Jobs for virtual assistants, caregivers and people with muscles
Even as COVID-19 slams much of the traditional employment market, new jobs fueled by online platforms that help people find freelance work are going strong.
Here are half a dozen newly reviewed online platforms that can help you find work, including remote positions as a virtual assistant as well as moving jobs, caregiving opportunities and consulting gigs.
Unfortunately, not all these new jobs are good ones. Two of the six recently reviewed online platforms received substandard ratings from SideHusl.com for poor pay or rotten terms.
The remaining four platforms provided good opportunities, but several were limited by geography or age. (Young platforms often don’t have the scale to hire widely or quickly.) That said, where these new platforms are limited or unavailable, we’ve recommended better-established competitors.
Virtual assistant jobs are among the most attractive and flexible remote positions available for freelancers. These jobs involve handling email, 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 among half a dozen sites that help seasoned virtual assistants find clients. The site pays just $13 per hour to start and promises raises to those with good customer ratings. Owner Jelena Mijajlovic says the site will also help train virtual assistants in sought-after skills such as using Asana and HubSpot programs.
Other good sites to find virtual assisting work are Boldly and Belay.
Moving and yardwork
Got muscle? Laborjack recruits part-time workers to provide moving and yard services. Pay ranges from $15 to $20 per hour, plus tips. But you’ve got to be able to lift up to 100 pounds.
Unlike other moving and general labor job sites, Laborjack doesn’t expect you to have a truck, a dolly or other tools of the trade. The customer provides anything you need to complete the job. Laborjack offers only muscle. The catch: While the company has national aspirations, it currently operates only in Colorado and Arizona.
More widely available options for those who want to provide moving services are GoShare and Truxx. For those willing to do yardwork 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 for completing online questionnaires that take 10 to 20 minutes each. Since online surveys are one of the few ways you can make money while watching TV, the low pay isn’t an overwhelming negative.
What raised our reviewer’s hackles were the myriad ways that PrizeRebel could take away even that sorry pay. With system glitches and last-minute “disqualifications,” PrizeRebel stands out as one of the poorer options in a poorly paid field.
Better survey sites include Swagbucks, Survey Junkie and Consumer Opinion Services.
If you like having someone pay for your opinions, you should also sign up for focus groups.
Focus groups convene less often, so there’s only intermittent work. But when you get chosen for a panel, it can pay pretty well— generally $15 to $50 an hour. Some worthwhile sites: Find Focus Groups, Shifrin-Hayworth and Fieldwork.
General contractors, subcontractors and tradespeople looking for new clients may want to sign up 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 get you on clients’ radar. This could be particularly helpful to contractors who are just getting started.
Notably, contractors review ToolBelt dramatically more positively than other building job-referral sites, such as Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor and Handy. That may be partly because ToolBelt’s fees are transparent. At least in some markets, the site also draws significant referral business.
If you want to provide caregiving services in Northern California, you should know about Oneva, a young company that provides caregiver referrals. Caregivers sign up and list their services for free.
Oneva earns money by marking up the caregiver’s rates before passing the referrals on to clients. You, as a caregiver, get 100% of the rate you 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 get a TrustLine background check, and you must provide at least two references for the services you’re listing.
Other good sites to list child care services include UrbanSitter, GoNannies and Bambino. For elder care, try ConnectRN, CareLinx and Care.com.
Pet sitters also can list on Rover and Wag. Drivers who want to work outside of Uber and Lyft have a wealth of choices, including several sites that cater to transporting kids, such as RideZum and Kango.
UTest bills itself as a way for freelancers to make money testing technology for bugs. However, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be paid for any of your work. According to the site’s terms, you get paid only if you find a bug. And it’s unclear how much you earn if you do find something. While some reviewers said they found the work stimulating, none called it lucrative.
The site also tests consumer products, but it’s equally opaque about how you’d be paid for participating. After reviewing more than a dozen testing offers from the site, we found only one with a clear payment. That payment, $15, required that you give an unnamed application use of your Facebook page and access to your friends. It did not say why.
Other testing sites, including Product Tube and UserTesting, are better options.
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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