Many people hold the belief that college students are inherently dirt poor… And for a majority of students, that is the case! But it doesn’t have to be that way! Living comfortably on your own income while in college is everyone’s dream, right? I’m going to give you an array of ideas for side hustles that you can use to increase your income and allow for more freedom to do the things you want!
My mission is to give you the resources, opportunities, and strategies you’ll need to live comfortably in college, without having to work yourself into an early grave!
The average college student is not rolling in dough, obviously. Let’s just set up a hypothetical situation to illustrate why every student needs more cash in their back pocket. You might find some very similar problems when you compare yourself with my example, Michelle.
Michelle is 21 and she’s studying Psychology at a state college. Michelle lives a fairly average college life. She sometimes finds it hard to balance her social, professional, and academic lives.
Michelle works for a local small business doing clerical work for $9.00/hr. She works approximately 20 hours a week and after taxes are taken out she brings home around $300 every two weeks. Michelle lives in an apartment off campus and rent is $400 every month, along with $50 in utilities. Michelle also has to eat, and spends around $50 a week on food. She lives off campus and has to drive to class. Her fuel costs are around $20 a week. Michelle’s friend group is very active and likes to go to bars every weekend to blow off some steam. She spends, on average, $25 at the bar every week. Michelle also spends $100 a month on random activities and hobbies.
Let’s see where Michelle stacks up at the end of the month:
- Income: $600
- Rent and Utilities: $450
- Food/Bars/Gas/Random: ~$500
- Total Expenses: $950
Michelle’s income is around $600 a month, but her expenses exceed $900. Somehow she has to come up with the extra cash, or cut back significantly on some of her extra spending! That being said, even if Michelle only paid her bills and didn’t make any more money, she would still only have $150 to feed herself and enjoy her college experience.
I’m sure there are plenty of people that can relate to our example Michelle. Others might want a couple extra bucks to help support one of their hobbies or start paying off school early. Whatever the reason, let’s jump right into our first side hustle!
Being an Uber driver is basically like being a small time entrepreneur without the risk and extra paperwork. You set your own schedule, Uber advertises for you, and most of you already have the skill it requires to do the job! You do need to be 21 years old, have 3 years of driving experience, and have a valid drivers license to be an Uber driver, so keep that in mind!
A friend of mine recently drove for Uber as an experiment for his personal finance blog VTX Capital. After only driving for a single weekend, he made $427 and had the pleasure of meeting some of the nicest drunk people ever!
Related Post: How I Made $427 in Two Days Driving for Uber
But in an all seriousness, people underestimate the amount of money you can earn from being an Uber driver. Some estimate that the average Uber driver makes around $19/hour.
How to Become an Uber Driver
1. Obtain a Car
This does not mean you have to own a car! You can lease, rent, or buy a car from Uber. They have multiple different programs like Uber Xchange that will help you get a hold of a car if you don’t have one already. This can be really helpful for the many students that live in dorms and other student housing and don’t need a car!
2. Sign up to be an Uber Driver
This is a very simple process. It’s just like signing up for any other website. They pay you directly to your bank account/debit card. Check to see if you can find any Uber promos going on before you sign up! Some can get you up to $100 free just for signing up to be a driver.
Sign up to be an Uber driver: https://www.uber.com/a/us/
3. Start Driving!
Uber allows you to drive as much or as little as you want. If you don’t want to drive at all, just don’t go online and you won’t receive any business. If you’re a workaholic and you want to make lots of extra cash, work as many hours as you can. The best times to be an Uber driver are during the Friday and Saturday night bar rushes! A bunch of your peers will be plastered and need a ride home!
This is a website that every college student should get to know, intimately. Even if you don’t use this website as a side hustle, you should definitely look into selling your books through BookScouter.com.
Making a Profit on Textbooks
1. Find Profitable Books
If you have old books laying around that you have no use for, or you want to get into buying and reselling books, look up the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) here. Another way to find profitable books is to search through BookScouters’ collection of books that they have information on.
2. Compare Prices on Ebay
I used the book “Reading and Study Skills” by John Langan on the front page of BookScouters as an example.
After selecting my book, I searched for it on Ebay.com. This is what I found.
As you can see, even with the shipping ($3.99 per book) you still make a profit of $11.34 per book. That’s not chump change, especially when you look at the time investment. If you sold 5 books a day at a $5 profit, you’d spend maybe an hour doing all of the work, and you’d profit $25! That’s $750 a month!
