Ways to earn extra money during COVID-19


More than half of Canadians say that their household income had been impacted in a negative way by the COVID-19 crisis, according to a recent study published by the credit reporting agency TransUnion. And although there is no clear picture of what the post-COVID recovery will look like, experts agree it will not be a quick return to normal. For households already dealing with tight cash flow, and others looking to future proof themselves against the economic shocks that may still be to come, Canadians are looking for ways earn a little more money. 

The good news is that even during this crisis, there are many industries and potential revenue streams that have remained open to Canadians. From listing your freelance services online to signing up as a paid shopper or remote English teacher, there are many options for working safely from the comfort of your home. Here are some ways you can earn a little more money during this difficult time. 

Teach English online

With the COVID crisis causing many people to stay at home, online odd jobs are increasing in popularity—including teaching English to students around the world. Websites such as VIPKid, Qkids, and GoGoKids, are online platforms that offer virtual English immersion classes internationally. To work for these sites you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree, be able to pass a fairly difficult language test, and have access to a computer and stable Internet service. However, you can earn $15 to $24 an hour teaching these classes from the comfort of your own home. 

Freelance out your established skills

With hundreds of companies letting go or temporarily laying off their staff, many experienced professionals find themselves unemployed. Fortunately, there are a ton of websites out there where individuals and businesses can post projects they need help with and connect with skilled freelancers who can get those jobs done. 

Websites like Upwork, Freelancer.ca, and Fiverr allow graphic designers, computer scientists, accountants and other professionals to offer their services to companies with a project they need some help on. Some sites have more specific focuses, with Toptal targeting more advanced and experienced experts, while Aquent focuses on marketing professionals and creatives. You can create an account with your set of skills listed, and begin searching for projects. Rates can vary greatly depending on the project, starting as low as $15 an hour, but can go up to $70, $80, or even more. Getting hired is by no means simple, as you’ll have to prove your worth and bid against other freelancers, but it can be an effective way to earn some extra money, especially for professionals out of work due to COVID-19 cutbacks. 

Transcribe audio clips

Another source of online income is transcribing videos. Sites like TranscribeMe and Rev.com will pay you to listen to audio clips and dictate them on your computer. You’ll need a high school diploma and will have to complete a skill test, but if you can meet both requirements, you can earn up to $250 per month on the side. This total can increase as your transcribing gets more accurate and you gain more experience. 

Fill out online surveys

You’ve probably seen online surveys pop up on the bottom of your screen; surprisingly, they can be an easy way to earn some cash during these hard times. Simply by answering questions and participating in research, you can help soften the blow that COVID has caused; just be sure to keep your personal information close and be aware that some sites only pay in gift cards or reward points. You can get started on sites like Swagbucks (although you can only redeem to PayPal, not cash) Pinecone Research, and SurveyJunkie, earning anywhere from 5 cents to $3 a survey. 

Help crush someone’s To Do list

A number of websites can help you earn some extra cash by connecting with people who need help with odd jobs. TaskRabbit is a classic example of this kind of site. With some of the most popular tasks being helping move, setting up furniture, cleaning bathrooms and doing yard work, TaskRabbit projects don’t require a lot of skill or experience. 

Although some of these projects do require coming in contact with other individuals, TaskRabbit has set out clear guidelines for all “taskers” about how to complete their tasks safely while following social distance guidelines.

Hyr is a similar platform that has worked even harder during quarantine to help out those who are out of a job. Often targeting cooks, bartenders and servers, Hyr has removed some of their service fees and are doing their best to match their users with the work they need. For both TaskRabbit and Hyr, earnings vary by project, but can be anywhere from $17 to $60 an hour, with the average around $30 an hour. 

Paid shopping or delivery services

Although it has gotten a bad rap over the past few years, Uber Eats and similar delivery platforms have seen a boom due to the COVID-19 crisis. UberEats now earns more revenue than its ride-sharing wing of the company, a trend seen in many delivery services. This line of work requires a car, but if you are looking to earn some extra money, signing up to be a food delivery driver or shopper may be a good option. 

In Canada, popular food delivery options are UberEats, SkipTheDishes and DoorDash, all of which have a relatively easy sign-up process to be a driver. You’ll need to be over the age of 20, and have a car to start the process. A background check will follow as well, but you should be good to start driving soon after. If you don’t have a car, you can deliver from your bike, scooter, or even on foot, depending on where you live.  

Another company that has seen a massive increase in use since the start of the COVID quarantine has been Instacart. Instacart is a service that picks up groceries and basic pharmacy items for shoppers. At the start of quarantine, the company announced its desire to bring on 30,000 new workers to keep up with demand. Instacart shoppers need to meet similar standards as UberEats or SkipTheDishes and face the added work of actually going out and doing some shopping rather than just picking up a food order from a restaurant.

Earnings for delivery people and shoppers average $12 to $18 per hour after the cost of servicing a vehicle. 

Volunteer

Although it may not help with making ends meet, for those who are starting to succumb to cabin fever, volunteering is a great option. Organizations have created a ton of resources to better connect with volunteers in a safe and comfortable way during COVID-19. Organizations like Volunteer Toronto have created their COVID-19 Volunteer Response Team, and Volunteer Canada has put together a list of organizations across the country looking for help. Additionally, if you are a student and volunteer this summer, you may be eligible to earn up to $5,000 in CESB payments

Read up on government tips

The Government of Canada wants to get Canadians back to work, and has invested in programs and resources to make that process easier. The Canadian Job Bank website is a great place to start to find out which industries are hiring and get connected to a potential employer.  

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