Value Colleges’ previous 50 Smart Side Hustles for College Students had a load of options for college students to make some extra cash for the little things that student loans don’t over. But there is no shortage of ways to make a dollar here or there by using your existing skills, putting space to good use, or doing other people’s dirty work.
Some side hustles can be found through online communities and services; some are as simple as a Craigslist ad. There are lots of jobs you can do for your fellow students – like bike or instrument repair, for example – just by hanging up a flier around campus. It’s up to you how much work you want to do, and how much money you want to make. Remember though, finding the Best Value college, is the four-year hustle you do not want to miss out on!
The following college side hustles run the gamut from online odd jobs to real-world part-time gigs, all the way to “wait, people pay money for that?”; you’re sure to connect with at least a few!
- Online Surveys: There’s not a fortune to be made answering online surveys – most companies pay a few bucks for each – but if you’ve got time on your hands, that’s a few more bucks than you made filling out the “Which Game of Thrones Character Are You” quiz. Check out Mechanical Turk, Survey Junkie, Pinecone, Harris Poll, Swagbucks, Points Club, and more.
- Buy and Sell Domain Names: This takes a little investment up front to buy the domains, but if you’re tuned in and have a good idea of what might be popular in the near future, you can make a good chunk of cash buying domain names and selling them at a profit. Just ask the people who buy politician’s names before they decide to run for president.
- User Testing: How do companies, web developers, and the like know if their sites and apps work correctly in the real world? User testing, of course. There are services, like the cleverly named usertesting.com, that connect those who need testing with those who have the time on their hands to test. Everybody wins. Interested in entering the UX field? Find the Best Value UX Graduate Degree Programs or Best Value Alternative UX Design Programs.
- WebHost Reseller: Web host reselling is a kind of wholesale/retail deal – you can buy web space at wholesale prices, then set up your own reselling operation to sell hosting space at a profit. You don’t need much technical expertise, and not very much investment to get started.
- Virtual Assistant: Are you super organized? There are plenty of professionals, executives, and small business entrepreneurs who could use someone to keep track of their meetings and messages, but don’t need someone following them around all the time. Become a virtual assistant and keep someone else organized from wherever you are.
- Stock Photo Sales: There is no end to the need for stock photos, whether for setting up websites, advertising, or ebook covers. Somebody’s got to take them, and if you have an eye, you can create images someone will want to buy and buy and buy.
- Land Flipping: We’re not talking HGTV here – we’re talking about the much less glamorous, but much easier (and potentially lucrative) world of land-flipping. Buy some land that’s being foreclosed. Sell it to someone who wants it. If you’ve got a head for numbers and a couple thousand from Uncle Charlie’s estate, it’s better than counting cards in Vegas (safer, too).
- Coding/Programming/Designing: You’re too late to start a multi-billion dollar social networking site in your dorm room (sorry), but there are many small businesses and entrepreneurs taking bids to build apps, do web analytics, design web pages, and all kinds of other tasks you can do in your sleep.
- Amazon/Dropship/FLM: You don’t have to be a big-time retailer to make some money on Amazon. You don’t even have to have inventory. Lots of companies you buy from on Amazon don’t even have physical locations – they’re dropshippers. Look into it.
- Teach Online:
Sure, you’re a student, but odds are you have some specialized knowledge or skill you could teach on a site like Udemy or Teachable. Life hacks? Phone tricks? Recipes? If you can make a simple video and have some time, you can do it.
- Social Media Marketer: How many Instagram followers do you have? Holy cow, really? Why aren’t you making money off of that? There are plenty of companies with social media marketing budgets looking for people with lots of followers to hawk their products. Keep building that fanbase and watch the money start coming in.
- YouTube Personality:
Are you outrageous, quirky, adorkable, or authoritative? Can you talk into a webcam without putting people to sleep? Congratulations, you have what it takes to be a YouTube personality. You won’t make money right away, but keep making videos and gathering followers, and you could get endorsements, affiliates, and advertising.
