We know. There was a time when you probably thought of rideshare or delivery work as just a side gig. Then, before too long it became your main source of income—until COVID-19 reared its ugly head.
Now we’re all waiting for the pandemic to back off so we can get our driving volume back up to where it used to be.
In the meantime, you might want to explore this list of side gigs that we pulled together for you. Who knows what might happen? Your side gig may be such a success that you’ll want to keep going with it even after things are back to the “old normal.”
We’ll talk a bit about strategy first, and then offer some suggestions that could work well for you. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What makes a good side gig?
- How do you know what kind of side gig is best for you?
- 15 side gigs drivers can dig
- When you’re back to driving
What makes a good side gig?
In general, a good side gig will allow you to make decent money and work flexible hours while you’re using the talents and resources you already have.
Do you have a hobby that could turn into a job? Do you like to make or build things? Are you fluent in another language, or a math whiz who could help someone else master a skill at which you excel?
When you do what you enjoy, things go more smoothly. Remember, if you’re doing a side gig, you’ll most likely be out there promoting yourself as an expert in whatever it is you’ve chosen to pursue—which means you really do need to be an expert. Can you imagine becoming a caterer when you don’t know how to make hard-boiled eggs? Neither can we.
A good side gig will also not be a huge investment. Even if you can make really great hard-boiled eggs, along with a whole array of mouth-watering dishes, you won’t want to finance a large catering business. It’s always good to have the option of starting out small.
You might think it would be cool to own an auto store franchise, for instance, and that’s a great idea—but only if you have the money to invest. If you’re looking for that kind of side gig, you’ll undoubtedly have to spend some time saving up for it.
How do you know which side gig is best for you?
The first rule for deciding whether a side gig is for you is to find out all the facts. What does this line of work entail? How much will you earn? Are there expenses involved? If so, what are they and how much will they be? After expenses, what will your estimated net income be?
Once you get the facts, you’ll be able to make your choices using common sense and gut instincts. Is this something you have time for? How will you like doing the work? How will you promote your services? Will it be worth the money you make?
You’ll also need some sense of what business is like now, and its future outlook. For example, if you’re interested in being a children’s birthday entertainer, doing face painting or magic tricks or balloon sculptures, it will be challenging to get gigs under current COVID restrictions. Look for businesses that are booming in the COVID environment, and you’ll have more luck getting work.
And with a little creative thinking, you can modify what you like to do in order to market your skills safely and/or virtually. Paint colorful, whimsical faces on paper or cloth face coverings and sell them to a perplexed parent trying to make a COVID-era birthday party into a happy occasion. You could also do a magic show or create balloon sculptures on YouTube or another channel. You might demonstrate simple designs participants can do themselves, or invent other kinds of craft projects kids will love.
Of course, not all of us are blessed with the type of personality that lends itself to creating children’s parties, or cooking, or cleaning … but there are many side gigs that seem natural to most drivers.
15 side gigs drivers can dig
Here are some side gigs for you to consider, as well as information on how to get started. Click on “Getting Started” to get the details.
1 – Digital marketeer.
You may be thinking you can’t do this because you don’t know coding, but digital marketing is much broader than that. It involves everything from posting on the Facebook page of your favorite barber or beer distributor to creating a branding package for an up-and-coming website. You can charge per post, or a flat amount for designing a website or social media business page. To get this type of side gig, check with business people you know, or list yourself on a job forum. Business owners are always looking for people to handle this end of their operation.
Getting started: Create an online presence so you can show prospective clients what you can do. Link to websites you’ve designed for friends, or to your own eye-popping Instagram account. From there, get the word out through people you already know, or list your services with an online marketplace.
2 – Virtual assistant (VA).
Are you good with details? Can you take care of some tasks online, or even do a bit of shopping? Would you be willing to make some phone calls or manage a busy professional’s schedule? If so, you might be an ideal candidate for a VA position.
Getting started: Once you decide on your specialties, put together a marketing and networking program that works for you. Develop a profile and post it on LinkedIn, Upwork, or another jobs platform. Also, be sure to check with busy acquaintances you’ve heard complaining that they need an assistant.
3 – YouTuber or podcast personality.
