Memories of college include eating beef ramen noodles by the case in order to save a few bucks.
I was fortunate that the Army National Guard paid for most of my tuition plus my mall job of selling vitamins and protein powders at GNC helped with my bills.
Despite this I always felt broke.
Scratch that, I was broke!
I was always looking for ways to make extra money in college.
Oh how I wish articles like this existed back then!
Even if you have your finances carefully planned in advance, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself needing to earn extra money to get you through college.
I’m going to recommend some money making methods that are more entrepreneurial than job-related.
The problem with holding a job in college is that they typically pay no better than minimum wage, which forces you to work long hours that cut into your study time.
I’m also not going to recommend some of the standard make-money-in-college ideas, like filling out surveys, donating blood, or selling on eBay. Most of those efforts produce very limited income, and get old in a hurry.
Instead, I’m going to make recommendations that can play into your natural talents, provide you with a flexible schedule, and hold the potential to earn a lot more money than a minimum-wage job. And some of them even have the potential to grow into businesses that you can continue after graduation.
Good deal? Check these out…
Being a tutor can be especially lucrative in a college community. This is because you will be able to provide your services not only to college students, but also to local high school and elementary school students. In many markets you can learn at least $30 per hour.
Another advantage is that the subject areas you can cover are pretty broad. The greatest demand is usually for math and science, but you can also tutor in writing and reading, as well as history and soft sciences. If you’re bilingual, you may even be able to tutor in languages, or with English as a second language.
Tutors don’t typically require any kind of special education or licensing. You can market your services through the various departments around the campus, as well as local high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. A simple flyer showing your subject areas, geographic range and a personal description can do the job. You can also include your hourly fee, but that can work for or against you, depending on how competitive your fee is compared to what others are offering.
In addition to high pay, you can have control over your work schedule, as well as where it is you will commute to (services are generally provided at the student’s home, but you can also arrange to do it in school or at an agreed-upon neutral site). Still another advantage is that the work runs with the school year, so you’ll be free over summer vacation.
Tiffany Alexy of DivvyInvestments.com tutored while in college. In fact, she tutored two kids in Spanish and three brothers in Chinese! How much did she make? $15-$35 per hour. Not bad it all! It pays to use your skills (in this case, knowing multiple languages) to tutor others.
Pauline Paquin of ReachFinancialIndependence.com also tutored while in college, teaching Spanish and English and earned around $30 per hour. Pauline also put her musical abilities to good use and taught piano for $40 per hour. $40 per hour!
2. Bartending/Serving in a High End Restaurant or Club
You probably have a good idea as to what bartenders and servers do, so I won’t spend any time on that. However, the type of establishment you work in will have a huge impact on how much money you earn. High-end establishments typically come with much higher tip income, while those on the lower end could be no better than minimum wage.
Bartending and serving can also be a good way of blending your social life, at least if you work at establishments that your friends frequent. It also has the benefit of paying daily (or more likely, nightly), since most of your pay comes in cash tips.
The downside is that you may find yourself working when everyone else is out relaxing or playing. For example, dinner shifts tend to be the best for servers, and weekends are generally better paying for bartenders. The work can be tough, but you can probably make more money working two or three shifts per week than you could working for five days a week in a minimum-wage job.
Bartending may require that you complete a bartending course, though there generally are no formal requirements for a server.
As ordinary as this sounds, it can actually work quite well for college students. This is because babysitting often involves long periods of low- or no-activity, such as when the kids you are sitting are doing homework or have gone off the bed. The benefit is that this downtime will give you time to do your own homework. In can seem as if you’re getting paid to do your homework, which is no small advantage.
Pay is generally in the $10 and $12 an hour range, but you can get more for special occasions, and sometimes even collect tips over and above regular pay. And since babysitting gigs usually happen on an as-needed basis, you won’t have a grueling schedule to keep. That can make the work easy to blend with your school schedule.
4. Freelance Writing
There are tens of thousands of blogs and websites on the Internet, and many of them need content on a regular basis. If you like to write, have good writing skills, and have command of one or more topic areas, you can earn money writing articles on the web.
How much you can earn will depend upon how much time you put into the venture, as well as the types of sites that you write for. On the blogging side, you can earn anywhere from $30 to well over $100 per article. Business websites may pay even more, particularly for writing on technical topics or creating marketing copy.
You can sometimes find work writing for agencies, but the pay per article is much lower than the numbers quoted above. The best way to find clients, particularly those who pay a decent amount, is to approach those clients and websites directly. This will also provide you with the ability to choose the specific sites and topic areas that you want to write about.
5. Create Videos for YouTube
This can be excellent venture if you are creative and have a flair for capturing what’s unusual, interesting and fun. If you can, you may be able to create videos that can generate a steady flow of views, and earn advertising revenue as a result.
