When I was in college, the internet was still in its infancy (remember “telnet” and “gopher” anyone?) so most students went the traditional route of getting campus jobs or internships to make extra money. My summers were spent waitressing at a tourist resort and during the school year I babysat, worked for the sexual health resource clinic on campus, and I also got paid to do orientation performances for incoming freshmen.
The book, I Got Scammed So You Don’t Have To chronicles over 300 resources, ideas, and legitimate companies that hire at-home workers, based on my own experiences and background. Being the random-job seeker that I am, I was curious to see what is available specifically for today’s college student. I was overwhelmed with great ideas and suggestions from hundreds of people. While some of the standards are still there (tutoring, babysitting, etc) students today have a wide variety of options available to them.
On Campus Jobs
Permits may be required, and you might have a little bit of start-up capital, but these types of jobs are ideal if you want to stay close to campus:
Sell Italian ice or other pushcart items (Dennis Moore)
Sell Valentine Roses (Eli Duffy)
Sell customized clothes for fraternities and sororities (Eli Duffy)
Start a cleaning service (Lee Morris)
Get a job as an RA or an on-campus job (Alex Kaufman)
Photograph events, graduations, school plays, rehearsals (Alex Kaufman)
Mentoring incoming freshmen (Naresh Vissa )
Airbrushing for events (Airbrush Action)
Will Curran, offered that school competitions can fund business endeavors. Check out your student resource center for competitions, grants and other ways to get funding for your project, or just personally. CollegeNet allows students the ability to blog and win money.
Students are perfect for domestic jobs because of the flexible schedule. “Do everyone’s laundry. Or do errands like grocery shopping.” Alison Wahrburg offered. “I loved being able to do things for many people at once.”
Other ideas include:
Nannying, cleaning, and detailing cars (Jimmy Martin)
Manicures and nail art (Angela Bensinger)
Helping people move (John Greer)
DogWalking Rover.com (Kadee Gray)
Helping out fellow students
Students are busy people, and they need help organizing their lives and keeping up with their studies. When you excel in a subject, tutoring become a very viable option to make money. Beyond working on your own campus, you can get online tutoring gigs through: Chegg (formerly InstaEDU,) Varsity Tutors, Tutor Doctor, Sylvan, WyzAnt and Tutor.com. Other ideas to help your fellow student include:
Create a Typing Service (Aimee Elizabeth)
Be a Designated Driver (Lee Morris)
Lend out your car for cash Jimmy Martin
Sell your books directly to students (Sell Back Your Book)
Art modeling for classes (Jessica Williams)
Working in the Community
There are traditional jobs that allow for flexible hours perfect for the busy student:
“Little Leagues and Youth Soccer leagues are always looking for umpires or referees for the kids’ games.” (Lindy Schneider)
“Working as a bartender, server, and host” (John Greer)
“Teaching classes to senior centers on new technologies (Facebook, cell phone use, internet, etc)” (Lindy Schneider)
“Get a paid internship. Even if it’s not in your field, it will help you grow professionally.” (Kayleigh Irby)
“Demo specialist positions are great for college students. With their sporadic hours (and boundless energy), they make a great fit for demo-ing product at supermarkets and farmer’s markets.” Tasia Malakasis
I’ve long been a fan of Mystery Shopping as the ultimate random job, and Jordan Bowditch echoes the sentiment: “I was not aware of this kind of work when I was in school, but there really isn’t a better way to make some extra cash while in school due to the “sporadic” schedule.” He recommends ipoll.com, survey.com for surveys and The Source (formerly Trendsource/MSI) for Mystery Shopping. If you want more information, The Mystery Shopper Training Program is a comprehensive guide to help you get started with over 170 companies while avoiding scams.
Microgigs are becoming a popular way to earn extra money on your own time. While many are virtual gigs (writing resumes, helping with Facebook, websites, etc) some can be done in the real world like picking up drycleaning or watering plants. Popular sites include:
Fiverr (Joseph Few)
Zaarly (Bo Fishback)
Mechanical Turk (Jessica Williams)
Task Rabbit (Laurie Shaffer)
The Internet has made it possible for anyone to create a virtual store and earn extra income. Various sites exist for selling books, clothing, and crafts. Here are some popular suggestions:
Selling ebooks on Clickbank (Brad Hines)
Selling an online course through Udemy.com (Brad Hines)
Sell your old clothes through Poshmark or Threadflip (Alison Wahrburg)
(Ed note: ThreadFlip closed in 2016)
Spreadshirt.com allows for users to create and customized apparel online (Andy Clinkman)
Sell handmade items on Etsy.com (Angela Bensinger)
Find things on eBay, Craigslist and the classifieds to buy and flip for a higher price. (Brian Massie)
Start selling products with a drop shipper via ecommerce. (Jordan Foutz)
Sales with local businesses
If you have an entrepreneur mentality and like sales, there are many things you can do to earn extra money by pitching your services to local businesses. Options include:
Flyer canvassar (Lee Morris)
Social Media Marketing (Lee Morris)
Students can also be a “brand ambassador” for alcoholic beverage and other companies. Rasheda K. Williams worked for both Big Orange Productions and Productions Plus during her college years, and Ryan O’Connell began as a brand ambassador for a spring break company called Inertia Tours. Julia M. worked as a promoter for Diageo (they own brands such as Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Guinness Beer, and lots of others) and enjoyed the flexibility of being an independent contractor and setting her own hours.
Steve Siebold of www.howrichpeoplethinkbook.com, offers several suggestions for approaching small businesses:
- Offer to sell products and services on 100% commission
- Contact local dentists, doctors, accountants, lawyers, chiropractors and offer to help them bring in new clients and patients by booking them to deliver presentations to local businesses and community organizations.
- Offer to conduct customer service surveys for local restaurants and collect leads for new customers.
- Call the managers of clubs that require membership (country club, tennis club, chambers of commerce, civic clubs, etc.) and offer to call the members and thank them for their membership and possibly sell them an upgraded membership.
There are endless opportunities available to college students wanting to earn extra income. It’s just a matter of getting there and finding the right fit!
Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company. Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!