If you’re looking for a way to bring in some side income while you’re studying, then these side hustles for college students might be just the ticket.
As part of our series on how to make money in college, we’re bringing you the 15 best side hustles for college students. To make this list, we set a few criteria:
- These side hustles must be flexible, so they are compatible with class schedules
- They had to generate decent income based on the time and hours invested
- They had to be relatively quick and easy to start up, with little experience
- They had to be low-commitment, so students can dial them up and down as their schedule changes
We’ve divided our list into two groups—those that are easy to start up but may be less lucrative, and those that can be done online, but may take some more time investment to get off the ground.
We’ll dive into the side hustles below, but be sure to check out our article about how to balance school and work, and these other articles in the series:
Easy Side Hustles for College Students
Looking for a side hustle you can start right away, with minimal effort? These are our top picks for ways to get some extra income quickly and easily.
Rideshare Driver (or Delivery Driver)
If you’ve got a car, a clean driving record, and good skills behind the wheel, then becoming a rideshare driver may be the easiest and best side hustle for college students who need income ASAP.
Companies like Uber and Lyft make it relatively easy to start working as a rideshare driver, though you’ll need to fill out an application and likely have your car inspected before you can begin driving.
If you choose to work with Uber, you can also add food delivery as a side hustle—the company allows you to deliver food on Uber Eats if you’d rather not move passengers around. Of course, there are other delivery services as well, like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Instacart, just for starters. These are great options if you don’t have a car, but can ride a bicycle or motorcycle.
Each of these platforms has its own onboarding process and rules about when and how much you can work and earn. But when it comes to side hustles for college students, it’s hard to beat this gig, since you can pick up hours whenever you’re free, and simply turn off the apps when you’re busy.
House Cleaning or Task Management
What do busy households do when there’s not enough time for all the day-to-day maintenance that adulting requires?
Many people employ an expensive cleaning service every few weeks.
An alternative to these pricey companies is hiring independent cleaners for a single day—and this is where you can earn money. Maybe you’re known for keeping your own place ultra tidy or perhaps you don’t shy away from physical labor and actually prefer an active job.
Depending on your client’s preferences (and how many households you take on), cleaning jobs can offer a good amount of flexibility and freedom in terms of how many hours and when you work.
You can also look into apps like TaskRabbit, where individuals can hire you to perform errands for them. (For example, they may ask you to pick up items from a store, mail a package, or help them assemble furniture.)
Create and Sell Products
If you have a creative streak, put it to the test and try creating products you can sell.
This type of side hustle can take a number of different formats, depending on what you’re selling and how you want to sell it.
For example, if you’re a skilled painter, woodcarver, sculptor, leatherworker, or jewelry maker, you could consider selling your products at local crafts fairs, through an online service like Etsy, or simply to friends, family, and acquaintances who appreciate your craft.
If you’re a cartoonist or photographer, you might promote your work on social media and offer to do paid commissions.
If you enjoy pickling, making hot sauces, or creating soaps or fragrances, set up a booth at your local farmer’s market, or visit local stores that might be willing to display and sell your products.
Offer Amateur Styling Services
Ever been told you give a killer haircut? Maybe you’re excellent with a makeup brush, or you have a knack for putting together a great wardrobe.
You can use these skills to offer styling services, even if you haven’t (or don’t plan to) attend beauty school. While you won’t be able to get a job directly in a salon, there’s no reason you can’t offer your skills as a hairstylist (or any kind of stylist) under the table to friends and family.
You can offer a competitive advantage by setting lower prices and at-home treatments (extra enticing if you offer your services to fellow college students looking to save money).
Even if you’re not charging a lot, the money adds up as you can do multiple haircuts a day. Whether it’s simply word-of-mouth among friends or you create an official website likely depends on how committed you are to seeing your side hustle expand long-term.
Babysitting (or Petsitting/Housesitting)
Do you enjoy spending time with kids? Maybe you have younger siblings or cousins or have coached youth sports. If you’re responsible, empathetic, caring—and maybe a big kid at heart—babysitting could be the perfect side hustle for you.
Parents need sitters due to work schedules, school breaks, summer vacation, or date nights. Being a reliable once-in-a-while sitter could turn into a more consistent gig. Parents may need help with transportation for kids (to and from school or activities), light housekeeping, or even meal preparation. The more “extras” you’re willing to take on will increase your marketability as a sitter and likely your pay.
