From side hustles to real hustles: Pandemic provides opportunities to move money-making out of the office

Side hustles like Uber and DoorDash provide opportunities for students to earn some extra money. (Archive photo by John Benfer | Collegian Media Groop)

With consumer traffic limited because of COVID-19, many nonessential businesses have either gone bankrupt or seen a large decrease in sales.

Throughout the pandemic, many have relied on both DoorDash and Uber for food delivery or getting from point A to point B.

Bill Bernard, senior in mass communications, has been driving for Uber for over two years. After a break at the start of the pandemic, Bernard picked his side hustle back up.

“I’ve only recently started [driving] again because I determined that people are taking the safety precautions to actually do things,” he said.

So far, Bernard said, business has been steady.

“In the one day that I had done it, I got back-to-back rides,” he said.

Bernard said Uber saw a decline in business over the summer because of the lack of students in Manhattan.

“When students aren’t here, there’s really not that many people looking for rides,” he said. “Summers are always going to be hardest, but I would think there’s probably a lot more [business] now because of the fact that people are looking for ways to get around.”

Uber, as well as other ride-sharing programs like Lyft, have strict regulations when it comes to COVID-19. If an Uber driver is sick and transfers the virus to a rider, that employee could be held liable.

In addition, food delivery services have seen an increase in business as many restaurants are limiting dine-in seating,

“I was talking to a DoorDash guy, and he said that people are ordering often enough where he’s able to make a good income off of it,” Bernard said.

But DoorDash and Uber are not the only side hustles people are taking advantage of.

Kansas State alumnus Joshua Yankoviz works as a digital freelancer.

“There’s never been a better time for millennials to invest in the economy, to start their side hustle, to realize their true passion,” Yankovz said.

Since so many in-person businesses are turning digital, Yankoviz said he makes more money now than before the pandemic.

“Businesses have had to improve every aspect of their online presence. That’s where I come in,” Yankoviz said. “I help improve media quality, whether it’s getting a website up and running or editing weekly video content. There’s so many jobs that need to be done that the older generations don’t know how to do.”

In addition to his freelance media work and part-time gig at a local restaurant, Yankoviz said he’s also about to start producing a podcast.

“If I could give any advice right now, it would be that right now is the best time to make your side hustle your real hustle,” Yankovz said. “Now is the time for people to start monetizing their passion. Whether they love fantasy football or knitting sweaters — now is the time to start.”