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How to Make Money During the New Normal

Many Americans have found themselves struggling to make money during the pandemic. While our current situation can seem overwhelming, it is not impossible to get back on our feet. This is not investment advice, but is an action-plan to find new sources of income.

Too many Americans have found themselves struggling to make money during the pandemic. If you’ve been downsized due to COVID, or if your business has taken a harsh 180 in this new quarantine economy, this article is for you.

As the founder of Pour My Party, I often interact with current and potential partners as I work to grow our business. Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten tons of messages these past few weeks stating that my contact is no longer there. In many cases, people are asking if I’ve heard of any open jobs or know anyone looking for a temp.

Once these messages began piling up, it got me thinking—What might I myself do to make extra money during the new normal if needed?

As one question led to another, and after asking around, I realized that this back-and-forth was pretty common and tough to navigate. 

I’ve assembled this post help people take stock of their current situation and make moves accordingly.

So, where do we begin?

Opening Question:  What industry are you in?

A paycheck isn’t the only way of making money during the pandemic.

Before you begin looking for work, understand that many organizations have set up funds to support hourly workers through cash payments. 

While we mostly work with the business owners themselves, we still rely heavily on the spirits and events industry as a whole. As the hourly employees of these businesses are crucial to their success, they’re also indirectly critical to ours as well.

Eater has assembled a comprehensive list of these funds for the hospitality industry. Liquor.com has put together a similar list specifically for bartenders. 

If these are any indication, there is a decent amount of “free money” available to help soften the blow for workers in the hospitality industry. There is absolutely no shame in applying for one of these payments.

The Another Round Another Rally Homepage where bartenders can make money during the pandemic
Another Round Another Rally helps hourly bar employees

If you have ever frequented a bar or restaurant (hint-hint!) and have the financial cushion to help, please consider donating.

Of course, it’s not just the hourly workers who are having financial trouble. The owners themselves are also struggling. Leslie Nilsson of Brooklyn’s Bartleby and Sage has assembled a helpful, concise list of grants and loans available to small business owners.

Hospitality industry or otherwise, the first step to making money during the new normal should be learning about what financial assistance may be available to you.

…the first step to making money during the new normal should be learning about what financial assistance may be available to you.

Again, since it bears repeating, there is no shame in taking a handout in times of need. Let this inspire you to lend a helping hand when your pockets are full.

After you’ve uncovered all available “free money”, take another look at your particular industry, and proceed accordingly.

Ask yourself: “Is my industry still viable?

If the answer is ‘yes’, think about (or Google) what parts of that industry are still seeing success. Where else in that particular world might you be able to make money during the pandemic?

When you find those answers, figure out if you can simply side-step into that other area.

For example, if you’re a caterer who focuses on events, can you leverage your existing kitchen in a new way? Perhaps you could pivot to a delivery-first model and essentially become a “ghost kitchen” with no storefront.

A bespoke tailor who typically sews custom suiting might consider transitioning his business into making face-masks to be sold online.

Personal trainers used to in-person sessions could look to pivot their model to home-exercise videos or live classes.

If your whole industry has been stifled, take a bird’s-eye view for inspiration.

In other words, ask yourself what skills do you have that can be leveraged elsewhere. If you’re in sales, what else can you sell? 

The New York Times recently noted that very few Americans are upgrading their minivans this year. So if you’re a car salesman, consider hauling your sales skills over into another industry. Since hospitals are buying PPE, for example, perhaps you can start selling swabs to hospitals and municipalities.

Freelancing is an “easy” way to make money during the pandemic.

A staff web-designer from a downsized company might consider freelance design for a business in a totally different industry.

The UpWork homepage, where you'll find freelance work to make money during the pandemic
UpWork homepage

Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are great places to flaunt your skills to those in need of freelance help.

Become a consultant

Perhaps you were a remote employee and have become an expert at incorporating Zoom and Webex into a productive workflow. Can you consult for a brick-and-mortar business transitioning into remote work by sharing best practices?

Maybe you worked at a craft brewery that was forced to close its doors due to social-distancing guidelines. 

Photo of a hand filling a glass of beer from an industrial beer tank
Photo by Evan Dvorkin

Try consulting for a brewery in another state with different regulations. Or you might help a new founder looking to launch a their own brewery in the next few years.

Teach a class or a course

Virtual learning is hardly new but could be a good way to earn money during the pandemic. Now that people are staying home, their free time available to learn a new skill or to hone existing ones has skyrocketed.

