“Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary started his first company from his basement in 1986.
Back then O’Leary had no cash and worked hard to ultimately build computer game company The Learning Company into a business that he and his co-founders sold to Mattel Toy Company for $4.2 billion in 1999, he previously told CNBC Make It.
He would use the same hustle and savvy today if he needed to make some extra money.
“If I lost everything and had to start from scratch, I would find a problem everybody had and I’d solve it,” he tells CNBC Make It.
Right now, O’Leary says, the best way to do that is to start a side hustle as a virtual assistant.
“There are so many people scrambling to figure out their lives right now that need help in all kinds of things,” he says.
Even amid the pandemic, there are “any host of different products that allow you to communicate directly with people all around the world,” he says. (Case in point: Zoom Video stock is up more than 200% year to date and has nearly doubled since March when non-essential businesses started to close and working from home became the norm due to the pandemic, though there have been some security issues.)
To start, “put yourself out on every social media platform as being available, ready to work 24/7,” O’Leary says. Use everything from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and Task Rabbit.
In your posts say, “Give me a problem. I’ll fix it for you,” O’Leary says.
“You’d be amazed how many people are looking for help like that, whether it’s a mother trying to figure out how to do a repair in a pandemic world or somebody that needs some help just in editing documents or something to do with work or sales or support. You name it.”
This type of work is “exploding,” according to O’Leary.
And “if you make yourself available saying, ‘Look, I can be a fantastic digital assistant,’ maybe you charge 60 bucks, 100 bucks an hour.”
Indeed, experts from freelancer platforms Fiverr and Upwork recently told CNBC Make It that remote, virtual side hustles doing things from website building to teaching new skills online have spiked amid the pandemic. You can earn anywhere from $395 to $4,095 building a site, according to Fiverr, or from $5 to $100 for lesson, depending on the skill and the teacher’s experience.
“It’s a big business for those who have the guts to get out there and start selling themselves as people who can solve problems,” O’Leary says.
“Believe me, in this world, there is lots of problems to solve.”