20 Best Side Hustles for College Students in 2023

Many college students desperately need extra money, but even part-time jobs have fixed schedules that may be incompatible with academic requirements. A side hustle can be the ideal solution.

Besides earning money, you’ll get real-life work experience and enrich your future resume. The best part? You can set your schedule, ensuring your work doesn’t distract you from your studies.

Online and Offline Side Hustles for College Students

These side hustles don’t require a significant time commitment, making them ideal for college students, even those attending full-time. You can set your own hours and match your work schedule to your academic needs.

1. Provide Tutoring Services

Tutoring is an excellent side hustle if you have the ability to explain complex concepts to peers or younger students and provide effective academic coaching. You can offer in-person classes or sign up at an online tutoring platform. Either way, you can set your hours and teach whenever it suits your schedule.

How to Get Started

Set your prices, spread the word around campus, and hand out flyers in your neighborhood. Additionally, you can join a platform like Preply to be a remote language tutor or teach English with VIPKid and earn up to $2,000+ a month.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can earn $10–$20/hour as a student tutor, but you can set your rates depending on your knowledge, specialization, and experience[1].

2. Help Students Prepare for SAT or ACT Exams

Although this side hustle falls under the tutoring category, it deserves its spot here because it requires extensive knowledge of standardized tests for college admissions. You’ve already passed your SAT or ACT exam, so you know what they entail. Turn that knowledge into a lucrative gig helping students prepare for the tests and enroll at desired universities.

How to Get Started

Spread the word about your SAT/ACT exam tutoring services on social media and in your neighborhood.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can earn $22/hour for SAT tutoring[2] and $27/hour for ACT tutoring[3].

3. Sell Stock Photos

If you have a knack for photography, you can turn your passion and skills into a side hustle that requires minimum effort. You can create and sell stock photos – licensed images for commercial purposes. That provides a passive income, making it ideal for college students.

How to Get Started

Create a portfolio and sell photos on Stocksy, Shutterstock, iStock by Getty Images, Dreamstime, Unsplash, Pexels, Bigstock, or Alamy. Do some research into the types of photos that sell best.

💵 Starting costs: $0–$2000 (depending on the photography equipment you have or need to buy).

💸 Earning potential: You can make an average of $0.02/stock photo/month. However, royalty-free sales typically range between $0.10–$200, while extended licenses can provide $25–$110. Stocksy provides the highest commissions for extended licenses – a whopping $8,100[4].

4. Flip Furniture

Flipping furniture doesn’t need to be time-consuming. You can look for and refurbish old pieces in your free time, so it doesn’t feel like a chore. You probably have the necessary tools at home.

How to Get Started

Get the necessary tools, including sandpaper, sander, paintbrushes, screwdrivers, furniture cleaners, coatings, and safety gear. After setting your budget, visit thrift shops, yard sales, flea markets, and charity stores to find pieces ready for a makeover, and sell used furniture online and locally after breathing new life into it.

💵 Starting costs: $0 or roughly $200–$500 (depending on the tools you have or need to buy).

💸 Earning potential: You can make $1,000+ a month with furniture flipping.

5. Become a Freelance Writer

If you have strong writing skills, a creative mind, and extensive knowledge of in-demand topics, you can be a freelance writer. You’ll provide marketing agencies, websites, and other companies with blog articles, in-depth guides, product tutorials or reviews, email newsletters, and social media content.

How to Get Started

Create an Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr account, craft an enticing bio with all your skills and expertise, and send pitches to potential clients. It helps to learn the basics (or a bit more) of SEO and be familiar with most word-processing software.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: Freelance writers in the US earn an average of $37/hour, but you can set your rates depending on the project[5]. Your earnings may be low when you start, but if you can deliver high-quality work in a popular niche, your earnings will rise fast.

6. Start a Blog

Blogging is among the best money-making hobbies, but monetizing your blog takes time and effort. You’ll see money within 6–12 months at best. Of course, it’s worth the wait since you can earn thousands of dollars if you consistently publish relevant, informative content, build a substantial audience, and add sponsored posts, ads, and affiliate links.

How to Get Started

Choose a niche, blogging platform, domain name (preferably matching your blog’s name), and hosting provider. Customize your blog with a theme, write high-quality content, promote it to get traffic, and monetize it to earn extra cash.

