Temporary Gig Jobs You Can Start Right Now (with Minimal Human Contact)

If you’re looking for a temporary job to help supplement your income, especially if it’s because you were sent home (furloughed or laid off) because of the coronavirus, we have put together a list of jobs where you can earn money immediately.

The Coronavirus COVID-19 has sent many folks home. For some, they can do their jobs from home, which is great for them, but many can’t. It’s hard to “work from home” if you are a cashier at a bakery. Or a cook. Or any number of service industry jobs that require you to provide a service. If you’re one of these workers, you still need to earn money because the bills will keep coming.

Hopefully, this situation is temporary.

But if you need supplemental income to get you through this period, I’ve created this list of temporary gig-type jobs (sometimes referred to as side hustles) that you can start right now. I made sure to only include those jobs that don’t require a lot of human interaction. As we maintain social distancing and try to “flatten the curve,” I’ve avoided anything that puts you in a position to potentially be a transmitter of the disease.

What’s NOT in this list? Side hustles where you have to deal with a lot of people. Driving for Uber and Lyft is out. While there’s currently little risk, the idea of being confined in a car with a person you don’t know is the opposite of what you want. You may not be in a large group but if you do a lot of rides, it’s effectively like interacting with a lot of people in a short period.

What’s in this list? Side hustles where you can earn money without much interaction with other people. It might involve a little interaction, such as going to a grocery store, but it’s not close and not confined.

Table of Contents
  1. InstaCart
  2. Deliver Food
  3. Rover
  4. Tutoring English Online
  5. Online Transcription
  6. Online Focus Group


InstaCart is a grocery delivery company where you can be paid to be a shopper in-store and/or a delivery driver. As a personal shopper, you’re an independent contractor and can choose your hours. All you have to select an order, buy the products, and then deliver them to the buyer. It’s all handled through the app.

If you don’t have access to a car, you can become a part-time employee of the company and handle just the shopping within stores. You aren’t an independent contractor though and have to adhere to their “flexible” schedule, but you don’t need a car.

Learn more about InstaCart

Deliver Food

DoorDash Logo

If you have access to a car and don’t mind delivering take out food, consider doing so on DoorDash. You can stick within a smaller geographic area for your deliveries, have autonomy on when and where you work, and you can do it outside your home area if you choose. You should look for whichever app is more prominent in your area.

With DoorDash, you don’t need any experience and don’t even have to use a car. You can use a bicycle or motorcycle to handle deliveries, you just need a mode of transportation. They’re available in over 4,000 cities and we have a guide to earning more written by someone with almost 6,000 deliveries!

You will have to deal with people, when you pick up the food and when you drop it off, but they’re not in your car and it’s very brief.


Rover logo

Rover is an all-around pet care service that includes everything from boarding dogs to house-sitting to visits and walking. I want to highly the walking service aspect of Rover because that’s the one that requires the least amount of human contact. Much like a babysitter, you get paid on an hourly basis and get to set your rates, availability, and the types of pets you’ll care for. If you don’t like big dogs, you can say so in your profile. You can accept or reject any request, so that’s full control.

It’s a great way to make supplemental income and especially great if you want to minimize how often you interact with people – because it’s just their pets!

Learn more at Rover

Tutoring English Online

There is a huge boom in online education right now, specifically teaching English as a second language to children in China. It’s a great category of online jobs because you don’t need much to get started. There are a lot of platforms that will enable you to earn $16-$25 per hour or more teaching one-on-one classes from your home. The hourly rate varies because of performance incentives (number of classes taught in a month) as well as other bonuses for experience, background, etc.

VIPKid is only 1-on-1 classes and there are performance bonuses. All you need for this is a computer, microphone, camera, and an internet connection!

Related: Side Businesses You Can Start with Less than $100

Online Transcription

If you are a fast typer, online transcription can be a great way to earn extra income. On a platform like Transcribe Me!, you can earn anywhere from $15 to $22 per audio hour transcribed. If you come from a specialized background, especially medical and legal, you can be paid an even higher rate.

What’s fascinating about transcription is that you can select how much you want to work because you know how long the audio is before you transcribe it. You can do 1-2 minute short clips or go with something longer.

Here are some of the best places to find a transcription job.

Online Focus Group

This one isn’t a true “gig” in that it’s a job but sign up for Respondent.io to see if you are a good fit for one of their focus groups. It’s not going to happen often but when it does, it pays really well. It depends on your background and experience because some of the super-specific focus groups pay great. The more general focus groups pay moderately well.

For example, I just checked the platform and they’re paying $100 for an hour to IT professionals who manage or troubleshoot networks. If you are a small business owner, they’ll pay $75 for 45 minutes of your time. It’s hit or miss but they’re fantastic hourly rates if you qualify.

There are a lot of these types of temporary gig jobs out there to help supplement your income. I will add more as I discover them but these are some options to get you started.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. FT says

    Hey Jim,

    As a personal finance expert myself, it’s not often I see such great content. The jobs you propose seem legit, and I have signed up for most of them to further investigate. I see you make your money from referrals and ads, but you are doing so in an ethical way, which is rare to find in financial journalism. Thank you so much for this! I suggest everyone read this article and Jim’s linked resources! FYI – I have never heard of Jim Wang and this is truly a random comment from someone who got laid off from the HQ of a publicly traded company on the Russell indexes (not Fortune 500). Jim, after these nice words these better be legit! Lol. Will comment something really mean and truthful if I run into anything sketchy for anyone that read this…thanks.

  2. Paul says

    Great post Jim. Especially like the idea of Transcribe Me where you can pick and choose the length of time to suit.

    • Jim Wang says

      There is a lot of flexibility in these temporary gig jobs, I think they know that people don’t have hours and hours to sit down and do them so they make them bite sized.

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