Cancelled shifts and gigs make students’ finances worse than they already are. Here are some quick and easy ways to make some extra cash to make your rent
By Elizabeth Sargeant
Illustration by Pernia JamshedA
s COVID-19 becomes more apparent in the day-to-day lives of students and workers across Canada, health specialists and government officials have emphasized that self-isolation and social distancing is the key to public health and reducing the number of cases in Canada.
For some, this call for self-isolation may seem like a sweet excuse to rewatch season two of Sex Education on Netflix or finally take up a hobby for fun—not for hustle. For others, self-isolation puts them in a vulnerable financial position. We’ve seen it this week across Canada, as many young Canadians have woken up to the news that shifts at their jobs have been cancelled and that gigs they were being paid for are being cancelled or postponed till several weeks later.
The Emergency Care Benefit package announced by the Canadian government earlier this week includes $27 billion to help citizens pay for things like rent and groceries. However, it’s still unclear if students are up for any sort of grant if they aren’t eligible for unemployment support. So while we can rejoice that proper precautions are taking place to protect workers across Canada, many folks are waking up to a rapidly depleting bank account.
For those following the government’s orders but are worried about the ability to afford groceries or pay bills this month, here are some hustles that can easily be done from home until it’s safe to go back to work.
Any journalism, RTA or film student knows the pain of transcribing a hefty audio clip only for a sliver of it to be used in a feature piece or short clip of a doc. But, what if instead, the piece you were transcribing could help someone else out, without your arduous labour going unpaid?
Sites like transcribeme.com and gotranscript.com are looking to pay at-home employees to transcribe pieces from the comfort of their couch, per word or per hour. All you have to do is sign up and complete a transcribing test before choosing a piece of audio you want to transcribe. It’s low-commitment (no contracts, just independent assignments) and is the perfect practice for a media-related job in the future, all while staying home in your favourite pair of jammies.
However, TranscribeMe pays about $15 per hour of audio, not an hourly rate of $15 of labour. While you’re getting paid for your work, it typically takes four minutes to transcribe one minute of audio—measuring out to be about $4 an hour.
Low commitment copywrite
For any stay-at-home student who wants to do a bit of easy writing without having to meet with potential employers, there is hope! Sites like Writer’s Work connects Canadians with companies that desperately need copywriting and editing services as well as quick social media content. Everything is negotiable including hours, how long you’ll be working with the company and guidelines of what exactly needs to be done. It’s all over the phone or email and is done remotely, preventing the need for any social interaction.
According to journalist Ben Taylor from HomeworkingClub.com, “they range from “entry-level” publications paying $50-100 per article to big names paying $1 per word. You can search using various criteria.” However, according to Writers Work website, employees must pay a registration fee of $47 to begin taking on work. So, if you test it out, and decide it’s not for you, you may be short of a big chunk of money that you may have needed for necessities. However, if it is for you, consider it a great investment and start writing.
It’s like a penny for your thoughts…but IRL? On sites like Swagbucks and SurveyJunkie, Canadians can get paid to answer questions for companies about branding techniques, their favourite products, overall product design preference etc. While the pay isn’t a lot, it’s a simple way to voice an opinion on something while making a little extra pocket change. Much like the other techniques above, paid surveying is super non-committal and easy to do from your phone.
Some problems with survey sites like these are that it takes some time to do enough surveys to create a large income, so it should definitely be taken as a secondary hustle. With Swagbucks, surveys actually transfer toward points that add up to receiving $25 gift cards towards Pay Pal and Wal Mart, which is great for getting groceries but not so great if the only other available options are Starbucks, Nike, or Amazon.
Online graphic design
If you’re design-inclined and have access to the right technology from home, sites like 99Designs provide paid opportunities to design logos for different businesses without having any in-person interactions. It’s all freelance, so you can make your own hours as long as deadlines are met and the customer is pleased.
Although sites like 99Designs are a great way to turn your creativity into cash, it might be a bit of a slow process to actually get paid. According to their site, they pay in earning credits, which designers can request to “payout”—taking about 10 days. Thankfully, you can set your own prices, so the wait can be worth the payoff if your prices are set appropriately and your designs are top-notch.
Find quarantine-specific honorariums
Small online businesses understand the struggle of putting money together, which is why some are offering honorariums for struggling employees affected by the cuts made to their shifts. The online gallery, Sometimes Gallery is offering to pay a small honorarium to any digital artists who are interested in showcasing their work in their online exhibit as part of their upcoming monthly “Quarantine Show.”
The only downside is the lack of guarantee in receiving the honorarium, so it is a bit of a risk. But there’s no harm in trying to make a little bit of money while attracting potential clients.
There’s no surprise here that social media is the number one way to connect at-home employees with potential employers. Facebook groups are the easiest and most personal way to access small, at-home jobs without the risk of meeting face-to-face. Women Who Freelance Toronto is an incredible hub run by women looking for other women to help them build their online businesses. If you’re interested in being a virtual assistant, it’s the best place to be.
The con is that Facebook groups like these are usually quite busy with other freelancers looking for work, but nothing that can’t be helped by turning on your post notifications so you can hop on the opportunities suited for you.