment. Their problem is that they rely on workers flying in and out. This means you can look for work in your state or be prepared to relocate to a regional area.
Otherwise, it is mostly a matter of not giving up and keeping on applying. You may be surprised what areas need work. I am imagining that big overseas call centres may end up being closed in some cities and countries, which means more work for people answering phones in Australia.
Renting out a room
An easy way to both make a little money and help people out is to rent out your spare room. There are a lot of people doing it tough, especially backpackers who mostly live in dormitories or crowded AirBnB houses, and international students who relied on hospitality work to pay the bills. Of course, many locals as well may be in need of somewhere cheap to stay.
The reason why this helps others out is if you rent out your room at a cheaper price just during the pandemic, you can provide someone with a roof when they most need it. I would put in place agreements for the cheaper price, such as no friends around or going out to parties and the like. Basically you are helping someone through lockdown.
You might also consider throwing in some other things as well, such as helping with duties around the house, looking after kids for a certain amount of time each day or week, and so on. I mean you could go with, free room to anyone who is happy to be a nanny.
Just incase people are confused, you are allowed to let out a room at this stage. There are bans on people visiting, but people can move in to live. Obviously the government does want people popping in for a day or two then moving on elsewhere. Stays of weeks, months or longer are fine.
Yes, you can write for WeekendNotes. There is a link at the top of the page if you want to get started. There are also many other websites, magazines and newspapers that accept or rely on freelance submissions. While the money can be good for some publications, it often takes months to arrive. Even with the mainstream press, you write an article this month, it is published next month, and then the following month you get paid. Other places pay based on the number of clicks or the pay a base rate plus a bonus if your article is successful.
But if you are driven to be a writer and have a talent for it, then it is worth pursuing. In most cases, it is about coming up with the right pitch for the editor and seeing if they want that idea. Then, of course, you have to deliver. It can be a fun or frustrating process.
There are lots of other freelance opportunities, including graphic designing, video making and so on. Many opportunities are found through the gig economy, but you can also just contact businesses that you know might need some work done. They might not be hiring, but they could still pass jobs on to freelancers.
This article has just been some ideas on how to make some money during this tough economic time, where many people are out of work or have their hours reduced, business is seeing fewer customers or having to close and everyone is worried about money. If you have any additional ideas or your own money-making struggles, let us know in the comments.
A very honest and unbiased view Roy. I like that you have alerted people to the shortcomings of the options as well as the opportunities they provide. I used to do yhe online surveys and on avetage I reckon I got about $2 an hour but that was ok because I did them while I was watching TV. Your articles during this COVID-19 period have been well informed and welll balanced.