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Creative ways to earn money in difficult times
April 28, 2020

By Elise Kemp

Life is unpredictable. Markets take a turn, opportunities disappear, and unforeseen circumstances prevent us from being able to follow through with business as usual. Adaptability is the key to survival in an ever-changing world.

If external pressures force you to redirect your source of income, please remember this is not a failure. This is an opportunity to come out stronger and more resilient — and to get creative.

When financial ends do not meet, this is not the moment to give up, but rather to adjust. Here are a few creative adjustments to financial difficulties that you might consider implementing.

Go online

There are many possibilities for a completely virtual career, ranging from wellness coaching to digital marketing, on-call interpreting, freelance writing, consulting and many others.

Consider your specific skill sets and how they may be applied to the virtual world. There are many online platforms for learning. One popular example is Udemy. You can immediately enroll in affordable or free courses that equip you to practically jumpstart your new career endeavor. Or you can even begin your own course and teach on this platform as well.

If your business primarily exists offline, you can also get creative by exploring opportunities online to reach a broader audience. If you work in accounting, there may be options available for you to assist clients with an online presence, where you can help them design a budget and develop a goals system virtually. If you are a chef, explore possibilities of starting up cooking classes online. There are many ways to share your expertise, and there are even more possibilities when you go online.

Invest in your own academic pursuits

Additionally, accredited platforms such as Coursera offer bachelors- and masters-level courses and certificates from top-ranked universities. If you are forced to step back from your own entrepreneurial project, it may be the perfect time to invest in your education, to bolster your resume and expand your skill sets. Please note that courses on Coursera may vary in price. Make sure you understand any fees before signing up for an online course, either on Coursera or another platform.

Also make sure to use this time to expand your knowledge on a variety of topics ranging from Fundraising Concepts to Community Organizing for Action, with the YLAI Network online courses here, y aquí en español.

Check out tutoring possibilities

Sometimes during unprecedented hardships, there may be many students in your local area struggling with their studies — many people learn better in an interactive space, which is not always available to them.

If you have already completed a course that someone else around you is working on, you can offer your in-person or virtual tutoring services and charge an appropriate rate. Often, there are virtual platforms that are looking for available tutors in all subject areas. Consider how a one-on-one teaching experience could provide flexible income in difficult times.


It is most important to remember that this too shall pass. When difficult challenges arise, it can be easy to feel stuck, but remember to stay hopeful. This will only be temporary and adjusting to change will increase your resilience as a leader and as an entrepreneur.