Earning

4 side hustles for college students: You can make $19, $40, or even $60 per hour

Take some time "and really think about the stuff that [you're] good at."

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These days, many young people pick up side hustles on top of their jobs or school work. Nearly half, 46%, of Gen Zers (born between 1997 and 1999) have a side hustle, according to an October 2020 LendingTree survey of 2,021 Americans.

Many Gen Zers are currently in college, and those without a hustle might be wondering how they, too, can pick one up. Luckily, there are plenty of side gigs that could fit into a schedule packed with coursework and other commitments.

Take some time "and really think about the stuff that [you're] good at," says Latasha Peterson, founder of the Arts and Budgets blog. Think about the things that people frequently ask you for help on "and then look at those avenues to make some extra money."

Here are four possible side hustles well suited to college kids.

Tutor in a subject matter you know well

If you're a couple of years into your major, you've probably accrued a great deal of knowledge. And you likely have some valuable experience from high school in taking standardized tests like the SATs or AP exams.

Consider offering your services as a tutor in subjects you know or test prep. "There are people who are going to need your expertise and that's something you can do on the weekends or after school," says Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and the Odd Jobs Newsletter.

Sign up to offer your expertise in a variety of subject matters on sites such as these:

Platforms may take a cut of your earnings. Wyzant, for example, takes a 25% fee from every class.

Offer freelance services

Take advantage of skills you're studying in school such as "graphic design, or writing, or maybe something like web development," says side hustle expert Daniella Flores. Offering those services as a freelancer could be a great side hustle.

There are many different platforms where you could create listings for your services, and take or decline gigs as your schedule allows. How much you ultimately make depends on your pricing, so do some research on sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Salary.com to see how much people in your field are getting paid.

  • GigSalad is a site for offering a wide array of skills, "whether it's photography, videography, graphic design, chef, fitness instructor," says Glantz. One photographer on the site is currently offering their services for $600 or more, depending on the event. The site charges a 5% or 2.5% fee for every payment, depending on vendor membership.
  • Creatively is a site for finding creative work like graphic design, fashion design, and editing. Log onto their jobs page to see what freelance gigs and paid internships are available.
  • Facebook groups specific to your skills could offer opportunities. Log onto Facebook and type in the kind of gig you're looking for, like "freelance writing" or "freelance graphic design." Then scroll through the various groups dedicated to that craft. "A lot of people will post certain gigs that are available or people that they're looking for to help them with a project," says Flores. One writing group recently posted a link to a list of writing gigs paying $250 to $375 each.
  • LinkedIn recently launched its own platform for service providers that allows those seeking help to type in the task they need help with and see a list of relevant experts. Log onto the site's service marketplace and follow prompts to create a service page featuring your skills. "There's just a larger pool of professionals looking to hire out independent contractors" on the site, says Flores, so more opportunities to find work.

Become a virtual assistant

If you're highly organized and enjoy taking care of logistics like scheduling, data entry, and email correspondence, consider offering your services as a virtual assistant. It's a "a great side hustle for college students to get started with because it's flexible," says Flores.

Offer your virtual assisting services on sites like Upwork or Fiverr, or look for virtual assistant gigs on sites like Freelancer.com or FlexJobs. Virtual assistants make an average of $19 per hour, according to Indeed.

Sell your old textbooks

At the end of the semester, when you've finished using your textbooks, consider selling them.

"Some schools have these buyback programs for their books," says Flores. You can also try selling to local bookstores or online. Try a site like BookFinder.com to compare buyback prices at various sites and find your best deal.

You won't make back 100% of what you spent originally, but students can "make a pretty decent amount of money" reselling their textbooks, says Peterson.

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