5 Best Side Hustles For College Students

 College students often pursue side hustles that offer opportunities similar to part-time jobs or internships. However, with a side hustle, students take the initiative to operate as external resources, freelancers, or small business owners, offering their skills and expertise to potential clients. This approach is ideal for entrepreneurial students seeking to focus on specific opportunities not typically available through traditional part-time roles or internships. Engaging in a side hustle requires additional effort to create opportunities, develop a compelling offering, and set appropriate pricing. When opting for a side hustle over a conventional job, college students should carefully consider their skills, interests, and priorities to find the best match for their individual needs and abilities. Here are 5 common priorities for pursuing a side hustle, along with ideas for students with various skills and interests to begin their entrepreneurial journey.  

1. Side Hustle Platform Work To Earn Extra Money

Maybe you don’t have a specific business idea or even think you’re entrepreneurial, but you really need to make some money. Since getting money in your pocket fast is the primary need, building a business might take too long. Focus on existing platforms for side hustlers that already have potential customers. General sites such as Task Rabbit, Fiverr, or Upwork allow you to create a profile around skills and expertise you have. You can also look at profiles with lots of reviews to see what backgrounds customers are hiring.

Think about skills and expertise related to your major — technical skills, such as accounting, graphic design, or statistics, or subject matter expertise, such as psychology or sociology training where you can help with customer demographic research. However, don’t limit yourself to your academic background. You might have natural skills, such as being bilingual, which can help you land translation work. Finally, you might have hobbies or interests that are marketable on some platforms – e.g., you’re good with dogs and landwalking gigs on Rover or good with kids and land babysitting gigs on Care. Keep in mind that profiles with reviews are the most desirable, so you’ll want to amass experience and those helpful reviews quickly (3 tips on getting experience before that first paying job).

2. Shift Work To Fit An Awkward Schedule

A side hustle also might be your best option if your schedule doesn’t work with standard business hours. Maybe you’re a student-athlete, and you need to fit work around classes, as well as practices and games. Or you are balancing school with a job, such as food service or retail, and you’re looking for a side hustle to give you some professional experience. General freelance sites named above can still help, and you’ll want to focus your profile tightly around the experience you’re trying to get.

You may have to be flexible about what jobs you’re willing to take since they must fit your specific hours. Babysitting, tutoring, hospitality, and administrative work can fit in nights and weekends. However, if you’re also trying to get substantive professional experience, focus on remote clients in different time zones that match the hours you can give. For example, if you’re interested in teaching but can only work at night, consider online tutoring in Asia, where your night hours are during their school days.

3. Project Work To Develop Special Skills

If you’re looking to get more skill-based experience, a side hustle that performs that skill for as many clients as you can land will enable you to develop a body of experience, generate a portfolio you can show to future employers (or clients if you stay in business for yourself) and experience different work environments to help you figure out what to do next in your career. List out all of your skills, even ones that are self-taught or came naturally — e.g., programming languages, administrative software (Microsoft Office, Google Docs), social media, or Internet research including AI. Your hobbies might also involve marketable skills — e.g., photography, video creation, podcasting, editing. Finally, there are general skills that many college students develop across majors — e.g., research (both primary and secondary), analysis, and organization.

Talk to your professors, who sometimes have side hustles as consultants and may know businesses looking for extra resources. Get to know the small- and mid-size businesses in your area, who might have needs but don’t have the bandwidth to run an official internship program. Let your parents’ friends and other adults know about your availability and an inventory of your special skills.

4. Supporting A Target Industry To Develop Special Expertise

Getting to know an industry is also useful, even if the day-to-day skills you use are not so challenging. For example, if you have an interest in the business of sports, getting to work with sports marketers, venues, equipment retailers, or community organizations that advance interest in the game are all good experiences, even if you end up doing clerical work, running errands, or simply shadowing. Pitch yourself as an extra set of hands to any and all of these places to try and develop a track record in this industry. You’ll develop a network of connections. You’ll see firsthand what types of roles are available — and you can then target more challenging ones when you have more experience. You’ll observe what your dream employers really need and want.

You can take this approach to explore other industries. Interested in healthcare? Pitch to a hospital, private medical practice, insurance firm, wellness business, or health food store. Interested in animals? Pitch to a veterinarian, pet store, pet boarding house, pet salon, or pet retailer. Brainstorming options for the different interests you have will help you expand your thinking and confidence.

5. Making Sales To Explore Entrepreneurship

Whatever area you decide to focus on for your college side hustle, landing projects, and clients will teach you about selling and entrepreneurship. You may fall in love with being an entrepreneur and decide to continue building your own business, rather than work for someone else. Or, you may love developing business but prefer to work with others or in a larger, already established organization, and your early track record is a great addition to your sales resume.

You also may realize you hate selling and/or entrepreneurship and revert back to a traditional job. Even so, your side hustle lessons on how to talk to different people, identify what they need, handle rejection, and make your offer will make you a more competitive candidate regardless of what you do next.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post