14 Best Side Hustles For College Students (And 4 To Avoid)

Looking to make some extra cash this semester? Here are 14 of the best side hustles for college students, and 4 that you should avoid at all costs.

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wallet with money sticking out

As a college student, most of your time is occupied with classes, assignments, and other extra-curricular activities. Adding a full-time job to your already full schedule can be stressful.

Fortunately, there are several side hustles you can start to build your work experience and make some extra cash.

The best thing about side hustles is that you get to choose your hours, and you can earn more than a regular job within a short period.

So, if you are wondering where or how to start a side hustle, this article will give you some ideas.

The Best Side Hustles For College Students

1. Babysitting

Do you know any families in your area? Are you good with kids?

If you are looking for a more consistent side hustle, nannying can be a good option.

Babysitters can earn $15-$25 (or more) per hour, depending on the location and the number of kids that need care.

The best way to get babysitting or nannying gigs is through word of mouth. Ask around to see if anyone you know is in need of childcare.

Another place you can get babysitting gigs is on Care.com. I used this site all through college to get my nannying gigs, and I ended up working for some really great families.

2. Blogging

Do you enjoy writing? Lucky for you, the Internet runs on content, and it is pretty easy to start a blog.

The first step is to choose a subject you enjoy talking about.

For example, if you like talking about tech or games, you can start a blog reviewing or sharing how-to guides for different types of software.

After choosing your niche topic, you will need a laptop and web hosting.

You can make money on your blog via affiliate marketing, ad revenue, and other partnerships, but only if you are consistent.

There are several guides on starting and running a successful blog online to help you get started.

3. Freelancing

Do you have any specific skillsets you can sell online? For example, graphic design, editing, writing, coding, animation, etc.

You can work as a freelancer with just about any online skill.

Here are some of the best free platforms that you can use to find freelancing gigs:

To start selling your skills, all you have to do is create a profile and start bidding, sending proposals, or sharing your profile with potential clients.

For example, in college I spent a few years working as a freelance social media manager. I applied to jobs on Upwork and I would charge clients monthly to run their social media accounts.

4. Thrift Store Flipping

If you are passionate about giving life to used items, you can make thrift store flipping your side hustle.

Thrift store flipping involves buying second-hand or used items from thrift stores, fixing them up, and reselling them.

The easiest thing to start thrift-flipping is clothes. You can buy second-hand clothes from your local thrift store or online, alter them, wash and iron them to look good as new, and sell them for a profit.

You can sell your thrifted items on platforms like:

  • Poshmark
  • Depop
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • eBay

There are people out there making $100,000 a year or more from thrift flipping, so it can be pretty lucrative if you find a good niche!

5. Become an Uber or Lyft Driver

If you rarely use your car on campus, it is time to find a use for it by becoming an Uber or Lyft driver.

This is a great part-time gig for college students that can earn you about $20 per hour.

To get started, you’ll just sign up on the app as a driver. Then they’ll run background checks, verify your identity, and make sure your car is in decent condition.

You can do this side hustle on the weekends or whenever you finish classes early and have some spare time.

6. Start Selling Digital Goods Online

Do you have a talent for designing stuff? If so, selling digital item may be a good side hustle for you.

Create digital products like templates, ebooks, and printables and start selling them!

The only major investment with this gig is the time it takes you to design and market the products.

Once you’ve designed your digital products, sign up for marketplaces like Etsy, Envato Elements, or Creative Market to start selling.

The money you earn after making the products is passive, meaning once you upload them to a website, you can potentially earn money on them forever.

7. Tutoring

Tutoring is a great gig for college students.

Depending on the subject matter and your location, you can earn between $10 and $40 as a tutor.

And thanks to the internet, you can tutor anyone around the world online! Sign up to websites like TutorMe or Tutor.com to get started.

If you’d prefer to do in-person, you could try reaching out to high schools near your campus to see if they would allow you to advertise your tutoring services to students.

Your university’s job board is another a great way to get tutoring gigs in college.