This isn’t anything like a job or even providing a service, but more like a business. You create videos, put them on YouTube, set them up with Google AdSense (much as you would with a blog), then earn income as people view your video, and click on the ads displayed.
Should your videos draw thousands of viewers, the income can be steady, providing you with a regular monthly income from the ads. This will require that you produce multiple videos, since some may be popular, while others may go nowhere. But if one or more of your videos goes viral and draws hundreds of thousands of views, ad revenue can be substantial.
The disadvantage is that you may need to produce several videos before you generate a steady income. You will also need to create fresh videos as existing ones fade. But an unexpected bonus is that success in this venture could translate into a profitable business both now and after graduation.
6. Do What You’re Good At
We’re talking mostly about the Internet here. College students are often more savvy in navigating and using the web than most of the rest of the population. For example, along the way you may have become quite accomplished in regard to social media, graphic design, creating websites, or creating videos. Any one of these skills could be sold to both businesses and individuals with the potential to produce a large income.
Pick your specialization, see what others are charging the same services, then set your fees a little bit lower. Many businesses and individuals are looking for someone to handle special projects for them, and being able to do that at a low fee can often get you business.
Once you get a few projects going, and you are getting repeat customers, you can look into increasing your fees. But your primary purpose at the beginning will be get some paying clients. This is another business venture that could mushroom into something more serious after graduation.
7. Becoming a Sports Referee
Virtually every community has a network of recreational athletic leagues, and they all need referees for their games. If you played any sports when you were growing up, you could be a referee for any of them at the local level. And since sports are seasonal, it will be to your advantage to be prepared to referee for sports that cover different seasons. For example, you might referee basketball in winter, baseball in spring and summer, and soccer or football in the fall. That will keep you busy year-round.
Referees are typically paid a flat fee per game. You might earn anywhere from $20-$50 to referee a single game. The lower age groups that play shorter games (maybe 40 to 60 minutes) will be on the lower end of the pay scale, while the higher earnings will come on longer and more competitive games played by older kids. It may even be possible to eventually work your way up to where you are refereeing for high school games at higher rates of pay.
Since so few people want to be referees in amateur sports leagues, there are usually plenty of openings. No formal qualifications are usually required, other than your own knowledge of- and experience with- the sport, though some leagues may require completion of a first aid course of some sort.
Once you sign up to be a referee in a league, you are added to the rotation. Games will be assigned based on your availability, and will generally take place on weekends. If you love a sport or two, becoming a referee is a way of turning your passion for it into a source of income.
8. Mow Lawns
If you’re in college and have access to a truck, a lawn mower, and an edger, make use of those tools and mow lawns!
This is a fantastic business for college students living in sunny areas where the grass grows quickly. And, because grass grows faster during the summertime than any other season, you’ll be able to run your yard maintenance business while you don’t have any classes.
At this job, you’re going to have to be fast and skilled. There is a lot of competition out there, so make sure you do a great job for your clients, be polite, and throw in some extras like weeding or blowing off the walkways.
You’re probably not going to need a business license for mowing lawns, but be sure to check with your local government to see if you do.
You might be able to get $100 per month for weekly service. Let’s say that you do. If you mow a residential lawn and it takes you an hour, that means you’re making $25 per hour – not including preparation or driving time. That’s not bad at all.
Try mowing lawns to make money in college. It’s worth giving it a shot.
Summertime is also a great season to do some housesitting for folks vacationing at the beach (or wherever else they are). There are a few reasons why people want someone to housesit. Let’s explore them.
First, many people want someone to watch their house because they actually want them to watch their pets! Many pets don’t go on vacation (like cats), so they’ll need their litter box cleaned, water dish filled, and food dish filled on a regular basis. Sometimes this means coming at least once per day.
Second, some people like the idea of having someone they trust monitor the house for security purposes. While they probably won’t expect you to bust out your ninja moves on intruders, they will expect you to call them, the police, or the fire department should something suspicious or dangerous happen.
Some homeowners simply want someone to take care of the pets and monitor the home. If they’re cool with it, you can even do some studying for classes while you’re housesitting.
This job probably won’t pay very well if you look at it from the perspective of an hourly rate, but remember, you’re probably not doing very much while you’re there anyway.
Let people know you’re available to housesit by posting about it on bulletin boards at community centers and tell your friends and family.
10. Be a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants help business owners get more stuff done. What makes a great virtual assistant? Here’s what you need to know.
Great virtual assistants are fantastic at organization. They live and breathe it every day. Just about aspect of their lives are organized, and believe it or not, many successful entrepreneurs need the help of virtual assistants to keep everything going in the right direction.