- Voiceovers: Have people told you you have a great voice? There’s more video and audio content being created for the Internet than ever before, and companies are always looking for fresh voices. Record some samples and post them on one of the many voiceover services online.
- Rent Out Your Driveway: If you don’t have a driveway, never mind. If you do, did you know that parking is a pain? If you’re in town and near something someone wants to park for (football games, concert venues, hip restaurants), go ahead and ask for a few bucks to park in your driveway.
- Grow Herbs: No, not like that. Legal herbs. They’re easy to grow (even in a windowsill), and if you’re in an area with lots of restaurants, a farmer’s market, or New Age shops, you can actually sell them.
- Raise Chickens: Yep. If you’ve got a yard and your city ordinances approve it – or if you’re in the country and nobody cares what you do with your yard – get a few chickens. Sell the eggs, sell the chickens: there’s a whole chicken underground you can turn into a side hustle.
- Air BnB: If you have an extra room, or even a couch in your house or apartment, you can be an Air BnB host. Take some flattering pictures (clean up first, obviously), name your price, and when the next big event sells out the local hotels, you’re a hospitality mogul.
- Garden Space: With a nice sunny yard and some scrap wood (stake out construction sites), you could build some raised beds and rent them out. A few hundred bucks a season, and some gift veggies, and you don’t even have to get your hands dirty.
- Bike Repair: There are a lot of bikes on college campuses, and a lot of things that can go wrong with them. Students may not have the money for a bike shop repair, but if you’re a gearhead, you can do it for a lot cheaper.
- Instrument Repair: A lot of musicians like tinkering with instruments, and build up a lot of valuable skill just playing around. A lot of amateurs like ruining their instruments, and have no idea how to fix them. Save them some money on professional repair, and make yourself a little cash while sharpening your skills.
- Join a Research Group/Study: Strangely enough, there aren’t a lot of people who want to be human subjects in drug tests, focus groups, and other scientific research. If you’re healthy, “normal” (whatever that means), and willing, some studies can pay pretty well. Not for the faint of heart.
- Sperm Donor/Egg Donor:
Wait, wait, wait. We’re not kidding. There are thousands of infertile couples, same-sex partners, and other folks who desperately want to have children. All you need is good genes and a little guts.
- Plasma Donation: So you’ve got a strong constitution, no illnesses, and time on your hands. Plasma centers pay for good red stuff, and you can give a lot more often than just giving blood (which is usually volunteer anyway). You could give it away, but you may as well get paid.
- Doula Services: Midwives need extensive education, but in most places, doulas – the non-medical professionals who comfort and motivate laboring mothers – only need a little training. If you’re interested in childbirth, medicine, or being a midwife, working as a doula is a good way to start.
- Diaper Service: Cloth diapers are popular, but they’re gross. Some new parents want to do the environmentally-conscious thing, but not clean them. With a washing machine and a strong stomach, you can get a diaper service going.
- Mobile Boutique: There’s a growing market for mobile boutiques – home sales, trunk sales, and other socially-driven jewelry and clothing sales. Sites like Stella and Dot can offer as much as 30% commissions, so if you’ve got style everybody around you wants, put it to good use!
- Modeling: Sure, when you think “model” you think fashion model or supermodel, but ad agencies and catalogs need models of all ages, races, and sizes to represent real people. If you’ve got a distinct look and don’t close your eyes when the camera clicks, you could actually be a model!
- TV/Movie Extra: If you live in an area with a lot of TV and film production, you may have already noticed that there are casting calls coming out all the time for extras. Make a little side cash milling around and acting natural.
- Party Planning: All you really need to do to become a party planner is throw one REALLY AMAZING party (and be able to prove it). It might start small, but word will get around, and good online reviews can even turn a side hustle into a job.
