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How To Make Money Through a Side Hustle
As a full-time college student, money can be tight. Many students may feel pressured to get a part-time job to take care of expenses like housing and tuition. While getting a job is a great way to cover costs when your schedule allows it, it may not be the right move for everyone. Fortunately, it’s fairly simple to make money without falling behind in your classes. Let’s talk about the best side hustles for college students.
Related: Top financial tips for college students
Top 16 side hustles for college students
The right side hustle for each individual depends on a number of factors. In order to figure out which one will work best for you, you’ll want to think about your availability, preferences, skills and assets.
If you have a car…
Having a car on campus can feel like a double-edged sword. While it may give you a quick and convenient mode of transportation, it can also rack up extra bills with parking and maintenance costs.
Fortunately, having a car can also raise your side hustle earning potential. With a car, you might be able to snag better jobs a little bit farther out, and you won’t have to worry about competing with other college students. Additionally, for some jobs, having a car isn’t just a bonus, it’s a necessity.
1. Deliver food or groceries
Working as a delivery driver can be a fun and manageable job for many students. Depending on where you live, you likely have many options to choose from. Some apps even allow for extra flexibility by allowing drivers to accept jobs on the spot. However, others will require you to schedule your hours ahead of time.
Unfortunately, as with any job, you’ll definitely see a fair amount of horror stories about dealing with restaurants and customers. However, many drivers find the job pretty laid-back, especially if you enjoy driving. Since you’re just delivering food, you can listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks while you work. UberEats drivers can even bring a friend while doing deliveries.
Meal delivery apps: UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates
Grocery delivery apps: Instacart, Amazon Flex, Shipt
Estimated pay: $15 per hour
2. Sign up for a rideshare app
While you might not enjoy the same privacy as with food delivery, driving people around can be a great side hustle as well. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about getting out of your car to pick up and drop off food. While you don’t necessarily need to be an extrovert to work a rideshare job, you will have to deal with strangers going in and out of your vehicle all day. For that reason, it would help to enjoy meeting new people.
Estimated pay: $15-20 per hour
3. Rent out your car
If you’re looking for a way to make passive income, renting out your car can be a great option. For many car rental services, you’ll just have to choose a location to drop off and pick up your car. Many services also require your vehicle to meet certain criteria before signing up. For example, it may need to fall under a maximum mileage, age and market value.
Before signing up with a service, you’ll want to consider the payout compared to hidden costs like vehicle depreciation. You’ll also want to check the terms and conditions to make sure that your car is covered by insurance.
Car rental services: HyreCar, Turo, Getaround
Estimated pay: $20 per day, depending on the company and vehicle
If you have extra space…
For many students, saving money during college could mean making do with a cramped living situation. On the other hand, if you find yourself more space than you need, you can find a way to make money off of it. However, before you turn your apartment into a stream of income, be sure to check with your roommates and landlord to make sure it’s allowed.
4. Rent out a room on Airbnb
If you have a spare room for the semester or are home for winter break, you may be able to rent out the empty space. However, before you list, you’ll want to consult your lease and zoning laws in your area. Restrictions may vary widely by region. While some areas may have no issues, others may impose rules like forbidding short-term rentals unless the owner is present.
When getting permission from your landlord, you’ll also want to get details in writing to avoid problems in the future. Additionally, it’s important to consider extra costs like cleaning and utility bills to make sure it’s worth the trouble.
Estimated pay: Varies depending on space and location
5. Rent out a parking space
If you have a driveway or a garage on campus that you’re not using, you might be able to make some money by renting it out. Just like with room rentals, you’ll want to consult your landlord and local laws beforehand. Even if you own the house, some areas may forbid renting out parking on personal property. However, if it’s permitted, you can earn a lot of extra income with minimal disruption to your daily life.
Parking rental services: SpotHero, MonkeyParking
Estimated income: $10-20 per day, depending on the location
If you like kids…
6. Babysit for local families
There are often plenty of families around campus who need someone to watch their children throughout the year. Many also seek out college students specifically, trusting that they’ll be good influences on the kids. Some may need to regularly schedule someone to drive their kids to and from school. Others may just need an occasional date night sitter. Either way, babysitting can be a flexible job and a great source of income.
Babysitting websites: Care.com, SitterCity, UrbanSitter, Bambino
Estimated income: $15 per hour, depending on the region
7. Sell your tutoring services
If you’re more interested in helping kids with schoolwork than being a caretaker, you can find a job as a tutor. Unlike babysitting, private tutors often work only 1-2 hours per shift. However, it may require a little bit more mental energy. Depending on the level of your students, you may also have to spend some time preparing materials outside of lessons.
If you’re interested in becoming a teacher or working in education in the future, tutoring can be good preparation. Many also find it rewarding to witness that “aha” moment after helping their students understand a difficult concept.
Tutoring websites: Tutor.com, GoPeer, Wyzant
Estimated income: $20 per hour, depending on the subject and level
If you like pets…
8. Walk dogs
Being a dog-walker can be a laid-back, flexible gig. Some students will work as a regular dog-walker for a family, whereas others will sign up with an app and take on jobs as they become available. If you’re interested in walking dogs on the side, you can advertise your services using flyers around campus. You can also post on websites like Craigslist or NextDoor.
