Top 8 Side Hustles for College Students in 2024: Earn Extra Cash and Build Valuable Skills

Whether you’re a college student or a recent graduate, it’s a good idea to start a side hustle.

A side hustle is a hobby project you pursue alongside your studies or primary job. Side hustles can help you develop your skills, network with other professionals, and generate extra income.

Simply put, you will get real-world experience once you start making money.

With experience, you will be able to find higher paying jobs in the future. Instead of wasting time, you can harness the power of the Internet to develop skills and make money.

So, what are the best online activities for college students? Let’s find out without any further delay.

Best Online Side Hustles for College Students

1. Freelance writer

Did you know that there are over 1.57 billion freelancers worldwide by 2023? The size of the worldwide freelance market is estimated to exceed $1.5 trillion, and expert freelance writers earn approximately $42,000 annually.

There is a huge need for freelancers (especially writers) for almost every online business.

So, if you have content writing skills, you can offer a wide range of writing services, like;

  • Blog writing
  • Creating marketing copy for businesses
  • Creating powerful copy for email newsletters
  • Landing pages
  • Essay writing and the list goes on

Here are some tips for making money freelance writing as a college student.

Pick a topic: As a freelance writer, don’t write content on everything in the world.

Specialization in a particular subject. If you have expertise in a specific topic you can charge more.

For example, if you are good at writing good content around “SEO,” you will be able to attract more paying clients than someone who writes on general topics.

So, choose a subject and find out in which subjects you have expertise. It is always better to choose a topic that interests you to make your writing attractive and informative.

Create a portfolio: You need to showcase samples of your writing as a freelance writer. Your portfolio is your best-selling tool, so make sure it’s well-written. You can include writing samples from your college courses, blog posts, or personal projects.

Start finding clients: Once you know what you’re interested in and have created a portfolio, it’s time to find clients. There are many ways to find freelance writing clients, including;

  • Search online job boards such as Problogger Jobs
  • Reach out to businesses directly
  • Ask your friends and family to refer your writing services
  • Or network with other writers on Facebook groups or LinkedIn

You can also use platforms like Upwork to find freelance writing gigs.

Most of all, be flexible with your hours. Why? As a college student, you may have a limited amount of time to provide freelance writing services. So, figure out when you will have free time to write and that you will be willing to work on evenings and weekends.

2. Try AI jobs

The AI market size is expected to reach approximately US$2 trillion by 2030.

Thanks to AI tools like ChatGPT, almost every business is now using some form of artificial intelligence.

ai market growth

So, how can you as a student use AI to find jobs and make money online?

Here are some proven ways to make money using artificial intelligence as a college student in 2024.

Build and Sell AI-Powered Products: There is a huge demand for AI products these days. Find a problem or need that requires a lot of time or effort for people to fulfill. Then, learn all the skills to develop an AI-powered product like a mobile app, web application or software tool.

You can also create and sell AI-powered chatbots, as most websites and businesses want to automate customer support.

Sell content: You can also create and sell AI-generated content, like blog posts, essays and e-books for students. Be sure to proofread and fact-check every content you create with an AI tool like ChatGPT, Bard, or Jasper.

Teach AI courses: Once you have enough expertise in AI, you can teach courses and sell membership sites to people who want to improve in AI. You can teach either online or in person. You can sell courses on multiple platforms, including Udemy, Coursera, Teachable, etc.

Become an AI Consultant: Many businesses are looking for AI consultants to help them implement AI solutions like customer support, email automation, product development, etc.

If you’re looking for more ideas for making money online, here are some of the best digital products to sell.

3. Become a virtual assistant

There are many businesses and full-time website owners who have always wanted to outsource some of their tasks to remote workers, like uploading blog posts, responding to emails, monitoring social media, etc.

So, if you’re looking for an easier way to earn side income as a student, offer VA services.

Here are some specific tasks that you can do as a virtual assistant;

  • Social media management tasks such as creating social media posts, engaging with followers, replying to comments, etc.
  • Help in research for content and case studies for bloggers or small business owners
  • SEO-related tasks such as keyword research, finding broken links, etc
  • Content creation, such as editing blog posts, videos, etc
  • Help with website design
  • Video and photo editing
  • Translation

Here are some tips to make money as a virtual assistant.

  • Build your network. This is the most important thing. You need to create a list of 20 to 30 people (or businesses) that you can help with your VA services. You can either use LinkedIn or platforms like Upwork to find potential clients.
  • Create an online presence. You should market yourself. Get in touch with other website owners. Use social media platforms to build and grow your brand.
  • Set your price. When you’re starting out, you’ll make less amount as a VA (between $3 to $5 an hour). But, if you’re good at managing more advanced tasks like customer service, email handling, WordPress management, etc. – you can charge $15 to $25 per hour. You can also research other VAs in your niche to see what they charge.
  • Learn the high-demand skills. SEO, web design, email outreach, etc., are always in demand. Once you master those skills, you can charge high prices as a VA.

