With the global pandemic, everyone is feeling the pinch, and money is tight for a lot of people looking for a way to make some extra cash. Thankfully, the gig economy took off well before the current extenuating circumstances, and you have a wealth of options at your disposal to scrounge together some extra scratch to help you get by. Read on to learn everything you need to know to launch a stellar and potentially lucrative side gig, and make sure you’re always aware of The One Word That May Make You Spend More Money.
It’s simply a fact that the gig economy is here to stay and you can take full advantage of it. Upwards of 10 percent of all Americans, or more than 16 million people, were considered full-time gig economy contractors as of December 2019. Of course, with the rise of the coronavirus and the massive number of job losses following the various lockdowns, that number has almost certainly risen by leaps and bounds. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor expects that number to rise another 10 percent over the next couple of years.
That being said, there are a few things you should be aware of before you race to hang your new shingle and get started. Where you live plays a vital role in your ability to find gigs, with states and rural areas showing some of the lowest rates of contractors and available gig clients.
Also, know that the gig economy seems to be wonderfully age agnostic, as retirees make up the largest share of contractors at a whopping 24.1 percent—and those aged 45-64 making up another 26.5 percent—which means that more than 50 percent of gig contractors are over the age of 40!
Another thing to consider is how much spare time you want to put into your side hustle jobs and how much extra income you need. Because of some of the benefits a gig affords, especially as it relates to personal freedom, it can be tempting to get a taste of success in one gig and decide you want to do it full-time. While that is certainly an option, we recommend you take a gig as a secondary form of income to your traditional full-time job—at least until you establish yourself within the gig’s field. Part of the issue comes from the fact that many gigs, especially those with less oversight, can be a bit streaky.
Some weeks or months you may find yourself inundated with more work than you know what to do with and can make a lot of money in short order. On the other hand, other months may dry up and leave you with leaner prospects that can create a strain on managing your budget, especially if you live in a household with dependents or you are the primary breadwinner.
Finally, not every field is created equally, and there are plenty of gigs that tend to pay reasonably well regardless of the region or market competition. Most solid gig economy jobs have some type of app or website that makes finding and applying for gigs much easier than before the internet existed.
Depending on the platform, you might even be able to sign up for a website or app and get email notifications when a potential gig opens up to keep you aware of job openings. To help give you a jumpstart in your search for a great gig, we compiled a list of some of the best gig websites and apps on the online market. Pretty much all of these platforms have mobile apps that work on virtually any smart device (whether Android or iOS), making it even easier to get started in the high-paying gig economy. Just be aware that some of these platforms have a more thorough vetting process than others and have the necessary information on hand. Read on for the best places to get started, and for more great advice, know that This Is the Biggest Money Myth You Need to Stop Believing.
Fiverr is one of the old-school gig apps and, as the name implies, truly did begin its career as a place where people could sell their skills for $5 a pop. Thankfully, Fiverr expanded a bit since then and now allows a wider range of different services with the option to set your rates to make an actual living wage. And for more ways to save on your next shopping trip, here are 15 Money-Saving Tricks Only Walmart Insiders Know.
While not as internet venerable as Fiverr, TaskRabbit has still been around a while. However, it was recently purchased by Ikea due to the high demand of users to put together their furniture. Of course, TaskRabbit gigs may have you performing all kinds of odds and ends labor jobs, including running errands, moving things, or even standing in line. And for the project you should leave to the experts, here is The Home Improvement Decision You’ll Regret Most, Survey Finds
Upwork started primarily as a low-end app for entry-level freelance writers and was dominated by non-Western writers. These days, however, it is a reliable option for anyone in the creative or developing gig markets and even increased their standards to serve as a barrier for entry to ensure skilled contractors and higher pay.
Similar to Upwork in both how it started and where it is today, Freelancer has positioned itself a bit more towards the creative market. However, they still offer plenty of options for semi-technical contractors as well. This is a great app for someone who has social media or other marketing experience as well as website design. And for the common errors that might be on your CV, here are 17 Résumé Writing Mistakes That Would Totally Horrify HR Managers.
ThumbTack is another labor-based gig app, but they focused more on skilled labor that requires some kind of certification than general labor. As such, if you are a plumber, electrician, or other construction-related contractors, ThumbTack makes it easier to find clients without having to work for a corporation.
Roadie is a delivery gig app, but unlike some of the others that are more popular, this gig can cover pretty much any delivery and span a large distance. While you might often find food delivery gigs, you can also find gigs that need someone to move furniture or even travel out of state.
InstaCart, similar to Postmates, is a more traditional kind of delivery app in the sense that it focuses exclusively on delivering food, mostly groceries in this instance. InstaCart makes it easy for the client to choose which groceries from which store as well as let you get in touch if the store is out of something, and you need to make a substitution. And for the one grocery you should avoid right now, know that If You Bought This at Walmart, Throw It Away Now.
FlexJobs is an excellent place for high-skilled, technical contractors to find jobs, but it does come with the overhead cost of a monthly subscription. However, only Upwork and Guru come close to competing with this gig platform when it comes to robotics, cryptocurrency, VR, or any other highly technical gig.
For people who love animals, Rover is a godsend in the gig economy as this app connects pet owners to workers for dog-walking and pet-sitting. While it may seem a bit low-end for those just starting, anyone with a legitimate background in animal care can earn substantial pay, especially for overnight stays or when working with animals that have disabilities.
The complement in the care industry to Rover, Care.com may not be quite as agile on the internet as Rover but offers a wide range of potential services and clients. If you have relevant work experience in hospice and caring for people, this is an excellent option for finding high-paying gigs.
DoorDash is one of the premier prepared food delivery apps on the market and saw massive growth in use and pay during the pandemic. While there may be a bit of a slowdown when things get back to normal, this should remain a great way to make money fast on the side for a while.
Uber is the big daddy of ride-sharing apps and can be found in even most small to medium-sized cities across America. That said, Uber has plenty of issues with how they handle their contractors but balance those difficulties by being more popular and offering better pay. If you’re going to take part, remember to do What Dr. Fauci Says He Does Every Time He Rides in a Car.
Lyft might be seen as the “little brother” to Uber in a lot of the bigger cities across the U.S., but in other places around the world, it is the favored rideshare option.
AirBnB, or the automotive equivalent Getaround, is the go-to app for renting out your property to travelers when you are not using it. Even better, this is a gig that does not occupy your time or energy (with little overhead costs too), allowing you to spend more time on gigs that require your time and effort. And if you’re willing to make a move to earn more cash, you’ll want to know that This Is the State Where You Can Make the Most Money.
A version of this post originally appeared on Arrest Your Debt.