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October 15, 2019

6 Side Hustle Ideas for the Busy College Student

Figure out the best side hustle to make money in college

Photo by Burst on Unsplash


From actual school costs to living life, being a college student is expensive! To help your cash flow, you’ve been thinking about picking up a part-time job. But between classes, studying, and the occasional much-needed social event, there just isn’t enough time to commit to a regular work schedule. Don’t be discouraged, though. That’s where the side hustle comes in.

A side hustle is work that you do when it fits into your busy, collegiate lifestyle. You can squeeze in earning when it makes sense for you without sacrificing anything else -- and you may even have fun doing it!

Here are 6 side hustle ideas for you to try:

Go Freelance

If you’ve got specialized skills like (but not limited to) writing, photography, social media management, graphic design, or web development, chances are, a company is willing to pay you for them. Although getting your first client may be tricky (sites like Upwork and Fiverr can help), once secured, you can complete the actual work on a flexible schedule, all while building a portfolio that showcases your talents. It’s an added bonus if your freelance work is tied to your studies and future career plans.

Try Tutoring

If you excel in certain academic areas, now’s your chance to help struggling students get on track and make a few bucks in the process. Remember: your may be able to earn more if your expertise is in a subject like calculus because there are likely fewer tutors available. The best part of this gig? Your pupils will personally understand your time crunch and will be happy to meet you in the library at odd hours.


If you’re really good with kids, become your neighborhood’s go-to for date night coverage. You can make decent money by working a couple of evenings a week and it will feel great to help other busy people get the break that they need.  It’s an absolute bonus if families let you raid their fridge and pantry while you’re in their home -- yay, free food!

Get Crafty

If you’re a talented artisan, you can get some cash by selling your creations. In between classes, cramming for exams, and (hopefully) getting a little sleep, break out your knitting needles, easel, or wood carving kit. Once you have a few pieces made, consider opening an online shop on Etsy or posting the item’s details on social media.

Sell Stuff

If you’ve got belongings that you rarely or never use, consider listing them for sale. If you don’t want to handle the logistics on your own, there are lots of websites that can facilitate the transactions. For example, gently used clothing can be sold on Poshmark, while electronics, books, and more can be listed on Decluttr. This side hustle is a great way to simplify your life and pad your bank account.


Learn how to pay less for college


Do Odd Jobs

If you’re handy or like to clean, busy people will pay you to do their chores. You can advertise a range of services (think furniture assembly, bathroom cleaning, moving items, etc.) independently, or you can leverage technology to bring the gigs to you. Companies like TaskRabbit will connect you to local jobs and help you manage your side hustle with in-app invoicing.

General Side Hustle Tips

  • Choose work that’s fun or interesting. Since you have to cram it into your already crazy life, you may as well enjoy it!
  • Track how much you make. Since you’re an independent contractor, taxes aren’t being taken from your pay. You’ll need to cover what you owe come tax time.
  • When you partner with a third party to help you with your side hustle, remember that they get paid somehow. You’re likely going to have to pay a membership fee or give them a cut of your earnings.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to avoid (or reduce) student loan debt, cash flow your textbooks, or just have a little walking around money, working a side hustle (or two) can help. These flexible gigs fit in seamlessly with the rest of your life -- allowing you to earn money while still focusing on what matters most at this stage: your studies.

Laura Gariepy

Laura Gariepy is a freelance writer that specializes in personal finance, careers, and small business.  She owns Every Day by the Lake, a written content creation company that helps busy business owners connect with their target audience.  You can follow her on Twitter @EverydayLake.

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