Alternatively, if you’re a pet lover, there are plenty of pet-related services people are willing to pay good money for: dog-walking or pet-sitting (during the work day or when pet owners are out of town). There are services like Rover you can sign up with if starting your own business from scratch feels too overwhelming.
Similarly, sometimes people just need a reliable house sitter to watch their home, water their plants, collect their mail, and be on-hand in case something is needed. This is a great way to not only earn extra income but also save on rent (if you pay weekly/monthly rent) or just get out of your cramped dorm room for a while.
If you’re a skilled performer, monetizing your talent as a side hustle could be very rewarding—from both a financial and personal standpoint.
You could do standup comedy at a local bar, start a band with your college buddy, get a license to do some street performing, or connect with a dance agency to bring in extra cash. Small-time concerts or performances can add up—especially if you develop positive relationships with certain establishments that regularly invite you back.
In the digital age, there are more opportunities than ever to perform in new ways—for example, you can try doing voiceover work, or licensing your music to other artists to earn royalties.
Of course how much money you’ll make depends on your level of talent, the specific industry, and your own initiative and creativity when it comes to pursuing gigs. Regardless of payment, for many starting-out-entertainers, practicing in front of an audience is key—and doing so will help you sharpen your performance skills and build confidence.
Renting Out Extra Space
This side hustle only works for college students who are lucky enough to own a place where they have a bit of extra room. If so, you can rent out that space on platforms like AirBNB, or simply offer it as a spare place for someone to live temporarily.
However, be aware that while you’ll be able to choose when you want to have visitors, maintaining rental space does take extra work. You’ll need to keep it clean and tidy, and be comfortable sharing your own personal space with people you may not know very well or at all.
Do you enjoy teaching? But don’t necessarily want to make it a career?
Share your knowledge and passion one student at a time by tutoring. Whether you specialize in a single subject or have expertise in multiple areas, this can be a great way to earn money (with a lot of flexibility). Schedule your own hours and work as often or as little as you like.
You could work through a tutoring organization or set up your own website/independent tutoring business. This side gig could even turn into a full-time career over time (if that’s the route you want to go). Credentials, specializations, and experience with kids in a certain age group all impact how much money you can make.
Develop next-level patience, communication, and interpersonal skills—which are valuable in any career.
Online Side Hustles for College Students
Maybe you’re looking for a good side hustle for college students that can be done from home (or anywhere). If so, you may need to spend some time learning new skills, and depending on which avenue you pursue, developing a personal brand.
Here are a few good starter articles to help with all that:
Website Development and Design
You don’t need a degree or a certificate in coding to help build websites. Thanks to platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix (among others), virtually anyone can learn to build a professional, functional website.
The thing is, not everyone wants to build a website. But plenty of people are willing to pay someone else to build their website for them. Once you’ve got the skills and experience, you can offer your services at higher rates, and even build a long-term business out of it.
For starters, you can take free online courses to learn the basics of how the major site-building platforms work. (Many of these platforms have training videos you can use.) From there, you’ll need to practice—so consider building your own website first, or offering to build one for a friend/family member, just to get practice.
You’ll have a better chance at earning more if you develop additional skills, such as SEO, web design, logo design, and copywriting. Speaking of which…
Copywriters are highly in demand, and if you’ve got writing skills and are curious about digital marketing, you could join the ranks of people using freelance copywriting as a side hustle.
You can get started by taking a few online copywriting courses, or following some influential copywriters on social media (namely LinkedIn). These people can guide you toward developing your own voice and skillset as a copywriter, and point you in the right direction for marketing yourself and finding clients.
There are job platforms like Fiverr and Upwork that can help you find your first few clients, but bear in mind these platforms won’t pay much. However, they’re a good way to start building a portfolio, so you can begin pitching to other clients who will agree to higher rates.
There are lots of different types of copywriting you can offer as well. You may prefer to write short copy (microcopy) for websites, or long-form blogs, or journalistic pieces that you pitch to magazines and newspapers.
While this may not be the fastest or easiest way to earn money, if you’re skilled and take the time to practice and build up a client base, you can earn serious income well before you graduate.
