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10 Passive Income Ideas for Students

Discover the best and easiest ways to earn a passive income as a college student.
By Synkdup Editorial Team  |  22 November 2023
Passive Income Ideas for Students

As a student, with classes and exams and attendance requirements and whatnot, you need a stream of income that doesn’t take up too much of your time – or money.

The best passive income ideas for students are those where you:

  • Can work on your own time and place, and
  • Don’t need to spend or invest money

So, in this article, we have explored 9 passive income ideas for students that could help you earn from your existing, unrecognized assets without going too far out of your way.

1. Affiliate Marketing

If you have got a sizable following on social media as many students today do, affiliate marketing might be a good option for you. It works on a commission-based model allowing you to work when and how much you want without compromising on your studies.

Affiliate marketing is basically when you promote the products/services of a brand on your social media for a commission. As an affiliate marketer for a particular company, you are given a web link that redirects users to a web page of the company.

Every time someone lands on the company page using your link and takes a specified action like making a purchase or taking a subscription, you get a portion of the profit as commission.

Pretty, straightforward, huh? You just need to find an affiliate program that aligns with your interests or niche and sign up as an affiliate.

There are many good affiliate programs out there but, I would suggest you start with Amazon. Amazon has the world's biggest and most reliable affiliate program which pays anywhere between 5% - 50% of the sale as commission.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best passive income ideas for students except for one thing – you need to have a niche social media network. You can’t expect it to work if you just post links to random stuff that have got nothing to do with your other posts.

2. Recruitment Marketing

Recruitment marketing works on the same commission-based model as affiliate marketing except, you don’t need to have a niche network. And instead of promoting products/services, you promote job vacancies on your social media.

You can find a part-time job as a recruitment marketer on job search portals like Jobble, and Remote. co, and CareerBuilder and get a job where you make $20-$40 an hour.

However, some of these jobs may require you to go a step beyond marketing and undertake HR functions like conducting the first round of the interview process and selecting candidates for further rounds, which may be too much responsibility for a student.

With the Synkdup Headhunter Program though, you don’t need to do any of that. Your job is to just post web links to job openings on your social media and that’s it. For every legitimate applicant who applies through your link, you get a commission (around $25-$50) regardless of whether they get a job or not.

Synkdup HeadHunter Program utilizes the commission model of affiliate marketing for recruitment, making it very convenient for the marketer. It is very convenient to scale and in time, you can easily be generating a good passive income.

The critical point about the Synkdup Headhunter program is that you don’t need to have a niche network as you do with affiliate marketing because job seekers can be found among your regular social media followers. And neither do you need to perform the HR-related tasks of an online recruiter with this innovative program.

3. Buy and Sell Used Books

Sometimes academia requires you to buy an expensive book that is of no use to you after the semester ends.

You can get in touch with your immediate juniors in college or school and see if they would be interested in buying second-hand books.

And if they are in good shape, you don’t have to bring down the price more than, say, ten percent.

If you are good at negotiating, you could make the case that if anything, the book has increased in value from all the markings, interjections, and highlights you have made to make the book more easily accessible.

4. Sell Your Notes or Make them for Others

You can sell copies of the notes you have prepared like hotcakes before exams. In addition to making some money, it will also motivate you to do a better job at making your notes which would hopefully help you learn better.

Creating detailed notes on a topic on your own really helps to get a deeper understanding of the subject which you could use to create another stream of passive income – video lectures.

5. Video lectures

It is statistically proven that most people find videos more engaging than text and prefer to watch a video on something rather than read up on it.

As someone looking for extra income, you could use the drudgery of textbooks to your advantage and offer video lectures about specific topics in your curriculum online.

You can offer value in many ways. If the teachers teach in a foreign language, use your and the student’s shared native language. If the teachers tend to go off on tangents, make your lessons laser focused. Maybe your lessons revolve around topics most important for passing exams.

No one can understand the difficulties your peers are facing with the concepts at school better than you as you share a common educational background and level.

You could use your own notes to explain concepts on the blackboard and engage students with novel connections between concepts and interesting ways to think about them.

The key point is to identify the areas of improvement in the current system of learning and capitalize on them to make a stream of income for yourself.

6. Online Gaming

For a student looking to make some extra money, it makes a lot of sense to try to do it through a hobby as you have got limited time on your hands. And one way to do that is through online gaming.

There are several ways to make money through online gaming but most of them would require you to invest a bunch of your spare time. For, students, I think these two ways make the most sense:

A. Live Streaming

Live streaming yourself playing is the best way to make money through online gaming as you don’t have to go too much out of your way to make money this way.

Like any other competitive sport, video games have an audience too. Many gaming enthusiasts love to watch others play for both entertainments and to learn new skills themselves.

So, if you play fairly well and can provide entertaining commentary while you play, you can attract viewers and make money just like any other live sporting event.

