Whether you need some extra cash to cover your expenses, want to gain some work experience, or are looking for a way to build your skills and network, a side hustle can be a great option for a college student.
And as a college student, you have certain very monetizable assets in today’s gig economy. You have a varied social network online and offline, and you interact with them on a daily basis. You can use this social network to generate a steady stream of income for yourself and start earning while you’re still in college.
However, with so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to start. So, if you are wondering how to make money in college, here are 35 must-consider side hustles for college students. If you have enough time, you can even pick more than one of them and do them side by side to maximize your earning potential.
With the rise of online food ordering and delivery platforms like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats, food delivery has become a very popular side hustle among college students. It is so primarily because of the flexibility to work these platforms offer. You work independently, as per your own schedule, and make as many or as few deliveries as you please. No fixed hours or quotas to fulfill, you just work when and how much you want. This allows you to easily balance your studies with your side gig and avoid the stress that can come with a side hustle. You just need to have a smartphone, a ride, and be at least 18 years old. For motivation, read How to Make $500 a Week with DoorDash.
Owing to smartphones, more people are into photography today than ever before. If you have a good camera and can take aesthetically rich photos, selling your work as stock photos can be an amazing side hustle. Your photos can include all kinds of categories, including architecture, landscape, people, pets, food, objects, technology, and so on. Shutterstock, Getty Images, and iStock are among the best platforms for showcasing and selling your photos. When you sign up as a contributor on one of these sites, it allows you to upload your work and make it visible to people looking to buy photos. Whenever a buyer licenses one of your photos, you get a portion of the sale price as loyalty.
Do you make well-organized study notes for yourself? Why not monetize your hard work and try out websites like Stuvia and Docmerit, which provide a marketplace for different kinds of study material? These platforms provide a really simple mechanism for monetizing your study notes, you just need to make sure your notes are well-prepared. You could even sell copies of your notes, literally going from person to person in your class. At reasonable rates, they should sell like hotcakes before exam months.
The simplest way to get tutoring work is to spread the word among your friends and family that you are looking for elementary or middle school kids to tutor as a side gig. Even if you don’t have a didactic bent, you should be able to teach at least 5th-grade topics with some effort. The advanced way to do it would be to get registered on websites like Wyzant and Chegg. The only limitation with such platforms is that sometimes you need to be an actual teacher to be eligible, which makes word of mouth a better option for college students. Technically, the whole college is your network, and if you can spread the word among so many people, you are almost sure to find something.
The semester is over, and it’s time to buy new books. Another expense! Right? Ever thought about financing it by selling your current books? You can list your books on Craigslist, or you can talk to your immediate juniors in college and see if anyone is interested in buying their new books from you at a discounted price. It’s a win-win: they save money on a purchase they are obliged to make, and you get some cash in exchange for something you no longer have any use for. Unless your books are in utterly lousy shape, it is a great idea to make some extra cash – it’s going to be some of the easiest money you've ever made.
Though they can be monotonous as heck, you can make good money from data entry gigs. You just need to be ready to input large amounts of data into a computer with speed and accuracy, the latter being more important. The best part of this job is that the work is usually pretty simple, and just about anyone can do it. It helps to be familiar with MS Excel, but even if you don’t know a bunch of Excel, it doesn’t involve anything you can’t easily learn on the job. You should try both online job search platforms and freelancing platforms like Upwork and Guru to find a data entry gig.
A lot of college students are into video games and are actually pretty good at them. If you are one of them, you should try playing in front of a live audience to make some money. How? With Twitch. Twitch is a popular video streaming platform, mostly famous for video game live streams. The platform can be a lucrative side hustle if you can engage your audience. It works best for those who can not only play well but also talk well to engage and entertain the audience. The platform really rewards streamers who are able to create a sense of community with their viewers. So if you are an extrovert, you should definitely give it a try. Read How to Make Money on Twitch for a detailed explanation.
If you are handy with tools, maybe you could offer your services as a handyman to friends and family. And even if you can’t do minor repairs and renovations, you can still do simple tasks like shoveling snow or mowing the lawn for a fee. Maybe someone in your college needs help moving, or maybe someone is looking for someone to run their errands for them. You can easily use social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to promote your services. There are several websites devoted to Handyman services, e.g., TaskRabbit and Handyman Connection. You should check these websites out and see if you can get registered as a worker on them.
A virtual assistant is someone who remotely works as a personal assistant for people looking to outsource their non-core tasks at work, such as replying to emails, data entry, web research, and so on. This is a fantastic job for college students, as it gives you a taste of working in the corporate world before you actually venture out into the job market. Working as a virtual assistant in college can be an enriching experience for your career, regardless of what field you choose. On Fiverr and UpWork, you can easily find vacancies for virtual assistant roles of different kinds. Besides that, there are also dedicated websites that provide virtual assistant services. Zirtual and 24/7 Virtual Assistant are the most well-known among these platforms.