Most of all, learn the art of upselling. Once you have customers, look for opportunities to upsell or cross-sell your services. For example, if you provide SEO services, you can upsell your clients on social media services or cross-sell them on freelance writing services.

4. Become a blogger

If you are a student and looking for a legitimate way to earn extra income online, start a blog.

Blogging is one of the proven ways to earn passive income. The best part? Blogging is a relatively low-cost and low-risk endeavor, and it can be a lot of fun.

Here are some of the benefits of starting a blog as a student.

  • It can help you build your writing, editing, and digital marketing skills
  • It can help you connect with other people who’ve similar skills
  • It can help you make money in many ways, such as advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, selling your own products, etc.

Want to start your own blog? 

There are many different platforms that you can use to create your blog. WordPress is a popular choice because it is easy to use, and there are many plugins and themes available for WordPress users.

You can read our free guide on how to start a blog to get more details.

You can use a popular web hosting provider like Hostinger to get a professional start at just $3/month.

If you are interested in starting a blog, here are some things you need to do:

  • Choose a niche: A niche is a small topic in a large market (for example, “fitness for students in school” is a niche for the main market “fitness”).  Choose a niche that you are interested in and that you have some knowledge about.
  • Create content: The most essential part of blogging is creating great content. Find relevant keywords for your niche using free tools like Ubersuggest,, etc. Make sure to write blog posts that are informative for your target audience.
  • Promote your blog: Promotion is extremely important to succeed in blogging. Once you have created some content, promote your blog as much as possible. Use your WhatsApp groups, Telegram groups, social media profiles, etc so more people can visit your site. 

5. Become a Tutor

Online tutoring is a great option if you’ve some skills to teach a specific subject.

There are basically two ways to make money as a tutor;

  • Starting your own independent tutoring business (through a website)
  • Using tutoring platforms

If you are a beginner without any online presence, visit the tuition platform where you need to register and submit your application. You may be required to provide information about your education, experience and qualifications. Once your account is approved, you can start offering tuition sessions to earn money.

Here are a few platforms you can use to make money as a tutor;

  • Skooli
  • TutorMe
  • Chegg
  • Brainfuse
  • GeeklyHub
  • Revolution Prep

Here are a few tips that you can use to make money as an online tutor;

  • Pick one specific topic. What you’re really good at? Are you good at programming? Teaching English? Or anything specific? There’s a demand for many subjects where you can earn money online as a tutor.
  • Be flexible with your tutoring services. Students worldwide may need your classes, so you need to be flexible with timings.
  • Try to teach high-demand subjects, such as maths, science, and English. These subjects are ALWAYS in demand around the world.
  • Try to specialize in tutoring, such as providing teaching classes for test preparation or English TOEFL tests.

6. Social media marketing  

Did you know that there are 4.8 billion social media users worldwide? That is, approximately 59.9% of the global population and 92.7% of all Internet users.

Most internet users are on at least one social media platform, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

That’s why businesses around the world spend billions of dollars on social media marketing every year. So, if you are looking for a sought-after side hustle as a college student, offer social media marketing services.

Here are some effective tips to make money as a social media marketer;

  • Offer social media services in ONE specific field. Don’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades in AI. It’s better to focus on a specific niche, such as website promotion, SEO, etc. You can easily attract more clients if you’re an expert in your field.
  • Networking is the key. Businesses don’t come to your college to hire you for social media tasks. You need to hustle. You need to network with other social media influencers. You can connect with other social media managers on LinkedIn or Facebook groups. 
  • Interaction is the key. No matter who you’re offering your social media service to, you should be interacting with your audience as much as they are interacting with you. Reply to their comments, like their replies, and try to build engagement.
  • Learn to track and analyze metrics. Almost all the social media platforms give you access to in-built analytics. So, use those analytics to your advantage. Do more of what works.

7. SEO jobs

There is huge demand for SEO.

The global market for SEO is estimated to be worth $68.1 billion in 2022, and is expected to reach more than $129.6 billion by 2030. (Source: Research and Markets)

Take a look at the following illustration to see average hourly rates in SEO;

seo hourly rate

Therefore, SEO can be a long-term career if you master it. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving a website’s ranking in search engines like Google.

Here are some SEO jobs you can consider to earn extra income as a college student.

  • Keyword research
  • Website audits
  • Link building
  • PPC advertising
  • Content creation and optimization

Here are some quick tips for getting started with SEO jobs as a college student.

