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Ever found yourself wondering how you can make some extra cash without sacrificing your study time? You’re not alone. Keep reading to uncover some of the best side hustles that are a perfect fit for students eager to balance their studies with earning potential.
College life is notoriously busy, and the expenses don’t pause just because you’ve got a midterm coming up. Luckily, there’s a world of side hustles tailored just for students like you, offering the flexibility to earn while you learn.
From the comfort of your dorm room to opportunities just a stone’s throw from campus, the right side hustle can not only pad your wallet but also enrich your college experience.
Best Side Hustles for Students
Discover the top 22 side hustles for students that can help earn extra money👇
- Survey Apps
- Affiliate Marketing
- Website & App Testing
- Sell Items Online
- Sell Stock Photos
- Become a Virtual Assistant (VA)
- Babysitting or Nannying
- Rideshare Driving
- Delivering Food, Groceries, or Other Items
- Pet Sitting
- Mystery Shopping
- Donate Plasma
- Gardening and Lawn Maintenance
- Selling Class Notes
- Thrift Flipping
- House Cleaning
- Start Detailing Cars
- Turn Your Car into a Moving Advertisement
- Haul Junk
What Are Side Hustles?
Side hustles are jobs or gigs you take on in addition to your main employment or academic pursuits. They can range from occasional freelance work to a consistent part-time job. Side hustles are typically characterized by their flexibility, as they allow you to work on your own terms and often on your own schedule.
Side hustles come in various forms, and with the advent of the internet, the possibilities have expanded. Whether it’s online side hustles like content creation and digital marketing or more hands-on gigs such as tutoring and crafting, there are plenty of viable options available.
Benefits of Having a Side Hustle in College
For college students, side hustles offer a unique opportunity to earn money while working around a hectic class schedule.
These money-making ventures can be tailored to fit into the gaps between classes, during evenings, or over the weekend.
Additionally, they can be a source of income that doesn’t require long-term commitments, which is ideal for students who may have changing schedules from one semester to the next.
Imagine not having to rely solely on student loans or financial aid to get through college.
A side hustle puts you in control of your finances, allowing you to pay for your expenses and reduce the burden of debt.
Financial Independence means more than just covering your daily costs; it’s about gaining the freedom to make choices. Whether it’s buying textbooks, upgrading your laptop, or even saving for a post-graduation trip, having that extra income stream gives you the power to decide how you spend and save your money without constantly worrying about stretching every dollar.
The benefits of side hustles for college students extend beyond just financial gains. They can be a platform for you to:
- Build professional skills that complement your academic learning
- Network with professionals and peers in your field of interest
- Gain exposure to real-world work environments
- Enhance your resume with practical experience
Furthermore, side hustles can serve as a testing ground for entrepreneurial ventures. They can help you understand the market, learn business management, and potentially grow a small project into a full-time career post-graduation.
While the advantages are many, it’s crucial to pursue side hustles that align with your interests and career goals.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Side Hustle
Choosing the right side hustle as a student is key to not only earning income but also maintaining a healthy school/life balance.
There are several factors to consider that impact your decision.
The first thing you need to consider is the amount of time you can realistically dedicate to a side hustle.
Understand your class schedule, assignments, and extracurricular activities to gauge your availability.
The key is to find a balance that allows you to commit without compromising your academic performance or personal well-being.
Some side hustles require a fixed number of hours per week, while others offer more flexibility, allowing you to work as your schedule permits.
Opt for a side hustle that aligns with your free time and energy levels to ensure you don’t overextend yourself.
Your financial goals play a significant role in choosing a side hustle.
Evaluate your needs realistically—do you require money for essential expenses or discretionary spending? Research potential income from different side hustles and compare them to your targets.
Consider timelines as well—tutoring offers immediate earnings, while blogging builds gradual income. Choose a side hustle that fits both short and long-term financial aims.
The right fit not only covers costs but allows you to save without overworking. With clear monetary and hourly requirements in mind, you can select a side hustle tailored to your budget that still leaves time for academics.
Defining these financial metrics beforehand brings you closer to achieving money management, savings, and work-life balance through your side hustle.
Assess your skills, interests, and passions to identify a side hustle that aligns with your strengths.
