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In a 2022 Zapier survey of 2,032 US adults, it was found that side hustles are booming, with 36% of Gen Xers, 59% of Gen Zers, and 61% of millennials engaging in them. Gen Zers, in particular, rake in an average of $9,537 annually from their side gigs. For college students struggling with rising expenses, side hustles offer a viable solution to bolster their finances during their undergraduate years.

According to M’Chelle Ryan, director of Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK) Academy, the flexibility of freelancing is especially appealing to college students, as it allows control over hours, schedule, and skill sets. With students increasingly seeking higher-paying opportunities in the gig economy, side hustles have become a favored avenue for financial independence and exploration.
One of the most popular platforms for pursuing side hustles for college students is Fiverr International Ltd (NYSE:FVRR), especially for freelance writing. From crafting Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) product descriptions to ghostwriting memoirs, writers can capitalized on their talents to attract clients.

Rafael Meneses, for instance, surpassed his regular salary through Fiverr International Ltd (NYSE:FVRR) by offering unlimited revisions and refunds. There are also examples of individual who after incorporation of personal photos and descriptions into their profiles led to making $8,000 in one month alone.

It is worth highlighting that in February 2020, Fiverr International Ltd (NYSE:FVRR) celebrated a milestone, with freelancers collectively earning $1 billion since its inception. By the following year, this figure doubled to $2 billion, reflecting the platform’s growing significance amid pandemic uncertainties.

While Gen Xers have been popular for pursuing side hustles, the latest data from the Labor Department revealed a notable increase in Americans holding multiple jobs, reaching its highest level since the pandemic onset. In October, nearly 8.4 million individuals juggled two or more positions, constituting 5.2% of the workforce, a figure not seen since January 2020. The statistics delineate a disparity between genders, with 5.9% of women and 4.7% of men engaged in multiple employments.

Experts speculate on the driving forces behind this trend, attributing it to the economic repercussions of inflation and the anticipation of potential layoffs. Inflation, escalating at rates of 4.7% in 2021, 8% in 2022, and 3.5% in 2023, has strained budgets, particularly for those with lower incomes.

The shift towards remote work spurred by the pandemic has also played a key role in the proliferation of multiple-job holders. The flexibility and autonomy afforded by telecommuting have enabled employees to seamlessly accommodate additional employment opportunities. Elizabeth Renter, a data analyst at NerdWallet, highlights the impact of remote work in facilitating the uptake of second jobs, particularly among those with ‘remote’ occupations. This phenomenon confirms a broader return to pre-pandemic labor dynamics, marked by a resurgence in seasonal employment patterns and a growing reliance on remote work arrangements.

22 Best Online Side Hustles for College Students
A student concentrate on their laptop in the library, taking advantage of an educational program online.

Our Methodology

To list the best online side hustles for college students, we identified jobs which offered low barriers to entry, remote work flexibility and a high earning potential. We gauged the presence of these factors through Reddit threads and discussions about these jobs. Thus, consensus based approach was used to scoring each job out of a total of 30. The list is presented in ascending order.

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that uses a consensus approach to identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The website tracks the movement of corporate insiders and hedge funds. Our top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). So, if you are looking for the best stock picks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.

22. Participation in Online Surveys

IM Score: 7

Paid online surveys offer college students a convenient side hustle. You can earn up to $40 monthly with Survey Junkie, potentially making $365 to $1,825 annually with Swagbucks. Branded Surveys suggests honesty and consistent effort, with most surveys paying $1 to $3 each. While not a full-time income, it’s flexible and requires no financial investment. Owing to such low barriers to entry, it can also be of the best side hustles for high school students.

21. Microtasking

IM Score: 8

Micro jobs are brief, straightforward tasks that can be swiftly completed and typically offer compensation ranging from $3 to $100. These tasks entail no interviews, meetings, or fixed schedules, and can be carried out either online or in person. Websites like Amazon Mechanical Turk offer small tasks that can be completed for a small fee.

20. Copywriting

IM Score: 10

With the myriad of factors influencing copywriting rates, engaging in it as a side hustle through platforms such as Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK) can prove to be exceedingly lucrative. Copywriters command fees ranging from $50 to $10,000 per project, depending upon the expertise required, making it one of the high-paying side hustles for college students.

19. Virtual Assistant

IM Score: 11

When it comes to virtual assistants on Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK) in North America, those with over 1,000 hours and a 90% success rate usually earn varying rates depending on their skills. For instance, Administrative and Data Entry VAs typically earn between $12 to $20 or more per hour, while Marketing, Customer Service, and Accounting Support VAs can command rates ranging from $20 to $35 or higher per hour. Advanced roles like Executive Assistants or Consultants often earn even more, with hourly rates ranging from $38 to $50 or above.