  • Get certified: There are a ton of SEO certification programs available, such as the Google Search Console Certification, Moz Academy courses, and more. Getting some certificates is better as it’s the best way to show your skills to attract clients. 
  • Build your portfolio: Start by creating a portfolio of your SEO work. This could include things like keyword research reports, website audits, and link building campaigns. Try publishing guest posts on authority sites so you can attract high-paying clients.
  • Network with other SEOs: You can use LinkedIn groups to find and connect with other SEO professionals. You can also attend SEO meetups and conferences. Networking is the best way to find SEO job opportunities.
  • Show results: It’s better to build your own blog or website and drive traffic more traffic from search engines like Google. You can attract many potential clients if you already have proven results from SEO.

Most of all, start small. Don’t expect to attract high-paying SEO gigs right away. Start by offering your services to friends, family, and local businesses.

Once you have enough in your portfolio, you can offer your SEO services to bloggers, website owners, and marketing agencies.

Where to look for SEO jobs?

Some of the best ways to find SEO jobs are;

  • Start a website and offer SEO services
  • Use LinkedIn
  • Use platforms like Upwork or Freelancer

No matter what type of platform you use for hunting jobs, build a portfolio. Make sure to keep in touch with your clients regularly to discuss their marketing goals so you can work according to their needs. If you always over deliver, you’ll grow faster in the SEO industry.

8. Become a video editor

There are millions of YouTubers out there. Most people don’t like to edit their videos.

do you know why? This is a difficult task. Learning how to edit video effectively takes time and skill, and trying to do it yourself can be frustrating.

That’s why many online video creators hire other people to edit their videos.

If you have video editing skills, you can make money online in many ways in your spare time as a student, including;

  • Edit Wedding or Birthday Videos
  • Edit Home Videos for People
  • Edit Promotional Videos for Companies
  • Edit Videos for Full-Time YouTubers or Agencies

Here are a few tips if you want to start making money as a video editor.

  • Learn the basics of video editing. If you don’t have any editing skills, start learning the basics. Many online tutorials and resources can teach you the basics of video editing. 
  • Use a video editing software program. Many different video editing software programs are available, both free and paid (such as Filmora, Adobe, InVideo, etc). Choose a video editing software that is easy to use and offers plenty of features to edit videos.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try different editing techniques and see what works best for you. You can analyze other popular videos and learn from their editing style.
  •  Start a YouTube channel or website to showcase your video editing skills to attract potential clients. You can also use platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to find potential clients for freelance video editing.

The key here is to start learning video editing as soon as possible. Whether you’re looking for editing jobs or becoming a YouTuber, these skills will come in handy whenever you need them.

FAQs on College Side Hustles

Q: Which side hustle is best for students?

A: The “best” side hustle depends on your individual skills, interests, and time availability. While blogging offers diverse skill development like writing, networking, and SEO, it may not suit everyone. Consider exploring options that align with your strengths and passions.

Q: How can a college student earn a side income online?

A: Numerous online opportunities exist for college students to earn side income:

  • Freelance writing: Utilize writing skills to create content for websites, blogs, or marketing materials.
  • Social media management: Assist businesses with managing their social media presence, including content creation, scheduling, and engagement.
  • Graphic design: Design logos, illustrations, banners, or other visual elements for various clients.
  • Web development: Build and maintain websites for individuals or businesses, leveraging your coding knowledge.

Q: What are the top side hustles for passive income?

A: Several side hustles can generate passive income for students:

  • Selling handmade crafts: Create and sell unique crafts online or at local markets.
  • Promoting affiliate products: Earn commissions by recommending others’ products on your website or blog.
  • Starting an online store: Sell physical or digital products through an e-commerce platform.

Q: Is Upwork a legit site to earn money as a student?

A: Yes, Upwork is a legitimate platform for finding freelance work in various fields, including writing, design, and SEO. However, it’s crucial to carefully review project details and client feedback before accepting any gigs.

Q: Is blogging a good career for students?

A: While blogging doesn’t guarantee immediate career success, it offers numerous benefits for students:

  • Passive income potential: Build a successful blog and earn income through advertising, affiliate marketing, or selling products.
  • Skill development: Hone your writing, communication, marketing, and SEO skills, valuable assets for any career path.
  • Networking opportunities: Connect with other bloggers, industry professionals, and potential employers.

Remember: Choosing the right side hustle depends on your individual goals and circumstances. Explore different options, research thoroughly, and leverage your skills to create a successful side income while pursuing your academic goals.

Final thoughts on easy side hustles for college students

If you are a student, we highly recommend that you consider starting an extracurricular effort. It’s a great way to earn extra money, gain new skills, and build your personal brand.

In this post, we have mentioned only a few valid aspects, and there are many other ideas suitable for students. The best way to find the right side hustle for you is to think about your skills and interests.

So, what are your thoughts on the side movements listed here? have any questions? Tell us in the comments.

My name is Megha, A computer science student with a passion for digital marketing and SEO, enjoys helping beginners build impressive WordPress websites.

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