COVID-19 shook up our lives in many aspects. In particular, our job dynamics changed, even irrevocably for others. Some people got laid off, many shifted to working from home, and a number of companies began to offer more flexible arrangements even after the reopening.
The way we actively hustle to earn money has changed because of the pandemic, but how about the various means through which we can earn passive income?
The Gig Economy
Years before the pandemic, the gig economy experienced strong growth. The impact of the coronavirus was mixed because not all gigs work the same way.
Doing freelance or contract work isn’t the same as renting out something you own. The former is an alternative to the typical day job, so you’d expect a boom in the freelance industry as remote work became mainstream. But the latter is passive and entails sharing something personal with a stranger, whether it’s a car or a spare room.
Airbnb’s global fortunes took a hit during the pandemic, for instance. Ride-sharing services also experienced a similar downturn. Fear of the coronavirus made more people averse to spending time in someone else’s personal space.
Those trends should revert to normal, but it will take time before vaccinations can bring us toward collective safety. One thing owners should note is that excessive caution tends to be more prevalent in highly populated urban centers.
Taking out a mortgage on a multifamily property in the suburbs can give you steady tenant occupancy while also having a place to live in. Likewise, for ride-sharing, the further you go from big cities, the less you have to worry about competition from mass transportation services. These forms of passive income remain viable if you adjust the location accordingly.
Selling Skills and Knowledge
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a shift toward remote work. Even more, our entire lives took a big step into the virtual world, as we spent more time online doing many other things we’d previously accomplish by going outside. That includes shopping and entertainment, but for many, it covers learning as well.
This isn’t just about distance education, which kids and parents had to get used to. A lot of adults found that the pandemic gave them more free time to learn and pursue their interests. Those who’d lost their jobs may have encountered a skills gap in their search for new work online.
Curiosity and continued learning have been identified as critical to the future of work. Having gotten into the habit of learning online, people will continue to search for relevant and helpful content.
This bodes well for those who can seize the opportunity and sell their unique skills and knowledge in the form of self-published books, courses, and videos. It was already a viable passive revenue stream before the pandemic and will only grow in response to this steady demand.
Buy and Sell
Marketplaces like eBay and Amazon have been around for seemingly as long as the internet itself, allowing anyone to sell their used stuff to interested buyers. Again, though, our lifestyle shift toward online activity positively affects your prospects in this area.
It’s not just about having more users searching and increasing your chances of conversion. Companies themselves are taking advantage of the change. Amazon is disrupting SEO, for example, by leveraging its own algorithms, cloud technologies, and voice search capabilities to give users more relevant results when they search for something.
This is a boon to sellers, as it makes your items easier to find. It also makes buying and selling a more worthwhile source of passive income. If you can source items elsewhere at depressed prices, flipping merchandise on online platforms can yield reliable ROI in the new normal.
Most vaccine campaigns were only just underway when the early months of 2021 saw a flurry of speculative investment activity. First, there was the Reddit-fueled surge in prices of GameStop and other “meme stocks.” Then, we saw high-profile sales of non-fungible tokens for thousands of dollars and wild fluctuations in the value of various cryptocurrencies.
When you can make a lot of money with just a few clicks, it seems like a very lucrative form of passive income. However, speculation has never been sustainable, and you should be wary of investing in something when its price can rise or fall based on Elon Musk’s tweets. Far more people have lost a fortune than those who’ve managed to quit while they were winning.
Investment isn’t gambling, and the lessons of the pandemic for anyone looking to boost passive income in this area should be simple. Go with the long-term, slow but steady, tried-and-tested forms of investment. You’re better off with money in a 401(k), stock shares of the S&P500, mutual funds, high-yield savings accounts, or CDs.