The following post is contributed by Martin of Studenomics, where he tries to make personal finance fun since you have enough to stress about. You can click here to check out the wide range of content on everything from student loans to getting paid to drink coffee.
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College is the best time to start a business,
and I want to show you how you can start making money as a student.
I started blogging in 2008 as a student because I was fed up with taking business courses without starting a business. I also didn’t want to be broke anymore.
Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to miss out on the fun or to miss out on the best years of your life. I want to show you how you can use side hustles to have the best life possible in your 20s. I want you to make some money while discovering your passions so that you don’t have to wait until you graduate from college to make some money.
Let’s look at why you should start a side hustle in college and what the best options are for you…
“I’ll look into that when I’m done school.”
I can’t believe how many young people brush off the idea of starting early in life. You don’t have to complete your degree to start making money. I spent my entire college run figuring out ways to make money because I didn’t want a boring corporate job. I knew that I wanted to travel and that I didn’t want to work for anybody else. I always knew that I liked having money to enjoy my life.
I firmly believe that college is the best time to start a side hustle and to test the waters with entrepreneurship.
On that note…
Why is college the best time to start a side hustle?
I urge all students that I know to start a business in college. There’s nothing worse than graduating with no job opportunities, no plan for making money, and no connections. That’s a recipe for a financial disaster. Your 40-year old self will hate you for messing up at a young age.
Why’s college the best time to start that business?
You have unlimited/more energy. I’m all for partying and I’m also about making money. Luckily, you can do both. I can tell you right now that trying to work after staying up late at 32 isn’t as easy as it was at 20.
You have nothing to lose. You’re already broke and you’re already desperate for money. You likely don’t have a family to worry about.
You have the time. Unless you’re studying to be a doctor and spend your weekends volunteering, chances are that you have plenty of spare time. Nobody’s telling you to fill up every second of the day. I’m just letting you know that dedicating a few hours to making money at 18 will go a long way.
Your side hustle can incorporate your fun. My buddy wanted to party so he became a DJ. I wanted more money for adventures so I started writing about money.
Your college years can set you up for the rest of your life. That side hustle can be your full-time job after graduating.
What should you look for in a side hustle?
Before you go selling essential oils to your relatives or starting a YouTube channel where you talk about how successful you are, I wanted to show you my criteria for a side hustle that’s worth your time.
This is what you should look for in a side hustle as you look for ways to bring in money:
There has to be a clear path to profit. How will you make money? How long will it take to make any money?
You don’t have to spend much money upfront to get started. I don’t want you spending $500 to join some system.
It can’t sound too good to be true. I’m all for taking risks and shooting for the stars, but it’s also important to know when you’re being scammed. If it sounds too good to be true, then it always is.
The time is flexible. Since you’re in school, it’s important to find an income source that can be flexible and you can do on your own time. I liked blogging/freelance writing because I could write whenever I had free time.
It’s important to find a side hustle that will help you make money with your limited time. Don’t worry, I won’t have you filling out surveys for hours to earn a few pennies. You won’t be shilling beauty products or other nonsense where you have to sell to your family.
What are classic side hustles that can be started in college?
Before we look at social media and new apps, let’s not ignore the common income streams that have been around for a while. There are certain side hustles that have been around for years and will continue to be around.
My buddy Bohdan made money every semester by simply being a tutor for a complicated freshman course. He understood the concepts of the course and figured out how to teach others to pass this class.
What are side hustles in college that are guaranteed to make money?
Tutoring. As mentioned above, your college will always need tutors.
Become a textbook broker. Buying textbooks from the official store is very expensive and rarely worth it. Selling them back to the school isn’t worth it either. This is where a textbook broker comes into play.
Clean/detail cars. A buddy started a detailing business where he detailed cars at a local golf course. He ended up turning this into a real business after college.
Anything on campus. There will always be money on campus from working as a DJ to trying to get on the paper.
Don’t sleep on the popular side hustle streams. One of my readers turned his tutoring side gig into an actual business when they graduated college which allowed them to avoid the corporate world.
What are other profitable side hustles you can start in college?
What are some unique side hustles that you can do in college in this new world?
1. Deliver food/alcohol/groceries.
These food delivery systems need workers desperately. A buddy of mine got into alcohol delivery over the first lockdown and he started making decent money. His base rate is okay but the tips can be generous. I spoke to another friend who started delivering groceries and he has been saving up for his next business venture.
I know that delivering items isn’t the most exciting side hustle, but it’s easy to get started, you get some exercise in, and you can make some money in tips.
If you live in a city, you can deliver by bike and use your weekends/evenings to bring in a few dollars.
2. Offer an experience on Airbnb.
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