Malaysians are on the lookout for gig, part-time and freelance jobs to earn extra side income or supplementary money during (CMCO or PKPB) Conditional Movement Control Order, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are 8 jobs (freelancing, online tutoring, delivery jobs, dropshipping, small online business, etc) to help you to stay afloat and survive financially.
It’s a tough time for a lot of us, and chances are, you’ve had it rough too.
Perhaps more than ever, more Malaysians are looking for side jobs to earn side income during the Movement Control Order (MCO) to help bolster their finances. Even before the MCO began, certain industries in Malaysia were already sailing through rocky waters. Now, weeks after the “#dudukrumah lockdown”, more and more businesses have announced pay cuts and, even worse, complete closure resulting in many Malaysians losing their jobs.
According to an article from The Edge Markets, Bank Negara forecasts 2020’s unemployment rate to be at a staggering 4%, while the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) has projected a rate of 9.2% as the country’s worst-case scenario.
As push comes to shove, we face a grim reality: rising unemployment, and a potential recession.
But here’s the most unfortunate thing. Despite rice bowls getting smaller, our commitments stay the same. While some have amassed a wealth of savings to last them till they get a new job, the rest of us… can only wish to be half that lucky.
So, what can we do in times like these? The answer: side jobs. (Or supplementary jobs, part-time jobs, extra income jobs, moonlight jobs, side gigs, side hustlin’ - whichever word fits your vocabulary.)
They may not bring in the same kinda moolah, but if it lessens the impact, why not? If you’re looking to ease your financial burdens during this difficult time, here are some ways to earn money from side income jobs.
1. E-commerce seller/dropshipper
Great if you have: Entrepreneurial dreams, basic trading sense, VERY itchy hands. (Not literally… Go see a doctor otherwise.)
Important to note: E-commerce is all about speed and consistency. Be prepared to do things faster than a fengtau Myvi on the NKVE.
Chances are, you’ve been browsing through shopping platforms like Lazada and Shopee endlessly during this dudukrumah MCO. But these platforms have always been at the centre of it all, pandemic or not. It’s clear that e-commerce is the present, and the future. So if you need something to supplement your income now, why not try to sell online through an e-commerce store?
Literally all your resources are free for you to use. A few Lazada sellers that we have spoken to told us that signups are free, and they also enjoy zero commissions on their sale. All they mainly need to do is to source the items, put them up for sale, respond fast to queries, and ship out their items ASAP once they get purchased.
Now, if you’re a big-time seller, chances are you’d have a warehouse to store all your stocks. But what about a small online business?
Most small-time sellers are actually everyday people like you and I. In fact, a significant chunk of them don’t even have the actual stock with them! This, my friend, is something called dropshipping.
In a very simplified way, you basically find suppliers with the kinda stuff you want to sell, get an agreement with them, and post up their products on whichever shopping platform you’re on. When the customer buys from you, you then place the order to your supplier, and when it reaches you, you send it out to the buyer immediately.
This cuts out the need for a warehouse and any capital expenses needed to purchase the stocks, making it one of the most flexible ways to sell online. Here are some sites to get you started: Kumoten, SaveValue2u, SaleHoo.
Of course, this comes with some downside - you’ll be fighting with a whole bunch of other dropshippers, so you’ll need to find ways to compete. You can read more here.
Same item, different seller. To succeed in dropshipping, you need to outdo others in pricing and reputation.
On another hand, you can also consider being a seller with stock from outright purchases. (Basically buying them at a bulk rate for you to store and sell.) While this requires some upfront investment, it does have its perks. Items can reach customers in mere days, making them a LOT more attractive to buyers.
2. Freelance social media manager
Great if you have: An addiction to social media (including TikTok!), a sense of how to speak to the internet crowd.
Important to note: Beware of the incoming 4823623 comments saying “PM”.
If you had told us 10 years ago that we could make money from posting cat photos on Facebook, we’d call it bluff. Now, more than ever, social media is essential for businesses regardless of size. Giant conglomerate or taman cafe, SMEs or even pasar malam stalls, everyone depends on social media to connect with their existing and potential customers.
If a pasar malam apam balik stall can run its own FB page...
And that’s super timely for our current #dudukrumah situation too! While the world is at a standstill with everyone staying at home, there’s one place where everyone’s at: online. Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, or anywhere else that’s social, this is the easiest and fastest way for businesses to market themselves.
