You’ve achieved your goal and made it to the school of your dreams. Then, reality hits. The cost of college has risen dramatically over the past few decades, and the total cost of a public four-year school has now reached an average of nearly $26,000 a year. This price includes room and board, transportation, books and other expenses in addition to tuition and fees. The total cost for a four-year private school is around twice as much. With living expenses added in, it can be difficult to make ends meet without taking on a massive level of student loan debt. That’s why many college students are choosing to take on a side hustle to bring in a few dollars each month. Fortunately, many of the best options for making money on the side involve online activities that won’t require you to work a set schedule.
1. App Economy
One of the easiest ways to make money online is through the app economy. One of the more popular options for earning a side income involves signing up for a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft. All you’ll need is a clean and dependable late model car, and you can sign up to drive. One of the best things about driving for a ridesharing app is the flexibility it can afford you. Other apps allow drivers to deliver food for restaurants. Your ability to make money will likely be tied to your availability during peak times. For Uber, this might be Friday and Saturday night. For a restaurant delivery app like DoorDash, it will probably be around lunch or dinner. There are also apps like iBotta and Rakuten that offer users cash back for purchases they’d already be making.
2. Existing Websites
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel if you’re looking to make some money as a college student. On example is Fiverr. You can post tasks on Fiverr that you’re willing to perform for money. When the site started out, you could only make $5 per task. Today, you can set your own price, and there are a few successful users who have made more than $100,000 in a year through Fiverr alone. Another great option for making some cash on the side is Craigslist. You can sell stuff you don’t need or search the site for items that you could flip for a profit.
3. Online Surveys
You aren’t likely to get rich from answering online surveys, but if you’re looking for a few bucks to cut down on your level of student loan borrowing, taking a few hours a month to answer surveys can be a great option. One of the best sites for earning money from surveys is Swagbucks. Not only can you answer surveys for money, you can also complete tasks like watching videos to earn a few extra bucks each month. Other survey sites that can pay off are Toluna, Opinion Outpost and Survey Junkie.
4. Review Websites and Apps
Content creators who have set up a new website or created a new product want social validation. They want to know if their site works and what their potential users might think. This is where an enterprising college student can come into play. If you’re looking to make a few bucks in your spare time, signing up for a review site like UserTesting.com can be a great way to earn some money on the side. You’ll click through the site and check for bugs, or you’ll test a new product. Then, you’ll let the site’s creators know what you think.
5. Create a blog
Twenty years ago, few would have thought that bloggers would be able to make thousands of dollars each and every month. Most bloggers fail to make nearly that much, but starting a blog could be a viable way to make some money. All you’ll need to do is find a niche that people want to read about. If you can build an audience in a lucrative niche, you could draw in businesses that want to work with you. They might offer to sponsor a post on your blog for some extra money. Ad networks and affiliate marketing are also great ways to make some money through a blog. While there are literally millions of blogs online, there is still an opportunity to make money if you have a good idea and an engaging writing style. You’ll need a few bucks a month and a catchy domain name. There are companies that will host your blog for less than $10 a month to start out.
6. Become a Freelancer
In the new gig economy, freelance work has become more and more common. College students no longer have to flip burgers to bring in some money on a regular basis. If you can string a few coherent sentences together, there are plenty of options for starting a freelance writing side hustle. When you’re just starting out, the jobs will likely pay very little. However, if you’re able to build a quality portfolio and your clients like your work, you should be able to raise your rates and make more money over time. Writing is not the only field that needs freelancers. If you’re able to write code, there are freelance options for creating apps and websites. The first client is the hardest to land, but again, a good reputation can lead to more work and higher pay.
7. Sell Your Stuff
Even if you’ve just moved out of your parents’ house, it’s likely that you’ve accumulated plenty of stuff in your 18 or 20 years of life. Much of this clutter is unnecessary for your everyday life and likely does little to improve it. If you’ve got too much stuff sitting around your dorm room or your apartment, why not part with some of it. There are online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist that will allow you to advertise what you’d like to sell. With the advent of the Internet, your market could literally be the world. If you build up a little bit of cash, you could use it to find items to flip and scale up your side business into a nice stream of income.
8. Build and Sell Software
If you’ve got some tech knowledge, you might be able to create software that people want to use. All you’ll need to do is figure out a problem that needs solving. If you can solve a problem through a new software program, your side hustle could pay many thousands of dollars. Even creating what might seem like a mindless game could wind up paying off. One of the most popular computer games in recent memory was Angry Birds. A simple app that had users using a slingshot to toss birds made a ton of money for its creators.
9. Start an eCommerce Site
People like to shop. It’s just that they do an increasing amount of their shopping online these days. If you’ve got a product that people want to buy, you could set up an eCommerce site to market it to the world. You could create your own site, but with sites like Shopify that will host your online store, you don’t even have to be terribly knowledgeable in website design. All you need to do is find a product that fills a need in the market, and your eCommerce site could evolve from a side hustle into your main gig.
10. Start a Podcast
Blogs are great, but podcasts are even better for busy people. People need to be fully engaged to read, but they can listen to podcasts on their commute or while they’re cooking dinner. Like a blog or website, you’ll need to find a niche for your podcast. Ideally, it will involve a topic you’re passionate about, but the main question is whether it’s a topic that can bring in a few sponsorship dollars. Not all podcast hosts make big money, but a few are able to make a really good living through this side hustle opportunity.
A full-time worker who has a successful side hustle can make nearly $1,400 a month although earnings can vary greatly. You might make more or less than this amount. If you’re a college student or just starting out on your “adulting” adventure, you can definitely benefit from making a few hundred bucks a month. Your student debt will likely be lower, and you’ll also build skills that can help you supplement your income throughout your life. If you have the right mixture of luck and talent, you could even wind up turning your online side hustle into a lucrative business that can alleviate your need of ever getting a real job.