How to Supplement Your Income During the COVID Pandemic

Scott Grove teaches woodworking to students in seven countries on four continents. Photo courtesy Scott Grove.
by Scott Grove

It’s a new world physically, emotionally, and economically, and everyone is adjusting as best as they can to the new pandemic paradigm. Luckily, many people are able to work from home, but too many have lost their jobs and are looking for other sources of income.

Use this time to clean up your home, garage, or shop and at the same time learn some new skills. You can make some cash by selling off some of your gently used tools, clothes, jewelry, or other items online. If you’re an artist and woodworker like me, you can sell extra inventory. Post on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Imgur, Pinterest, and TicTok to reach the masses. Many of these sites have business-related pages with easy buy buttons, as well as cost-effective paid advertising options, to help boost sales.

Online shopping and payment applications like Shopify, Square, PayPal, eBay, and Twitch, are easy to use, too. Each has online resources to teach you how to get up and running with an account. Also, they don’t require a huge investment to open your store and start selling.

Another income source is selling plans and eBooks online. For example, if you’re a woodworker, you can sell plans to build a bird house. Include a tool list and cut lists, and you can have a big seller on your hands, especially with so many kids and parents at home looking for a craft project. Or, you can gather 30 of your own recipes in a Word document and sell it as an eBook. Share your projects and processes in clear sequential steps; include good, well-lit photos and closeups of the steps; add illustrations if necessary; and make sure it’s well written. Uploading to Amazon is easy, and you can create both electronic and on-demand hard copies that are printed when they are ordered.

Besides selling physical products, others are selling knowledge. With YouTube as the prominent platform, (the second largest search engine next to Google), it’s a great place to create how-to videos on just about anything. Producing a viral video is not easy: you need the right combination of knowledge, good sound, quality video, and humor to add up to entertainment value that MAY convert to income, but popular (and good) instructional videos can generate some cash, too. In fact, you can visit my site,, for an example of how it’s done.

You can also make money through affiliate links: these are recommendations that a YouTuber, influencer, or instructor makes in the form of a link to Amazon or other providers that have affiliate programs. If a viewer clicks on a link from your site and buys the item you suggest, you get a cut of the purchase. In fact, no matter what a person buys on Amazon, as long as they go through your link, you get a cut. There are lots of informational videos about becoming an Affiliate member on Seller Central at Amazon.

If you have a skill that is easily taught, you might consider Interactive Remote Demonstration (IRD). This is where an instructor teaches via a video conference call rather than a one-way stream like on YouTube or Facebook Live. IRD is a two-way interaction that allows students to see the instructor, his or her work, ask questions, and show what they are working on, all within the safety of their own home. An instructor can teach to many students all over the world, to any device, all at once. Charge $15 a student for an hour’s instruction, get 10 people together, and you’ve just made $150.

Good instructors have multiple cameras, pre-loaded time-lapse videos, PowerPoint stacks, images and even a green screen where they are super-imposed over another image. It takes a learning curve, but frankly if I can do it (I now teach private lessons and to woodworking clubs and schools with IRD), you can. These IRD classes can be recorded for future students to view either for free or paid per view. And…if you’re interested, feel free to contact me for a course list.

Keep in mind that eBooks, YouTube videos, and affiliate links are income sources that are in perpetuity, meaning that once they are published online, they are there forever, generating income. Making money while you sleep feels pretty good.

Lastly, out of work professionals could go old school, and try writing for a magazine or newsletter. I encourage anyone who is knowledgeable, wants to share what they know, and has decent writing skills, might consider submitting an article to your favorite magazine and making a few bucks.

Stay calm, stay home, stay healthy, and keep making.


Scott Grove is an artist, master craftsman, sculptor, teacher, and author living in Canandaigua, NY. Visit or for more.

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