While you’re in college, you may not have time to work a traditional full or part-time job, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options when it comes to earning money. Financing your own life as much as possible while earning your degree can reduce student debt in the future and help you develop good money management skills. These flexible side hustles are perfect for someone earning a degree in web design or a similar discipline, but if you have the tech skills, they could easily work for you, too.
All you’ll need to get started is a free afternoon to build a portfolio site; if you’re a complete beginner, don’t worry. You can spin your site to focus predominantly on skills and your work philosophy rather than showcasing a ton of real-world examples. You can also take on some unpaid jobs to work on and use them to boost your portfolio.
Popular Side Hustles – Logo Design
There are tons of small brands that need professional-looking logos but don’t have the budget to hire a graphic designer. You can create simple logos easily in Photoshop, Illustrator, or an online design platform like Canva. Research a bit about typography and color theory before getting started, then find a niche you enjoy. It is easier to find clients in today’s competitive marketplace by targeting a specific industry. Think small beauty salons in your area or up-and-coming artists.
You can also make pre-made logos and put them on Etsy; when someone places an order, you edit the template to match their business’s name and send the assets over. You can make a few different styles to appeal to different audiences; remember that good design is ultimately about giving the client what they want, not catering to your own preferences first.
The Best Side Hustles – Photo Editing
Handy with Photoshop? Sell preset packs or offer photo editing packages. You could do some wedding photo packages that cut the cost in half for newlyweds or create social media bundles and target aspiring influencers. Even charging $2 per photo for a set of $20 would earn you $40; the key is to focus on easy editing jobs like contrast and brightness, highlights and shadows, and levels. Applying filters and even creating personal presents could easily rake in several hundred dollars a month.
Start by taking some of your own pictures and using them as examples. Nothing is as powerful in photo editing as real before and after for clients to see. You can also edit some friends’ shots and ask them to promote your side-gig on their social media. Everything is digital these days, but word-of-mouth is still one the most trusted forms of advertising.
Actual Side Hustles – SEO Services
Search engine optimization is easy to learn, and even basic knowledge can help you improve the websites and social media pages of small businesses. They can’t afford a professional marketer, but they can pay you to run an SEO analysis and give them personalized feedback on improvements to boost their ranking. Start by reading Moz’s SEO Learning Center. Everything you need to get started is there; you can also boost your resume by earning free certification online.
If you’re in school for marketing or communications, make sure to mention that on your portfolio. Your academic background will give you a greater authority in the industry, even if you’re still only a student. If you’re interested in switching degrees, then consider how you’ll finance the change. Taking out a loan with a private lender can give you flexible rates and a much more affordable way to cover tuition.
Social Media Graphic Design
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are still heavy-hitters in the digital marketing world. Plenty of people need high-quality graphics to promote their brands and content, but they aren’t skilled at making them. That’s where you can come in. Offer custom Twitter banners for $5 or make Instagram graphics for $10 apiece. If they’re good enough, people will pay that and more. You’re also more likely to get recurring customers if you produce high-quality content because people want to keep a consistent theme on their pages.
If you’re in the gaming community, look into up-and-coming YouTubers and streamers who will want custom headings and assets commissioned for their Twitch page. A full brand design could run between $50 to $150 per job; if you took only once a week, you could make several hundred dollars for a few hours of work. Pre-made templates that you can easily edit and personalize are key here. They’ll make every job ten times easier and save you hours of repetitive work.
Instagram Caption Writer
Instagram has become the most profitable social media platform in the last several years, but that also creates a lot of noise for consumers to sift through. It’s difficult for many businesses to strike a balance between authenticity and salesy. They don’t want to be too casual and ultimately fail to attract customers, but they also don’t want to drive people away with generic promos. Good IG captions are easy to write once you get the hang of it. A typical format is as follows:
A question or introductory sentence that catches the eye. Aim for 120 characters as the platform allows 125 characters before inserting a “read more” option on viewers’ feeds.
A body of the text. It doesn’t have to be excessive, but it should be at least a paragraph. Break up hefty content with skimmable bullet points, and add personality with some emojis.
Sign off with a call-to-action prompting users to do something like leave a comment or click the link in the bio.
How Much Can I Earn from Side Hustles?
Most college students won’t earn a salary through their side-gigs, but they can earn anywhere between $250 to $1200 a month. Realistically, you’ll probably start off earning less than $300 unless you charge more for things like web design. Remember to balance price with profit; you don’t want to undercharge to get clients and wind up working for free or being extremely underpaid. You can also always check with your school for student job opportunities; many people partake in work-study programs designed to fit your schedule.