Easy-to-Start Side Hustles for College Students

Living on a tight student budget can be quite challenging and students will typically get a part-time job to make some extra money. However, the earning potential is often lower compared to some side hustles for college students, which is why a lot more students are now focusing on these side gigs instead of just flipping burgers for minimum wages. 

Since 1970, the percentage of 16-to-24-year-old college students, who were employed, has grown consistently. The internet has made things a lot easier for students. They can now make a decent income without the work impacting their studies right from the comfort of their dorms. This wasn’t possible just as recently as a few decades ago. 

Are College Students Allowed to Do Side Hustles?

There is no outright restriction on college students as far as side hustles are concerned. Most colleges will typically not place any limitations on the type and duration of work that students can undertake. This may vary for foreign students who come to the United States on a student visa, so it’s best to check any conditions applied to your student visa to be sure of what you can and can’t do. 

Even though there are no restrictions on side hustles, students are responsible for ensuring that their studies aren’t impacted. They have to strike a delicate balance between their need to work and make an income with the responsibilities of pursuing studies full-time. It would be counterproductive if the student only focuses on the side job so much that they end up failing their course.

Why Should You Start Doing Side Hustles Even as a College Student?

College represents a major period of transition in your life. You’re on the precipice of adulthood and are gradually becoming cognizant of all the realities that come with it. You should start doing side hustles even as a college student because it sets you up for facing all the challenges and tribulations that adulthood brings.

Mentioned below are a few reasons why should students do side jobs while still in college:

  • Financial independence
    • When you feel financially independent for the first time, it’s a feeling you’ll never forget for the rest of your life. Not being reliant on anybody for your sustenance will provide you with confidence in your abilities to make a living and support yourself. You’ll realize your potential to make an independent income and utilize that confidence to achieve bigger and better things in life.
  • Understanding responsibility
    • Whatever you decide to do, it’s going to require a certain level of responsibility from you. You’ll need to meet the expectations of consistency, hard work, and reliability that the people you work for or work with will have. This will teach you a valuable lesson about work that will pay dividends later in life.
  • Jumpstarts investing
    • Compounding long-term can deliver exceptional returns for your investments. Once you start making money, you’ll be in a good position to take advantage of this by starting your investment journey early. Time is on your side, utilize it. Plan for an investment horizon of three or four decades to extract the maximum benefit from compounding.
  • Fosters entrepreneurship
    • Working on side hustles as a college student will spark an interest in entrepreneurship. Once your skills develop, you’ll start to think of business ideas that enable you to achieve long-term success.
  • Improved lifestyle
    • The ability to earn income is going to have a positive impact on your lifestyle. You’ll have more disposable income to spend on new experiences. That will enable you to make the most of your college years.

25 Perfect Side Hustles for College Students

There’s no shortage of side hustles for college students. On the contrary, there are so many that you can do, that it’s common to find yourself in a bit of analysis paralysis. You may feel that you can do most of them effectively, but it’s important to remain focused and channel your energies to the side hustles that have the most potential for generating a decent income.

Following are 25 side hustle ideas that are perfect for college students:


You may already have done this side gig in high school and there’s no reason not to do it when you’re in college. Your prior experience will even be an asset as potential clients will know that you have a history of being responsible and have considerable experience in taking care of children. 

Most babysitters will typically charge by the hour, between $15 and $20. How much you make in a month depends on the number of hours you work. It’s easy to get started by contacting families you already know, applying for positions through online platforms and even promoting your service through local ads.

Data Entry

If you’re interested in freelance work that you can do at home, consider data entry. You’ll generally be tasked with uploading data like text, numbers, images, etc. on a computer. The job will require a stable internet connection and some computer skills. 

You can find data entry work through online freelancing platforms. Expect most jobs to pay by the hour, between $10 and$20, though some clients may also offer a fixed payment for freelance contracts.