💵 Starting costs: You can create a blog for only $99[7].

💸 Earning potential: Monetizing your blog can make you as much as $45,000/year[6].

7. Start a Podcast

Being a podcast host is an excellent idea if you have good vocal skills, extensive knowledge of trending, educational, or entertaining topics and want to share insights with a like-minded community. Whether you start a video or audio podcast, you can quickly make extra money from ads, sponsorships, premium episodes, or donations.

How to Get Started

Choose your theme, format, and hosting platform. Once you get podcasting equipment (e.g., a soundboard, mixer, microphone, and headphones), find recording and editing software and create a unique intro and outro before recording episodes. Listen to the top podcasts in your chosen niche for inspiration.

💵 Starting costs: You’ll need $20–$100/month for hosting and $200–$400 for the equipment[9].

💸 Earning potential: You can make $500–$900/month as a podcast host[8].

8. Try Rideshare Driving

If you have a car and a good driving record, try rideshare driving – you won’t need to invest a dime. Uber and Lyft are the most popular options, perfect if you own a car and want to make extra cash as a college student.

How to Get Started

Sign up with the desired ridesharing service and ensure you meet the vehicle and driver requirements, including a driver’s license and driving experience. Set your hours to enjoy a flexible schedule.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can make $19.16/hour with Uber[10] and $21.96/hour as a Lyft driver[11].

9. Become a Delivery Driver

Delivering food, packages, groceries, or anything else can be a lucrative side hustle. You can be a delivery driver on weekends or whenever you can spare one or more hours. Like with ridesharing, you set your work hours and get instant cash. These pro tips for delivery drivers can help you earn more.

How to Get Started

Sign up as an Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Instacart driver, meet the requirements, choose a preferred transportation method (a car, scooter, or bicycle), and set your schedule.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can make $15–$20/hour as an Uber Eats driver[12].

10. Find Virtual Bookkeeping Jobs

Do you have numeracy and data entry skills, attention to detail, and experience preparing invoices, processing bill payments, creating balance sheets, and managing taxes? Then virtual bookkeeping might be your perfect side hustle. You can earn significant money by keeping and organizing financial records for individuals and small businesses.

How to Get Started

Brush up on your bookkeeping knowledge or enroll in an online accounting class. After learning to use accounting software like Quickbooks or FreshBooks, find jobs on freelance platforms or job-posting sites like Indeed.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can make $60–$100/hour as a virtual bookkeeper[13].

11. Provide Audio and Video Transcription Services

Transcribing video and audio files like interviews and conference meetings or adding captions and subtitles to videos is a lucrative side hustle for college students. You don’t need software or technical knowledge – only excellent listening and typing skills.

How to Get Started

Sign up on GoTranscript, Happy Scribe, CrowdSurf, CastingWords, Rev, or another transcription platform.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: Converting audio and video files into text can help you make $15–$75/hour of work[14].

12. Become a Freelance Translator

Translating books, marketing materials, subtitles, or other texts requires native-level language skills and more time and effort than transcription. That shouldn’t be a problem if you’re fluent in another language.

How to Get Started

Register on Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork, or another freelancing platform and offer translation services.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: Freelance translators in the US earn an average of $37/hour, but you can make $100+/hour or more if you set fixed prices for projects[15].

13. Try User Testing

Companies often pay people to test their websites, computer programs, and mobile apps. They ask them to look for bugs or other hiccups so they can weed them out and improve user experience. The best part is you don’t need to run tests – you only need to check the functionality and provide honest feedback.

How to Get Started

Sign up on UserTesting or Userfeel and earn extra cash as a contributor.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can make $4–$10/test and $30–$60/live interview on UserTesting[16].

14. Become a Social Media Influencer

Do you have a solid social media presence on Facebook or Instagram? Do you have thousands of followers? You can become an influencer, providing knowledge, expertise, and entertainment on products, services, travel destinations, or anything else. It comes down to building trust and relationships and advocating for specific brands, ultimately leading to sponsorship deals.

How to Get Started

Choose your niche, regularly post unique, engaging content, and promote brands you feel passionate about to attract sponsorship deals.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: Social media influencers in the US make an average of $2,500/month, but the income depends on the number of followers and sponsors[17].

