Next Avenue: The best side gigs you can do from home

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As layoffs, furloughs and money worries continue due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are hungry for side gigs. According to a Jobvite report, 46% of workers surveyed in April said they plan to pursue a side job, up from 36% in February. But many popular side gigs — like Uber driver or retail store clerk — aren’t realistic options for those who want to keep their distance.

That’s why lining up a work-from-home side gig might be your best bet. If you’re interested in learning more about finding remote work, FlexJobs is hosting a free webinar series this month on the topic.

Here are six work-from-home side hustles you may be able to do even in an outbreak:

1. Customer service

“It’s the hottest job on our site right now,” says Brie Reynolds, career development manager at FlexJobs. “As businesses continue to operate primarily online, companies need more virtual customer service agents.”

These agents work by phone, email and online chat to resolve customer concerns and questions. Most jobs require a minimum of a high-school diploma, six months of customer service- or related experience and strong communication skills.

Also read: This full-time lawyer also has 13 side hustles. Here’s what he’s learned

Pay typically ranges from $10 to $20 an hour. “Agents with strong technical or industry expertise typically earn at the higher end of the scale,” says Reynolds.

2. Translator

Companies and organizations world-wide need assistance translating, editing and proofreading documents for their multicultural customer base. So, if you’re fluent in more than one language, you might be able to earn $25 to 40+ an hour as a translator. Translators with relevant industry expertise and hard-to-find language skills (such as Swahili) generally command the highest hourly rates.

“Opportunities for translators have held steady during the pandemic,” says Reynolds, “and most work is done on a project or contract basis.”

You can find postings for translator jobs on sites like FlexJobs or

3. Virtual assistant

If you have strong administrative or business-writing skills, virtual assisting may be for you. Virtual assistants (VAs) work from home and provide administrative support to businesses and entrepreneurs. Responsibilities can include data entry, correspondence, social media management and event planning. Some VAs only handle one client; others take on several.

Average hourly pay ranges from $12 to $50+ and you can find job postings on or Alternatively, you might find clients directly through your professional networks.

4. Online tutor

At a time when millions of parents have been struggling to home-school their children, it’s no surprise that there’s been a strong demand for talented tutors. And even when school closes for the summer, some parents will hire tutors to help ready their kids for the new school year.

Related: 4 tips for finding the right side hustle in retirement

“Tutoring openings have gone off the charts,” says Kristof. “The online tutoring platforms are hiring thousands of instructors.”

Some sites require that you be a credentialed teacher or experienced tutor. Others, however, allow anyone to apply. For example, you don’t need formal teaching credentials to tutor at, a site that features creative classes for children with titles like “Harry Potter: Astronomy, Astrology and Greek Mythology” and “Play the Stock Market Investing Game.” The site looks for passionate instructors who offer classes based on their experience and interests. Instructors typically charge $12 to $15 per student per class and the site deducts a 30% service fee from enrollments.

To learn more about the evolving world of online tutoring platforms, read the post, “12 Best Tutoring Platforms.”

5. Online instructor for older adults

Online classes for adults are proliferating, with platforms hiring instructors to teach everything from life skills to yoga to cooking classes.

One new site targeting older instructors is, a teaching and learning platform that hires “guides” to teach their contemporaries about enrolling in Medicare, tech skills and other topics of interest to older adults. The site seeks guides who are at least 50, have a passion for teaching and are skilled at using virtual meeting tools like Zoom ZM, -1.30% or Skype. Free training is provided to new hires. Once accepted, guides earn $25 per hour and typically work five to 20 hours a week.

6. Rent your stuff

Now might seem an odd time to rent out your home or personal property. But Kristof says under the right circumstances, it can be a very lucrative option.

See: Working for yourself? Open your eyes to this great deal from the IRS

“With many summer camps canceled, parents are desperate to find summer homes with pools and nice backyards,” she notes. “Couples are looking for alternate venues to host their scaled-down wedding celebrations. Vacationers want to rent boats. And if you’re in a major metropolitan area, like L.A. or New York City, you might soon be able to use sites like or to rent out your home as a movie set. Filming has been shut down for months, so we [at SideHusl] expect to see a pent-up demand.”

If you’re intrigued, provides reviews of over 30 rental platforms.

Of course, even before COVID-19, renting out your stuff involved risk, so be sure to consult your insurance agent for advice regarding your liability and coverage before you take on this side gig.

Nancy Collamer, M.S., is a semiretirement coach, speaker and author of “Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement.” You can now download her free workbook called 25 Ways to Help You Identify Your Ideal Second Act on her website at (and you’ll also receive her free bimonthly newsletter).

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