Even as COVID-19 slams much of the traditional job market, new jobs powered by online platforms that help people find freelance work are on the rise.
Here are half a dozen recently reviewed online platforms that can help you find work, including remote positions as a virtual assistant as well as mobile jobs, caregiving opportunities, and counseling gigs.
Unfortunately, not all of these new jobs are good. Two of the six online platforms recently reviewed received below-standard ratings from SideHusl.com for poor pay or lousy conditions.
The remaining four platforms offered good opportunities, but several were limited by geography or age. (Younger platforms often don’t have the scale to hire widely or quickly.) That said, when these newer platforms are limited or unavailable, we’ve recommended more established competitors.
Virtual assistant jobs are among the most attractive and flexible remote positions available to freelancers. These jobs involve email management, scheduling, basic bookkeeping, social media work, and project management for busy executives.
It’s like being an executive assistant, except you work from home as an independent contractor.
MyVA360 is one of half a dozen sites that help seasoned virtual assistants find clients. The site only pays $13 an hour to get started and promises raises to those with good customer ratings. Owner Jelena Mijajlovic says the site will also help train virtual assistants in in-demand skills like using Asana and HubSpot programs.
Boldly and Belay are other good sites for finding virtual assistance work.
Moving and gardening work
Do you have muscle? Laborjack recruits part-time workers to provide moving and gardening services. Pay ranges from $15 to $20 per hour, plus tips. But you must be able to lift up to 100 pounds.
Unlike other moving and general labor sites, Laborjack doesn’t expect you to have a truck, cart, or other tools of the trade. The client provides everything you need to complete the job. Laborjack only offers muscle. The catch: Although the company has national aspirations, it currently only operates in Colorado and Arizona.
The most widely available options for those wishing to provide moving services are GoShare and Truxx. For those looking to do some gardening and landscaping, the best options are Jiffy and GreenPal.
PrizeRebel pays you to take surveys. However, as with other survey sites, you don’t get paid much – somewhere between 50 and 70 cents to complete online questionnaires that take 10 to 20 minutes each. Since online surveys are one of the few ways to make money watching TV, the low pay isn’t a major downside.
What raised the hedgehogs from our review were the myriad ways PrizeRebel could take away even that deplorable salary. With system issues and last-minute “disqualifications”, PrizeRebel stands out as one of the poorer options in a low-paying field.
Top survey sites include Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, and Consumer Opinion Services.
If you like someone paying for your opinions, you should also join discussion groups.
Discussion groups meet less often, so there is only intermittent work. But when you’re chosen for a panel, it can earn you quite well, usually between $15 and $50 per hour. Some interesting sites: Find Focus Groups, Shifrin-Hayworth and Fieldwork.
General contractors, subcontractors and trades people looking for new customers may wish to register with ToolBelt. The referral service site has a free option, which provides a limited number of job referrals. It also has a “pro” option with unlimited referrals and searches.
The pro option is expensive, at $99 per month, but the free option can also put you on customers’ radar. This could be especially useful for entrepreneurs who are just getting started.
Notably, contractors rate ToolBelt much more positively than other benchmark sites for construction jobs, such as Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, and Handy. This may be partly because ToolBelt’s fees are transparent. At least in some markets, the site also attracts significant SEO activity.
If you want to provide caregiver services in Northern California, you need to know about Oneva, a start-up company that provides caregiver referrals. Caregivers register and list their services for free.
Oneva makes money by increasing the rates for caregivers before passing referrals on to customers. As a carer, you benefit from 100% of the rate you have set.
The site lists babysitters, people skilled in elder care and special needs care, as well as pet sitters, massage therapists, housekeepers and drivers. There are only two requirements: you must obtain a background check from TrustLine, and you must provide at least two references for the services you list.
Other good sites for listing babysitting services include UrbanSitter, GoNannies, and Bambino. For senior care, try ConnectRN, CareLinx, and Care.com.
Pet sitters can also register on Rover and Wag. Drivers who want to work outside of Uber and Lyft have a slew of choices, including several sites that cater to child transportation, such as RideZum and Kango.
UTest promotes itself as a way for freelancers to earn money by testing technology for bugs. However, there is no guarantee that you will be paid for any of your work. Under the terms of the site, you only get paid if you find a bug. And it’s not known how much you earn if you find something. While some reviewers said they found the work challenging, none called it lucrative.
The site also tests consumer products, but is equally opaque about how you would be paid to participate. After reviewing more than a dozen test offers on the site, we only found one with a clear payment. This payment, $15, required you to give an anonymous app use of your Facebook page and access to your friends. He didn’t say why.
Other testing sites, including Product Tube and UserTesting, are better options.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.coman independent site that reviews hundreds of lucrative opportunities in the gig economy.