Become an Affiliate Marketer

Brands are happy to pay a commission if you help them sell their products. You can create content that promotes products using affiliate links through blogs, social media platforms, short-form video, etc. The commission tends to be a percentage of the sales price so the more expensive the item you sell, the higher your commission. 

For example, Amazon provides a 6% commission if you sell its Kindle hardware. If the content you create helps sell $10,000 worth of Kindle products, your commission will be $600. It’s easy to get started as there’s usually no charge to sign up for an affiliate marketing program.

If you make at least $600 with affiliate marketing, you’ll receive a 1099. At that stage, it would be better to set up an LLC so you can write off the equipment and material expenses made to promote products for better financial efficiency.

Give Tours

If you’re in a town with a lot of history or one that sees a lot of tourists, you can create tours that help visitors experience the place through the eyes of a local. You could offer historical tours, food tastings, bar crawls, etc. The options are endless and so is the potential to grow through word of mouth. That’s because people who have a good experience on your tour are likely to recommend it to people they know.

What you charge will depend on the market you’re in and what the tour offers. It’s best to look at what the other tour operators are offering when pricing your services to remain competitive.

Test Websites

Organizations are willing to pay people to find bugs on their websites that could impact the user experience or potentially leave them vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. 

You can find jobs to test websites through online freelancing platforms. Your earning potential will be higher if you have specialized skills such as cybersecurity testing. Even if you don’t, it’s even possible to learn those skills online before taking on your first job.

Deliver Food

Food delivery is a pillar of the gig economy. You just need to sign up to major platforms like Uber Eats or Doordash to start making deliveries. It’s easy to get started, the process doesn’t take more than a few hours and there’s always demand on the platform. 

You will require a mode of transportation. Electric bikes are popular among college students as they’re more affordable and cheaper to operate compared to cars and motorcycles. 

Pet Sitting

If you already love being around pets, did you know that you can get paid for watching them? For example, you can take care of somebody’s dog at their home or take dogs out for a walk. Pet sitters typically charge an hourly rate and how much you make will depend on how many hours you work.

You can get started by advertising your pet-sitting services online. If you’ve had pets yourself, the experience will give clients the confidence that they can trust you with their furry friends.

Get Hired as a Web Developer

A web developer creates websites for clients. This does require you to have the necessary skills and experience but the earning potential can be quite significant. You can look for web development jobs on freelancing platforms and can also advertise your services online. 

You’ll receive a 1099 if your web development side gig makes at least $600. Take advantage of the tax benefits that an LLC offers because once you incorporate your side hustle, you can write off expenses incurred for operating the business.

Become a Freelancer

As a freelancer, you can take on a wide variety of work as long as you have the relevant skills. For example, you can be a freelance video editor, scriptwriter, voiceover artist, etc. There’s plenty of work to be found through online platforms. 

Most freelance work is paid hourly. Your rate will vary depending on your experience and skill set. Even if you start from scratch, once you do it for long enough, you can gradually increase your rates.

Apply as a Social Media Manager

Brands and businesses require social media managers to look after their online presence. The work can involve everything from responding to comments to posting new content. Once you’ve established a name for yourself as a great freelance social media manager, you can leverage that success into launching a social media marketing agency as well.

Start by taking part-time jobs through online freelancing platforms. It helps to be experienced and skillful. Part-time jobs are generally paid by the hour, $20 – $30 is the norm, but the range can vary based on different factors.

Become a Handyman or Handywoman

From simple household repairs to more complex jobs, most people require assistance for maintaining their living and workspaces. You can utilize the skills you already have or take vocational courses to learn these skills and offer your services as a handyman or handywoman.

For simple jobs, you can offer fixed pricing, and for more complex jobs, hourly rates. Start by promoting your services through local ads, flyers, and social media marketing.

Clean Houses and/or Offices

If you’re good at cleaning and enjoy doing it, you can help people with cleaning their homes and offices. There’s potential here to transform this from a side job into a full-fledged cleaning business.

House cleaners will typically charge $15 – $20 per hour and your earning potential will depend on the number of hours you work. You could offer more specialized services, such as carpet cleaning, to further increase earnings. 