Capitalize on your expertise to boost your income; for example, proficient writers can venture into freelance writing or blogging, while tech-savvy individuals may excel in website and app testing.
Opt for a side hustle that not only provides financial benefits but also enhances your skills, making you more attractive to potential employers.
Online Side Hustles for College Students vs. In-Person
When you’re exploring side hustles to boost your income as a college student, you’ll find yourself at a crossroads between online gigs and in-person jobs.
Both avenues offer unique benefits and drawbacks, shaping your experience based on your lifestyle, preferences, and schedule.
Online side hustles grant you the flexibility that’s hard to beat. Imagine working from your dorm room or favorite coffee shop, choosing hours that align perfectly with your academic obligations.
Jobs like freelance writing, web development, or virtual tutoring don’t tie you to a fixed schedule. This means if you’re an early bird or a night owl, you can find work that fits into your rhythm, not against it.
But, the trade-off often involves marketing yourself and managing interactions on digital platforms where fees can eat into your earnings. For instance, freelancers on platforms like Fiverr might see 20% of their income go to service fees.
In contrast, in-person side hustles require you to be present in the physical world.
Driving for Uber, delivering orders, or pet sitting are options that pay well for your time and physical labor.
These roles can offer a sense of immediacy and connection to your community, providing cash in hand more directly than some online gigs. Yet, the challenge lies in aligning such jobs with a busy college schedule.
In-person hustles often demand a more structured time commitment, which might clash with your classes, study times, and much-needed leisure moments.
Both paths hold the potential for significant income and skill development. Your choice hinges on what you value most: the unparalleled flexibility of online work or the tangible, active engagement of in-person jobs.
Keep in mind that the best side hustle is one you can consistently maintain, seamlessly integrating into your lifestyle and enriching both your finances and skill set.
Best Online Side Hustles for Students
Each of these online side hustles provides an opportunity for college students to earn extra income on their own terms.
By choosing one that matches your skills and interests, you can make the most of your limited free time and even build skills that are valuable for your future career.
1. Survey Apps
If you’re looking for an easy way to make extra cash without a significant time commitment, survey apps are a great starting point.
- Overview: Earn cash or gift cards by completing short surveys
- Platforms: Swagbucks, InboxDollars, Survey Junkie
- Skills: No specific skills required
- Flexibility: Very high; complete surveys anytime, anywhere
- Get Started: Sign up for Swagbucks
Popular platforms like Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and Survey Junkie allow you to earn money or gift cards by completing surveys from your laptop or smartphone.
You don’t need special skills, and you can start right away.
Survey Apps Example
Emma signs up on Survey Junkie and spends her evenings completing surveys while watching TV. In a month, she earns enough to cover her coffee expenses, making it a hassle-free way to supplement her income without leaving her dorm room.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing offers a lucrative avenue for students with a knack for sales and marketing.
- Overview: Earn money by promoting products and receiving a commission on sales through your affiliate link
- Platforms: Amazon, ClickBank, CJ Affiliate
- Skills: Marketing, content creation, and knowledge of your niche
- Flexibility: High; work on your marketing campaigns at any time
- Get Started: Read our Affiliate Marketing for Beginners Guide
By joining affiliate programs like Amazon, ClickBank, or CJ Affiliate, you can earn commissions for promoting products or services through your blog, social media, or YouTube channel.
It’s all about choosing the right products to promote to your audience.
Affiliate Marketing Example
Alicia, a marketing major with a minor in nutrition, combines her interests by starting a health-focused blog. She promotes a beginner-friendly affiliate program recommending supplements and fitness gear, earning commissions that help pay for her living expenses while practicing her marketing skills.
Leveraging your specific skills into freelancing gigs is one of the most flexible side hustles available.
- Overview: Offer your skills and services to clients on a project basis
- Platforms: Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr
- Skills: Depends on the service (writing, design, coding, etc.)
- Flexibility: High; choose projects that fit your schedule
- Get Started: Sign up for Fiverr
Whether it’s writing, graphic design, web development, or digital marketing, platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr connect you with clients in need of your expertise.
The key is to build a strong portfolio and client reviews to attract consistent work.