3. Receive your books from Ebay and resell them on BookScouters!
It takes but a few moment to buy a book. The packaging and reselling of the book to one of BookScouters many vendors is also extremely easy. This is a great way to make extra cash for you bargain shoppers out there. Amazon junkies and the like might find this side hustle very profitable!
Extra Tip: Amazon uses BookScouters to buy used books and I’ve found that they have some of the highest prices to buy back books.
Sell Your Notes
If you’re a thorough note taker, organized, and want to make extra cash, we have a website for you. NexusNotes.com is a note sharing marketplace that offers students the chance to sell their precious class notes to their peers.
I really like this website because not only does it put extra cash in your pocket, but it also forces you to take impeccable notes. Good grades plus money!
1. Take Notes
This should be pretty obvious. Take really really good notes. Be organized, thorough, and make sure your notes make sense to literally everyone. No hidden codes and no shortcuts. People will rate your notes and the higher rating you have, the more you’ll sell.
2. Upload to Nexus Notes
This is super simple. Upload a file to NexusNotes.com. You do have to create an account. They prefer typed notes. The higher the grade you achieved in the class, the higher your notes will be ranked and you will get more sales. So, do your best! Once again, trying hard in class will pay off by getting you extra cash. You’re essentially getting paid to be a diligent student while other people slack off and steal your notes.
3. Rake in the money
After your well organized notes are published on the marketplace, people will buy them from you and you’ll continue to get a commission! This could go on for many semesters if the classes stay relatively unchanged. Some students have made $400 per class, per semester. That’s $400 a semester for just doing what you’re supposed to!
Fiverr.com is our last recommendation and is the leading freelance marketplace for all kinds of services and talents. If you have any of these skills, you have a good chance of making money on Fiverr:
- Graphics & Design – Logo Design, Business Cards, Illustration, Cartoons, Flyers/Posters, Web Design, Social Media Design, Photoshop, etc…
- Digital Marketing – Social Media Marketing, Web Traffic, Content Marketing, etc…
- Writing & Translation – Articles, Blog posts, “creative writing” (essays), etc…
- Video & Animation
- Music & Audio – producing, mixing, singing, playing, etc…
- Programming & Technology
- Business – Market research, business plans, branding, legal consulting, financial consulting, career advice, etc…
- Arts & Crafts
There are tons of other categories, but these are some of the largest. Each one is a specific niche that you can dominate if you have the right skills!
Related Post: 10+ Top Selling Fiverr Gigs for Quick Money
1. Choose your starting service
In the beginning Fiverr limits how much you can charge for a service to… wait for it… five dollars. But, as you upgrade your account you can charge more and more with additional services. In the beginning choose a skill or talent of yours that’s very simple and quick to do. I obviously like to write, so maybe I would offer to write short essays for $5. If I can crank out two 500 word essays in an hour, that’s an easy $10 ($8 once Fiverr takes their cut).
2. Keep grinding and growing
As you get more customers, your Fiverr account will upgrade and you’ll be able to offer more services for higher amounts of money. Going back to our example from earlier, maybe after my hypothetical account is upgraded I’ll start offering 1000, 2000, and 3000 word essays for $25, $40, and $55 respectively. And, if they want the essay done within 24 hours I’ll charge them an additional $20. That’s a total of $75 to write a 3000 word essay. That’s not too shabby if you enjoy writing!
3. Branch out into more profitable areas
As your account becomes more well known and your skill increases, you can slowly start charging more and venturing into more profitable areas. Maybe next I’ll look into writing research papers for an additional $50 a pop!
You’ll have to start small with Fiverr, but once you start growing and make a name for yourself, you can make some serious cash with Fiverr.
Regardless of which method you’re most interested in, they all have something in common. Flexibility. All of these services allow the user to work as much or as little as they want. If you’re having a really tough month with unexpected expenses, you can really grind that side hustle and break even. The opposite is true. If you’re floating in cash, maybe you can take some time off and relax. If you’re struggling financially and you just can’t make ends meet with your current job, maybe give a couple of these strategies a try!
I hope you enjoyed this guide as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any questions, comments, or have other resources you’ve found to help you make extra money, contact me, or leave it in the comments section below!
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