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Sunday, April 21, 2024

How to make money while sheltered-in-place

Remote work is all the rage

I’m sorry to bring it up again, but as I’m sure you know, the COVID-19 outbreak has done a number on the economy — and it’s a negative number. Many have been laid off, and the stimulus package doesn’t seem to be compensating adequately, if at all (but that’s for another article).

During this quaran-time, the prospect of getting a job or making any money seems unlikely, if not downright impossible. So, below is a list of some remote jobs suitable for college students that can get you some extra dough without having to leave the house (and please, don’t leave the house).


This is a common college or graduate student gig that transitions well to online meetings. Even if you haven’t tutored before, this is still a great option. Now that everyone is learning online, there’s going to be an increased demand for private learning services. Whether you’re a math whiz or an English major, there is probably at least a family or two out there that could use your services. And since even third-graders are going online, you might not need much skill at all to get the job done. You also never know what skills people want to learn, and with more spare time, people are picking up new hobbies. If you have a passion for something, even if it’s niche, consider offering a lesson online — you never know who might be interested. 


I’m only partly joking. Although I would advise against putting any money into the stock market right now, I recommend learning about the process. Maybe you’ve always been interested in investing but never really had the time to learn about how it all works. With a little more free time on your hands, you can invest in your future and learn about ways to get started investing money later. Then, when things go back to normal, or as close as we can get to normal, you will have the necessary tools to start making some money to make up for what you aren’t making right now. Investopedia has a starter’s guide with useful links and there are lots of user-friendly apps to help get you started. 

Sell Your Stuff

Getting online platforms up and running to sell items can take some time. Whether it’s clothes or electronics, now might be a good time to set up shop. Apps like DePop and Poshmark are user-friendly clothing marketplaces that make shopping easy, so you might be able to start selling sooner than you think. Websites like Etsy are great for you crafters out there, so if you like being creative during your downtime, you can make your hobby a business, which is the goal, right? And of course, eBay or Facebook Marketplace is a classic option for selling all of the above and more. The key is online-only interaction, so no meeting up to sell!


Like the other jobs mentioned, this takes some time to curate, as well as some prior experience. You need to hone in on a specific skill and prove that you are worthy of joining another team and improving their business with your service. There are many different options here, including writing and proofreading, web design and development, programming, graphic design, marketing and social media and more. Getting your name out there is probably the hardest part. Most simply, you can try to get into direct contact with businesses that you think could use your help, through email or social media. You can also use websites that help you build a portfolio and post your work for start-ups, companies or entrepreneurs to see. These sites tend to be more professional, so it’s best if you have a portfolio or customer reviews to begin. Fiverr and Freelancer are two of many websites, some with fees and some without. 

Customer Service

This is a subset of the freelancing category, since this might be the service you best offer. But I want to highlight it because there will be a lot of opportunity for customer service work in the coming weeks and even months. Seeing that most retail stores have temporarily closed — for an indefinite period of time — there’s been a surge in online purchasing. There will likely be an influx of questions about online shopping and services, meaning more need for over-the-phone and online customer service. Although not as exciting as a web designer or freelance writer, this might be a good option if you don’t have a lot of time to curate a skill or find an employer who’s willing to accept your basic level of experience as a student. Also, this type of work can look great on a resume for its use of communication and interpersonal skills, and could land you a gig at the company after the pandemic is under control.

Online Testing and Surveys

The easiest option, although maybe the least stimulating, is using websites that pay you to test out services or take surveys. There’s not a lot of money in this if you only do it once or twice, but if you pencil in time for this as though it were a job, you can get some money flowing. UserTesting sends you ten bucks to complete a 20-minute video evaluation of a website or app, speaking your thoughts aloud as you navigate the platform. If you’re super productive, that gets you $30 per hour. Swagbucks awards you points for answering surveys, watching videos, web surfing and more, which you can redeem for cash or gift cards. FocusGroup.com is similar, but surveys can lead to phone interviews, online studies or product testing that pay up to $150. 

There are a variety of options for making money online. Depending on how much time you have, you can even build a full-on job for yourself. Hopefully one of these choices works for you, but if not, you can also create a LinkedIn profile or work on your resume to prepare for post-pandemic jobs. Or, just allow yourself to relax during this downtime. You don’t need to be hyper-productive during quarantine. School and maintaining your mental health are full-time jobs, so if that’s all you can manage, know that it’s enough. If you have any other money-making recommendations, please email them to us and we’d be happy to share them. Good luck job searching!

Written By: Allie Bailey — arts@theaggie.org


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