8. Pet Sitting

Pet sitting is a great side hustle for college students who are animal lovers.

What could be better than hanging out with a cute puppy after a stressful day of classes?

You can offer services like dog walking, staying with a pet overnight, or drop-in visits. All of these services are in high-demand, so you shouldn’t have much issue finding clients.

Rover is the most popular platform for booking pet-sitting gigs, but you could also try word of mouth advertising.

The average pet sitter earns between $20 and $35 per visit, but prices vary depending on location and type of service.

9. Grocery Shopping Or Food Delivery

There are so many ways to make money if you have your own car on campus.

You can sign up to deliver food with a service like DoorDash, Uber Eats, or GrubHub. With these gigs, you’ll deliver food to people from local restaurants.

If you’d rather grocery shop than deliver restaurant food, you could sign up for a grocery delivery platform like Instacart.

All of these options will require reliable transportation, background checks, and identity verification.

But once you’re all registered you can make pretty decent money with this type of work.

10. Rent Out Your Car

Is your car collecting dust in a garage while you’re in school? Turn it into cash by renting it out!

Turo is a service like Airbnb but for cars. It allows you to make some extra money by letting people rent your car for a few days at a time.

11. Website Testing

If you have a knack for user experience, you can actually get paid to test out websites.

The site User Testing pays between $20-30 for testers to share their opinions about websites.

This is a great way to earn a little extra spending money on the weekends or in between classes.

12. Become A Handyman

Are you good at assembling furniture or mounting TVs? There’s a serious demand for people who can help out with small tasks like these.

Sign up for TaskRabbit and help people in your community with little projects.

You can make anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month with this type of work.

13. Donate Plasma

I knew several people in college who donated plasma to make an extra couple hundred dollars per month.

It’s a decent way to earn money while helping people who need plasma donations. Sign up with CSL Plasma to earn up to $1000 in your first month as a donor.

14. Rent Out Your Gear

If you brought your camera, golf clubs, or toolbox to college, you may be able to get some extra cash by renting them out.

Services like FriendWithA allow you to list your gear for people in your area to rent.

Such a creative way to earn some extra money in college!

College Side Hustles To Avoid

While there are tons of other great side hustles out there, there are definitely some that are not worth your time. Some of them pay pennies, while others are just straight up scams.

Here are a few side hustles that you should avoid:

1. Survey Taking

There’s nothing wrong with taking surveys, but it’s generally just not worth your time. You may get paid a few cents for doing a 15 minute survey.

It’s an okay way to make a few dollars while you’re watching Netflix, but there are other side hustles on this list that are way more lucrative.

2. Multilevel Marketing

Multilevel marketing companies prey on college students who are looking for ways to make money.

They promise minimal work and high payouts, but most people actually end up losing money.

Truthfully, the majority of these companies are total scams. They require you to purchase products upfront and the majority of people never make back their initial investment.

Multilevel Marketing companies (or MLMs) are essentially just pyramid schemes that allow the people off the top to get very rich while the people at the bottom lose money.

This study by the FTC lays out some more facts about MLMs.

3. Mystery Shopping

A lot of articles online will recommend mystery shopping as a way to make extra money.

Getting paid to shop sounds like a dream, right? Well, the reality is that most mystery shopping gigs only pay around $10.

When you factor in your time and gas money, you’re probably making less than minimum wage.

4. Transcription Work

When I was in college and looking for ways to make money, I came across a transcription site that looked promising.

They offered a high hourly rate and it seemed like the perfect first online job.

The reality was that that “hourly rate” was the rate per hour of content, not per hour of working.

So if they’re offering $20 for an hour long video, it may actually take you 3 hours to transcribe that video. That leaves you with a pretty terrible hourly rate.

The work was also very difficult and stressful. Oftentimes, the content would be such poor quality that it was impossible to make out what they were saying.

I would get halfway through a 20 minute video and have to give up on it because I couldn’t make out any of the words.

There are SO many amazing ways to make extra money as a college student. Hopefully after reading this post you know what to look for and what to avoid when starting a side hustle in college.

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