Assess the skills you’ve developed through your career or in your hobbies in which you have gained expertise. Are these things that others may want to learn? This could be an amazing way to offset a COVID furlough and even build long-term passive income.

Image of the Podia homepage where you can create a course to make money during the pandemic
Podia homepage

Some of the more popular virtual learning platforms are Thinkific, Thrive, Teachable, and Podia. All have their pros and cons, of course. This article from Learning Revolution helps break down these options as well as other platforms in the space.

Explore unskilled, remote work opportunities to make money during the pandemic.

OK, so you don’t have the skills or patience to freelance, become a consultant or teach an online course? That means you’re SOL, right? Not so fast.

It’s blatantly obvious that the corona economy has crushed tons of jobs. No surprise here. That said, it has also created new ones and expanded others. All open roles will ultimately need to be filled by someone. Why not you?

Remote call centers are booming

We all know that customer service lines for healthcare facilities are getting overrun by people trying to schedule COVID testing. Less obvious, though, are the banks seeing an influx of people trying to delay or refinance mortgage payments. Tech services are getting overwhelmed by people trying to renegotiate contracts or set up new accounts. Broadly speaking, remote call centers and customer service roles across the board are seeing an increased demand for human capital. 

Take Zoom, for example. While they may not have actually ballooned to the 300MM users they claimed last month, they have still seen tremendous growth. To handle that growth and everything that comes with it, people will need to man the phones. Manning those phones can certainly help you make money during the pandemic.

CNBC assembled a solid list of 18 companies hiring remote workers during this new reality. Note that this list includes a mix of both skilled and unskilled positions. Don’t let the exact open positions shown here dissuade you from checking out what’s available. Many of these, including Amazon, are hiring unskilled call-center employees as well. Click through each for up-to-date availability.

COVID Contract Tracing

This is a prime example of a job that didn’t exist before the pandemic, but has now found relevance. A such, this sector will be in need of a sizable workforce immediately and could be a good way to make money during the pandemic. 

Image depicting the COVID-19 molecule
Photo via CDC

As Americans begin returning to work, a critical requirement in keeping future outbreaks low is by tracking positive cases. State and local governments will hire contract tracers to help people recall with whom they’ve come in contact while contagious. Those other people can then be alerted to self-quarantine as well.

According to Business Insider, the Fund for Public Health in New York City is offering a $57k salary with benefits for contact tracers.

Not a bad deal at all.

Last resort:  If you’re still not making money during the pandemic, become an “essential worker”.

Including this here is in no way intended to minimize the hard work and bravery displayed by current warehouse workers and delivery drivers since the pandemic began.

It’s their courage that has people across the country cheering from their windows daily, as seen in this emotional article from The New York Times.

What I am suggesting, however, is that warehousing and delivery jobs are certainly in demand right now and often do not need specialized skills. 

GeekWire notes that Amazon is hiring 175,000 warehouse jobs to handle the surge in orders from its platform.

If you have a degree and are not up to the challenge of running the floor, people will also be needed to manage these new employees. This massive new workforce should ripple positively (from a hiring perspective, at least) across these organizations.

And it’s not just Amazon. 

A single FedEx warehouse in California announced in early April that they’d be hiring 600 new employees to handle increased demand. According to their own website, FedEx Ground has around 600 facilities in the US as well as 39 regional hubs. That math portends a high ceiling with regards to job prospects.

Photo of a FedEx employee working in a warehouse to make money during the pandemic
Photo courtesy of FedEx

Conclusion:

Our world is upside down. Many of us have either lost our job or have been forced to scale back the businesses we own. It’s tough out there.

While our current situation can seem overwhelming, it is not impossible to make money during the pandemic. 

By taking a measured approach, we can formulate an action-plan that starts with the “best” opportunities and works down the list to find something that works. Ultimately, even these last resorts will still put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads.

As I said last month, in a post on ways to help salvage your business during this tough time, “Stay strong, stay proud, stay spirited. Brighter days are ahead. We got this!”

Cheers

PS:  I am on a COVID-hiatus from producing liquor tastings at weddings through Pour My Party. While on pause, I am still offering free coronavirus consultations to help business owners uncover new opportunities and make money during this pandemic.

Schedule 30 minutes directly on my calendar here. Feel free to email me with any questions at hello at pourmyparty dot com.


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