Students are among the most active demographics on social media, and if you have a considerable social media following, affiliate marketing might be a great side hustle for you. Affiliate marketing is when you promote the products/services of a business on your social media accounts in return for a commission on sales. It works best when your online persona aligns with the products/services you are promoting. So, check if your online image happens to go with a marketable niche such as sports, gaming, skincare, fashion, etc. Since it is commission-based work, it is a stress-free side hustle to make money as a college student that allows you to utilize your existing resources, i.e., your social media network. Read Affiliate Marketing – An Amazing Side Hustle in 2023.
As a college student, you are probably already used to and comfortable with quickly writing down what the teacher is saying. Well, transcription gigs are more or less the same. You are given an audio or video recording of someone speaking, and your job is to type it all up into a text file. You just need fast typing speed and good listening skills for the job. Though professional transcribers sometimes use a foot pedal to pause and resume the recording for convenience. Most transcription gigs pay per word, and if you transcribe fast and without errors, it can be a well-paying side hustle. It can be very interesting, too, as you get to learn about new things with every project. And thanks to the internet, it is very easy to get transcription work today. GoTranscript and TranscribeMe are among the most popular online platforms for getting transcription gigs. On these websites, you just need to get through a basic speed and accuracy test, and you are ready to go.
If your college course is particularly time-consuming and leaves you with hardly any time to work on a side hustle, you should consider becoming a Synkdup Heahhunter. The Synkdup Headhunter program is a job-sharing program that allows you to make some extra money with practically no time investment on your part. When you sign up to be a Synkdup headhunter, you are provided with a dashboard that is regularly updated with web links to new job openings across the U.S. You are supposed to link your dashboard with your social media accounts, which automatically posts the job links on your social media when they appear on your Dashboard. For every individual who applies for a job through a link posted on your social media, you get a commission of up to $25.
Though it takes considerable time and effort to make it on YouTube, the rewards are well worth it. With a YouTube channel, you can make a whole lot of money doing something you love. YouTubers are the new rock stars, and for many students, YouTube is the most enticing side hustle out there. From motivational and inspirational content to videos of your cat, you can make content on virtually anything as long as people find it interesting. YouTube is the single most powerful social media tool today, and if you find a way to cash in on it, it can be a very profitable side hustle. For a detailed guide, read How to Make Money on YouTube in 2023.
College can get pretty stressful, and if you love pets, pet sitting can be a very relaxing side hustle. Pet owners often need someone to watch over their pets when they are away from home. Unless it is an exotic pet with special needs, pet sitting is one of the easiest side hustles out there, paying about $12 per hour. Most pet-sitting gigs involve simple stuff like watching a dog, feeding it, and taking it for walks. And it is very accessible too. You don’t have to rely solely on the people you know to get pet-sitting gigs, there are several websites on the internet devoted to pet-sitting and dog-walking gigs. Don’t believe us? Check out Rover and Wag.
There are online platforms that enable you to easily rent out equipment, automobiles, and real estate property, such as a room or a garage. If you own something you can lease out, you can turn it into a source of passive income for yourself that doesn’t require you to be actively involved. You will be literally making money while you sleep. Check out Airbnb, Loanables, and Turo to explore the world of online renting. You can rent out anything from your barbecue grill to inflatables and sports equipment. Browsing these platforms, you may realize you have something that you can easily rent out.
It may not be the most lucrative side hustle, but participating in online surveys can be a great side hustle if you are only looking for a little extra cash. Companies often need data on consumer behavior, a part of which they get by conducting surveys. There are websites like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie that offer survey conducting services to such companies. With these websites, you can earn $0.25-$5 per hour by taking different kinds of surveys. You may be required to take polls or watch videos and answer questions about them afterward. If you enjoy sharing your opinions and are looking for a lazy side hustle, this might be your perfect fit.
For college students, the best side gigs are those that allow you to make money through something that you are already doing without spending a bunch of additional time. The ideal situation is where you can turn a hobby of yours into a source of income. If you have a creative hobby, you should definitely consider using social media to monetize it. For instance, if you paint, you can post pictures of your work on Instagram. Or, if you can play an instrument, you can upload tutorials or performance videos on Instagram reels or on YouTube. It may take time to garner a following large enough to be monetized, but since you would be doing your hobby anyway, it will not feel like a burden. For ideas, read Everyday Hobbies that Make Money
If you are looking to declutter your room or closet, it can be turned into an opportunity to make some money. There are several online platforms that allow you to sell your old stuff from the comfort of your home. If you have got an electronic item that you no longer use but is in decent shape, you should try selling it on Gadget Salvation, a popular website for selling electronics and gadgets. If you have a musical instrument like a guitar, ukulele, or drum set that you’d like to sell, Reverb is a great platform for it. For anything else, like clothes, shoes, furniture, accessories, skin care products, etc., Depop is perhaps the most popular platform out there.