Sofia, a graphic design major, showcases her portfolio on Upwork. She lands a gig designing logos for small businesses, scheduling her freelance work around her classes. This not only helps her pay her tuition but also builds up her work experience.
4. Website & App Testing
Many companies pay for feedback on their websites or apps before a full launch.
- Overview: Test websites and apps for usability and provide feedback
- Platforms: UserTesting, TestBirds, TryMyUI
- Skills: No specific technical skills required, but attention to detail is crucial
- Flexibility: High; tests are typically short and can be done according to your availability
- Get Started: Sign up for UserTesting
Signing up as a tester requires no special technical skills.
Your task is to navigate a website or app, noting any bugs or user experience issues.
Sites like UserTesting offer a straightforward way to earn money through short testing sessions.
Website & App Testing Example
Michael signs up on UserTesting and provides feedback on new apps. He finds the work interesting and appreciates the opportunity to see new technologies before they hit the market. Each test helps him earn money to fund his weekend trips.
5. Sell Items Online
With the rise of e-commerce platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon, selling items online has never been easier.
- Overview: Create or source products to sell on e-commerce platforms
- Platforms: eBay, Etsy, Amazon
- Skills: Marketing, sales, and sometimes crafting (if selling handmade items)
- Flexibility: Moderate; requires time to manage listings and ship products but can be scheduled flexibly
You can sell handmade goods, vintage finds, or even dropship products.
The trick is to identify a niche market, source or create products that meet a need, and optimize your product listings for visibility.
Sell Items Online Example
Ian, an art student, sells custom illustrations on eBay. He markets his work to those looking for unique gifts, turning his passion for art into a profitable venture that also enhances his portfolio.
6. Sell Stock Photos
If photography is your passion, selling stock photos is a fantastic way to earn passive income.
- Overview: Earn passive income by selling your original photographs
- Platforms: Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images
- Skills: Photography and understanding of stock photo market demands
- Flexibility: High; shoot and upload photos on your own schedule
Websites like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Getty Images allow you to upload your high-quality photos and earn a commission each time someone purchases your work.
It requires a good eye for photography and an understanding of what types of images are in demand.
Sell Stock Photos Example
Jasmine, a photography major, uploads her class projects and personal work to stock photo sites. This side hustle not only earns her passive income but also helps build her professional portfolio.
Creating content that resonates with an audience can turn into a profitable venture through blogging or vlogging.
- Overview: Produce content around a topic of interest and monetize your audience
- Platforms: WordPress, Medium
- Skills: Writing, SEO, and social media marketing
- Flexibility: High; create and publish content on your schedule
- Get Started: Read our guide on How to Start a Blog
Platforms like WordPress for blogging or YouTube for video content offer avenues to monetize via advertising, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing.
Success in this arena hinges on consistently producing engaging content and growing your follower base.
Nora launched a blog where she shares budget travel tips for students. As her readership grows, she incorporates affiliate links and sponsored content, turning her love for travel into a profitable blogging journey.
8. Become a Virtual Assistant (VA)
As a virtual assistant, you can offer administrative services to businesses from the comfort of your home.
- Overview: Perform administrative tasks remotely for businesses or entrepreneurs
- Platforms: Zirtual, Upwork
- Skills: Organization, communication, and proficiency in office software
- Flexibility: High; tasks can often be completed at any time of the day
- Get Started: Sign up for Upwork
This might include managing emails, scheduling appointments, or handling social media accounts.
It’s an excellent option for students who are organized and proficient in using office software.
Platforms like Zirtual can help you find clients needing virtual assistance.
Virtual Assistant Example
Tom works as a virtual assistant for several small business owners, managing their emails and social media from his dorm. This job not only pays well but also helps him hone his organizational skills.
In-Person Side Hustles for Students
In-person side hustles provide college students a way to earn, learn, and grow by leveraging personal interests and skills, offering practical experience and valuable life skills beyond the classroom.
9. Babysitting or Nannying
If you’re great with kids, babysitting or nannying is an excellent side hustle. You can earn up to $25 per hour, making it a lucrative option.