If you make at least $600 from this side hustle, consider forming an LLC since you’ll get a 1099 and you’ll then be able to write off all the materials and expenses that you spend money on to run the business.

Sell Photos

Stock photos are used in everything from websites to brochures and magazines. If you’re an avid photographer, consider taking stock photos that you can sell on platforms such as Shutterstock. They will provide you with a commission on every sale made. 

You don’t need much more than a camera and decent photography skills to get started. Once you have built enough recognition, you can also set up your portfolio and offer photography services in addition to selling stock photos.

Teach Music or Sports Lessons

Among the side hustle ideas you can consider are lessons for sports or instruments that you’re skilled in. For example, if you’re a good guitarist, you can teach that. If you’re a good football player, you can coach other players. 

You can offer lessons at an hourly rate or a fixed price, it depends upon your market and how others are offering their services. It’s easy to get started as you basically need to promote your own experience in that field so that others know they can learn from it.

Offer Freelancing Writing

If you’re good at writing blogs, reports, website copy, social media posts, etc., you can offer freelance writing services. Businesses are increasingly utilizing freelance writers for their work and there are plenty of jobs available through online freelance work platforms.

Your skill set and experience will determine how much you make. Most jobs are typically paid an hourly rate, some may even have a per-word rate. For example, it’s common to make $100 – $200 per 1,000-word blog post.

Become a Virtual Assistant

As an online virtual assistant, you can help clients with a variety of tasks, such as answering emails, setting appointments, managing calendars, taking calls, etc. These jobs can also be found on freelancing platforms.

Virtual assistants are generally paid on an hourly basis, often it’s between $20 and $30 per hour. It’s possible to earn a higher rate based on your experience and with referrals, you can even grow your virtual assistant business.

Donate Plasma

This might sound like one of the more unconventional side hustle ideas, but if you qualify, you could generate a side income by donating plasma. Keep in mind that to be eligible for this, you must be in good physical health. 

This can be done a couple of times every month and the process only takes a few hours. Not only are you making money, but you’re also helping people since plasma can be difficult to come by and people with certain illnesses require it for their well-being.

Start a Blog

If you’re passionate about a particular topic, start a blog about it. For example, if you’re an avid hiker, you can start a blog about hiking and share relevant content. You’ll be able to generate income through ads, affiliate marketing, and brand partnerships. 

It usually takes a long time for a new blog to generate a decent income, but the potential here is endless. It’s possible to make over $10,000 per month from a successful blog.

Start a Vlog

This is a similar idea, just in video format. Create and share videos about the topics you’re passionate about to make money through ads, and affiliate and brand partnerships.

If this side hustle nets you at least $600, you’ll get a 1099 from the networks that you work with. It would be best to set up an LLC so that you can start writing off operational and equipment expenses.

Sell Online

There’s immense potential to sell products online or even flip used products through platforms like Facebook Marketplace and eBay. If you’ve got an eye to spot a good deal or a good flipping opportunity, you can generate a decent income through this idea.

You can start by hitting up garage sales or buying products at a discount and selling them at a premium online through these platforms. It’s entirely possible to make a couple of thousand dollars per month doing this.

Haul Junk

Some people just want to get rid of their old stuff but don’t want to go through the hassle. They’re willing to pay someone to take care of it for them. If you have a pickup truck or can rent one, offer junk hauling services. Promote your service locally and through online ads. 

People who want their junk removed will call you and pay you to handle it for them. Set your pricing based on how much it would cost you to drive to the pickup and dropoff location in addition to the labor cost for loading and unloading the junk.

Rent Out Your Car

Several online platforms enable you to rent out your car when you’re not using it. The benefit is that your car earns you money when it would otherwise be sitting unused. You can set your own rates for the rental and it will vary depending on the model and condition of your car. 

This also has the potential of becoming a long-term business. You can leverage the experience you gain from here to launch a car rental business in the future. If this hustle makes you at least $600, it would be beneficial to incorporate an LLC since you’ll receive a 1099 anyway. An LLC will make it possible for you to write off expenses incurred for running the business. 

