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Frazzled parents need help — which creates these job openings

Mom holds small child's hand
There are websites that connect part-time babysitters and full-time nannies with families who need them.
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Overwhelmed parents will drive demand for September side hustles this year, as distance learning pushes frazzled mothers and fathers to seek help. If you’re looking for a way to make a few extra bucks this fall, consider offering services to these time-constrained working parents.

“Working parents have hit a wall,” says Mia Pritts, head of early care and education at Wonderschool, a company that helps independent contractors set up small schools and day-care centers.

For the last several months, many parents have at least had the ability to work from home. As shutdown orders slowly lift, some adults are being asked to return to their offices. However, many schools and day-care centers are still closed, operating only via remote learning. Remote learning poses a challenge even for parents who have the luxury of working from home.

“The world has been turned upside down for our kids,” Pritts adds. “But we can’t do the distance learning for our 6-year-old, manage our toddler, and still be focused at work.”

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Finding work helping overwhelmed parents doesn’t mean you’ve got to be a teacher or tutor. Frazzled working parents are also going to need help with babysitting, meals, walking dogs, cleaning up, and organizing their households and competing schedules.

The demand for people who can provide in-person help with remote learning is likely to hit a fever pitch this September, so it is likely to be the fall’s hottest side hustle.

Here are some ways to find work providing help to working parents.

Teaching and tutoring: $10 to $60 per hour

“Micro-schools,” a 2020 twist on the one-room schoolhouse, are the latest trend. Enrollment in small early education programs is up 75% since the beginning of the year, Pritts says. Micro-schools usually involve groups of four to 15 children of mixed ages who work and play together under the supervision of one or more adults. Outdoor programs are particularly popular, she adds.

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“A lot of parents are desperate for care for their children, but they are really nervous to re-enter group care,” she says. “That’s where we see a lot of the new interest for smaller groups.”

Micro-schools can be formal education programs run by educators at home or simply involve one or two babysitters or tutors, who come to a family home to supervise or tutor a group of related kids — perhaps cousins or longtime friends. Those with experience caring for children have multiple ways to find clients seeking micro-schooling.

You can start your own school, perhaps using a company such as Wonderschool to help you get licensed and manage the administrative portion of the workload. Alternatively, you can sign up at any of several tutoring platforms that help match you with students needing help in your area of expertise. Finally, you can advertise your availability to teach or tutor through free neighborhood websites such as Nextdoor.

Babysitting: $10 to $25 per hour

You don’t need teaching or tutoring credentials to earn good money caring for kids. Sites including Care.com and Bambino help connect part-time babysitters and full-time nannies with families who need them. Each site has slightly different requirements and methods of operating, however.

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Care.com doesn’t care whether you have a social media account, for instance, but Bambino requires it. The site uses the social media platform for reviews and marketing.

Bambino and Care.com treat sitters as independent contractors, working for themselves. However, a site called Trusted hires sitters, providing them with both employee benefits and support when they go out to watch clients’ kids.

Nanny Lane works to connect families that want to share full-time help. At least in theory, that should provide both better pay for the nanny and lower costs for the families that split the bill. GoNannies helps connect families with all sorts of household help, including child-care workers and cooks.

Pet care: $12 to $25 per hour

Millions of Americans have adopted dogs and cats in the last few months to combat the loneliness that came with shelter-at-home orders. But pets still need walks and human attention when people are back in offices.

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As more people get called back to their workplaces, the demand for dog-walkers and pet-sitters is likely to soar. That makes this a great time to sign up with pet-walking and -watching sites such as Rover and Wag.

Wag specializes in dog-walking, usually paying walkers $12 per half-hour walk. Through Rover, freelancers can pet-sit or walk and set their own rates.

Meals and meal delivery: $5 to $40 per hour

By now everyone has heard of DoorDash and Grubhub, through which people provide meal delivery for restaurants. Both have been doing brisk business since the pandemic began. They’re likely to provide good income to side hustlers for months to come.

If you’re a cook, not a driver, there are options for you too. Among the best is DishDivvy, a small start-up that operates only in California and Utah but has national expansion plans. DishDivvy connects home cooks with customers. You create the menu, price it, and determine when meals are ready for pickup. DishDivvy takes orders, collects payment and provides a smartphone app to help customers find you for the pickup. Both cooks and customers have been signing on at unprecedented rates since the pandemic began, Chief Executive Ani Torosyan says.

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Cleaning: $10 to $25 per hour

A wide array of sites help you find cleaning and janitorial work. However, only a few offer rates and terms that work well for freelancers. The three best options are Managed by Q, JiffyonDemand and GoNannies.

JiffyonDemand and GoNannies connect clients with contractors who offer a wide array of household services, including cleaning. Managed by Q arranges cleaning for commercial buildings and hires its cleaners as W-2 employees.

Personal and professional organizing: $10 to $75 per hour

Keeping households running smoothly is a challenge in the best of times. In the coronavirus era, it’s a miracle. That may push more working parents into hiring virtual assistants, who do things like handling email and organizing travel, transportation and scheduling.

Virtual assistants typically earn $10 to $25 per hour, but those who have advanced skills often charge considerably more. Boldly and Belay are two good sites to get started in the field.

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After gaining some experience, most virtual assistants say the best way to find new clients is on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.


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