College costs were lower, once upon a time, and so working part time in the summer plus a small loan or two would get you through to graduation day. Now with college costs soaring and jobs scarcer, getting a diploma without getting into massive amounts of debt takes a whole lot of hustling.
Even if you’re getting a full ride thanks to scholarships or generous parents, it pays to make a little extra cash. Not only does it give you some walking around money for the weekends, but a side hustle also gives you a taste of what it’ll be like to bring home the bacon after graduation.
In the best case scenario, you find a way to turn a hobby or passion into a part-time profession that still gives you plenty of time to hit the books. But if that’s impossible, there are still plenty of ways to bring in extra money without sacrificing study time. Here are just some examples:
Put your writing and editing skills to use. Content marketing is big these days and there is plenty of work for freelance writers who can work fast. Fiverr and Craigslist can help you get started, though you may be able to drum up business on campus by helping people polish papers, too. This is flexible work that can be done anywhere, anytime – especially during semesters where you’re not doing a ton of writing for class.
Be a part time virtual assistant. A phone is all you need to make between $3 and $7 for quick tasks like calling to make appointments, doing light research, or finding the best prices on services and products. Sites like Fancy Hands are almost always looking for organized, friendly people to sign on as assistants, and it’s easy work that doesn’t require an hourly commitment.
Buy and sell online or IRL. If you have space to store goods, reselling on eBay or Amazon is an easy way to pick up some cash. This is a good option for students who have the patience and time to go grab free or low priced items locally to ship out nationwide or anyone who has the skills to refurbish old furniture or electronics. Another option specifically for those born with the persuasion gene is starting up a legit business with Amway or Mary Kay.
Do the boring things no one else wants to do. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a micro-task site that pays minute amounts for tasks that take seconds but the work tends to be uninteresting. Click Worker will hook you up with data entry and SEO work, and sites like UserTesting pay you to evaluate their clients’ websites. All three are good options for students stuck in work study jobs that involve a lot of sitting around.
Move stuff. Websites like Movers Corp let you sign up to be the muscle when businesses and individuals need a strong pair of biceps. The company provides the truck and the supplies; students (who set their own rates and availability) provide the manpower. It’s a solid option for anyone who has free time and a strong back.
Remember that having a side hustle during your university years won’t always be easy or fun, but the feeling of knowing you’re not going any deeper into debt is absolutely priceless.