18. Transcribing Audio

IM Score: 12

People proficient in typing can make a minimum of $20 per hour transcribing audio, potentially earning even more with specialized knowledge in legal or medical fields. Platforms such as TranscribeMe provide opportunities to monetize this skill, offering flexibility in the amount of work one takes on. Speakwrite compensates transcriptionists at rates ranging from $0.005 to $0.006 per post, with top performers making around $3,000 per month on average.

17. Data Entry

IM Score: 13

For college students, data entry offers the convenience of remote work, allowing students to balance academics and earning income. With basic computer skills, it’s easily accessible and doesn’t demand specialized knowledge or extensive training.

16. Social Media Management

IM Score: 14

The earning potential for social media management in the US varies widely but typically ranges from $15 to $50 per hour, depending on experience, expertise, and the scope of services offered. This side hustle is ideal for college students due to its flexibility, as it can be done remotely and around class schedules.

15. Online Tutoring

IM Score: 15

With the flexibility to create one’s schedule and operate from any internet-connected location, online tutoring accommodates diverse lifestyles and commitments. The demand for virtual tutoring continues to increase, presenting opportunities across various subjects and age groups. Hence, college students can tutor students in subjects they excel in through platforms like Tutor.com or Chegg Tutors.

14. Graphic Design

IM Score: 17

Graphic designers on Upwork Inc (NASDAQ:UPWK) charge rates averaging $25. Rates may vary based on expertise, experience, and reputation. Seasoned designers may charge more for faster, higher-value work.

13. Website Testing

IM Score: 18

Website testing in the US typically pays between $10 to $30 per hour. This side hustle offers valuable experience in user experience (UX) evaluation and software testing, relevant to various career paths for college students. Platforms like UserTesting and TestingTime are popular choices for hiring website testers.

12. Sell Handmade Items

IM Score: 19

Selling handmade items is one of the best side business for college students. It is, however, worth mentioning that the earning potential of this side hustle can vary largely based on factors like the type of items being sold, their quality, market demand, and pricing strategy. Selling handmade items is one of the best online side hustle for college students as it allows them to leverage their creative skills and work on their own schedule, making it compatible with their academic commitments. Platforms like Etsy and Shopify provide excellent opportunities for college students to pursue this hustle.
It is also one of the best side hustles for women over 50.

11. Dropshipping

IM Score: 20

A great side hustle like dropshipping offers a plethora of advantages, especially for those seeking low initial investment. With dropshipping, you can kickstart an e-commerce venture without the need to allocate funds for inventory. By capitalizing on platforms such as Ali Express and Spocket, you can curate products and establish your brand presence online. Researching top-selling items on Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) using tools like AMZ Insight or Jungle Scout enhances your chances of success.

10. Affiliate Marketing

IM Score: 21

Affiliate marketing, a high-paying side hustle, thrives on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. By showcasing favorite products, individuals can earn through affiliate links. Minimal investment of time and creativity is required, offering both flexibility and scalability. Partnerships with giants like Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) can generate passive income. Affiliates earn commissions, typically around 10% on a $100 product, potentially yielding $1000 from 100 sales.

9. Stock Photography

IM Score: 22

To secure high earnings in stock photography, photographers need to prioritize quality, cater to market demand, and make strategic investments. Creating top-notch images that resonate with popular themes can draw in more buyers. The success of photographers like Diana Mironenko, who earns as much as $700 per photo, confirms the importance of specializing in niche areas and maintaining consistent dedication.

8. App Development

IM Score: 23

App development is a great side hustle for tech-savvy college students due to its flexibility, high demand, and potential for passive income. With their expertise in coding and technology, students can create apps that solve real-world problems or cater to niche markets. The low barrier to entry in app development allows for minimal upfront costs, while the global reach of app stores offers unlimited earning potential. The average hourly rate for Mobile Applications is $50 in the US.

7. SEO Consulting

IM Score: 24

As one of the best remote side hustles for college students, SEO consulting capitalizes on key skills such as analytical thinking, technical proficiency, and strategic problem-solving. With businesses increasingly relying on online visibility, SEO consultants play a crucial role in optimizing websites for search engines, driving traffic, and improving rankings. The average hourly rate for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Consultant ranges from $36 to $44 with the average hourly pay of $39.

6. Online Course Creation

IM Score: 25

Creating online courses is an excellent side hustle for college students, particularly if they’re geniuses or experts in their field. Not only does it offer a flexible schedule to accommodate their academic commitments, but it also allows them to monetize their knowledge and skills. With the proliferation of e-learning platforms, there’s a vast audience hungry for specialized content. The average annual pay for an Online Course Creator in the United States is $82,499 a year.


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