Dropshipping is a business model that allows you to cash in on the boom of ecommerce without a bunch of capital investment in buying stock. You promote the products you want to sell on an online marketplace, and it is only when someone places an order that you purchase the product from a third-party seller who supplies it directly to the customer. This saves you the cost of buying and storing inventory and mitigates the risk of business. You don’t even have to create a sophisticated online store to showcase the products you want to sell, you can simply post high quality pictures of the products on your Instagram account with relevant details in the caption. For students with a flair for marketing and limited resources, it is the ideal ecommerce model.
As a student, you probably have decent writing skills. How about using all the writing practice you have got as a student all these years to start a blog and monetize it? The great thing about blogging is that you can write about practically anything that piques your interest. And when you are writing about something you are genuinely interested in, it automatically makes you a better writer. Popular themes for blogs run by students include literature, student life, motivation, fashion, life hacks, etc., but you don’t have to stick to a single niche. It takes time to build a readership, but it is really rewarding when it does. Once you have got a considerable number of readers, you can monetize your blog in many ways, including sponsored posts, posting ads, posting affiliate links, and selling ad space.
If you have got a professional skill like video editing, graphic design, or writing, you should consider freelancing in your free time. There are bucketloads of freelancing gigs available on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. You can find project based work on these platforms and easily do it in your free time. The most popular fields on these platforms include writing and content creation, graphic design and visual arts, web development and design, programming and software development, and photography or photo editing. It is a particularly great side hustle for college students, as it prepares you for the work ahead in your career.
Handmade artsy products make for really good home decor and gift items, and there are online platforms like Etsy where you can sell your handcrafted work. So, if you are someone who is into making artisan products, you should consider selling your work on Etsy. Products can include handmade jewelry, handmade clothes, and accessories like jewelry, paper goods, vintage items, etc. Etsy provides different advertising tools to promote your listings on the platform. Etsy charges a small fee for your sales, but the reach it gives your products makes it totally worth it.
Unless you are terrible with kids, you should consider taking babysitting gigs as a side hustle. It is easy work, and about anyone can do it; the main challenge is finding babysitting jobs. Word-of-mouth referrals generally work best for this kind of stuff. You should start by letting your friends and family know that you are up for babysitting in case someone needs a babysitter. There are also dedicated platforms like Care.com and SitterCity that connect babysitters and parents. You should sign up on these platforms alongside your offline efforts to find babysitting gigs to maximize your chances of finding work.
If you spend a lot of time on social media and think you have developed an understanding of the subtleties of social media, you can offer a business or influencer to manage their social media for them. One way to go about it is to look for social media manager roles on freelancing platforms. Another way to do it would be through hard research: simply find business accounts on Instagram that you think could use better social media management and DM them your offer to work for them. As a social media manager, you would be engaging with followers in the comments section, optimizing posts, finding and following relevant accounts, researching trends and hashtags, and so on.
If you have a strong hold on more than one language, you can use your linguistic ability to make some money on the side by taking up translation jobs. Translation gigs come in all shapes and sizes, from little gigs to voluminous projects. You may be required to translate text or recordings of speech from one language to another. You can also work as an interpreter in a conversation where the two parties don't speak each other’s language. You can either find translation gigs on freelancing websites or you can use a website dedicated to translation work, such as ProZ or TranslatorsCafe.
If you were to start a resume-writing side hustle in college, you would find yourself all but surrounded by potential clients on all sides. And writing a resume is no rocket science, you just need to adhere to a few general guidelines. But still, most people would like to delegate this task, even if they have to pay a little fee for it. A resume is a critical job application document, as it is a candidate’s first interaction with the employer and determines whether they get a call for a job interview or not. You can use this as a pain point to convince your collegemates to avail your resume writing services. It is important not to set a reasonable price for the resumes you write. And don’t forget to promote your service on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. For guidance on how to write a resume, read How to Write an Effective Resume in 2023.
If you have got a car of your own, you shouldn’t even be asking how to make money in college unless you have never heard of platforms like Uber and Lyft, which is highly unlikely. These platforms provide the convenience of working on your own schedule, which is very important for students. Maybe you could start by offering your classmates a ride home for a fee to get a taste of it. And if you like it, then you can sign up on a rideshare platform of your choice. With most platforms, you just need to have a clean driving record, appropriate vehicle insurance, and pass a background check to be eligible to be a driver.