- Overview: Provide childcare services to families
- Location: Client’s home
- Requirements: Trustworthiness, experience with children, CPR certification is a plus
- Skills: Childcare, patience, communication
- Flexibility: Moderate; often depends on the client’s schedule but can choose assignments based on availability
- Get Started: Find a job on Care.com
Many parents look for responsible and caring students to look after their children.
Enhancing your credentials with CPR certification might help you stand out.
Rachel babysits for a family on weekends, earning more than she would at a traditional part-time job. She enjoys the work and has even received CPR certification to enhance her qualifications and earn higher pay.
10. Rideshare Driving
With platforms like Lyft and Uber, you can make money by driving people to their destinations.
- Overview: Make money by driving people to their destinations
- Location: Varied based on pickup and drop-off locations
- Requirements: Must meet the age requirements and have a car
- Skills: Safe driving, navigation, customer service
- Flexibility: Very high; set your own schedule around classes
- Get Started: Sign up as an Uber driver
This side hustle fits perfectly around your class schedule.
You’ll need to meet the age requirements and have a car. Drivers can earn between $15 and $25 an hour, but remember to factor in expenses for gas and maintenance.
Rideshare Driver Example
Kevin drives for Lyft during his free time. He enjoys the flexibility, allowing him to earn extra cash while setting his own schedule around his college classes.
11. Delivering Food, Groceries, or Other Items
Delivering items is another flexible option for students.
- Overview: Deliver food, groceries, or packages to people’s doorsteps
- Location: Varied delivery locations within a specific area
- Requirements: Reliable transportation
- Skills: Navigation, time management
- Flexibility: High; choose your work hours
- Get Started: Sign up as a DoorDasher
Join a delivery service platform and choose when you want to work.
You’ll help people get their food, groceries, or other items right to their doorsteps.
Like driving, this hustle allows you to work as much or as little as your schedule permits.
Delivery Driver Example
Danielle signs up with a food delivery service, choosing shifts that don’t conflict with her class schedule. She appreciates the flexibility, and the extra income helps cover her expenses.
If you excel in a particular subject, tutoring can be both fulfilling and profitable.
- Overview: Provide academic help in subjects you excel at
- Location: On-campus, client’s home, or public places
- Requirements: Proficiency in the tutored subject(s)
- Skills: Communication, expertise in the subject area, patience
- Flexibility: Moderate; schedules are often dependent on the client’s availability
Help fellow students or younger kids understand complex topics.
You can set your rates and hours, making tutoring a highly flexible side hustle option.
Ethan excels in math and tutors high school students, helping them prepare for their SATs. His tutoring sessions not only bolster his income but also reinforce his own understanding of the material.
13. Pet Sitting
Pet sitting provides an easy way to earn money by taking care of people’s pets while they are traveling or away.
- Overview: Take care of pets while their owners are away
- Location: Owner’s home or your own
- Requirements: Love for animals, reliability
- Skills: Animal care, responsibility
- Flexibility: Moderate; depends on client needs and pet care schedules
- Get Started: Become a sitter on Rover
This job can be relaxing and enjoyable, especially if you’re an animal lover.
It offers great pay and the opportunity to spend time with furry friends.
Pet Sitting Example
Quinn, a veterinary science major, offers pet-sitting services. This job not only generates income but also gives her practical experience in animal care, complementing her studies.
14. Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping allows you to earn extra income by evaluating retail stores, restaurants, theaters and more in your area while posing as an everyday customer.
- Overview: Evaluate services as a covert customer
- Location: Retail stores, restaurants, and various service locations
- Requirements: Attention to detail
- Skills: Observation, reporting
- Flexibility: High; shops can be scheduled around personal availability
- Get Started: Apply to become a BestMark mystery shopper
If you like shopping, this can be an enjoyable way to make some extra cash.
Plus, it sometimes allows you to keep the purchased items.
Mystery Shopping Example
Jack signs up to be a mystery shopper, evaluating local restaurants and retail stores. He enjoys experiencing different places and the added perk of sometimes getting to keep his purchases.
15. Donate Plasma
Donating plasma can become a regular income stream because plasma collection centers compensate you around $25-50 each visit, depending on weight class bonuses and frequency milestones.
