How to cash in on COVID’s best side hustles
Accommodation sharing took a hit during the pandemic but other side hustles have gone from strength to strength as savvy Australians chase extra cash.
Earning an income separate to your main job is surging in popularity after the gig economy grew nine-fold to $6.3 billion in the five years and COVID created fresh winners.
Uber driving took a back seat as Aussies went out less, but food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo brought more meals to their homes and are forecast to grow another 60 per cent within four years.
Sharing economy specialists say today's fastest-growing side hustles include:
• Car sharing, as people shun public transport and use platforms such as Car Next Door to earn an average $10,000 a year in some locations.
• Clothes sharing through The Volte that allows customers to wear luxury brands without paying huge prices.
• Courier services that have flourished under the rapid rise of e-commerce in the past year.
• Offering your skills - ranging from cleaning and electrical work to mowing knee-high back lawns for $100 - using Airtasker, which debuted strongly on the Australian Securities Exchange last week.
• Pet sitting and pet walking using websites such as madpaws.com.au to earn up to $400 a week after pet ownership surged in the pandemic.
BITE THE BULLET
The Sharing Hub co-founder says Michael Rosenbaum other growth areas include sharing parking spaces, swimming pools and office spaces.
"We are starting to see peer-to-peer options become more mainstream, whether it be sharing your caravan or your baby equipment," he says.
"Providing more supplementary income options, especially low-effort side hustles such as sharing under-utilised assets, has brought many people closer to financial independence."
Rosenbaum says average earnings from sharing economy platforms are now $500 to $1000 a month.
Chelsea Glanville, 33, started earning income using Car Next Door in 2019 after finding she rarely used her vehicle.
Her suggestion to others thinking about side hustles is "just bite the bullet and do it, as it is so easy to set up and you never know just how much you might make".
"I thought tax time was going to be complicated but it isn't as the statements are easily downloaded and when you count the costs of running the car it negates any tax I would have to pay on the income," she says.
START AT HOME
Car next Door CEO Will Davies says many sharing economy businesses have no entry costs.
"The side hustles that are easy to operate from home, with little effort and time, are quickly growing," he says.
"Online experiences, such as cooking or painting classes on platforms such as Udemy have seen a big uplift."
Airbnb struggled during the pandemic "but now that Australians can freely move around again, there has been an upswing," Davies says.
Selling new or second-hand goods online is also popular, and timing is important.
Gumtree spokeswoman Eleni Gavalas says in the early days of COVID lockdowns searches for gym equipment jumped 411 per cent.
"Think about the items that are in the most demand, whether that be based on seasons or a particular time period," she says.
Searches for caravans, camper trailers, kayaks and stand up paddle boards have surged in the past year, Gavalas says.
"There is a lot of money to be made quickly by selling home decor and furniture, clothing, shoes and accessories, electronic goods, whitegoods and home appliances."
TIPS FOR SIDE HUSTLE SUCCESS
1. Work out how much time and money you have to spare.
2. Examine what you own but don't use, and your skills that may help others.
3. There's a pile of information online to help you spot opportunities and get started. Search "sharing economy ideas".
4. Interact with customers quickly by allowing notifications on your phone.
5. If selling goods online, clearly describe your product's features and history, and promptly respond to buyers' queries.