It’s no secret that a college education is a hefty investment. Even if you’re lucky enough to get a full-ride scholarship, there are still piles of expenses that come with pursuing higher education. That’s why most students have some sort of side hustle in college to get ahead financially.
Why Do Students Need a Side Hustle?
While on-campus jobs and internships are great ways to make money during college, pursuing something you love can lead to a business that will support you after graduation. Even if you decide that self-employment isn’t your thing, you’ll still have something extra to show on your resume. People who acquire leadership, problem-solving, and time management skills through a part-time job are more likely to stand out to employers.
On top of getting a well-rounded college experience, students with a side gig:
Learn New Skills and Discover a Passion
Find out what it takes to run an independent business by dabbling in a few different side hustles. During the process, you may discover which activities give you the greatest joy! There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a venture from scratch and earning money from doing what you love most.
Offset College Expenses
Tuition and textbooks aren’t cheap, so having a side gig could make the difference between being able to afford school and dropping out.
Save Money for a Rainy Day
In addition to securing funds for living expenses like food and utilities, a part-time job allows you to accumulate extra cash for emergencies. You never know when you’ll need that rainy day fund! Tomorrow, your car could break down and need repairs. If this happens without a savings cushion to fall back on, you’ll stress about how to pay for it.
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As a college student, you must make ends meet. But getting there can be challenging because traditional jobs often take too much time away from your studies. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to earn money, though! Here are some easy jobs for college students that you can start right now:
1. Tutor Other Students
If you’re good at something, teach others! Tutoring could involve anything from helping someone with their math homework to answering questions about literature topics. Many students could use help with editing and proofreading their essays, or even polishing up their resumes and cover letters. Let students know you’re available by advertising your services on the university’s bulletin boards, or in its newsletters.
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2. Start a YouTube Channel
Have you always wanted to make videos? YouTube is a popular platform for creators to share original content based on their topics of interest. For example, if you love makeup and skincare, you could record and upload holiday makeup tutorials or product reviews for others to watch.
In the description of each video, add affiliate links where you can earn a commission every time someone purchases something from your links. After building a loyal following, you may be eligible for compensation from YouTube as well!
3. Deliver Food
Numerous apps like Postmates and DoorDash make it a breeze for people of all ages to deliver food. The amazing thing about food delivery is that you don’t need a car. You could bike or walk—as long as customers get their food hot and fresh, it doesn’t matter how you get there. Delivering food allows you to make extra income while getting exercise and in your own time.
4. Offer Freelance Services
Everyone has a skill they can monetize. Thanks to countless freelance platforms online, marketing your skills and services has never been easier. All you need is a laptop and a solid internet connection!
Freelancing comes with a plethora of perks:
- Work on your schedule
- Do something you love
- Expand on your skillset
- Set your rates
- Experience entrepreneurship
The sky is the limit when it comes to what freelance services you can offer. Need ideas? Visit a freelance platform like Fiverr, and see what other people are offering in their specialty. For example, if you excel in research papers at school, you could consider freelance writing! You’ll see plenty of people offer different kinds of writing services, such as copywriting for landing pages and product descriptions, content writing for company blogs, and ghostwriting eBooks, to name a few. Other fun freelance side hustles for college students include:
- Product photography
- Graphic design
- Social media management
- Web design
- Logo creation
- Video editing
- Virtual assisting
- Personal styling
Kick-start your freelancing journey by first deciding what you want to do. Then, create profiles on the most popular freelancing platforms including Fiverr, Upwork, LinkedIn, Revolancer, and Contra to sell your services.
You may not have luck on all platforms, but it’s a good idea to establish a presence on each. Searchability increases your chances of getting hired, and it’s smart to not put all your eggs in one basket. Each platform works differently, so it may take some time to fill out each profile thoroughly. While this step may be tedious, it’s well worth it for the exposure you’ll get for your service offering(s)!
5. Start a Blog
Do you love to write? Earn money by starting a blog about something that interests you. For example, if you love fashion, consider showcasing and writing about your daily outfits. There are a plethora of free tools available to help you get started. If you already have experience building a website, you may enjoy using WordPress. Otherwise, there are other user-friendly platforms like Medium, Blogger, or Tumblr that you can use to blog.
One of the easiest ways to monetize your content is through affiliate marketing. Simply find products that interest you on Amazon, for example. Then, add them to your Amazon Associates account. Embed your unique links in the blog articles, and watch the money roll in each time someone clicks and makes a purchase through them.
6. Become a Virtual Assistant
Are you organized, detail-oriented, and enjoy helping others? You might have what it takes to become a virtual assistant. As a VA, you complete tasks for clients in your own time—the ideal job for someone with a busy class schedule!
You may be wondering, “how does virtual assisting work?” Let’s say there’s a small business owner in town needing an extra hand on basic administrative duties. If you become a virtual assistant for this client, you may be responsible for handling customer service emails, follow-up calls, setting up appointments, and running loose-end errands like dropping off packages.
In return, you’ll receive compensation for your time and efforts. According to ZipRecruiter, part-time virtual assistants can make an average of $3,000 – $4,000 per month depending on the employer and the number of hours worked.
7. Sell Handmade Items on Etsy
If you love making things in your spare time, why not sell them online? Etsy is a fantastic platform to showcase your talent and set up an online store where you can put your goods up for sale. It’s free to sign up and for a small listing fee, customers can purchase your handmade items directly from the site. You’ll get a taste of running your own retail business while developing essential skills such as order fulfillment, inventory management, and customer service.
8. Care for Other People’s Pets
With people going on vacation, date nights, and working long hours, there’s always a need for pet sitters and dog walkers. This side hustle is perfect for all the fur-baby lovers out there! Create a profile on Rover or Wag! where you can match with local pet owners needing this service.
9. Try Retail Arbitrage
Retail arbitrage is the process of buying desirable products and reselling them at a higher price. This is a fun side hustle for the savvy shopper.
Stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx often carry various designer items at heavily discounted prices. For example, you may find a trendy Nike sports bra for $10, slashed from the original retail price of $50! If you purchase this for $10 plus tax, you may consider reselling it for $30. This way, it’s still a “steal” compared to the MSRP, and you’ll come out with a nice profit even after accounting for shipping fees.
Begin by taking clear pictures and listing items on eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari. When people buy from your store, you can either meet up in person for delivery or arrange to ship the goods. Either way, it’s a lucrative way to grow your bank account while shopping.
10. Upload and Sell Your Class Notes
Do friends rave about your stellar note-taking skills? If so, let’s get you paid for it! Selling class notes is a common way for college students to earn money on the side. The best part is that it doesn’t require a lot of extra effort or skill. Simply take pictures of your notes and upload them to platforms like Stuvia and StuDocu. Help others study and ace exams while rolling in the dough!
Build Something for Yourself While Making Money in College
As you can see, the options are endless when it comes to easy jobs for college students. Remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. Start small and choose one or two side hustles.
It takes time to build a new small business into something more substantial, but the reward will be worth it when you graduate with little-to-no student debt. And who knows? You may be able to continue growing your business and make a full-time living after graduation.