Best Side Hustles in a Bad Economy Part 1

In the last two or three months, the economic landscape has changed drastically.  Due to the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 global pandemic, side hustles and online businesses that worked in the past might as well be thrown out the window.

Well, maybe that’s a bit over dramatic.  But it’s probably a good idea to do some sort of reboot and rethink your entire strategy for the next year or two.

Personally, I have lived through many economic downturns, so hopefully my experience will help you get an idea of what to expect in the coming months/years and how you can adapt, succeed and make money online or even offline if necessary.  In times like these, you will need to think outside the box and do whatever it takes.

The bad economies I’ve lived through that most effected me include the crash of 1999, the recession following 9-11, the Great Recession of 2007-2008 after the housing market crash and now whatever this one will be called.

It was no surprise to me that the current economy crashed.  I expected this, especially since we are overdue for a correction and it just happens to be an election year.  I am surprised at how massive this crash is (or will be) and how many markets/industries are going to be effected.  It is likely things will never quite be the same again.

Even after the dust settles, a vaccine is created, etc. it will likely become the norm that many things we took for granted will change – eating out at restaurants, going to movies, concerts, etc. will likely be totally different as time goes on.

If you have some free time right for the next few weeks and are lucky enough to be receiving unemployment or stimulus checks, don’t waste too much time watching Netflix.  Now is the time to think ahead and take advantage of the combination of having some down time and a little bit of extra money.  The clock is ticking, so do not do like everyone else is doing.  Use your time very wisely!

Side Hustle, Money Making Business Ideas for the Recession of 2020

In no particular order, I’m going to rattle off some random thoughts and ideas below for current and future business ideas you may want to take a look at.  Some of these are based on previous economic downturns.  Some of these are hunches or wild guesses.

Food Delivery

Food delivery will be big for at least the next few months as many restaurants are closed and only offer drive through, pick up or delivery.  I predict this will be solid for quite awhile, even into the summer, with possibly a decrease then and increase when Fall 2020 kicks in.

If you need to make some extra money this is one of the first places I would look.  Here are a few companies where you can work on your own schedule, delivering food to people at home:

Door Dash



Uber Eats



A recent article titled “Which company is winning the food delivery war?” points out which company is the most popular right now.  Based off what I can tell it seems that Door Dash and Grub Hub are currently in the lead.

I recommend checking YouTube for reviews from employees to get an idea of which ones to consider working for and which ones to avoid.  Also check Glassdoor for reviews from delivery drivers.

Other Delivery Services

Depending on your routine and free time available, you may want to do some brainstorming on other delivery ideas.  People are going to get used to hunkering down and the self quarantine lifestyle even after this is long over.  Other ideas include delivery of groceries and other essential items like toilet paper.

As a stay at home Dad, working at home, personally I have always wished a service existed to call up someone and have them deliver things like wipes, milk, diapers, etc.

What else would people want delivered?  Just about anything.  Medicine, medical supplies will be another area to look into.  As the baby boomer population ages, there will be a big demand for helping the elderly in just about any area – especially for people that live alone, can’t drive, etc.

Drive Through Stores, Services as well as Drive Ins

I believe there is a huge opportunity right now and this one could be a billion dollar idea.  The idea is to create a chain of drive though mini stores where you can pull up and buy just about anything you might need without having to get out of your car.  I’ve seen drive through liquor stores, but what I would love is to a drive through mini department store where I could buy a roll of duct tape, a gallon of milk, bird seed and a birthday card.  I have yet to see anyone doing this and whoever does this will likely make a bundle.

The Drive Through business model could be applied to just about anything and the beauty of it is how low your overhead will be.  Here are some random ideas to think about:  Drive through flower shop, churches, computer supplies, desperate parents that don’t want to drag their kids into a store – diapers, milk, wipes, baby supplies, toys.  How about a drive through wedding service?

SmartMart Convenience Stores in Memphis Tennessee, may provide some inspiration:

The only issue I can see with SmartMart is the touch screen.  They are going to have to change that.  This gives me another idea that perhaps we are entering an era where we will see an end to the touch screen.  Perhaps the next generation of devices will require no touching at all.  Which leads me to the next area to keep your eyes on…

Drive In Movie Theaters

Drive-In movie theaters are definitely coming back as traditional movie theaters are closed and will be empty for awhile.  I would feel confident enough to say there will be at least one drive in movie theater in every city in America, if not more – just like in the 1950’s.  This is going to be awesome.

Pop up drive in movie theaters will also arrive on the scene with the help of newer digital projectors.

Goodbye Touch Screen, Hello Voice Activated Commands & Search

I’m probably like everyone else where I cringe whenever I have to use an ATM and press buttons that who knows how many other people have touched.  Currently there are no options to do the entire ATM experience without getting germs all over your hands.

Remote controls, sharing phones, computer keyboards… the list goes on and on.  Anything that reminds people that they might get germs could go on the chopping block soon.

Find germ free, 100% touch free solutions and you might have found the next gold mine.

Filling up your gas tank is another problem.  I have yet to see a solution for customers to have a germ free experience getting gas.  No sanitary wipes available, etc.

Perhaps full service gas stations will be the next big thing?

How to Make More Money Will Be Huge

The most obvious area that will be in big demand is helping people make more money – whether from a side hustle, a new business, increasing income with an existing business or getting a new job.

Areas to consider include:

Resume writing services

Writing Books

Selling Online Courses



Job Finding Websites

Job Interview Tips

How to Save Money Will Also Be Huge

Coupon tips, how to be more frugal, upcycling, second hand stores and more…

Start a blog, write a book or start a YouTube channel on any area that will help people save money and stretch their dollar and you’ll find an endless amount of people to serve.  I may even get into this area soon.  🙂

Survival, Prepping

The doomsday preppers have finally been vindicated and this area will be good to go for years if not decades.  This is another area I’m going to look into myself.  There’s a lot of competition out there, but no big deal – just put a new spin on things or carve out a specific niche.

HUGE Opportunity: Manufacturing in the USA

What products could you manufacture in the USA that have traditionally been supplied from China and elsewhere overseas?  I’m very confident in this area and it may take some time to ramp up, but Made in the USA could become a massive gold mine soon.  Plenty of time to get in as there are so many possibilities to consider.  If it’s made in America, people will feel much safer making a purchase and will feel more patriotic about it.  They will likely pay a premium price as well.  Mark my words, this is big area you should look into.

Areas That May Not Do Good for Awhile…

Some areas that may suffer for awhile that have done very well in the past include Amazon FBA, Amazon affiliates and other websites that rely on advertising.  It’s a little tough to tell at this point, so just a gut feeling.  As the economy dries up, ad spending may go down until companies can get a better idea of what’s going on.

If there are restrictions on imports from China, this could change everything with people selling products on Amazon.

Conclusion of Part 1

I’m going to wrap up part one of this ongoing series as the days and weeks unfold and will post part 2 as more ideas come to mind.  Please keep our site bookmarked and do us a favor and share this article on social media if you have a moment.

If you are in a bind and need help coming up with an idea, please feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to help come up with an idea that matches your interests.  Good luck and stay safe, everyone!