Both of these require creativity, but knowing many of the drivers we hear from, there are lots of you out there. What are you passionate about? Customizing cars? Designing a man cave? Household hacks? Pick a topic that means a lot to you, turn on your camera and/or microphone, and put together your own show. For a small investment, you could create an awesome side gig. Remember, though, that if you want this to be successful enough to attract advertisers, you need to be unafraid of shameless self-promotion.
Getting started: Get the equipment you need, choose your audience, produce the content, and learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other aspects of attracting viewers—and hopefully, paying advertisers. Becoming a financially successful YouTuber isn’t exactly a snap, but if you pursue it with purpose, it could become a labor of love.
4 – Tutor.
We know our drivers are smart people, so there’s likely something you know well enough to teach others. Whether you’re an inspired creative writer, a math whiz, or an expert at teaching not-so-technically inclined people how to use their smartphones or laptops, you can find opportunities to teach what you know—and earn money doing it.
Getting started: You can register with an online company that does the kinds of tutoring you feel comfortable with, as well as promote yourself to your local community college, other social groups, and senior centers. Most tutors get paid around $20 per hour, making this a good way to bring in extra cash.
5 – Driving Instructor.
How can you say you don’t know a thing or two about driving? If you’re itching for more hours behind the wheel, this is one way to get them in. Being qualified as a driving instructor is surprisingly simple, and you can work as an independent contractor or for a driving school.
Getting started: Investigate what it takes to be certified in your locality, and go through what’s usually a fairly simple and inexpensive process. Then, you can take charge of shaping new drivers and making them road-ready. By educating good, courteous drivers, think of the great service you’ll do for the gig-driving community!
6 – Pet care.
This can take a number of different forms. You could gather your own pack with neighborhood pets, or work for a dog walking service like Wag or Rover. Cats and other inside pets need love too, and their humans may need someone to care for them from time to time. For instance, people may have disabilities or health issues that make it difficult for them to empty a litter box or clean a hamster cage. Pet owners may also need someone to take their pets to a vet or groomer. If you want to go solo, check around to see what others in your area charge for these types of services, and price yourself accordingly.
Getting started: First, try pet sitting for someone you already know, and then decide how big you want this business to get. Whether you decide to freelance or work with one of the services, you’ll need to set up your own business; but as a driver, you’re are probably familiar with that process.
7 – Odd jobs.
This is one of the most in-demand services, so you’re almost certain to find work. Think of a neighbor who broke her leg—how will she take out the garbage or change the batteries in her smoke alarms? Or, there might be someone who needs a deadbolt installed, or pictures hung, or weatherstripping put on the windows. Those people are out there … waiting for you to help them.
Getting started: Advertise yourself as a “household helper” on virtual boards that cater to your area, or put an ad in a community newspaper. You could also make some calls to see who needs you or knows someone who could use a hand. Another option is joining online listing services such as TaskRabbit, Craigslist, or Handy.
8 – Car care.
Here’s another skill you probably have down to a science by now. Think of the stressed-out parents in your area. They’re homeschooling their kids and also trying to handle their own jobs remotely, so they’d fully appreciate you for digging out the french fries from between the seats of their luxury SUVs. Or, you might have a neighbor who’s decided to shed one of their vehicles for extra cash. If you have the expertise and the equipment, your detailing work can add substantial value to that trade-in.
Getting started: Word of mouth could work for this, but if you’re really good, and you know how to market your skills, you could advertise on social media boards for your local area. Since this is a service almost everyone needs at some point, you could build a solid future for yourself.
9 – Voiceover for audiobooks.
If you have a knack for reading out loud, you can consider narrating for audiobooks. You don’t have to be a Tony Award-winning thespian; if you have a pleasant voice, good focus, and mental stamina, this gig can work for you. The explosion of audiobooks and the advent of self-publishing has created a huge demand. Plus, you can easily get set up with equipment for a comparatively low cost.
Getting started: Just try it out! Read some part of your favorite book into a voice recorder and play it back. What do you think? Will other people want to hear you read? If yes, you’ll need to get that equipment and more information about perfecting this art,. Once you’re all set up, give it a go!
10 – Home repair and installations.
Are you handy around the house? Many people aren’t, so you can make good money doing household repairs like replacing a ripped screen or installing closet doors or trim. Security is big these days too; people buy those doorbell systems but don’t know how to make them work. If you can get the word out around your neighborhood, or even sign on with a store or a brand that sells products you know a lot about, this could be a rewarding side gig for you.
11 – Styling.
