Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
One of the side effects of COVID-19 is that millions of people across the United States (and world) are spending a lot more time at home. Even as people start responsibly hanging while sticking to the CDC’s latest guidelines, you may have some extra time on your hands that needs to be filled. If you’d like to turn that spare time into a side hustle for some extra income (or dip your toe into a new career path), your best bet is to try some online courses.
The best online learning platforms like Udemy, MasterClass, and LinkedIn Learning offer classes taught by professionals and run through an easy-to-understand syllabus you can review before signing up. Importantly, these are recorded lectures, not live classes. You can watch the entire course — which is broken down into different sections — on your web browser, or via an app on your phone (iOS and Android) while safely social distancing.
Lectures can be downloaded, so you can stream them online or view them offline from the comforts of home. And you can start, stop and pause lessons easily, so you can learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. Many of these classes include supplementary materials, like course readings and even the ability to contact your instructor, to help further your learning.
Although online courses are taught in English, some services offer closed captioning options in other languages. If English is your second language, or you’d like to work on your side hustle and an additional language, this is a nice feature. The best part: there are no exams or tests to study for, so the pressure is off.
There are tens of thousands of courses available between these three services, but we’ve selected 10 that can help you turn a hobby or interest into a side hustle, or at the very least, a skill you can put on your résumé. Taking an online class does not guarantee success, but you will learn what you need to increase your chances significantly.
1. Instagram Marketing
If you’d like to turn your time spent on social media into something more productive, consider this Instagram marketing course. The goal of the class is to teach you strategies to increase the follower count of your personal or business account on Instagram, and grow your personal brand. You can then use these skills to help out your employer or to pitch your services to other businesses online.
2. Facebook Marketing
Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users worldwide, and this course aims to help you or your small business reach more of them. The class covers how to use Facebook’s Business Manager tool, implement pixel tracking, and send mass posts to attract more interest. The PR and marketing tips you learn can also be applied to other social media platforms.
3. Resume Writing
A clean resume is the first step toward getting the right job, but presenting yourself in a clear, professional manner can be tough. This course will teach you the ins and outs of rewriting your old resume, or starting from scratch. This class takes a step-by-step approach that breaks down the best tactics for each section of your resume, including how to deal with gaps. Not only will this help advance your employment, but it can help you update other people’s resumes on a freelance basis. And the course is from LinkedIn — one of the best and most-visited resources online for people searching for a job.
It’s easy to post your writing online, but this course will teach you how to do it properly. It covers how to build a WordPress site, come up with ideas, write compelling content, and help you find the right audience on social media and through email marketing. The goal of the course is to help you eventually generate revenue on your writing, regardless of your topic.
5. C Programming
Computer programming can seem daunting, but it can also be extremely lucrative. This course is built around teaching you C, one of the most universally-used programming languages out there. Many other programming languages are based on it, so learning C will make it easy to pick up additional ones over time.
The course requires you to have a computer (Mac, PC, or Linux) and at least 4GB of RAM (memory), but is open to all skill levels. The class breaks C programming down into its most bare elements, and walks you through writing high quality code, and ultimately developing your first app.
6. Professional Writing
Masterclass has several courses taught by distinguished writers, but we’re recommending one from author Malcolm Gladwell. His class breaks down the writing process from research, to development, to interview techniques, and how to hold a reader’s attention. You’ll also learn valuable editing techniques, and how to title your piece for maximum impact.
Whether you’re trying to write a book or submit articles for publication, Gladwell’s Masterclass is a solid starting point. A MasterClass subscription is just $15/month and gets you unlimited access and downloads to more than 85 online classes with celebrity instructors like Martin Scorcese, Shonda Rimes, Anna Wintour, David Lynch and Pharrell.
7. Vlogging On YouTube
YouTube is the largest video platform on the internet, and the barrier to entry is extremely low. This course explains the entire video workflow, from creating your channel, to editing and uploading your videos, to understanding YouTube’s Creator Studio. Later chapters explore growing your audience, setting up a live stream, and signing up for Youtube’s Partnership Program, which allows you to make money off of your videos.
Shows like Serial have made podcasts more mainstream, and advertisers have begun taking them more seriously. Podcasts aren’t just for listening to during a commute either, with a ton of people listening to podcasts at home, while working out or doing chores.
This course covers the basics of podcasting, from the equipment you’ll need, to planning your show out, to uploading it so people can listen. Once your show’s been published this course will walk you through how to promote it, so you continually grow your listenership to eventually monetize it.
9. Recording and Mixing Music
If you’d like to capitalize on your town or city’s local band scene, the best way is learning how to professionally record and edit music.
Logic Pro X (Mac-only) is a popular DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and this course teaches you how to master it. The class walks you through the program’s interface, how to record MIDI and live music, building tracks, using loops, and mixing your completed track.
It also covers how to use audio effects like compression, reverb, modulation, and echo to make music sound distinct. Regardless of which genre the band you’re recording plays, applying all of these skills will prove helpful.
If you’d like to have your current savings do the side hustling for you, you’ll need to learn how to invest properly. This course gives you a top-to-bottom explanation of how to pick stocks, value companies, manage risk, build a portfolio, and track its performance in Microsoft Excel.
You’ll also learn when to buy a stock, and how events like IPO (Initial Public Offerings) work. If your portfolio becomes successful, the skills you learn in this class can also help you to communicate with professional financial analysts who can manage it for you.