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7 Easy Side-Gigs to Stave Off Boredom and Make Extra Cash During Quarantine

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By Kate Harveston

You’re probably as tired as anybody of hearing about “uncertain times” and shambling around in sweatpants. Whether or not you’ve been financially impacted by the COVID-19 quarantine, you might be looking for something to do — or ways to earn a spot of extra spending money.

If that’s the case for you, keep reading for seven fairly easy side-gigs you can begin today to crush your boredom, your next student loan payment, or both.

1. Tutor ESL Learners and Others in English

For folks who were born into English as a first language, it can be easy to forget just how illogical and convoluted it can be. In fact, it’s widely recognized as one of the most difficult languages to learn thanks to its weird spellings and absurd or contradictory grammar rules.

Consider offering your spare time to those who need some tutoring in the arcane English arts. These might be English-as-a-second-language students. It might also include born-and-raised Americans who need help figuring out if the thesis of their latest essay hangs together or whether their sentence structures need some TLC.

2. Become a Courier or Rideshare Driver

If you have a set of wheels and some street smarts, consider becoming a courier or a rideshare driver. Be aware that Uber and other companies have classified these individuals as essential, but they have been working to keep drivers protected. All that’s left is to sign up and help folks get to their destinations or make sure essentials like food and beverages get delivered on time.

Opportunities are plentiful. In addition to Uber and Lyft, it seems like there’s a new sharing economy app popping up almost daily, from DoorDash and Grubhub to LaserShip, Roadie, Delivery.com and others. Even Amazon is hiring last-mile couriers for its Amazon Flex program.

3. Write Articles as a Freelancer

The economy may have slowed to a crawl, but the internet is as lively as ever. Individuals and companies all over the planet still have products to sell, reputations to maintain and audiences to reach. That means there’s still plenty of demand for well-written articles, blog posts and website copy, even if current events have slowed down sales a bit.

There are opportunities to be found on general websites like Craigslist, where you may have finer control over your rates and terms. In addition to that, you can create a profile on Fiverr, Upwork, TextBroker, ProBlogger and elsewhere to begin hawking your services and building your portfolio. Newcomers may not get the best rates, but experience will bring more lucrative opportunities.

4. Walk Dogs or Pet-Sit Around Your Community

Do you love animals? Are you itching for an excuse to get out of the house and stretch your legs? If so, you might be able to pick up some cash walking dogs around your community or pet-sitting for folks who still have to travel for work or who might be sheltering-in-place away from home.

Again, you have options for getting yourself out there. Craigslist is an obvious place to start, but there are more specialized websites like Rover and Wag that connect pet owners with potential caretakers. If you’d prefer that dogs come to you instead, Sniffspot lets you turn your dog-friendly yard into doggie home-away-from-home.

5. Sell Stuff Online to Declutter Your Home

If you’re spending most of your time at home during quarantine, which you should be, there’s probably never been a better time to de-clutter your home. We don’t know how long social distancing will last, but Spring Cleaning can happen at any time of the year. If you’re anything like the typical American, your “clutter problem” might just be edging into “hoarding” territory. But tackling it in a deliberate way could put a smile on your face and some cash back in your pocket.

The average U.S. home contains 300,000 items, which is enough to make any tiny-home-dwelling minimalist faint on the spot. Separate anything you haven’t used in a year’s time into donate, toss, and sell piles. Then, check out Poshmark, eBay, Amazon, OfferUp, LetGo or Facebook Marketplace to connect with folks who want the stuff you’re tired of tripping over.

6. Manage Social Media Accounts

Any entrepreneur or business owner can tell you that maintaining a top-shelf online presence is a full-time job. For companies with limited time or cash for permanent marketing staff, the idea of outsourcing the task to clever, internet-savvy freelancers is extremely appealing.

Think about reaching out to local businesses as well as brands you follow online. You might even have friends or family in your network who can’t tweet, post, upvote or meme to save their life. You’ll also find bigger companies with open positions, but you may need previous experience or even a degree in communications, marketing or a similar field to get your digital foot in the door.

7. Teach Musical Theory and Instrument Skills

If you’ve been tickling the ivories since you could walk, or you picked up the trombone because of Commander Will Riker’s otherworldly talents, or you have fiddle skills that would make The Devil himself jealous, there’s almost certainly somebody — multiple somebodies, you if you market yourself well — who’d pay you to teach them your skills and the finer points of musical theory.

There’s always been a market for online music lessons, whether delivered live or via pre-recorded instructional videos. These days, there’s even more reason to deliver musical knowledge digitally. Becoming a music teacher lets you set your own hours, at least to an extent, and it’ll bring the joy of music-making into another person’s life. Bring plenty of experience. And patience.

Feeling inspired yet? There are dozens of other side-gig opportunities out there for folks with talents, skills and extra time on their hands. If quarantine has you feeling stir-crazy, now’s a great time to take the gig economy for a spin. Plus, turning your passions into a new revenue stream is one of life’s great pleasures.

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