But making the most out of social media can be tricky, though. It was built for everyday people like you and me, so for brands to blend in and harness the power of these giant platforms isn’t exactly easy. For starters, learn the language and behaviour of social media users, and remember that each platform has its own culture and nuances. Learn to strum the chords right, and you’ll be surprised how much a business can gain from just a single post.
However, to really succeed, you’ll need to understand more than just postings. You can expect that space to be oversaturated with a million and one businesses using these platforms to attract eyes. You have to find ways to stand out, and you may have to eventually depend on advertising on whichever platform you’re looking at. This itself is a skill to learn in its entirety, but there are plenty of free classes and guides for you to familiarise yourself.
3. Home baking and cooking
Great if you have: All the necessary kitchen tools, fool-proof recipes, gifted hands, and Chef Two skills (cause there can only be one Chef Wan).
Important to note: This requires you to be super responsible - make sure all your ingredients are new, and keep good hygiene habits all the time. Nobody wants hair in their kuih!
With Raya coming up and, well, people generally depending on food to survive, there’s always an opportunity to earn some extra income through baking and cooking.
If you’ve been told your culinary skills are pretty good, consider baking cakes, cookies, and various other stuff for sale. They’re especially popular during the festivities, where many will buy pretty-looking treats as gifts for their loved ones.
With so many free recipes online, you’ll never run short of ideas to bake or cook
Selling home-cooked food may not be the best option for now, since these need to be consumed immediately and many Malaysians are now cooking from home. You could consider selling frozen meals (FYI you’ll also need to consider chilled delivery for that), or providing simple dinner catering services for residents in your neighbourhood.
You’ll also need to figure out how to market and deliver your products so your customers’ tummies are satisfied on time. Learn a thing or two about advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and find third-party delivery people to help out. Otherwise, try selling on shopping platforms with end-to-end solutions like Lazada, Shopee, or even Kravve (small specialty food platform for local home-bakers and cooks).
4. Personal shopper
Great if you have: Patience, strong legs, ample time, Roman gladiator bravery (to go into battle).
Important to note: Before you take up the job, make sure that there’s trust and a clear agreement with payments and expectations.
With about a month to go before the end of the CMCO (provided it doesn’t get extended again), personal shopping services may still be in demand. Exactly like its name, this is where you help someone shop for stuff, saving them the time and effort of having to queue up.
If you could be paid to do this, why not?
This side income job during the coronavirus pandemic is especially useful when it comes to the elderly, or those who don’t have transportation to move around.
In an interview with NST, a young chap from Johor told the daily that he was affected when the MCO was first announced. Needing to pay the rent, he marketed himself as a runner and offered shopping services for people in his vicinity. His quick thinking has helped him in his finances, and we’re optimistic it can help you too.
Beyond this, personal shopping has also been used for warehouse sales and phone launches, where shoppers would typically queue and ‘battle it out’ to get the item that their client wants. Then, depending on where the client is based, they’ll either deliver or ship it out to them at an extra cost.
If you’re going down this route, you can also take advantage of credit card rewards. While you shop for someone else, pay with your credit card and keep the rewards for yourself!
Just remember, in doing a risky job like this, you have to also make sure that you do your part to maintain social distancing and to follow the proper SOP in place. If ever possible, get screened from time to time to ensure that you’re not infected - or worse - infecting the people around you.
5. Virtual tutor / Online tutor
Great if you have: Deep knowledge in a certain area, patience in teaching newbies, level 100000 internet and concall setup.
Important to note: To be fair to whoever you’re teaching, you should prepare a syllabus and teaching materials that will truly benefit your student.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, there are some opportunities if you know where to look. As schools are still closed till further notice, parents are finding themselves having to tutor their own children while juggling their own daily lives.
If you’re academically inclined, can easily familiarise yourself with the syllabus, and have a teaching method that works, you could always consider spending your time as a virtual tutor for students.
Err… just make sure you have patience with your students and the internet connection!
Not keen on teaching Math, English, Sejarah, and all that? Then why not venture into other areas which you’re good in? There are many adults looking to learn new skills, and this has made sites like Udemy thrive in the past few years. Consider sharing your experience with like-minded folk, because besides the income, it’s always a lot more rewarding to know that you’re adding value to the lives of others.
