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6 Side Hustles You Can Employ While You're Unemployed

Finance

As I sat on the floor staring at my depleted bank account on my phone, I felt a swell of emotions creep up my throat like a bubbling volcano. This unemployment season sucked.

I tried to keep the faith and hold things together for as long as I could but the bills were piling and the stress of it all was killing my pride and definitely my edges. I never planned to go through this. I thought I had life planned out with a job before my college graduation, but little did I know that they would fire me a week before I walked the stage.

Talk about a Britney 2007 breakdown. As I sat deep in this reality check, this moment brought me face to face with my reality.

I was broke.

Broker than broke. And it frustrated me because this wasn't where I was supposed to be. I saw everyone thriving around me. I even praised their accomplishments but deep down I felt shame that I was struggling through a season I never planned for.

This is the story of many of us. Stats show that millennials have the highest unemployment rate out of all age groups. But I realized that this season did NOT define me. I was determined to stay faithful to the process and do what I needed in the meantime.

A lot of times unemployment is a humbling season.

For me, it revealed that I was wrapped in validation and status. How "embarrassing" to tell people that I didn't have a plan with my career moves. And because I couldn't feel valued by others, I didn't feel like a value at all. But it's not true. Through the up and down seasons of unemployment, I've learned that there are some super simple ways to bring in a little cash while you're in the place of uncertainty:

1. Ebay

Calling all thrifters! Selling your things online has got to be one of the simplest ways to make some quick money. When I started on Ebay, I first sold things I had around the house like nice clothes (homecoming dresses are really popular), purses, and even an old camera. After I got the hang of how Ebay works, I started going to local garage sales and thrift stores to flip items.

The keys to Ebay are simple but require some consistency. Always have clear pictures taken in good lighting. Ask for a reasonable price, go for popular items (this takes a little research), and always use honest and detailed descriptions. When trying to decide if an item is worth selling, I usually type it in the search bar and scroll down to the sold items. This will show you how much people usually paid for the item and what you should list it as.

Other seller sites you can try include letgo, Poshmark, and even Facebook Marketplace.

2. Temporary Agencies

When I had no clue where to look during my unemployment season, temp agencies came through with great job opportunities. I first looked on Indeed.com for temporary jobs but you can also research temp agencies in your city and request an appointment to meet with them.

The meeting usually consists of going over your resume and areas of expertise. From that information, they will search for job openings that match your qualifications. During my unemployment, I got a great job at a health company that paid way more than I predicted. They are great resources, even for just a short period of time!

3. Babysitting

Babysitting can be a great way to earn decent cash during your extra time. It was a very humbling experience because I did NOT want to do this at first. But try going through sites like care.com or sittercity.com to find work.

What's great about this gig is that it still offers time to work on a skill or apply for job opportunities online. The summer is the perfect season because many kids will be home from school.

4. Photography

Photography is great because there will always be a need for dope pictures. For my website, I bought my first DSLR camera from Craigslist (which is GREAT for items like that). A friend knew that I had a nicer camera and asked if I could take pictures for her sister's college graduation.

That ended up being my first "client." Her sister referred me to another friend and it just grew from there. If you have a nicer camera, I recommend offering to take photos for people for a fee. This may require some Facebook recruiting but people are always looking for pictures around their birthday, pregnancies, graduations, and even headshots.

In my down time, I heavily watched YouTube photography tutorials to help me learn my camera and get better at angles and ideas. When you feel confident, you can even reach out to local organizations like churches or schools to offer your services.

5. Airbnb

Do you have an extra room or guest house in your backyard? Airbnb can make you some serious cash without much work. If you live in a frequently visited city, try renting the extra space, especially during big weekends that host festivals, conferences, concerts, and even sports events. Most Airbnb renters are able to upcharge their guests because of such high demand during these times.

Some of my best Airbnb experiences have included a flexible renter and also a well-stocked room. Make sure to provide helpful things like toiletries and suggestions of places to visit in the city. This always leaves a great impression and a higher chance for positive feedback.

6. Freelance Writing

If you love to write or have ideas for a topic you are passionate, try freelance writing. There are so many publications that are constantly looking for new content, especially from writers of color. So many times, I see media websites try to connect with diverse audiences but fail because of a lack of insight or knowledge.

Look for trending topics and pitch your point of view by emailing an editor. Other ways of finding jobs are checking Craiglist, Indeed.com, or following certain accounts on Twitter like @writersofcolor that frequently post jobs. And even if you don't see a current opportunity available, create one by sending a draft of a post to outlets that you love.

Some of these ideas may not totally replace an income, but they can help bring in financial help and also confidence that this situation will be temporary. So hustle, stack the dollars, and stay focused your goals. Your time is coming.

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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