Delivering food and driving others to their destinations are not the only jobs you can do if you own a car. You can also turn your car into a mobile billboard for advertisers. Reach out to local small businesses around your home/college and see if any of them would like to paste their ads on the body of your car for a fee. Having their ad on a car would give their business more widespread visibility and attract more eyeballs due to its unconventionality. If you pitch the idea well, it can be a great side hustle that generates income passively rather than you having to actively pick up passengers or make deliveries.
Have you got a story to tell, or is there a topic you are very knowledgeable about? If yes, maybe you should write an e-book for some side income. There are various platforms today that enable you to publish your own e-books, the most popular ones being Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and Apple iBooks. You will also need to market your book, for which you can easily use your social media handles. You should research similar ebooks in your niche to set a competitive price. Though different platforms offer varying royalty structures, typically, you get a percentage of the book’s sales price as royalties. If you can make it work, it can be a great source of passive income that continues to make you money long after you are done with college.
App and website developers often need testing services that involve a regular person using the prototype of the app/website and providing comprehensive feedback. This feedback is then incorporated into the design to make the interface more efficient and user-friendly. There are several online platforms, such as Userlytics and UserTesting, that connect testers with people looking for testing services. You can make a little side income for yourself by participating as a tester on these websites. Typically, you are required to navigate a website/app for 20-30 minutes or perform specific tasks on the website/app and then provide written or recorded feedback about your experience as a user. Depending on the duration and complexity of the test, payments can range from $5 - $20 per test.
Are you infamous among friends for correcting everybody’s grammar all the time? If yes, you can put your grammar skills to good use by working as an independent proofreader. As a proofreader, you would be going over writings to find and fix any grammar or spelling mistakes, typos, or other errors. Besides good grammar, you also need good attention to detail and keen observational skills for this role. Check out websites like ProofreadingServices.com and Scribendi before you start looking for proofreading gigs on freelancing and job search websites.
If you have a passion for fashion coupled with a great fashion sense, you could freelance as a personal shopper for others. A personal shopper is a professional who assists customers in selecting and purchasing items, typically for fashion or lifestyle needs. They generally work in department stores and boutique shops, but on the Internet, you can get independent freelancing work as well. Instagram is a great platform to promote your personal shopping services if you have a strong fashion-oriented following.
While a personal shopper works for customers, a ghost shopper works for businesses. As a ghost shopper, you go to a store, make a purchase, and report your shopping experience to the owner of the store, who, of course, pays for the purchase. It may be a department store, a restaurant, a saloon, or any other business involving consumer service. The owner of the business takes your feedback and tries to incorporate it into the store for better customer satisfaction.
Do you have a skill you can teach others for a fee? For example, you may know how to play a musical instrument, or you may play baseball well enough to coach little kids. You can even work as a personal trainer if you’ve been going to the gym for some years and have an impressive physique. Practically any skill you have got that you can teach others can be turned into a side hustle. It is one of the most fulfilling side hustle ideas out there because imparting knowledge of your craft to others helps you hone your own skills as well. And who knows, you might even find your passion in life in coaching. Read How to Find Your Passion in Life.
You do not necessarily need formal accounting education to work as a bookkeeper for small businesses. So, if you like working with numbers, you should consider working as a bookkeeper in your spare time. It will not only enable you to make some money but also help you learn valuable skills and considerably enrich your resume for future jobs. You can utilize online resources to get familiar with accounting software, financial data entry, and recordkeeping. At first, you can offer your services at a lower rate to small businesses and nonprofits to develop your portfolio. Once you have got a solid portfolio, you can start applying for bookkeeping gigs on different freelancing platforms online.
If you are an outgoing person who loves the ambiance of parties, maybe you should consider working as an entertainer at parties. It can be anything from getting into a clown costume and performing magic tricks at children’s parties to doing stand-up comedy or playing an instrument while singing. You can start by offering your services to friends and family and taking pictures and videos to build your portfolio. You can also put these pictures and videos on your social media accounts to promote your services.
With just a bucket of water, some soap, and some sponges, you can start providing car washing services to people who do not want to drive all the way to car wash establishments. You can add complimentary services like cleaning the inside of the car to attract more customers. It can be a fun job, especially in the winter. It might be a good idea to team up with a friend for this job and split the pay. Being a physical job, it would also help you get some exercise. If you have got a car of your own, you could put posters advertising your services on the body of your vehicle. This would help your business get greater visibility and enable you to get more customers.
To successfully balance your side hustle with college, efficient time management is paramount. You need to have a well-planned daily schedule and stick to it in a disciplined manner. You should consider using a planner, digital calendar, or time management app to schedule your study sessions and work hours. It is also important to set boundaries between your study time and work commitments to avoid burnout. You should also use weekends wisely to catch up on studies, finish assignments, and work on your side hustle projects. Also, remember to take enough time to relax and look after yourself while you hustle to make some extra money.