Online Reselling (Flipping)
If you have free time and a lot of determination, reselling items for a profit can be a great way to earn some extra income.
There are lots of places where you can sell things online—Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, and Craigstlist are a few of the places where you can get started.
If you want some extra cash quickly, you can dig into your own stuff to hawk online. Old clothes, electronics, and furniture can often turn a profit, whether you choose to sell them online through services like Poshmark or Ebay, or go to consignment shops and antique stores in your local area to see if you can get a good price.
To take this a step further, try your hand at “flipping”—this is when you purchase something for a low cost, fix it up or service it in some way, and then resell it for a profit.
People “flip” everything from collector’s items to houses, so it really depends on how much time you have and what skills you can offer to fix things up.
For example, if you’re good with electronics, you can find old/broken pieces of technology, fix them up, and resell them. If you’re good with a paintbrush, you can purchase old furniture and give it a makeover, then resell it as a higher-priced one-of-a-kind piece.
Best of all, this is a job that is totally flexible—you can purchase things to resell and take your time fixing them up to turn a profit, or try reselling lots of items to make a big chunk of change quickly.
Start a Patreon
If you’re a creator of any sort, you may be able to earn side income while in college by starting a Patreon (or using any of the other similar online services).
Patreon is a marketplace for any type of creator, whether you’re a musician, a visual artist, a writer, a podcaster—you name it. If you have a decent fanbase, Patreon allows you to offer subscription services so you can offer special deals to your audience.
For example, if you’re a creative writer and have released short stories your fans enjoy, you can offer exclusive chapters, artwork of your characters, or audio recordings of your content to your Patreon subscribers.
Of course, you’ll need to build an audience before you can start earning money this way—but if you do find yourself with a creative following of any sort, don’t overlook this opportunity.
Dropshipping allows you to make money through e-commerce, without actually owning any inventory.
You’ll sell products on a website, but all of the manufacturing and shipping is done offsite by other companies. (You can easily find dropshipping services through a quick Google search).
The key to being a successful dropshipper is predicting what items will sell well. You need to be ahead of the curve, so using things like Google Trends or watching emerging trends on sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Reddit can help you spot products that might be popular soon.
On top of that, you’ll need to look for items that:
- Are readily available online at good wholesale prices
- Will interest a decent sized target market
- Aren’t too expensive to purchase and resell
- Aren’t too heavy or fragile (to make shipping easier)
- Aren’t perishable or likely to go out of fashion quickly
Once you’ve found an item, upload imagery and product details on your site, set up the dropshipping process with your suppliers, and market the product to your audience.
It can take time to get this off the ground, and you will likely have a few failed sales before you make a profit. But for those who have perseverance and like monitoring trends, dropshipping can be a good side hustle for college students.
Being a Virtual Assistant
A VA provides support to someone from the comfort of their home or their favorite coffee shop.
With this side hustle, college students can help other busy professionals with everything for social media marketing, running errands, responding to emails, getting organized, transcribing notes and calls… basically anything a professional needs but can’t do themselves for whatever reason.
To become a successful VA, you’ll need to get some practice. There are job boards and social media groups that help match VAs with potential clients, and these are also great places to start building your network and learning from those who are already using this side hustle to earn extra income.
You’ll stand to make more money as a VA if you offer specific skills. For example, if you’re good with graphic design, you can market yourself as a VA who can help with website updating or social media content creation. If you’re super organized, market yourself as someone who helps busy professionals save time and streamline processes.
With affiliate marketing, you’ll earn income by promoting other people’s products and services. But this is only a viable career plan if you yourself have a sizeable audience online. So if you haven’t done that yet, then these articles are a good place to start:
Once you’ve got a following, then it’s time to start looking for affiliate opportunities. Start with the brands and businesses you already use that are related to your audience—many of them may have existing affiliate programs you can tap into. If not, reach out directly and ask if they’d be open to a partnership.
Beyond that, look at what products and services other influencers in your niche are promoting, and see if any of them would be a good fit for your personal brand as well.
Get that bread
There you have it—optimize your extra time, cultivate your strengths, and learn new skills. Starting a side hustle in college can help you reach new goals and make money. And who knows? You may find your side hustle becomes your full-time gig!