Thanks to the novel coronavirus, U.S. unemployment rates have soared since March. And while many Americans have been able to return to work since then, countless others are struggling to cope with reduced unemployment benefits and only one stimulus check. With 2.2 million artists previously employed in the workforce, many of those individuals see no end in sight — leaving them to scramble for a back-up.

hustle Need a COVID Side Hustle or Creative Outlet? Here's What's Popular (and Safe)

But even for those who do currently have steady employment, the pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity to explore a side hustle. What’s more, 63% of millennials say their skills aren’t being fully nurtured by their bosses. If you’re looking for a creatively fulfilling way to make some money during this time — or save up for when the second wave hits — you might be wondering what the most popular ways to gain some additional income might be. You may even want to know which of those side hustles come with the lowest health risks. Below are just a few options to consider.

Content Creation

Last year, there were an estimated 4,083,105,000 internet users worldwide. And while it may seem like only influencers with millions of followers are the ones creating content, the reality is that just about anyone can do so. Importantly, brands are desperate for compelling content and are often willing to pay independent contractors to get it. If you have a knack for the written word or a working knowledge of photography and social media, you might be able to earn some extra money writing online articles, managing social media accounts, taking product photos, or publishing e-books.

Contact Tracing

Prior to the pandemic, most people hadn’t heard of contact tracing. But it’s one of the best ways to contain viral spread — and it can be done from the comfort of your home. You’ll typically work with a local or state case investigator who reaches out to those who test positive for COVID-19. Then, contact tracers take the information investigators have gathered on the individual’s close friends, family members, and co-workers. Contact tracers are responsible for getting in touch with those people to inform them of their possible exposure and ask them to quarantine for the recommended period. You don’t need any training or experience in public health, though it’s common for hires to have four-year degrees; although you’ll work from a script, you may benefit from some customer service experience and may rely on critical thinking skills. While this opportunity could actually be more than a side hustle, it’s an avenue worth exploring if you’re looking for extra cash and want to help others in your community stay safe.

Teaching and Tutoring

Although the demand for online courses was certainly higher at the start of the pandemic, many people are still looking for safe ways to learn from home. If you have a special skill or have acquired knowledge in a certain area, it’s worth seeing whether you might be able to teach remotely and earn some money while you do it. You can even create your own courses on existing online platforms or create a webinar that others might want to attend for a small fee. Online tutoring can also be a lucrative option, especially as many kids head back to school. Being able to provide one-on-one instruction to a child in need during this time can be immensely rewarding on its own — and since many parents are worried about how the pandemic will impact their child’s ability to learn, you may have a number of families interested in your services.

Whether you’re currently unemployed or are simply looking ahead to COVID-proof your finances, it’s worth considering the idea of a side hustle. And while delivery and retail workers are certainly in high demand, those jobs come with a bit more risk. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe options that can fulfill your need for creativity and extra income.

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