The un-job: 6 ways to make a living using apps


Holly Johnson

Holly Johnson

Blog author Holly Johnson

Published January 3, 2018|4 min read

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our

editorial standards


how we make money.
News article image

While traditional 9-to-5 jobs with a cubicle and annoying boss were the norm 40 years ago, new technology has ushered in a cutting-edge era of work. Thanks to the internet and an array of apps, more and more professionals are angling to work from home or switching to full-time freelance work.

If you're tired of the grind and want to try something new, you’re not alone. Per research from Intuit, 9.2 million Americans will work in the gig economy by 2021, a big spike from 3.8 million workers in 2016.

Is gig-work worth it?

But should you get on board? That's a tough call that hinges on your personal goals and financial situation. The gig economy touts some clear pros and cons. Pro: You have the freedom to live and work on your own terms.

Con (and it's a big one): Gig workers get little, if any, benefits, including paid sick days, health insurance, disability insurance or a 401(k). Plus they're considered independent contractors, so most workplace protections — including minimum wage requirements — just don't cover them. That's why many gigs are more commonly used as side hustles.

Having said that, getting into the gig-economy isn’t that hard, so you could certainly give it a whirl. Here are six strategies to creating an “un-job” in 2018.

1. Drive or deliver

If you have a newer, four-door car, you can drive for Uber or Lyft (or both!) to boost your income. Per The Rideshare Guy, drivers usually make between $15 and $20 per hour.

To hit the road, your car needs to meet each app’s requirements. You also need to be at least 21-years-old with a clean driving record — and, naturally, a driver’s license. Plus, you’ll need rideshare insurance.

If you don’t want to drive people around, you can deliver for UberEATS, a food delivery service people can access alongside the Uber app.

2. Run errands connects gig workers with people who need help with everyday chores. TaskRabbits get hired to run errands, assemble furniture for people, do basic handyman work, yard work or pick up dry cleaning or groceries. Jobs pay different amounts depending on the skill involved, but you do get to set your schedule.

Potential TaskRabbits must apply online and attend an onboarding session before they can take gigs.

3. Play the grocery game

If you don’t mind heading to the dreaded grocery store, you could shop for Instacart or Shipt. Their workers pick up food and supplies for customers, then deliver the goods directly to homes.

Instacart also employs in-store only shoppers. Its site isn't very transparent about how much Instacart-ers make, though reports from workers put pay at around $10 to $25 a hour. An Instacart spokesperson told the Huffington Post its rates are based on the number of orders per shift and the number of items per order.

According to Shipt's site, it pays up to $25 per hour. Both services have minimum application requirements, including the ability to lift a certain amount of weight. Plus, drivers need a car. You can find the full requirements on each service's website.

4. Teach English overseas via the internet

VIPKID is a service that hires teachers to share the English language with children overseas. To qualify for this gig, you need work eligibility in the U.S. or Canada, a bachelor’s degree in any field and one-year of traditional teaching experience. You also need to make it through the service's application and interview process.

Contracts start at six months and most people work just 7.5 hours per week. VIPKID teachers make a minimum of $14 per hour, though some earn up to $22 per hour.

5. Watch & walk dogs

There are several ways to turn your love of animals into a profitable “un-job.” With Rover, for example, you set up an online profile and get paid to watch dogs in your home or the homes of others. (Applicants are subject to a profile review before they can take jobs.) Some customers also hire people to walk their dogs or let them out a few times every day.

Rates for overnight care start at around $25 per day, but you can charge more or less depending on where you live.

6. Get paid for digital skills

If you have digital or writing skills of any kind, you can get paid for performing tasks online. Through a website like Fiverr, you can earn cash for graphic design, writing, music and audio services, programming and more. While jobs theoretically start at just $5 a piece (hence the name Fiverr), you can charge more for intensive projects or ongoing work.

Upwork is another website that connects people with digital skills to potential clients. Here you can create a profile to score writing assignments, design jobs or even work as a virtual assistant. Signing up is easy and free, and you can earn competitive rates based on the skills you have to offer.

Image: Sam Edwards