- Mystery Shopping: Sure, you always thought that was a myth, but there’s really such a thing as a Mystery Shopper, and you can be one. Go into stores, evaluate them, and turn in your reports – then go back in and spend the money you made. It’s the circle of capitalism.
- MLM: Multi-level marketing is probably bigger now than ever before, between the old guard like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef, and newer players like Isogenix or Beach Body. You don’t just have to harass your family and friends, either – get creative and you could tap into a whole market of fellow students.
- T-shirts: Budding designers, don’t forget that there is a huge market for original, witty, out-there t-shirts online, and all it takes is a compelling image you can upload to a site like Zazzle or Teespring.
- Personal shopper: Whether it’s clothes, groceries, or Christmas gifts, some people just don’t have the time to shop, or have a hard time making decisions. Spend your weekends shopping with someone else’s money for a change.
- Personal stylist: For people who lack fashion sense, have an important event they don’t know how to dress for, or want a new look, a personal stylist could be a godsend. If you’re already telling your friends how to dress, why not do it for money?
- Makeup Tutorials: When all the other girls are telling you you’ve got a great look, don’t just give away your secrets for free! Set up a YouTube channel and make some videos, or give your fellow students advice in person.
- Interior design: Take an ugly or outmoded living room and guide it into a chic space. Not everyone can do it, but if you can build some word of mouth you could have some extra income every weekend.
- Custom art: There are customers out there who will pay for artwork designed specifically to their orders. They may not pay a lot, but if you’re good and build up a strong portfolio, it can make you some money on a skill not everyone has.
- Tour Guide: You have a head for trivia and a way with people – why not spend your weekends leading tour groups around your city, museums, historic sites, and other places that attract tourists. You could print out a fake badge and wing it, but you should probably get an official part-time job.
- Bartend: You’ll be on your feet half the night, but in the right place on the right night, there’s a goldmine to be made in tips – just as long as you don’t turn around and spend it all at work.
- Catering: If you’re the kind of person who’s always making menus in their head, or everyone you know gravitates toward your kitchen on the weekend, find out what you need to turn that passion into a weekend income.
- Food truck: With the right spot and a license, you can sling hot dogs, fry up falafel, or stuff tacos for a nice profit.
- Bouncer: Assuming you’re both physically imposing and professionally reliable, you could spend your weekends working the door of a club.
- Human billboard: Work on those sign-spinning skills and spend your Saturdays soaking in the sun and directing drivers to Crazy Larry’s Mad Mattress Extravaganza!!! (Three exclamation points mandatory.)
- Ebay/Craigslist /Arbitrage: You’ve got junk. Your parents have junk. Your grandparents have junk. Some of it might even be worth something. It doesn’t take a lot of your time to set up an eBay account and flip those goods!
- Online Odd Jobs: There are a lot of these services now: Task Rabbit, Fiverr, Agent Anything to name a few. You can pick up some side money doing all kinds of random things, from washing dishes to creating animations.
- Gigwalking: You haven’t heard of it, or you’d be doing it already. Walk around town, pick up odd jobs for businesses that want promotion, and snap a few pictures. Get paid – a little or a lot. The more you do, the better your rate.
- Notary: Every legal document needs a notary to stamp it and make it official, but all it takes to become a notary is a simple license. You can make a few bucks approving forms, and you get a cool stamp.
- IKEA Furniture Building: It’s so easy a little cartoon guy with no fingers can do it, but not everybody gets IKEA furniture. For those people, paying a little more to get it put together may be worth it – it was so cheap to begin with, after all.
- Recycle: You might have to get a little dirty, but most people don’t realize there’s cold, hard cash to be made from recycling – way beyond collecting cans in a shopping cart. Scrap copper, gold, even cooking grease can be recycled for a price.
- People walker: Like to walk and talk to strangers? Sure, you do. Some people want to walk for exercise or stress relief, but they don’t want to do it alone. Post an ad and put yourself out there.