- Overview: Earn money by donating plasma used for medical treatments
- Location: Plasma donation centers
- Requirements: Meet health and safety criteria
- Skills: N/A
- Flexibility: Moderate; donations can be made multiple times a month following center guidelines
The plasma collected provides materials for valuable medical treatments and transfusions for those in need.
This option can be both a humanitarian act and a steady source of income.
Donating Plasma Example
Aaron donates plasma bi-weekly, appreciating the opportunity to help those in need while earning some extra money to supplement his income as a student.
16. Gardening and Lawn Maintenance
For those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, gardening and lawn maintenance services can be profitable.
- Overview: Offer lawn care and gardening services to homes and businesses
- Location: Client’s homes or business properties
- Requirements: Access to gardening tools and equipment
- Skills: Knowledge of lawn care and gardening techniques
- Flexibility: Moderate to high; work can be scheduled around other commitments
Offer your services in your neighborhood.
Building repeat relationships with clients has good earnings potential, making this an easy outdoor gig to undertake as a student.
Lawn Mowing Example
Matt offers lawn mowing services during the summer months. He enjoys working outdoors and sets competitive rates, quickly building a steady clientele in his neighborhood.
17. Selling Class Notes
If you take high-quality class notes, you are holding on to valuable content that other students may want to purchase.
- Overview: Sell your study notes to classmates or online
- Location: On-campus or online platforms for note selling
- Requirements: Must take comprehensive and clear notes
- Skills: Note-taking, organization
- Flexibility: High; notes can be sold at any time during the semester
Sites like StudySoup handle class note uploads, payment processing and distribution electronically, often paying up to $500 per note set.
This is a simple way to turn something you create for classes anyway into cash while helping classmates in the process.
Selling Notes Example
Zoe takes meticulous notes in her biochemistry class and sells them to classmates who struggle to keep up. This not only helps her peers but also encourages her to stay engaged in her studies.
18. Thrift Flipping
Visiting second-hand and thrift stores to hunt for valuable items unnoticed by other buyers has moneymaking potential if you develop a good eye for spotting hidden resale gems.
- Overview: Purchase second-hand items and sell them at a profit
- Location: Thrift stores, garage sales, your online or physical shop
- Requirements: Sense for valuable finds and potential for upcycling
- Skills: Crafting, marketing, sales
- Flexibility: High; sourcing and selling can be done on your own schedule
Once purchased on the cheap, you can list these items on sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace to flip them for a nice profit margin.
Pricing well and writing solid product descriptions are vital skills in maximizing your selling success rates when thrift flipping.
Thrift Flipping Example
Claire, a fashion design student, has a knack for spotting potential in overlooked items at thrift stores. She buys vintage clothes, updates them with her design skills, and sells them for a profit on platforms like Depop and Instagram. This not only helps her fund her college expenses but also builds her portfolio and understanding of the fashion market.
19. House Cleaning
Providing professional house cleaning services allows you to earn up to $50 per hour, especially as you build repeat clientele around class and activity schedules.
- Overview: Offer cleaning services to homes, apartments, and small offices
- Location: Client’s location
- Requirements: Cleaning supplies (if not provided by the client)
- Skills: Thoroughness, efficiency in cleaning
- Flexibility: Moderate; jobs are typically scheduled in advance
You dictate the flexible working hours, purchasing basic cleaning supplies yourself upfront.
Standard chore checklists to clean kitchens, bathrooms, living spaces, etc can be customized as well based on client preferences and needs in private residences.
House Cleaning Example
Evan, studying in a busy college town, starts offering housecleaning services to off-campus students and nearby families. Recognizing the demand from students who are too busy with studies to clean, he manages to fit his work schedule around his classes, providing a valuable service while earning extra money to support his education.
20. Start Detailing Cars
Detailing other students’ or neighbors’ cars involves exterior washing and interior vacuuming to earn around $50 or more per vehicle.
- Overview: Provide detailed cleaning and finishing of automobiles
- Location: Your driveway, client’s location, or a designated detailing area
- Requirements: Auto detailing supplies and equipment
- Skills: Attention to detail, knowledge of cleaning products and techniques for vehicles
- Flexibility: Moderate; dependent on appointment scheduling
Investing in some basic car cleaning tools like vacuums, brushes, and microfiber cloths to start this gig is wise.
