As a personal finance blogger, I’ve spent the past five years trying to get to grips with writing about universal, evergreen principles, as opposed to reacting to current events. It’s not always possible, as political shifts bring about economic shifts, and therefore personal finance has to be agile. I say get to grips with it because it also goes against the grain when you just want to talk about the bargains you’ve found this week.
Although I had every intention of making this podcast into a structured show, focused on moving through various principles of home economics, I feel as though have no choice but to respond to the times in which we live.
My name is Lee, and you’re listening to the Homely Economics podcast.
In the UK, so many of us have lost our jobs in the past few weeks that it would be remiss of me not to talk about some of the options available for picking up alternative work that is appropriate to the current climate.
In late 2019 I published a blog post entitled “The Big List Of Stay At Home Jobs For Single Parents“. The idea was to provide options for people in need of home-based work because of childcare responsibilities, as well as health problems or disability, or some other reason. My initial thought was to refresh this post, but looking at it, it doesn’t entirely fit. Lots of jobs that used to fit the lifestyles of home-based parents have been wrenched away, so what can you do now?
Well, my new list will be using that post as a springboard and include the following types of opportunities:
- In-demand and seasonal “key worker” jobs
- Home-based employment, independent contracting & microtasks
- High effort/skill/commitment jobs – essentially a home-based self-employed job or small business
- Medium effort/skill/commitment ways to bring in extra income
- Low effort/commitment ways to pick up extra money
I’ll explain what those entail as we go along.
Key worker jobs
It’s an ironic quirk that the virus pandemic has seen public-facing job roles in the hospitality sector fall under the axe, but public-facing job roles in many other sectors have boomed.
They may not be ideal in terms of social distancing, but there’s no denying that there’s a definite need to keep public services and supply chains running.
There are now lots of temporary and permanent jobs opening up in all of the major supermarkets. Besides the visible in-store roles, supermarkets will need more delivery and warehouse staff.
Farms will soon be in great need of tens of thousands of workers as fruit, vegetables and salad crops approach their harvest time.
Carers are essential key workers.
Logistics is an essential component of our society, but we don’t often think about it. HGV drivers will be in demand, but so will other delivery drivers. Options include Hermes, Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, although many gig economy drivers have found that their work has gone down, not up. It’s worth stating that many with many delivery firms, their drivers are self-employed couriers, so your wages may not be protected if you have to self-isolate or take time off sick.
In my original article I link to Amazon, Apple, Sensee, Lionbridge, Appen, Clickworker, and Amazon Mechanical Turk. I’ll be leaving links to those (see original post here) in the transcript of this podcast, so you can see what’s available – but the likelihood is that after there will be a lot more demand for these jobs than there was before, so availability might not be as good as it once was.
Home-based self-employment avenues
Creating online courses
If you have a special skill, you may be able to monetise it by creating a course on Udemy* or Skillshare*, or going it alone and hosting your course on Thinkific or Teachable. This will probably be a good option if you were already working as a tutor before having to practise social distancing.
A self-hosted course will naturally give you more control over pricing and keeping in touch with your students, but the established course platforms have more visitors, a known reputation and a higher possibility of being found if you don’t have an audience already.
Creating written or audiovisual content can be a decent way to earn an income from home, but the truth is:
- It’s difficult
- It’s a long-haul game
- It’s not for everyone
This is not the thing for anyone who needs a quick injection of cash to replace a lost salary. Podcasting is even more difficult to get up and running in terms of remuneration. I wouldn’t want to appear as though I’m trying put you off of something that I’m clearly doing myself, but it’s important to know that any kind of content creation business is a lot harder than most people make it seem.
If you can think of a clear subject area in which you have a keen interest (and that you know something about), and you can stick with it for several years, online content creation could be for you. It might just be that you can start something now that could pay off later.
This is connected to the previous option of online content creation, but can stand alone. If you’ve already got an engaged social media following such as a Facebook group or successful Instagram account or YouTube channel, or if you have a blog of your own, you can try monetising it with affiliate marketing.
I recommend Affiliate Window as the best place to start* – I use it myself and have done since 2016.
Many online content creators will turn to virtual assistants to get help with tasks such as social media scheduling, organisation and some content creation. As online creators are already feeling the pinch from the economic downturn, these roles may be less lucrative for a while.
Freelance writing has always been a competitive field, but .
According to Debt Free Family, the average UK wage for transcription services is between 50p and £1 per audio minute. Check out their list of places offering home-based transcription work.
Vocal/musical skills – singing, voiceovers and music
I used to sing in bands, but that’s definitely not easy to do with a small child to look after. If you can sing or play an instrument, you can record your work at home and provide it to the people who need it.
Ways to pick up some extra cash at home
None of these are likely to replace a lost job, put a few extra pounds here or there will always come in handy.
Switching bank accounts
Dependant on the offers available, and how many current accounts you have open, you can make a few hundred pounds for a few minutes’ work. Bank switching incentives generally take a month (sometimes less) to come through, and there’ll be a limit as to how often you can do it.
Using and sharing referral codes
There’s no commitment here at all, just offering your friends and family your referral code to use if they need to try out a new service that you already use. If it’s a popular service you might get more traction from sharing your codes on social media or on your own blog.
Surveys have a bad rap because people often put them in lists like this, but it’s very rare to find someone who can actually make decent money from nothing but surveys. Still, there’s no barrier to entry, no special skills needed and little to lose apart from a bit of time when the kids are in bed.
Smartphone task apps
Apps like Roamler and StreetSpotr pay for small tasks, and there’s also receipt-snapping apps like Shoppix. Of course, you can’t use the ones that require you to be wandering around outdoors!
Emma Drew’s written an ebook with 50 iPhone apps you can use to make extra money.* At 99p, it should pay for itself if you use just a few of the suggested apps.
Get Paid To sites
No-one gets rich off of these kinds of sites, so let’s not kid ourselves – but they do pay a little bit, and there’s no commitment whatsoever. They’re gamified so you feel as though you’re just playing around.
Some of the most popular are:
Cashback sites aren’t a way to earn money, but to get money back from what you’ve spent. However, there are sometimes a few “free cashback offers” on the sites if you look around.
Comping is the practice of regularly, consistently entering a high volume of competitions. It’s a hobby that can possibly pay off, but can be tedious if it’s not a hobby you enjoy. It’s not for me, but it may be something you can do if you’re confined to your home.