Side Hustles for College Students — The Ultimate Guide

When students decide to attend college, they embark on an exciting opportunity to explore their interests and build skills for their future careers. Unfortunately, they also face serious financial burdens. College costs an average of $35,551 per year, an overwhelming sum even for students who are otherwise financially stable. Side hustles empower students to make extra money for textbooks, materials, and other school essentials. Keep reading to learn what side hustles are ideal for college students.

Benefits of Side Hustles

Whether you need money for everyday expenses like food or just want some extra funds for entertainment, side hustles offer many advantages, including:

  • Financial independence: A side hustle allows you to earn your own money rather than relying on family members or loans to cover your college and living costs.
  • Skill development: A side hustle helps you discover and develop hard and soft skills and gain professional experience.
  • Networking: If it connects to your professional goals, a side hustle will give you a head start on connecting with members of your industry.

Tips for Finding the Right Side Hustle

Choosing a side hustle requires you to be self-reflective and practical. Take these basic steps to find the right hustle for your interests and circumstances:

  • Assess your skills and interests: Think realistically about what you’re good at and how that could apply to a side hustle.
  • Consider the time commitment: Avoid getting overwhelmed with work and academics by finding a side hustle that fits with your schedule and still leaves time to relax.
  • Potential profitability: Some side hustles are more profitable and help you earn money more quickly than others.
  • Make use of resources: No matter what side hustle you choose, there are many resources available that offer opportunities for training, education, certification, and job listings.

Top Side Hustles for College Students

College students often have more limited experience than working professionals. These side hustles don’t require an advanced education or years of work in the field, making them ideal for college students.

Freelance Writing

You may be able to profit from your exemplary writing skills. Clients hire freelance writers to create articles, blog posts, marketing materials, and emails, but you’ll need a portfolio of samples. These resources will help you locate jobs and produce high-quality work:

  • WriterAccess: Create a portfolio and apply for freelance writing projects.
  • Pass a writing assessment to begin claiming jobs as a freelance writer.
  • Grammarly: Help ensure your writing is ready for clients by checking for grammar, spelling, and syntax errors.

Graphic Design

If you’re artistically inclined, try a graphic design side hustle by designing visuals, including logos, social media graphics, infographics, and advertisements. You’ll need some skills in computer software and the patience to spend time finding clients. These resources are a good place to start:

  • Canva: Make use of an extensive catalog of templates, color palettes, and graphics.
  • Freelancer: Search and apply for freelance projects.
  • Unsplash: Create sample graphic designs to build your portfolio.

Web Development

Web developers create websites for small businesses, larger companies, or individuals hoping to promote their products or services. One of the downsides of web development is the initial struggle to find clients, but these resources can accelerate the process:

  • Toptal: Find freelance work with clients seeking talented web developers.
  • Sublime Text: Edit code more efficiently with an online code editor.
  • Dribble: Display your best web development work in an online portfolio.


If you’re skilled in a particular subject, you can share your knowledge through virtual or in-person tutoring, but the most effective tutors are also patient and clear communicators. Review these before becoming a tutor:

  • Preply: Set a custom rate and teach English to students around the globe.
  • Tutor students of every age in the subjects where you excel.
  • The Tutor Resource: Find digital teaching tools and lessons..

Online Courses

Create and sell online courses focused on subjects you love. Although creating a compelling online course requires a significant amount of time and energy, you’ll earn passive income from each student purchase. Post your online courses on these online platforms:

  • Udemy: Apply to become a paid instructor and post paid courses.
  • Skillshare: Teach creative skills with video lessons and community discussions.
  • Teachable: Post a series of online courses and digital downloads.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are responsible for helping businesses and individuals with administrative tasks, scheduling, and social media. Entry-level virtual assistants generally don’t need experience, but it can be difficult to find your first clients. These websites will help you get established:

Social Media Management

A social media manager takes charge of social media accounts for businesses and influencers, adding videos, photos, and text to their feeds. Posting on social media sounds easy, but creating engaging content requires an understanding of your audience. Many online resources have information about social media management, including:

Resumé Writing Service

Resumé writers create, edit, and polish resumés. As a college student, it may be more difficult to gain the trust of clients. Try reaching out to peers and family members to get your first jobs and build your portfolio, and use these resources to improve your skills:


Set up a shop with handmade products, vintage clothes, or dropship items. Customer complaints, issues with shipping, and fierce competition can make eCommerce stressful, but using one of these established platforms is helpful:

  • Etsy: Introduce your products to Etsy’s large customer base.
  • Shopify: Set up an online store with easy-to-use templates.
  • Wix eCommerce: Sell products and access a catalog of resources.


