15 Lucrative Side Hustles for College Students to Boost Their Income

15 Lucrative Side Hustles for College Students to Boost Their Income Header Image

College can be financially challenging. Between textbooks, tuition, filling your cupboards with ramen noodles (even they’re getting more expensive), and that unexpected spring vacation to Florida (oops), staying afloat might seem impossible. If you continually ask yourself, "Where did all my money go?", we have a one-size-fits-all solution: the side hustle.

A side hustle is a way to earn extra money outside your regular job or academics and it’s particularly appealing for college students because of its flexibility. You can tailor it to your schedule, interests, and skills while gaining valuable experience that will improve your resume. In this article, we will explore side hustles that will help you earn money as a student.

The Benefits of Having a College Side Hustle

For a start, a side hustle can give you more financial breathing room. It can help you save for certain study tools and resources (like next semester’s textbook or an iPad). It can also provide money to offset unforeseen occurrences, but this financial buffer is just a fraction of the benefits. A side hustle can also help you.

  1. Build a robust resume: The knowledge you gain in college doesn’t always translate to real-world experience. A side hustle allows you to settle in and adjust to the way of the world, gaining practical skills.
  2. Develop your entrepreneurial mind and skillset: A side hustle can allow you to learn marketing, budgeting, and customer service.

15 Lucrative Side Hustle Ideas for College Students

Any of the following is a good place to start for anyone wanting to venture into a side hustle.

  1. Online freelance work

Thanks to the skyrocketing of freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, with just a sturdy internet connection and some sellable skills (writing, graphic design, web development etc), you can make money from the comfort of your dorm in your own time. These freelance platforms connect you to clients who need your skill set for a small fee and you can take on projects when you have more free time and stop taking on work when you need to study.

  1. Working in hospitality and retail

If you’re a people person, you may want to consider jobs in hospitality where you’ll be working in hotels, restaurants, and cafes. It’s a classic side hustle for a reason: these places are always in demand in our fast-paced economy, and they are always looking for as many hands as possible. You can take on weekend shifts to avoid clashes with your classes and you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be making every hour. Around the holidays, retailers will often take on extra part time and temporary staff, making this a good short term option. Some employers may look for experience, especially in barista roles, but others will be happy to train on the job.

  1. Virtual assistance and customer service roles

If you are tech-savvy and well-organized, you may become a virtual assistant. You will be required to simply offer administrative, technical, or creative support to your employer's clients, which could include responding to emails, organizing calendars, working on data entry or making phone calls remotely.

  1. Tutoring and academic coaching

If your strength is in academic knowledge rather than administrative or tech skills, you can consider tutoring for a few hours a day. If you’ve already passed your exams, your fresh experience makes you the perfect person to help encourage those younger than you who might be struggling with their revision. If you don’t know any students in the years below you, family friends or neighbours who need tutoring, consider trying sites like Workee.

  1. Ridesharing and delivery services

If you have a car and some free time, you can consider offering ridesharing services. It is easy to join ridesharing platforms such as Uber or Lyft as a service provider. Asides from the money that can be made, the real benefit is that you get to set your hours. If you don’t feel comfortable ferrying around people, you can always try ferrying around food instead as a delivery driver for apps like DoorDash.

  1. Social media management for local businesses

If you have time enough to be on social media for many hours a day, why not earn some money while at it? You can apply to businesses that are looking for people to manage their online presence. Maybe you can create content for local businesses, help to grow their account, or find someone who needs help responding to a flood of tags and mentions.

  1. Merchandise creation and selling

Everyone is selling merch these days from your school’s sports teams to your favorite YouTubers. If you are a creative person with beautiful ideas, you can pitch your design skills to an established merch merchant. Alternatively, you can post your designs on digital marketplaces such as Redbubble and watch the passive income roll in

  1. Renting out space or personal belongings

Consider renting out any assets you may have on sites like Airbnb or Turo. Leveraging your existing resources is a terrific way to make passive income. If you happen to have designer clothes or accessories, or are willing to invest in them, there is a growing trend for rental clothes which means you can make good money if you have the right kind of wardrobe.

  1. Online survey and research participation

Companies are constantly seeking customer feedback. Participating in online surveys and research projects is a flexible method to make money in your spare time. Just be aware of fraudulent activity and stick with legitimate survey sites, such as Pinecone Research.

  1. Affiliate marketing and influencer collaborations

Do you have a solid audience for your blog or social media? Partnering with businesses that would appeal to your audience through affiliate marketing can earn you a commission for advertising their products or services and you’ll be recommending useful products or services to your readers.

  1. Providing pet care or housekeeping services

Plenty of people have pets, but need help looking after them when they go to work or on vacation. If you are an animal lover, become a dog sitter or walker with an app like Rover.

  1. Participating in paid focus groups or research studies

Focus groups and market research studies are common methods businesses use to obtain customer feedback. Taking part in this research may be an enjoyable way to express your thoughts and get paid extra money. Look out on college notice boards, especially in the Psychology or Medicine departments, where they might need paid participants for experiments.

  1. Monetizing a blog, YouTube channel, or other creative passion project

Do you love to write, play music, write games, or engage in other creative endeavors? You may share your work with the world and make money through sponsorships, advertising, or fan subscriptions on websites like Patreon and YouTube.

  1. Selling handmade goods or homemade products

There is a huge market for products and handcrafted items. Offer your handmade goods on internet marketplaces such as Etsy, at farmers' markets, and at local craft festivals. Custom phone covers and handmade jams are just two examples of the many options available.

  1. E-commerce and dropshipping ventures

The e-commerce industry is growing, and students can participate. You can sell goods online without needing to have any inventory on hand. All you have to do is collaborate with a dropshipping provider, and they will take care of the shipment and storage. With little initial outlay of funds, this can be an excellent method to explore the possibilities of e-commerce.

Tips for Balancing Side Hustles with College Coursework

If you must succeed in your academics and in our side hustle, there must be balance. To achieve this delicate balance, you should employ these tips.

  • Prioritize: Put your education first: you’re still studying for a reason. Review your syllabus carefully and schedule your side hustle times around your study hours, classes, exams, and every other academic venture.
  • Manage your time wisely: When you study, you can use techniques like the Pomodoro technique to help you stay focused and maximize the period.
  • Communicate: Be open. Discuss your side hustle with your tutors and discuss your academics with your clients or customers so that these stakeholders, where possible, can help you avoid clashes between your academics and side hustle.

Investing Side Hustle Earnings for Long-Term Financial Health

Managing your side hustle earnings well can help you secure a more stable financial future. These three key things will help you spend earnings from your side hustle well.

  1. Create a budget to track your income and expenses.
  2. Create An emergency fund to help weather unexpected financial storms.
  3. Consider utilizing a percentage of the money you earn from your side employment to pay off debt.
  4. Invest a part of the money from your side hustle for the future,


Although attending college might be costly, working hard can lessen the financial load. With the variety of side jobs this article explores, you may pick the one that best suits your interests, talents, and availability. To succeed in both areas, remember that the key is to balance your side project and your academic endeavors.

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