Money Health

Should You Try and Find a Side Gig During Lockdown?

Find a Side Gig
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If you’re struggling financially as a result of coronavirus, you may want to pick up a side gig. Essentially, a side gig (or side hustle) is anything you do to make money outside of your full-time job. A side hustle can help you earn that extra cash you need to cover your expenses and maybe even pad your emergency fund. Let’s take a closer look at the types of side gigs you can pursue and the pros and cons of doing so.

Side hustle ideas

Even in times of economic turmoil there are many side gig opportunities, and it is possible to find one or two that are a good fit for your skills, interests, and schedule. If you’re unsure of what type of side gig is still available and could be best for you, here are some ideas to consider*.

  • Outdoor home maintenance: Do you love to spend time outdoors? If so, can you get work mowing lawns, cleaning gutters, or maintaining pools? Fortunately, many states have begun to ease lockdowns and now allow this type of work.
  • Sell handmade items: If you consider yourself crafty, you can make handmade items like jewelry, blankets, candles, or even masks and sell them on social media or a website like Etsy. There could be a market for people shopping for a little pick-me-up during this time.
  • Tutor: Schools have been closed since March, so some parents are looking for tutors to help their children get prepared for the upcoming school year. If you’re particularly knowledgeable about a certain subject like algebra, reading, or chemistry, you could earn some extra cash tutoring online through a platform like Zoom or GoToMeeting.
  • Deliver food: If you have a reliable car and don’t mind leaving your house, you could deliver groceries or restaurant meals through a company like DoorDash, Instacart, or Shipt. Many restaurants aren’t open yet and people are still hesitant to shop on their own, so this could keep you quite busy.
  • Become a virtual assistant: Since remote work is more popular today than ever before, many businesses are taking advantage of administrative services through a virtual assistant. As a virtual assistant, you would use your organization and people skills to call customers or vendors, manage databases, schedule appointments, and send invoices.

Try to get creative and think about the types of products and services people are likely to benefit from while they’re at home and social distancing.

Pros of a side gig

There are a number of advantages to having a side gig during lockdown, including:

  • Extra money: The most obvious benefit of a side gig in the coronavirus era is extra money. Whether you use the cash to pay down debt, build your emergency fund, or save for retirement, you’re likely to feel more financially secure.
  • The chance to make a positive difference: Your products or services have the potential to truly help people during these tough times. They can make their lives easier or simply bring smiles to their faces.
  • Opportunity to explore a different career path: A side hustle can give you the opportunity to dabble in a different job or industry and gain a new set of skills.
  • A way to cure boredom: If you find yourself bored at home, a side gig can keep you productive and engaged. It can be a great alternative to spending hours watching Netflix or surfing social media.

Cons of a side gig

As with most things in life, there are some drawbacks of working a side gig during this time, such as:

  • Unnecessary stress: A side hustle on top of a full-time job can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, especially if you don’t have enough time to take a warm bath, read, catch up on your favorite show, or do anything else you love. Since self-care is very important as we navigate these uncertain times, this can be a major issue.
  • The money may not be worth it: Not all side gigs pay enough to actually help you with your financial goals. So before you take one on, calculate your hourly rate and subtract any expenses you’ll have (supplies, gas, etc.) to make sure it makes financial sense.
  • Neglect in your full-time job: If your side hustle takes up a lot of time and energy, you may find it difficult to perform well at your 9 to 5 job. This may be very problematic, as employers could be expecting their employees to prove their value during these harsh economic conditions.
  • Health risk: Depending on the side gig you choose, you may have to come in contact with others and put your health at risk, even if you’re young and healthy.

How a gig affects unemployment benefits

If you’ve lost your full-time job, you may wonder how gig work would affect your unemployment benefits. The answer depends on the state you live in, as each state has its own rules for unemployment eligibility and benefit amounts.

In New York, for example, if you participate in gig work for more than four days during one week, you won’t be eligible for the benefits you would’ve been able to collect that week. To determine how a gig would impact your unemployment benefits, reach out to the unemployment office in your state.

Survive lockdown with a side gig

Before you move forward with a side gig, be sure to think about the pros and cons. If you believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, go for it! A side gig may be just what you need to improve your financial situation and stay sane during the coronavirus pandemic.

Learning how to deal with debt, money, and planning for your future doesn’t need to be hard. We have developed a simple to follow guide to help you find the tools you need to move to a better financial future during the pandemic and beyond. Get started by downloading our free guide right now.

*Disclaimer: All companies mentioned in this post are suggestions for you to research as you consider a side gig. We receive no money for mentioning names, we are only providing resources to make this search a bit easier for our readers.

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Anna Baluch is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about all personal finance topics. She’s particularly interested in mortgages, retirement, insurance, and investing.