If you have a knack for taking pictures, offer your photography services for portrait sessions, celebrations, or stock photos. To prove your skills, you’ll need quality equipment and a portfolio of past work. Make it easier to find your first customers with these training and job resources:

  • Photzy: Complete tutorials to learn more about photography.
  • Behance: Search the job board for photography opportunities.
  • theCreativeloft: Search for jobs in a variety of creative fields, including photography.

Fitness Training

Turn your passion for health and physical fitness into a side hustle by offering personal training to individuals or group classes. Some clients prefer personal trainers who are certified or have completed training. These resources can help you develop the skills and qualifications you need:

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

People who treasure their pets are often in need of caring, reliable dog walkers and pet sitters to look after their furry friends, but steer clear if you have pet allergies or phobias. Become a pet sitter or dog walker by speaking to people in your community, joining an online platform, or reading through online resources, such as:

  • Rover: Find local pet-sitting and dog-walking jobs.
  • Pet Sitters International: Learn where to get better skills as a pet sitter or dog walker.
  • PetSitterCourse: Reassure clients that their pets are safe by completing a certification course.


Babysitting has long been one of the most popular side hustles for college students. The difficulty of babysitting jobs often depends on the personalities and needs of the children involved. To find babysitting jobs, advertise in your school or neighborhood, sign up for an online platform, and learn more about babysitting with these resources:

House Cleaning

Helping people clean their homes typically doesn’t require any special education or training. Friends, family members, and acquaintances at your college may be willing to pay you to help keep their homes clean, but the task can be unpleasant if you have an especially messy client. Find and manage your side hustle with online platforms, such as:

  • Angi: Find cleaning customers in your area.
  • Care: Apply for housekeeping jobs.
  • ZenMaid: Manage your cleaning services with scheduling software.

Delivery Driver

Delivery drivers have a lot of freedom and can take jobs only at the times that work best for them. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll have to use your own vehicle and cover expenses like gas. Start working for a food delivery or courier service with these resources:

  • DoorDash: Deliver food from restaurants to customers.
  • Instacart: Shop for groceries and bring them to customers’ doors.
  • Road Warrior: Plan more efficient routes to save gas and deliver more efficiently.

Rideshare Driver

Rideshares have largely replaced taxis, and colleges are an especially profitable place to offer rides. If you’re comfortable with driving customers in your personal vehicle, try driving for a rideshare company, such as:

  • Uber: Get paid to take customers where they need to go.
  • Lyft: Build your rideshare schedule around your classes and other obligations.

Renting Your Car

If you own a car but it spends most of the time sitting in the parking lot, consider renting it out to other people. Although you may be able to find customers on your own, doing so can be dangerous to both your property and your personal health. Instead, use these reputable online services:

  • Getaround: List your car for rent.
  • Turo: Share one or more cars with local customers.
  • HyreCar: Add your car to a list of available vehicles in your community.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Lending money to other people might seem like a strange way to make money, but it’s a viable option if you have some savings and the patience to wait for your investment to pay off. Become an individual investor with these resources:

  • SmartAsset: Learn how to become a peer-to-peer investor.
  • Prosper: Invest in personal loans with as little as $25.

Affiliate Marketing

Earning money from affiliate marketing involves advertising or talking about products you love and earning a commission on any sales that are made through your referral link. The money you make will depend on how many people use your link, so affiliate marketing may not be the best option if you have a limited online presence. Many companies are willing to pay content creators and influencers to promote their products online, including these major retailers:

  • Amazon Associates: Monetize traffic to your online content by recommending products.
  • Walmart Creator: Earn money by promoting products through content you create.

YouTube Channel

YouTube is one of the most popular platforms in the world, and content creators can share their unique hobbies, skills, or talents by starting a YouTube channel. While making YouTube videos can be fun, it also requires technical knowledge and the dedication to build your subscriber list. Use these resources to monetize your channel:

  • YouTube Creators: Read through YouTube’s guide to starting a channel.
  • Adobe Express: Use Adobe’s free software to design and edit videos for your channel.
  • TubeBuddy: Use this extension to help manage your channel.


Starting a podcast gives you the chance to explore a fascinating topic with your listeners. If you love to talk and have a quiet space and a computer to record your show, you have everything you need to create your own podcast. These sites will help guide you through the process:


Bloggers write articles about topics they feel passionate about and monetize them with ads, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing. The key to creating a successful blog is not only having strong writing skills but also choosing a subject that the public will find interesting and useful. With so many blogs on the web, use these resources to make yours stand out from the crowd:

  • Blogger: Create a personalized blog and start producing content.
  • WordPress: Build a free blog with minimal web design skills.
  • ProBlogger: Get free guidance on how to start and grow a blog.

