Lately, many people are on a quest to achieve more than what their 9-to-5 job could offer them. One reason is the rapidly increasing popularity of social media, which often showcases other people’s lifestyles and work environments, reminding us of other ways to make extra cash.
Another reason could be the complex economic situation we currently find ourselves in. In recent years, we have read a lot in the newspapers about a possible economic downturn and resulting recessions, which has made us more wary of our finances.
However, it’s also true that during this time of negative headlines, many people have started new activities, personal brands, businesses and more. So, should a recession be considered exclusively a negative phenomenon, or does it also offer profitable opportunities?
A few years ago, I wanted to find the answer to this question myself. During the time when the pandemic was limiting our ability to go out and have fun, I started looking for great business ideas that I could implement from the comfort of my home.
This decision was mainly driven by the idea that in such an economic decision, for me, there was nothing to lose, except some spare time. So I might as well give it a try.
Today, thankfully, the pandemic is over. But in the meantime, I had the opportunity to try many different side hustles that allowed me to earn extra money during this difficult economic time.
Let’s get started with the article and I’ll tell you the best recession-proof businesses that I discovered and helped me save money.
What Is A Recession?
The economic definition of a recession is “a period of general decline in economic activity” measured by various economic parameters, such as a consecutive decline in GDP over several quarters, a decline in consumer spending, an increase in unemployment, and other similar factors.
It’s undeniable that recessions are the most frightening moments of the economic cycle, both for businesses and employees. During a recession, many companies may face solvency problems, while others may even file for bankruptcy due to a significant drop in consumer spending.
For employees, it’s also a time marked by layoffs and unemployment, with the added difficulty of finding new work opportunities.
Is It A Good Moment To Start A Side Hustle During A Recession?
As we previously mentioned, recessions are a pretty tough period for economic activity, but there are two main reasons that make them more attractive than you might think.
First, because recessions are a time of economic instability, many entrepreneurs are looking to save money. This is exactly the time when you should take advantage and enter the market. During economic downturns, there’s more room for freelancers and entrepreneurs who offer quick and effective solutions at a competitive price, stealing clients from pricier and stronger players in the market.
The second advantage of having a side hustle during a recession is that everyone has more free time. So, generally, the side hustles that outperform during such a period are those that require very little capital to start. Plus, the only potential risk is a loss of free time in case the business doesn’t work out.
That’s why recessions can be a great time to start your own business, learn a passive income idea, or take a side hustle to earn extra cash without incurring large risks and expenses.
Which Are The Best 6 Side Hustles To Start During A Recession?
Due to the complexity of the economic environment, the recession-proof side hustles that perform best are those that require little money for capital and can provide practical solutions to concrete problems.
Now, let’s move on to the 6 best recession proof side hustles.
1. Delivery Driver
The first candidate on this list is a delivery driver. This is a great side hustle because it requires very little startup capital, provided you have transportation. It’s also extremely flexible.
The first benefit I noticed during my time as a delivery driver was the fact that I could easily get into a rhythm and start working for hours. The first step is to find the most profitable area where you can work. It should be a part of the city that has a lot of restaurants and fast food places, but is still quiet and doesn’t have a lot of traffic jams.
I personally used my car to deliver food and it was an amazing experience overall. As soon as the shift started, I began listening to music and before I knew it, two hours had passed.
Also, a lot of people use their delivery driver job as an “excuse” to get some exercise. If you take your bike instead of your car, you not only save gas, but you also burn a lot of calories.
Depending on the profitability of your area, the average wage for food delivery drivers varies around $15 per hour.
2. Cover Letter And Resume Writer
If we consider that recessions are the times when many people are at risk of losing their jobs, what side hustle would be more in demand than cover letter and resume writing?
This job is probably one of the easiest on the list, as it only requires a short phone call with your client or to receive a Word file from them, and then write what they need. As with any other job, experience in the field is helpful. But it’s relatively easy to find clients and work opportunities, especially through freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
Another big advantage is that the work can be done remotely on your own hours, and can be completed in multiple sessions, making it a very flexible side hustle.