Dog-walking apps: Wag!, Rover, BarkleyPets
Estimated income: $15-20 per hour
9. Become a pet-sitter
If you want to spend even more time with furry companions, you can also offer dog-sitting services. Some dog-walking apps also allow walkers to take on other pet-related activities.
Pet owners who are going out of town may be in search of house-sitters who are willing to take care of their pets. Some also may be looking for dog boarding services, where the sitter takes care of the pet at their own place. However, make sure to consult with your landlord or check the terms of your lease to make sure pets are allowed.
Pet-sitting services: Wag!, Rover
Estimated income: $25 per night
If you want to make the most of your downtime…
10. Download a survey app
Unfortunately, filling out surveys in your free time probably won’t make you rich. However, downloading a survey app is a great idea if you want an activity to occupy short bursts of time throughout the day. You can complete surveys during your morning commute or when you’re taking a break from studying.
It’s important to note that many apps will only pay you for the surveys for which you qualify. Most likely, you’re not going to qualify for every single one. However, if you fill them out consistently as they come up, you’re bound to get a few winners. Eventually, you may be able to use your extra cash for coffee money each week.
Survey apps: SurveyJunkie, InboxDollars, SwagBucks, Surveys On The Go
Estimated earnings: $0.25 to $5 per survey
11. Collect freebies
While signing up for freebies may not be a consistent side hustle, who doesn’t like free stuff? If you have some spare time, it can pay off to use your junk email to sign up for company marketing lists that offer rewards. Many restaurants will send coupons on your birthday just for being a member.
If you have a large enough social media following, some brands will even give you free products to review. For example, qualifying individuals can receive a VoxBox from the company Influenster.
Brands offering freebies: Starbucks, Panera, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Potbelly, Applebee’s
Estimated income: Varies
If you want to pad your resume…
12. Take on freelance gigs
If you want to gain experience in your field and add some skills to your repertoire, freelancing can be a great way to earn extra income. There are many ways you can pursue freelance work, from applying to contract jobs to make a profile and taking on clients. Even if you don’t want to work in your field of study, you can use this as an opportunity to make money pursuing your interests. It can also help you pilot a career to figure out if you can see yourself doing it full-time.
Freelance websites: Fiverr, Upwork, PeoplePerHour
Estimated income: Varies depending on your field and level of experience
13. Apply for part-time internships
Similar to freelancing, getting an internship can be a great way to make money while gaining hands-on experience. Typically, you can find part-time internships on any job board by using the filters. You can also streamline your search by browsing industry-specific websites. For example, if you want to find a position in media, you can check out mediabistro.com. Those in tech can look for jobs on BuiltIn, Dice or CrunchBoard.
The one downside to this approach is that searching for and applying to jobs can take a lot of time and effort. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that the startup costs don’t outweigh the benefits. Try not to spend too much time on the application process, or it may take away from schoolwork or other opportunities to make money.
Internship job boards: Internships.com, LinkedIn, WayUp
Estimated income: Varies
If you want to dive deeper into your hobbies…
14. Start a blog
If you have a passion for a particular topic or activity, consider writing about it on a blog. You can buy an inexpensive domain with Namecheap.com and get affordable web hosting with a site like Bluehost.
While you may not make money blogging right away, you can gradually start incorporating other components to bring in a profit. For example, many bloggers make money through advertising and affiliate marketing.
However, like many other side hustles, blogging can be an investment. While you can expect to spend more time on your blog to start it up in the beginning, it’s important to set boundaries. Keep an eye on the time you spend to make sure you’re not putting in more than you get out.
Best blog platforms: WordPress, Squarespace, Wix
Estimated income: $500 per month, but varies widely
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit…
15. Start an Etsy shop
If you enjoy crafting, you can turn your hobby into a side hustle by selling your creations on Etsy. The e-commerce website allows sellers to list all kinds of handmade goods, from jewelry to crocheted blankets.
However, if you’re more interested in other types of design, there are plenty of other options for you. Many graphic designers sell prints, notebooks and stickers using Etsy. You can even partner with a dropshipping company like Printed Mint or Shopify to take care of filling the orders for you.
Recommended platforms: Etsy, Shopify, Printed Mint
Estimated income: Varies
16. Buy/sell stuff online
If you’re willing to invest some time and money, you can make a profit from buying items online and reselling them at a higher price. Some sellers buy items on clearance and wait until the market price goes back up. Another strategy is to buy items in bulk and resell them at a higher price in a lower quantity.
Many online sellers execute this side hustle by becoming an Amazon Seller. By signing up with Amazon, you’ll be able to ship your stock to the warehouse so they can fill your orders. However, Amazon does charge $39.99 per month, plus selling fees for this service.
Since this route requires a good amount of upfront costs, it’s definitely riskier than many other endeavors. Therefore, you’ll want to think about whether or not you’ll want to deal with the stress before going through with it.
Recommended Platforms: Amazon Seller, Ebay
Estimated income: Varies
See also: How to find online jobs for college students
Making money through a side hustle can take some time and effort at the beginning. However, once you fall into a rhythm, it can really pay off. Even after college, the skills you gain from finding supplemental work can come in handy in your personal and professional life.