Taking the time to properly clean and care for vehicles inside and out allows you to set your own schedule while building a client base through quality work and word-of-mouth referrals.
Car Detailing Example
Lucy, an automotive engineering major, starts a mobile car detailing service targeting the university community. She offers her services around the campus parking lots, leveraging her knowledge of cars to provide high-quality detailing. This side hustle not only helps her earn income but also gain practical experience in her field of study.
21. Turn Your Car into a Moving Advertisement
Allowing your vehicle to be completely wrapped with car wrap business advertisements will lead to solid supplemental income.
- Overview: Advertise companies on your vehicle for payment
- Location: Depends on where you drive, making your car a dynamic advertisement platform
- Requirements: A car in good condition and a clean driving record
- Skills: N/A
- Flexibility: Very high; earn money as you go about your daily routine
Companies like Carvertise handle installation, de-installation, and ad partnerships so payments of $100-200 per month start flowing passively.
This complements student commuting lifestyles well since the vehicle is already driven regularly around campus and locally, gaining impressions.
Car Advertisement Example
Miguel, a business student, sees the opportunity to turn his daily commute into a revenue stream. He partners with a local startup looking to advertise to college students and wraps his car with their ads. Not only does he earn money while driving to classes, but he also learns firsthand about marketing strategies and partnership development.
22. Haul Junk
Offering junk hauling and large item removal represents another leveraging of personal vehicle ownership for cash earnings.
- Overview: Offer to remove and dispose of unwanted items for clients
- Location: Client’s homes, businesses, or properties
- Requirements: Access to a truck or trailer for hauling
- Skills: Organization, physical strength
- Flexibility: Moderate; hauls can be scheduled but may require availability for larger cleanout jobs
Listing such removal and hauling services on community boards or Craigslist allows you to set competitive rates for collecting unwanted items and junk from local households.
With low barriers to entry beyond owning a suitable vehicle, junk hauling dovetails well with the student lifestyle.
Hauling Junk Example
Natalie, a sustainability major, recognizes the opportunity to help her campus reduce waste. She started a service offering to haul away unwanted items from dorm rooms and apartments, ensuring they are disposed of responsibly or recycled. Her initiative not only earns her extra income but also aligns with her studies and contributes positively to her campus community’s sustainability efforts.
Balancing Your Side Hustle with Academics
Managing a side hustle alongside academic commitments can be challenging, but with the right strategies, you can thrive in both areas.
Here are some tips on maintaining this balance.
Time Management Tips
Efficient time management is key to juggling your side hustle and academic workload. Here are a few strategies:
- Prioritize Tasks: Focus on what needs to be done first. Use a planner or digital calendar to keep track of deadlines and important dates.
- Set a Schedule: Allocate specific hours for your side hustle and stick to them. This helps in creating a routine and avoiding last-minute rushes.
- Avoid Procrastination: Break down large tasks into smaller, manageable chunks to make them less daunting and to prevent putting them off.
- Use Downtime Wisely: Short breaks between classes can be used to reply to emails or update your side hustle plans.
Example of how to manage your time as a student with a side hustle
Setting Achievable Goals
Setting realistic goals for both your academics and side hustle will keep you motivated and focused. Here’s how you can set achievable goals:
- Smart Objectives: Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Short-term Milestones: Create weekly or monthly targets for your side hustle to keep track of progress.
- Assess and Adjust: Regularly review your goals and adjust them as needed based on your academic demands.
Knowing Your Limits
Understanding your limits is crucial to avoid burnout. Here’s how you can be mindful of your capabilities:
- Listen to Your Body: Recognize signs of stress or fatigue and take breaks when necessary.
- Quality Over Quantity: It’s better to excel in a few commitments than to spread yourself too thin.
- Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from peers or use academic resources if you’re struggling to keep up.
Remember to review these tips periodically and adjust them to what best suits your evolving schedule and goals.
Embracing a side hustle as a student can be a game-changer, setting you up for financial independence and valuable real-world experience.
Remember, it’s all about finding that sweet spot between your studies and entrepreneurial activities.
Your journey side hustle starts now – make the most of it!