In college, there are plenty of time constraints that make it difficult to keep steady side work. Working a part time job is a start, but the best side hustles for students are the ones that accumulate as passive income streams. These side hustles will grow the more work you put into them, but they will continue to make money even when you are not actively working.
The side hustle suggestions here are just a start to the possibilities for passive income while in college. Flexibility is what makes these choices so great because you can work on them in your spare time, even if only for an hour here or there.
1. Start or Buy a Blog
We consume internet content as quickly as it can be created. There was once a time when people feared that the internet would reach a saturation point with bloggers because people are only able to consume so much material. Instead, we developed new ways to consume content faster and across more channels. Creating unique and engaging content is a skill that can net a sizable side hustle.
Writing a blog about your major or field of choice can also be used as a study tool, which means you’re getting twice the mileage for the efforts you put into it. Or, if you need an outlet for some personal ideas, then a blog is a perfect way to channel your energy since it can have any topic you’d like.
If you can’t bear the thought of writing one more essay a week, then you could choose to purchase a premade blog. A blog that is already populated with content can be immediately monetized and there’s much less pressure to add new material.
2. Sell Photography or Design T-shirts
Selling the rights to your photos is pretty easy these days. There are many websites with services where you can upload your images and allow people to purchase the rights to use them. There is a large demand for quality images online, both the “visionary artistic” types and the “boring stock photo” types.
Websites like Cafepress allow you to offer images that people can have screen printed on a wide variety of objects. By uploading your designs for sale, it’s almost like having your own complete screen printing workshop.
The more you spend time marketing your efforts, the better your sales will be, just like any other business or side hustle. But the flexibility in work hours can help you get your coursework done.
3. Make Youtube Videos
Youtube contributors can make money from the ad revenue their videos earn. This is a great side hustle for college students because all of the work needed to do a Youtube video can be done on the go, around other projects, or in odd blocks of time. However, producing a successful Youtube channel is no small task.
On the plus side, Youtube has a “creator” academy that helps people understand what it takes to make money with videos on the site. If you have opinions on current events, politics, fashion, celebrity gossip or really anything, you could make videos about that. You could review products like makeup, toys, movies, books, or video games. Anything you are interested in, from gardening, to robotics, to rock collecting, to mountain biking, can be talked about, demonstrated, or discussed.
Having a Youtube channel and starting a blog can go hand in hand, or you could do one or the other. When you put them together, you combine compelling and evergreen written content with engaging and timely video content to build the biggest and strongest community possible around your niche. A bigger following means more money and more opportunity for your side hustle as you become an influencer with options for affiliate marketing.
Freelancing is a great way for creative students and coders to find small projects or ongoing work using their skills. Writing marketing materials or blogs, designing brochures and websites, coding business blogs, or designing logos are all ways to complete work on a contract basis. This is also a great way to gain experience in your field and begin to develop your portfolio.
Freelance work is not a passive income stream, but you can often design passive income around the skills you use to freelance. If you design, can you create and package templates to upload and sell online? If you write, can you create an ebook to sell? Offering digital files online gives people the option to purchase them at any time, download them immediately, and use them with no additional work from you required.
5. Set up an Online Store
If you don’t have options for digital files to share online, you can create an online store in lots of different ways. Options range from an eBay-type shop where you have products in your possession and sell them online, shipping them from your house to the customer’s house; to complete drop ship operations where people order from your online storefront and the items are sent to them directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler.
Deciding which type of online store is right for you is largely a measure of how much time and money you have. You will make more money from any store where you have to put in more work, such as shipping items and managing the listings yourself. As a student, it’s much easier for time and space to get started with a drop shipping store, but you’ll make a smaller percentage of the profit.
Project CRediT sources data from Wealthy Genius including net worth, earnings, and various wealth statistics.