Are you interested in making money during a pandemic? There are some things you should definitely NOT do including price-gouging (which can get you prosecuted by the State Attorney General), hoarding, and profiteering off other people’s misery.
But there ARE ways to make money during a pandemic such as the COVID-19, one that requires lengthy waiting times locked down or sheltering in place at home.
Many people who experience long periods of isolation begin writing a blog, contributing to other people’s blogs, etc. This can, and often does, lead to professional opportunities and paying work.
Pro blogging is like any other type of publishing–there are unique audiences to discover and every type of blog or publication has unique needs and demands. You can make money doing this during shelter-in-place, but it takes time to build your audience.
If you want to try earning money as a professional blogger, you will need to start creating a body of writing online (on your own time or for low compensation at first).
You can do this through programs such as Medium.com, which offer modest compensation and exposure for their contributors. Once you have a respectable body of work for a hiring manager to review, you can begin reaching out to other blogs you are interested in to see if they are accepting new contributors.
In the 21st century, there is a high demand for call center and customer service type positions, and many of these are staffed by people working remotely. You can find these gigs by searching on key phrases like “working remotely” or “remote customer service jobs” in the usual places.
A word of warning about seeking out online employment; do not agree to accept any job that requires a payment from you. Job seekers may opt-in with pay-to-read job boards (which vary wildly in terms of quality, usefulness, and legitimacy) but any employer who asks you to pay a fee for consideration for that specific job? Don’t do it.
Another caveat to remember when searching for online jobs in this area; you may be required to meet certain technical requirements including high-speed internet, a requirement that your computer need to be hard-connected to the router instead of relying on wi-fi, etc.
You may also be asked about the type of computer you have, its age and operating system, etc. For best results, know your equipment and software well, and don’t try to compete for these kinds of jobs if you are using older, or outdated equipment.
Start An Online Channel
If you have specialized knowledge, skills, or experience, you may be able to start a monetized YouTube channel to share these skills or your experience.
Running a YouTube channel isn’t as easy as it sounds; you will have to engage and interact with your viewers, run social media channels associated with your account to publicize it, and be able to deliver technically good content for casual viewers.
Monetizing your YouTube channel can be done in several ways, but the initial avenue you set up will likely be with running paid-per-click type ads on your channel.
This is done via the YouTube channel setup interface; you will be required to use ONLY your own, original content (that includes visuals, music, clips or photographs, etc.) to be monetized. You cannot monetize other people’s intellectual property on YouTube.
Other ways to earn income via a YouTube channel? Some people have run Kickstarter campaigns in association with their channel, but you will need to review the latest Google and Kickstarter policies to see what is permitted and what is not allowed when operating such fundraising activities.
Don’t assume you can freely fundraise on YouTube–know the rules before you start any new campaign. Google changes its rules frequently, you should anticipate this.
What You Should Know About Starting Online Businesses
Some people wonder if they should take legal steps to establish an online business, even if they are just writing a blog, contributing to someone else’s website, or doing other services.
But the reality is, unless you plan to create a larger company with employees and/or contractors, you can spare yourself the expense of hiring a lawyer to help you incorporate. It’s possible to operate as a sole proprietor and NOT incorporate it.
But before you make a final decision about that, it’s helpful to research the rules of your state and city that govern self-employed people, sole-proprietorships, etc.
Don’t assume when it comes to the law; paying for the advice of a business lawyer familiar with the laws of your state could spare you much hassle later. If you can’t get the legal answers you need from your own research, consult an expert.
Any money you earn online through YouTube, Blogging, or online jobs such as remote customer service work is taxable on both the state and federal level. Do not assume your earnings are 100% yours to keep.
Federal Laws Apply
You should also know that there are strict prohibitions both in federal law and in the terms and conditions of online platforms like YouTube and Facebook for making health claims, promoting hate speech, false advertising, scams, pyramid schemes, and fraud associated with multi-level marketing.
Running an online business or money-making operation technically means you are operating across state lines, which can bring federal laws into play when it comes to illegal activities, consumer fraud, scams, bogus medical claims, diet fads, junk bonds, penny stocks, and MLM schemes.
Before you commit to a certain approach, topic, or business plan for an online business, you need to be very familiar with the terms and conditions of your YouTube channel, social media, etc. Otherwise, you risk having your channel closed for rules violations you might not even realize was a threat to your business.
Joe Wallace is a writer and editor from Illinois. He was an editor and producer for Air Force Television News for 13 years, and has served as Managing Editor for publications including Gearwire.com, and Associate Editor for FHANewsBlog.com. He is also an experienced book and script editor specializing in non-fiction and documentary filmmaking.