Editing and Proofreading Services

If you constantly catch mistakes in other people’s writing, you may thrive as a freelance editor or proofreader. You’ll need a keen eye for detail and advanced skills in grammar and spelling to succeed with this side hustle. Offer to edit your peers’ papers or expand your business online with these resources:

  • Reedsy: Apply to become a freelance editor.
  • Proofread Anywhere: Take online courses or learn more about becoming a proofreader.
  • Knowadays: After completing this paid course, you’re guaranteed work with Proofed.

Transcription Services

Typing skills, a strong sense of hearing, and speed are essential to a transcription side hustle. If you have those strengths, businesses and individuals will pay you to transcribe audio files. Find your first clients by signing up for an online transcription service, such as:

  • CrowdSurf: Connect with clients seeking transcription services.
  • Transcribe Me: Work independently or as part of a special team.
  • Rev: Find work transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Translation Services

If you’re fluent in multiple languages, you can work as a translator. You’ll need to be extremely proficient in both languages to accurately and quickly translate material, so don’t attempt to be a translator if you haven’t yet achieved fluency. These are a few of the platforms that hire translators:

  • Gengo: Take a two-part test to start translating.
  • Blend Express: Apply to become a freelance translator.
  • TranslatorPub: Find available full-time and freelance translation jobs.

Survey Taking

As a survey taker, you can earn money simply by answering a series of questions. Many of these surveys are short, allowing you to complete them between classes or when you have some extra time at the end of the day. Take note of whether you’ll be paid through points, gift cards, or cash when you apply to these survey sites:

  • Branded Surveys: Join a market research community and sign up to take paid surveys.
  • Survey Junkie: Earn rewards that can be redeemed through gift cards or PayPal.
  • InboxDollars: Receive cash for taking surveys and playing games.

Testing Websites and Apps

Website and app testers provide feedback to companies before they release them to the public. The pay varies widely, but it’s an excellent side hustle for students who enjoy trying new technology. These sites hire testers:

  • Beta Testing: Become a beta tester for new apps, websites, and products.
  • Tester Work: Start earning money testing websites and apps.
  • Test IO: Find bugs as a freelance tester.

Stock Trading

Stock and cryptocurrency trading can lead to major profits, but only if you’ve learned about the market and proceed with caution. Stock trading is risky, particularly if you invest large sums of money. These sites are designed to help you participate in the trading market:

  • Investopedia: Access a wide range of investing resources, including articles targeting college students interested in stock trading.
  • Young and the Invested: Receive guidance on becoming an investor at a young age.
  • Robinhood: Manage investments and crypto through a downloadable app.

Teaching Music

Whether you love to strum a guitar, play a piano, or sing, your musical talent and skill can be valuable. Offer virtual or in-person lessons to beginners who want to learn your craft with these resources:


Consultants work independently and offer their expertise to companies and individuals who need guidance. If you have experience and knowledge in a certain area, you can offer consulting services to clients in your local area or around the world. These sites will help you get started:

Top Online Platforms for Side Hustles and Part-Time Work

Online platforms make it simpler to begin your side hustle and find your first jobs. These are among the most popular platforms available:

  • Fiverr: The Fiverr marketplace is designed for freelance writers, photographers, programmers, and more.
  • Upwork: Freelancers on Upwork can bid on jobs ranging from logo design to video editing to writing.
  • TaskRabbit: Get paid to do tasks like assembling or moving furniture, painting, or yard work.
  • SolidGigs: SolidGigs is a lead generation service that helps you locate prospective clients.
  • Mercari: This international online marketplace allows you to sell used items to customers.

Tips and Strategies for Juggling Side Hustles and Academics

Balancing a side hustle with your academic obligations can be tricky. Use these strategies to handle all of your obligations:

  • Manage your time wisely: Assess your priorities and schedule time for both your side hustle and schoolwork to ensure that neither falls by the wayside.
  • Set appropriate boundaries:Don’t be afraid to say no if you feel that a client or customer has become too demanding or is taking up too much of your time.
  • Use campus resources: Many colleges offer tutoring services and mental health support to help students cope with their academic and emotional struggles.

Start Exploring Side Hustle Opportunities

A side hustle is an opportunity to achieve financial stability, build new skills, enhance your existing abilities, and gain professional experience. Whether you’re interested in selling your childhood toys, editing academic papers, or delivering fast food, there’s a side hustle available that aligns with your skills and interests. Make connections with your local community and use online resources to start earning money.

Additional Resources

To learn more about side hustles or find job opportunities, take advantage of these resources:

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