Finally, cover letter and resume writers are paid very well, earning an average hourly wage of $25. If you can manage to stand out from the crowd and show off your experience, the sky is the limit.
3. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistant jobs have only recently become popular, especially in the 2020 recession due to the lockdown policies enacted during the pandemic. To become a virtual assistant, you need virtually no skills, just a general understanding of software like Excel and Zoom is usually enough.
Since most new businesses these days are created entirely online, there is no need for an assistant with a full-time job to stay at work for hours at a time. Virtual assistants can instead work remotely at their convenience and have some flexibility in setting their availability.
According to statistical research conducted by Indeed, the average base salary for virtual assistants is a little less than $19 per hour, with the possibility of making more money if special skills are required.
4. Social Media Manager
Fourth on the list is the most innovative side hustle proposal. Working as a social media manager and becoming your own boss is a new way to earn extra money, especially in tough economic times.
This is because regardless of the economic situation, it’s impossible to deny the role of social networks as a cheap, effective, and reliable way to promote a business.
Finding such a position and potential clients is relatively easy. Not only is it possible to use the same freelance platforms I mentioned earlier. But there are also an overwhelming number of available positions on other platforms where you can apply directly to the company’s job offer.
Depending on your experience and the size of the company you work for, you can expect a base salary between $25 and $35 per hour.
However, when I worked as a social media manager, I also took an online course on thumbnail design using Photoshop and Canva, which allowed me to charge a higher rate and work more.
That’s exactly what I like most about this recession proof side hustle. It’s so flexible that once you find your comfort zone, you can experiment and expand to make great money while having fun.
5. Drive Others With Uber Or Lyft
Similar to the first suggestion in the list, driving people with Uber or Lyft could be a great recession proof business. There will always be someone who needs a ride regardless of the economic situation–whether it’s because they don’t have a driver’s license, have had one too many glasses of wine, or for some other reason.
While this is certainly not passive earning, it could be a great way to earn extra money. Unlike the grocery delivery service, for which you just need any means of transportation, for Uber and Lyft you absolutely need a car, which can be a big obstacle for someone.
On the other hand, the average wage of an Uber driver is around $20 per hour, which makes it a slightly more profitable business than if you were delivering food. However, it could be riskier and more annoying because you never know who will get into your car, especially in the later hours of the day.
All in all, I felt pretty safe as an Uber driver and was never in danger, in part because I had a dashcam installed to monitor the car. But also because I’ve never had “accidents” with any of my clients.
6. Copywriting Freelancer
The last alternative on the list of recession proof businesses is copywriting. Copywriting, and writing in general, has become my main side hustle because of the flexibility that comes with it.
Personally, I recommend working as a freelancer because it allows you to gain experience quickly and have a strong portfolio to showcase, which will help you increase your rates and client base.
Another feature I love about this side hustle is the fact that you can focus on your preferred niche, and just like the social media manager position, you can expand it in any direction you want.
For example, I’ve always been interested in finance, so from the moment I started working as a copywriter, I looked for job opportunities in that niche. Also, as time went on and I became more and more interested in copywriting and to improve my skills, I decided to take a few online courses to specialize in certain types of copywriting.
From my experience, I can tell you that the average starting salary for a copywriter is around $20 per hour. But if you become an expert at it, you can easily earn more than $50 per hour.
Despite the horrible idea of a recession that the media gives like people losing their jobs and companies declaring bankruptcy, we must note that there are some great opportunities in such an environment.
Moreover, the only thing at stake in these recession-proof businesses is often our free time, so pursuing a new side hustle or a great business idea might be worth a try.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Fortune favors the bold,” and I believe nothing is truer than that, especially in this case. If the only thing at stake is some free time, I’d suggest implementing at least one recession proof business suggestion in the list. Because the only worst thing that can happen is to lose some free time.
However, if the side hustle goes well, you’ll have an alternative source of income that will allow you to earn and save more, so you won’t have to worry as much about a fancy dinner with your family or a night out with friends.
And even though most of these side hustles are just something you can do in your spare time to expand your income streams and make more money, some have the potential to be scaled significantly so you can start working towards your financial freedom.