This one’s not for every driver, but we’re willing to bet some of you would be perfect for this job. You simply look at what kinds of clothing your customer might like to wear, make suggestions, and help them do their shopping—all online.
Getting started: You’ll need to learn some important fundamentals, so be sure to do some research before you start. You can sign up with a company such as Stitch Fix, and let them show you the ropes ropes and connect you with clients. You could also, if you’re a good marketer, get your own start-up going. Specialize in a certain population; think working parents, active kids, or seniors with style. If this is for you, gather up your confidence and creativity and make it happen.
12 – Hauling.
After working and learning from home for all these months, a great number of people have been inspired to clean out their attics and closets. That’s easy enough, but after they get that far, they have no idea how to get rid of their … stuff. If you have a large enough vehicle and the physical prowess to be able to haul away a bunch of discarded belongings, you could be the person they pay to do it. Whether you’re taking items for donation, or just dealing with potential trash, you can charge by the load or by the hour.
Getting started: It’s pretty simple to start a hauling business, but if you’d rather get referrals from a larger outfit, you can work for a company like 1-800-Got Junk? or one that’s near you. And, as long as they’re throwing stuff out, you could consider another side gig, namely…
13 – Reselling.
With the decline in people’s earning power, many are going through possessions they’ve accumulated over the years and deciding to sell them. They usually start out with lots of enthusiasm; but once they get down to the photographing, posting, tracing, and shipping part, they don’t do so well. That’s where you come in! Let them pay you to do all that for them. Maybe you’ll get a percentage of the sale, or you could buy selected items from them and resell the items at a much better price. This can quickly become fun for you if you specialize in items that involve one of your hobbies or special interests.
Getting started: While this is a fairly straightforward business, it pays to invest some time in learning more about the best things to sell and the best marketplaces to use. This article offers tips for the granddaddy of all e-commerce sites, eBay.
14 – Crafting or building.
These two specialties are not identical, but both require talent and creativity. You can make crafts—such as key chains for your fellow drivers, or cool leather belts that would make sweet biker gear. If you can build structures, like a garden gazebo or a small woodshed, or even install swing sets for families, you could be a builder. Be sure to look into any licensing requirements and assess your liabilities before you get too far into this. Once you’re ready to go, chances are good that you’ll find plenty of business with friends and neighbors who respect your talent and need your help.
Getting started: As with any other kind of business, be sure to consider aspects such as taxes, accounting, and marketing. Check local outlets that might sell your wares, or connect online with Etsy and other sites that will gladly sell your artistic and practical DIY creations.
15 – Virtual parties.
People everywhere are itching to get together, even if it’s only online. You could run down your playlists, get people dancing in their living rooms, and create a virtual party spirit right at home with your computer. You can even work with themes if you’d like; think trivia, sports betting, and watch parties for big games and new Netflix releases. Charge by the hour or for a special party package.
Getting started: This is a fairly new field, so learn more about it and start finding clients. You can begin with friends and family, and then expand from there. Medium-sized businesses, corporations, and other organizations are looking for ways to entertain people between meetings all the time, and they pay well, too.
After reading through these 15 suggestions, you’ve probably become aware of how important your creativity is to your success with a side gig. Never limit yourself to the ordinary or mundane; instead, think big and invent new ways to do old things. Even if you have to work around shutdowns and social isolation, you can invent new ways of keeping people safe and making the world a better place.
When you’re back to driving …
Even with a solid side gig, you’ll probably want to continue driving, and Gridwise is here for you. Once you download the app, you can link your rideshare and delivery driver accounts, sign online to Gridwise whenever you drive, and your earnings and mileage will be logged automatically. When you’re all done, and you want to see how much you made with each driving gig, you can get the full story through these slick graphs.
And with our newest feature, you can even log all your expenses with Gridwise, which gives you an overall view of your net earnings once you consider gas, maintenance, and other automotive costs.
That’s not all Gridwise can do. We give you current airport departures and arrivals, event info, weather, and traffic reports. On our Perks tab, you’ll get easy access to the Gridwise blog and YouTube channel, plus great deals and discounts for drivers.
Join us on Facebook too, so you can get in on our great gas card giveaways and be a part of our fun and active driver community.
Oh, and don’t forget to leave us some comments below to let us know what you think about side gigs, and what kinds of cool and creative ideas you have.