Become a Tutor

Are you great at a particular subject? Use that skill and knowledge to help others. You could tutor other college or even high school students on the subjects that you’re good at. 

Set hourly rates for lessons and the more you work, the higher your earnings will be. Students are likely to recommend you to others if they’re happy with you, thus significantly increasing your earnings potential.

Sign Up as a Substitute Teacher

You can sign up to become a substitute teacher as long as you’re a high school graduate and can pass a background check. Register with your local school district and wait to receive a call on the days when they need a substitute. 

The pay tends to be decent and your time with students can include student-led activities, general education, etc. The average salary for a substitute teacher is $131 per day in the United States.

Get Hired as an Overnight Attendant

Overnight attendants are required by businesses such as group homes, nursing homes, hotels, etc. They need someone to attend to the phones and in the case of hotels, process check-ins and offer related services. 

Since the pace of the work usually tends to be slow in the late hours of the night, this also leaves you with time to study on the job, if you’re allowed. Most overnight attendants will be paid by the hour.

How to Start a Side Hustle as a College Student in 5 Steps?

You must take a methodological approach to starting a side hustle as a college student to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success. Here’s how to go about it.

1. Think and Decide on a Side Hustle Idea

Compare the various side hustle ideas to decide which one fits you best. Make an honest assessment of your skills and set your rates accordingly.

2. Create a Business Plan

The business plan is what will set you up for success. This document will outline your strategy for profitability and growth. It will also prove to be useful later if you expand the business and need to raise funds, as investors will typically ask for a business plan before even discussing any possible investment.

3. Consider Setting Up a Structure

You should consider setting up a formal business entity for your side job as that would streamline a lot of things and even save you money. For example, if you’re earning more than $600 from your side gig, you’ll get a 1099. 

If you run your side job through an LLC, you’ll have the opportunity to write off the expenses incurred. That’s a financially prudent way of running a business.

4. Determine Your Finances and Tax Obligations

If you need to raise funds for your side hustle, you can consider asking friends and family members for an investment. You can also consider applying for various youth grants and loans to get your idea off the ground.

Do remember that you’ll most likely need to pay taxes on your income, even if you’re doing freelance work. Figure out your tax obligations or better yet, work with a tax professional once you start making enough money so that you’re always in compliance with your obligations.

5. Obtain and Maintain Licences and Permits

You may be required to obtain some licenses and permits for some side hustles. The requirements vary so check with your state and local authorities. There’s usually some paperwork involved to obtain these licenses as well as a nominal fee.

Worry No More as doola Is Here!

A side hustle can be a good way to make some money in the short term and meet your expenses as a college student. Some of these side gigs can even be transformed into full-fledged businesses down the line. 

Regardless of whichever route you take, you’ll need accurate bookkeeping to make informed financial decisions. doola Bookkeeping will function as your dedicated bookkeeper, providing accurate income and expense tracking as well as stress-free management for the tax season.


What college side hustles pay the most money?

The college side hustles that pay the most money include food delivery, selling stock photos, and affiliate marketing, to name a few. Since these are flexible jobs, your earning potential also depends upon how many hours you spend working.

How can a student make money without any investment?

A student can make money without any investment by participating in side hustles that don’t require any money to begin. Examples of this would be babysitting or pet care.

What are the most flexible side jobs for college students?

Some of the most flexible side jobs for college students include freelance writing, affiliate marketing, blogging, flipping items online, giving tours, etc. These are all flexible jobs and students can choose the hours they want to work.

What is the fastest way to make money as a student?

The fastest way to make money as a student is to start a side job that doesn’t require much investment, or any investment at all so that their initial expense is very limited and they can quickly get started.

How to make $2,000 a month in a side hustle as a college student?

Many side hustles can help a college student make $2,000 per month. However, it may require persistence and dedication, particularly online side hustles like content creation

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