It goes without saying that you can also consider something a little more physical too, like a virtual personal trainer or nutritionist. Just make sure you have the right information to help your clients!
You might also be interested in: A Look at Private Tutoring Rates vs Group Tutoring Rates
6. Virtual assistant
Great if you have: An internet connection and basic know-how of certain things.
Important to note: To do the job well, you have to be able to get the brief correctly. Don’t go doing jobs in a confused state - you’ll definitely end up with mistakes!
If you’re a Jack of all Trades, you’d be surprised to learn just how helpful you can be to many people. We’ve realised that entrepreneurs and micro-SMEs (regardless of industries!) are always in need of some help in building their business, and while they may have some funding, they may not actually want to utilise that to commit to hiring an in-house staff.
So… why not turn to contractors like virtual assistants?
The ability to help others from the comfort of your own home? Yes, please!
Virtual assistants are essentially anyone who offers a service to another person in exchange for a fee that they both agree upon. From handing out flyers to helping run errands at the banks, walking dogs to mending the garden, these little tasks may be mundane to do, but at the same time pretty rewarding too.
Of course, there are jobs that you can do from even behind your laptops instead of actually going out. Basic data entry, proof-reading, uploading sales products for e-commerce sellers, bookkeeping, minor accounting… the list is endless.
Starting isn’t difficult, either. The easiest way around is to hop onto a platform to help connect you to tasks (e.g. iTask).
Great if you have: An internet connection, all the tools you need, a diligent character, and the ability to get the job done correctly.
Important to note: Read the last part of the line above!
This is kinda like #6, except that you’re the one who gets all the commissions to yourself. But this also means that you’ve gotta go get your own clients!
If you've honed your skills for years, and are confident enough to add value to a new employer, then why not offer your skills for “rent”?
Don’t be too disheartened if you’ve been let go - if you have a skill, you have a chance of making use of it.
Freelance developers, e-store builders, writers, translators, designers, accountants… much like in point #6, this list is endless too. But one thing’s for sure - as a freelancer, the expectations are high.
You must be quick to adapt and be extremely good at the job. Why? That’s because your employers who look for freelancers do not typically have the time to train or vet through work. They need the job done, and they need the job done fast.
So… where do you start? You can always auction yourself on platforms like Mudah, Upwork, and Fiverr, or if you’re bold enough, go directly to an entrepreneur or a business owner who may be in the lookout for professional help. (Psst - hang around at co-working office spaces and you’ll likely find a budding entrepreneur who could use a hand!)
8. Delivery person
Great if you have: Legs! But not actual legs, rather actual wheels for roads.
Important to note: How much you earn depends on the company that you’re tied to. You may want to consider weighing all options and reading reviews from existing delivery people.
Yes, yes, we know this is the most obvious supplementary job out there, but we just had to add this in!
The MCO is the ultimate push for businesses to go online, and that even goes for your humble pak cik stalls too. This has created an incredible demand for items (including food) to be delivered, and this will only continue even after the MCO is lifted.
Once people start enjoying the convenience of having things delivered to their doorsteps, it’s… kinda hard to get back to the past.
With the MCO, there are even more parcels to deliver by the hour!
If you want things done the easy way, consider popular platforms like Grab, FoodPanda, Lalamove, and Goget where all the structures are already in place for you to quickly hop on board and start delivering.
The best thing? If you like people, then “deliver people”. (Basically e-hailing, but within CMCO guidelines please!) If you don’t like them, just choose to deliver parcels or food! Err… just don’t eat it on the way.
Ultimately, find something you know you can deliver… and do it the best you can
Whether you’re being paid by a company or by your next-door neighbour, it’s always important to first ensure that you have the ability to deliver according to what’s expected of you.
As you maneuver around this new normal, it’s more important now than ever to give your 200% so that you have a chance of grabbing those darn lemons life keeps throwing at you, and turning them into lemonade.
Likewise, you also have to give 200% in keeping yourself - and the people around you - safe. If the job requires you to be outdoors, be on-the-move, to meet new people in person, or anything of that nature, remember to follow the SOPs that have been in place to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus.
If ever possible, get screened from time to time to ensure that you’re not carrying the virus by surprise. With patience and perseverance, we can beat this virus together as a nation.