15. Give Music Lessons

Do you play the guitar, piano, violin, or another instrument? You can give music lessons to anyone else eager to start playing or improve their skills with that musical instrument. What could be more fun?

How to Get Started

Hand out flyers around campus and your neighborhood, spread the word about your services on social media, and rely on word of mouth. You can also sign up on platforms like Outschool to give virtual classes.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can make as much as $130/hour teaching music on Outschool.

16. Take Notes for Other Students

This side hustle is among the most lucrative options. You already take notes in college, so why not sell them for extra cash? Besides helping classmates and younger students fill gaps in college education, you can assist students with disabilities. Your university might have a program for matching those students with note-takers, so be sure to ask around.

How to Get Started

You can sell notes directly to students or join note-selling sites like Studypool, OneClass, StudySoup, and Docmerit to share class and textbook notes, flashcards, study guides, and other learning materials.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can earn roughly $500–$5,000/course as a note-taker on digital learning marketplaces[18].

17. Become a Voice-Over Artist

Do you have a knack for voice acting or narration? Consider becoming a voice-over artist – recording your voice for commercials, audiobooks, educational or business videos, audio tour guides, and other media. You can also be a voice actor and create content for animated movies, TV shows, and video games.

How to Get Started

Practice reading aloud and get high-quality equipment, including a recording microphone, mic stand, preamplifier, headphones, shock mount, and recording and editing software. Once you develop a demo reel, upload it to online casting sites like Voices, Bodalgo, ACX, Backstage, and Voice123, or find clients on Upwork and Fiverr.

💵 Starting costs: $1,000 or more for quality equipment.

💸 Earning potential: Voice-over artists in the US earn an average of $39/hour of work, but you can make hundreds of dollars per hour once you become established[19].

18. Proofread and Edit Your Classmates’ Papers

Are you a perfectionist with an eye for detail? Are you your classmates’ go-to person for spelling, punctuation, and grammar checks? You can proofread and edit academic papers for a fee, from high school and college admission essays to theses, research papers, and other written work.

How to Get Started

Sign up on Scribendi, Scribbr, Gramlee, ProofreadingServices, or ProofreadingPal for guaranteed, high-paying work on a flexible schedule.

💵 Starting costs: $0.

💸 Earning potential: You can make $25–$45/hour on proofreading and editing websites, but you can set your rates for helping fellow students at your college[20].

19. Become a Dog Walker

Walking dogs as a side hustle is a perfect money-making opportunity for dog lovers. You can enjoy the company of many four-legged cuties while their owners are away or busy at work. It’s one of the best ways to earn extra cash with minimum effort.

How to Get Started

You can rely on word of mouth and set your rates for walking neighbors’ dogs. You can also register on Rover or Wag to provide walking or sitting services, drop-ins, overnight stays (boarding), training, or doggy daycare. Rover also offers services for cats.

💵 Starting costs: $0–$49.95 (Rover charges a $35 profile review fee, while Wag has a $49.95 application processing fee).

💸 Earning potential: You can make $500/month as a dog walker or $1,000/month dog-sitting.

20. Provide Lawn Care Services

Everyone likes a perfect lawn, but only some people enjoy mowing it. Some have a bad back, some are constantly busy, and others don’t like doing it. That’s where you come into play. You can provide lawn care services to neighbors and college friends, who will recommend you to others and get you more referrals. You can also provide yard work like raking leaves, mulching, and trimming trees.

How to Get Started

Get a quality lawn mower and tools for yard work (e.g., a rake, garden shears, hedge trimmer, and garden hoe) and offer your services to friends and neighbors.

💵 Starting costs: $80–$115 for a real lawn mower[22].

💸 Earning potential: You can make $20–$50/lawn, depending on the size[21].

Final Thoughts

These 20 side hustles for college students are only the tip of the iceberg. You can find many other gigs with flexible schedules to earn extra cash without compromising your studies or burning out.

Choose one that fits your skills and interests so you can genuinely enjoy it. Most importantly, take action. Mulling over the possibilities is exciting – primarily when you consider the cash – but you won’t see it rolling in if you don’t act and put your knowledge and skills to practice.


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