The tasks a virtual assistant might help with might include but aren’t limited to:
- Organizing a business owner’s calendar.
- Managing virtual employees or freelancers.
- Maintaining a business task list.
- Orchestrating speaking engagements, meetings, or events.
- Completing research on behalf of the business owner.
- Reminding the business owner of their schedule to keep them on task.
These are just some of the main ways a virtual assistant can help. But there are others.
Virtual assistants are often skilled writers, designers, or tech experts. Sometimes they help lend their skills to build something online for the business owner.
Truly, how you define yourself as a virtual assistant matters. Seek out your very best skills, advertise them, and see what happens.
Yes, you can make money blogging. If you would have asked me years ago if you could, I would have probably said no way. But today? Yeah, I would believe you.
That’s because I’ve found tremendous success with blogging. I believe you can make money blogging, and while it may take you several months or years to see results, it’s a fun and rewarding experience.
If you can write, and you’re passionate about a topic, you can blog. WordPress is a popular blogging platform you can use to create a free blog. If you want to host the website yourself, you’re probably going to have to pay a few bucks, but it’s worth it.
If you’re going to make money blogging, you have to have great content. Whatever you do, don’t write just for the sake of writing or earning money. Produce content that you can be proud of and will help other people.
It helps to get the advice of some other bloggers before you start. Study their tactics and discover what worked well for them. The most important tip I can give you is to never stop learning. Search engines are continually updating their search algorithms which in turn affects your website traffic. And, your website traffic affects your ability to earn money.
The other great thing about blogging? You can do it anytime, day or night. Many jobs require you to be at a certain place at a certain time. As a blogger, you can be anywhere there’s an internet connection and write anytime. It’s one of the most flexible jobs available.
So, if you aren’t pressed to make a lot of immediate income, and you like the idea of being free to work whenever it fits with your schedule, then blogging might be the ticket.
By the way, if you’re into finance and you want to blog about it, I encourage you to attend the Financial Blogger Conference. There, you’ll learn from top bloggers and financial experts about the topics that interest you. Why take the long road when you can attend a conference and learn from the best?
12. Drive for Uber
Have a nice car? Put it to good use and drive for Uber.
Uber is a company that connects riders with drivers – and drivers with riders! Uber allows riders to request a ride from their smartphone. That’s when you, the driver, gets a notification letting you know there’s someone that needs a ride.
You can track how much you earn as a driver through the Uber app, and best yet, you can set your own schedule. So, if you’re in college and meet Uber’s qualifications, this is a great opportunity for you.
You might also want to try driving for Lyft, a similar company.
Either way, you can make quite a bit of money as a driver for these services. Just make sure to check your local regulations to ensure you can operate as a driver in your area.
13. Become a Handyman
Are your friends always calling you up asking you how to fix this or that? Do you have more tools than your local hardware store? You just might be a handyman – why not put your skills to good use?
You can do all kinds of jobs as a handyman, including but not limited to: plumbing jobs, construction jobs, woodworking, and much more. Some of these jobs you might need to be licensed for, so be sure to check with your local government.
Just imagine the possibilities. You might have yourself two career paths to choose from by the time you’re done with college: to continue your handyman business or to follow the career related to your major. The choice will be yours! The more doors you have available to walk through in your career, the better.
14. Help Out at the College
Colleges love hiring students to do all kinds of tasks around campus. For example, you might help out with some of the janitorial duties or serve as a secretary or receptionist. You might enjoy overseeing a dormitory or providing security for the college. Make sure to ask your college about the opportunities that are available to you.
Professors also sometimes need help with some of the technical aspects of their jobs. Ask them to see if there’s anything they might need help with. You might help them with preparing slideshow presentations or creating homework documents.
The great thing about working at a college is that they understand you take classes and can’t be in two places at once. You might find the work programs are available after classes and/or on the weekends – exactly what you’re after!
Todd Tresidder of FinancialMentor.com worked a number of jobs for a university to help pay his living expenses. He cooked dinners for a fraternity, spent summertime digging steam trenches, and did other manual labor jobs and major maintenance projects. He used the cash to pay for his books and other expenses. He said working for the university was a fast way to make money because he could live for almost for free during the summer while housing prices were low.
Rachel of AdventuresinMobileHomes.com was hired by her school to take notes in class. These notes would then be repackaged and sold to students. What an excellent idea! Many students aren’t great notetakers, so why not see if your college would be interested in doing this for their students?
If you need to make money in college, don’t be so quick to take a minimum-wage job at a local big-box or fast food joint. Instead, think about what you can do – and what you like to do – and how you can turn that into an income source. That will enable you to both earn higher income, and have greater control of your time.