Try one of these platforms if you are just starting out:

  • Facebook Gaming
  • Twitch
  • DLive
  • YouTube Gaming

To make the most of it, you can save the live-stream videos and upload them on your youtube channel.

If you are really good, you could participate in an online gaming competition and use the viewership you get from there to attract/drive traffic to your own youtube channel.

If you are consistent, in time, you could start earning money through

  • Viewers who make appreciative donations through platforms like Patreon.
  • Sponsorships by games that you play and attract attention to.
  • Advertisers who want to use your platform as advertising space.
  • Affiliate programs.
  • Paid subscriptions.

B. Writing about Gaming

It is oddly easy to write about things you are passionate about even if you are not particularly good at writing per se. And being a student, your writing skills must be sharper than a non-student as your full-time occupation right now involves quite a bit of writing.

So, I really think you should give some kind of gaming journalism a shot if you are into gaming.

You could create a blog where you write game reviews, discuss gaming news, share up-to-date information about new game versions, discuss strategies of gameplay, and so on, and eventually monetize your blog.

7. Online Transcription Gigs

Being a student, you are already used to listening to someone speak and taking notes on it must have gotten pretty good at it over the years. Well, transcription is not very different from that.

Transcription involves listening to what is being said in an audio or video file and typing it out to make a textual copy of it. All you really need is a computer, fast typing, and a good ear, making it ideal for students.

Most platforms require you to take a competence test before you can start working. Most tests include two parts:

  • Transcribing a small audio clip a minute or two long.
  • Answering multiple types of questions on the guidelines of the platform.

Most websites pay via PayPal. Some of the well-paying and trustable websites include:

  • TranscribeMe: $15-$20 per audio hour.
  • Rev: $0.30- $1.10 per audio minute.
  • QA World: $0.20 per hour and a bonus for transcribing 100 minutes of audio in a week.
  • GoTranscript: $0.6 per audio minute.

The internet has made it extremely convenient for companies to gather bulk research data based on the feedback of real people through online surveys. This data is invaluable to companies for tailoring their products/services according to customer preferences and so they don’t mind paying people to take part in surveys.

You could be an ideal participant for many of such surveys simply by the virtue of being a student or your age group and so, you should definitely try filling out online surveys to make some extra money.

Swagbucks, Branded Surveys, and Toluna are some of the most trusted websites for this kind of work. The payouts may not be much but neither are the time and effort you need to put in.

And if you have acquired decent research skills through studies, you can make considerably more by carrying out research for different companies.

Out of all the companies that offer research work, Hobby jam is probably most suitable for students as they offer part-time work where you get to work on your own schedule.

9. Online Website Testing

Website builders need user feedback to improve the usability of their websites and there are certain companies out there like Userlytics and User Testing that provide feedback services to creators of websites.

These companies arrange online tests where you use a website thoroughly and then note your experience. You are required to give written feedback about various aspects of the website like graphics, navigation, ease of access, and overall user experience.

If you have decent articulation ability and can put down your experience in words well, you should definitely try this out.

Userlytics and User Testing are among the most reliable websites for website testing. Most tests on these platforms only last about 20-40 minutes during which you use all the functions of the website before giving your reviews and pay about $10 for each test.

10. Deliver Food with DoorDash

If you are eighteen years of age or older, you should consider working as a food delivery driver for DoorDash. ‘’Dashers’’ work as independent delivery drivers who only work when and how much they want to. This makes it an easy side-hustle to balance with your studies.

The work is pretty simple too, you just accept a delivery order on your Dasher app, drive over to the restaurant to pick up the food, and then drive to the customer's location to drop off the food. DoorDash operates 24/7 and so, you can conveniently work after school hours, on holidays, or over the weekend. Driving/riding around town might also help abate the stress of student life, especially if you are using a bicycle.

The base pay is $2-$10 per order, though it can be higher for certain orders, too. And you keep 100% of the tips for yourself. Most Dashers make $20-$25 an hour making deliveries. It can be a lucrative side hustle if you do it properly. Read How to Make $500 a Week with DoorDash to find out how to make the most of this side hustle.

Final Word

There are a lot of different passive income ideas for students out there that might be useful to you. In the end, it comes down to your personal resources and requirements. For instance, renting out personal property is a great idea if you have got a car or a spare room of your own. Similarly, if you are creative enough, you can sell your own work or merchandise online.

If you have great socialization skills, you can ask around and see if anyone at school knows someone who is looking for a babysitter for a kid or pet. In ninth grade, I used to babysit the kid sister of a kid I made friends with on the school bus. So, babysitting is definitely on my personal list of the best passive income ideas for students.

The point is, what is a good option for you depends on your own specific situation. The enlisted points are only to give you ideas and ultimately, you need to think for yourself about what could be the pros and cons of each one of them for you.


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