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12 Side Hustle Ideas to Keep College Students Out of Debt

Last updated: July 26, 2019
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Your college years will be the best years of your life — or at least that’s what our grandparents told us.

In between cramming for exams, going out on the weekend, and maintaining a healthy social life, you still need to squeeze in time to make some extra cash. After all, how are you going to pay for all of your extracurricular activities without going into student loan or credit card debt?

The problem is that when you have homework that seems to last for days and a class schedule that changes every few months, how can you balance a full-time job that fits your crazy schedule?

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best side hustle ideas for college students to make money in their spare time. All of these side gigs are very flexible and allow you to organize your work hours around your schedule.

Online Side Hustle Opportunities

Let’s first start off with side hustles and part-time job opportunities you can do online. You can do all of these jobs from the comfort of your own home without ever needing to leave.

Start Freelancing Online

Online freelance jobs are available to people of nearly every skill set. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Guru offer endless freelance jobs for you to browse through and find the perfect fit for you.

If you think you’d be a great freelance writer, then there are plenty of freelance writing opportunities. If you think you’re a social media guru, then you can apply to be a social media manager. And if you think you have an eye for detail and grammar, then there’s always freelance editing and proofreading jobs.

Make sure you look through some of these freelance sites because you never know what type of jobs and skills companies are looking for.

Become a Virtual Assistant

If you’re an organized and versatile worker, then being a virtual assistant could help you make good money from your laptop. Virtual assistants are like personal assistants that help small business owners complete tasks to keep their business up and running.

Many online businesses are bootstrapped and employ contract employees to complete some of the more time-consuming tasks. This could be tasks like handling customer service, managing social media accounts, or being in charge of payroll.

Your responsibilities will depend on each job, but no matter what, you’ll get paid to help people and businesses in your spare time.

Create an Online Course

Creating your own online course is a lucrative way to make more money online. If you consider yourself an expert in a certain area and think you know how to convey this information to others, then an online course could help you earn money on the side.

There are millions of online courses out there, so it will be up to you to create something that’s unique and useful to people. Platforms like Udemy and Teachable will help you create your online course and sell it to prospective students online.

The best part is that once you have your course up and running, there is very little you have to do after that. By creating one course, you could potentially make money from it for years to come.

Start an Etsy Store

If you peg yourself as the creative or artsy type, then starting an Etsy store might be in the cards for you. While creating products to sell online might take up quite a bit of time, you could potentially make a hefty profit if people love your products.

Etsy is an e-commerce platform where you can sell your handmade and crafted goods online to customers. Hundreds of thousands of people have made money with Etsy by selling anything from wedding stationery to jewelry to custom T-shirts.

Take a look at Etsy’s site to see if any ideas jump off the page. You never know what you’re capable of creating to make extra income on the side.

Create Your Own Blog

Creating your own blog may take up a substantial amount of time, but this side job has the potential to bring in passive income for years to come.

You can blog about nearly anything you’d like, however, the tip we’ll give you is to write content that is actually useful to readers. You shouldn’t just ramble about your daily happenings, because this likely won’t get you anywhere.

Instead, you should find something that you’re passionate about and focus on a certain topic, like cosmetics for college students, personal training tips, or a blog for coffee drinkers.

Once you start publishing great content and generating traffic to your blog, you can begin monetizing through affiliate marketing or online advertising. And just like that, you have a side business that can help increase your monthly cash flow.

Give Feedback on Products and Services

It almost sounds too good to be true, but hear us out. You can get paid to give your opinion on everyday products and services. There are several ways you can go about making money by giving your feedback.

One way is by mystery shopping. A mystery shopper anonymously visits a store, calls customer service lines, or visits websites and provides a third-party research company with a detailed account of their customer experience.

Another way is by responding to online surveys regarding the products you’ve used. This could apply to household goods, foods, or clothing. You may even be sent free products in the mail for you to try out and provide feedback.

Lastly, you can join local focus groups in your area or online. Focus groups help brands develop their products and brand messaging to consumers. You could join a focus group for a few hours, give your opinion, and walk away with a couple of hundred dollars.

Some reputable service you can look into include Swagbucks, Respondent, and Survey Junkie. All of these opportunities will either pay you in cash, a PayPal money transfer, or through gift cards to your favorite stores.

In-Person Side Hustle Opportunities

Side Hustle Ideas: Dog walking

Now that we’ve covered a number of online opportunities, let’s go over some in-person side hustles you can do if you feel like getting out of the house.

Become a Rideshare Driver

The original gig working concept — rideshare driving — is still an excellent way to make money when it’s most convenient for you. By picking up passengers around your city, you can make an extra buck or two as a chauffeur.

Rideshare drivers get to set their own hours, work whenever they want, and be their own boss. What’s not to like about that?

Companies like Uber and Lyft offer drivers opportunities in nearly every major city in the United States. You just need to own a relatively new vehicle and insurance.

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

Pet sitting and dog walking are excellent ways to make extra money in your free time, especially if you’re an animal lover. Instead of sitting on the couch, you could help others with their pet duties.

There are plenty of people out there who are too busy to walk their dogs every day or need someone to look after their pet while they’re away on vacation. If you’re good with animals, this could be your perfect side hustle.

Companies like Rover and Care.com have plenty of pet care job opportunities that you can apply for. By signing up for one of these services, you obtain access to all of the job postings in your area.

Start Babysitting

Babysitting is the first job that many people have. The nice part is that it doesn’t need to stop in your adolescent years. Babysitting is a great side hustle and you can still make decent money babysitting as a college student.

Traditionally babysitting jobs were granted by word of mouth through a family member, a friend, or a family in your neighborhood. But what if you’re hitting dead ends trying to find a babysitting gig?

Nowadays you don’t have to worry about tapping into your immediate network. Instead, you can sign up for a service like Care.com to find available babysitting jobs in your area.

Deliver Food and Groceries

Food and grocery delivery is on the rise, especially around college campuses. This is a prime opportunity for you to make side income bringing food to hungry customers.

The majority of delivery companies focus on delivering take-out orders from restaurants. Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Caviar are a few restaurant delivery services that are always hiring.

There are also other delivery services that have certain areas of focus. For example, Instacart for grocery delivery, Postmates for delivering everything under the sun, and Drizly for alcohol delivery if you’re at least 21 years old.

Charge Rental Scooters

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen electric scooters zipping around your campus or downtown area. What you might not have thought about is getting paid to charge all of these electric scooters.

Companies like Lime and Bird have thousands of scooters in major cities and campuses all across the United States. It would be incredibly expensive and time consuming for these companies to collect and charge these scooters themselves.

Instead, they let people like you collect these scooters and charge them overnight in your home. After you’re finished charging the scooter, you’ll return them to the streets and receive payment for your efforts.

Related: Learn how to become a Lime scooter charger

Start a Side Hustle

Side hustles can be a huge help keeping you out of debt while going through college. They enable you to work when it’s convenient for you while giving you some extra cash to spend on the weekends.

Hopefully, you found a side hustle that you’d be good at. And remember, you can always do more than one side job if you really want to make a dent in your monthly rent bill.

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