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Ideas for quickly getting alternative sources of income

Dog walker with dogs

Pandemic aside, this is a common question amongst us all, “How can I make money and how fast can I do it?”

There is nothing wrong with the question. We all have to make money. Business owners and entrepreneurs are no different.

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to all kinds of record-breaking economic and financial figures. Every person around the world is going to experience this crisis differently.

If you are someone that lost a job or business income and are wondering how you are going to make it through this, then suddenly the question of ‘What is the fastest way to make money’ has even more significance.

If you search the internet, you will see there is no shortage of a myriad of ways to make money. There are loads of websites and blogs that tell you how to do it.

You will see all sorts of options from online surveys (don’t bother), to Mechanical Turk, and even starting a blog, opening an eCommerce store, making affiliate marketing websites, or creating a new YouTube channel.

But starting a legitimate business online takes time.

Online surveys are notoriously difficult to qualify for and actually make decent money from. Ecommerce stores, affiliate marketing businesses, and digital businesses are a great option, but they take too much time if you are trying to figure out how to pay rent this month

If you had to make money today, what would you do?

The answer is simple - personally provide a service.

Service-based businesses are a great option because in most cases they are simple to start and can lead to a payday fairly quickly.

And who knows, the services that you provide could even serve as a launchpad to start a full-blown business.

What kind of service could you provide?

Here are just a few ideas. I recognize that depending on where we are in the ‘stay-at-home’ continuum, some of these options will not work very well as they would violate social distancing. But, you can adapt some of the ideas to virtual settings. As we emerge from the lock-downs, other possibilities will reveal themselves as well.

Some services that you could provide are:

  • Babysitting
  • Cutting grass
  • Shoveling spring snow
  • Cleaning
  • Tutoring
  • Organizing someone’s cluttered space
  • Plumbing and carpentry services
  • Writing a blog for someone
  • Managing social media for a business
  • Fielding phone calls
  • Working as a virtual assistant
  • Shopping for the elderly
  • Making and serving food
  • Helping people move
  • Accounting services
  • Dog walking (Wag, and Rover)
  • Giving music lessons

As we hopefully begin to intelligently ease stay-at-home restrictions, the range of services that you could provide will grow. But even with strict isolation restrictions in place, people still need to eat, learn, go to work, get things fixed, and live their lives.

This means that there are opportunities to provide people with a service.

A lot of these service options could lead to getting paid immediately upon completing the task - which means cash in your hands today.

How to find a service gig?

In our digital age, we seem to seek the answer to everything via some electronic guru or device, be it Google, Facebook, or your favorite blog. This is, of course, a powerful tool.

Equally as powerful, is letting your friends, neighbors, and family know about the services you offer. Word of mouth can spread fast!

Use a combination of simple word-of-mouth and internet marketing

Understandably, some of the traditional methods of finding business won’t work really great today under these stay-at-home measures (like posting flyers…who is going to see them?). Hopefully, this will change as we lift restrictions.

But you can still tell friends, family, and neighbors about what you can do for them. This method of advertising will, of course, work better if you offer things like moving help, cleaning, or performing handyman (or woman) services.

In addition to that, you can use the internet to spread the word.

Try posting or searching on Facebook, Niche, Nextdoor, or Craigslist. You can post your services and look for others that are asking for help.

If you can provide an online service, like tutoring or virtual assisting, you can also spread out to Fiverr or Upwork and look at job boards.

Other advantages of offering services

In most cases, providing a service is simple, can be performed in the near future, and has a very defined transaction period.

It can lead to quickly getting paid. You can meet your immediate financial and living needs and then you can focus on bigger and better business ventures that take much more time to develop and scale.

You can start offering a service, and if you find something better, you can pursue that option. There are no long term commitments expected usually.

And the disadvantages…

One problem with service-based interactions is that they usually require an exchange of your time for money. This makes it very difficult to scale and is, therefore, may not be the best long term business choice.

There are only so many hours in a day, and you can’t work for all 24 of them. But, we are not in ideal times right now. So a service business can get you out of the hole and then you can focus on better long term strategies.

You can find more ideas in our “Teach What You Know and Get Paid for It” article.

What kind of service will you offer?

Remember that providing a service is a quick way of getting paid. Compared to other types of businesses, it does not take nearly as much time to start making some money.

Providing a service is a great short-term strategy for meeting your basic income needs. There are many options for providing services.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to just let them know that you are available. You can also use different online tools.

For more tips on how to sustain a business and thrive, read more articles on Azlo’s COVID-19 Portal.

Evan Thomas
Evan Thomas lives in Seattle and enjoys writing about personal finance, small business, and healthcare. He is passionate about improving people’s physical and financial well-being as well as exploring our great planet. You can find him at

Hi there! This post exists to offer you (hopefully) useful information and insights, but it cannot take the place of personalized professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert if you have questions about your business. Also, Azlo doesn’t endorse any third-party sites that are linked here.

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