College life isn’t easy—from juggling classes, homework, time with friends, and discovering who you are, there is very little time for much else. However, college is expensive, and most students need a job to help make ends meet. Working online can be daunting at first, so how do you even get started?
There are several ways on how to make money online for students, including:
- Selling art, products, or services
- Being a customer service rep
- Online tutoring
Depending on what your talent or passion is, there is most likely a way for you to make a profit by using the internet—but before even looking for jobs, it is important to have an idea of what job you are looking for. The internet is a big place, having a vague idea of what you are looking for can save you time and effort.
There are endless possibilities as regards how to make money online for students; the hardest part is finding what you are looking for. The internet is home to countless markets to choose from, with many options, so it can get overwhelming at times. Having a plan or at least a vague idea of what you are looking for will facilitate and speed up the process.
The first thing you should decide is whether you want to work for yourself or a company. Once you have determined this, next you have to choose what domain you want to work in. Anything you can think of doing as a way to make a profit online can probably be placed in one of the following categories:
- Working solo
- Working for a company remotely
- Non-traditional work
Working Solo: Be Your Own Boss!
One of the easiest ways to get started working online is just to begin your own “money machine.” There are several ways to do this, including:
- Selling your art as prints, t-shirts, stickers, or other paraphernalia. If you have the skill to create artistic works that can pique people’s interest, then it can be a great way to get started. Etsy, Redbubble, and similar stores offer an easy way to get started.
- Transcribing videos for companies like TranscribeMe. If you’ve got quick hands and a knack for being able to listen and type simultaneously, then you can make some good side money with this gig.
Work for Hire: Higher Paying Gigs
While working solo and being your own boss is great, one of the biggest downsides is the difficulty in getting to a place where you can actually make decent money. If you want an option with higher pay right off the bat, then your best option is to look into getting hired on to an existing company to work remotely.
Freelancing is growing in popularity, especially with sites like Fiverr and Upwork making it easy to set up your business profile. When you take work on as a freelancer, you know there is a guaranteed paycheck coming your way at the end.
That sounds daunting, but it can really be quite simple, and with a bit of work you can monetize most of the hobbies you may already have, like:
- Programming, especially software development
- Web design (this is a huge category!)
- Graphic design
- Brand building and recognition
- Social media management
Working as a freelancer is one of the best options for college students since most of these positions offer a flexible schedule which allows students to accommodate work into their hectic schedules.
Projects can vary in length from a few days to a few months and longer, giving you the flexibility to choose what’s best for you. Even better, you might find yourself being hired on permanently if you do a good enough job!
If neither of the first two options are your bag, then it might be time to look into something that’s a bit more “out there.” Options in this category are rarer and riskier, so be cautious when moving forward.
Options in this category include:
- Creating video content for a site or app like YouTube or TikTok. This one is more difficult, and it will take longer for it to pay out—you need to build an audience first. However, if you can create content around something you enjoy doing anyway, you have the possibility to grow that into a side income!
- Tutor fellow students online. Online companies like CourseHero make money by helping students, and you can sign on to become a tutor to be paid a small sum per answer you solve. They claim their top tutors earn $500 a week—not a bad side income!
- Get paid to write papers online. There are many differing opinions about this one. We aren’t here to discuss the ethics of the practice. However, the truth is there are several legitimate companies online who will pay you to write papers for other students. If you feel comfortable with that and you are a strong writer, this could be a great option.
No matter which category of the virtual business world you decide to join, it is important to make sure you are aware of all the risks and take the necessary protections to ensure your safety above all else. We’ll go into that more below.
Risks of Working Online
Just like everything that has to do with the internet, there is a risk of getting hacked or scammed by less than savory folk. There are several ways you protect yourself from getting scammed when you first start using the internet as a source of income:
- The first precaution is to make sure your computer’s antivirus software is up to date, and to practice good computer safety. This seems obvious, but it still needs to be said. Having your computer wrecked because you opened a job offer that seemed too good to be true will put a pretty quick end to your online career.
- Second, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Did someone just offer you a thousand bucks a month for 10 hours or work? Don’t get fooled. There are plenty of scams online looking to take advantage of desperate students and other online workers. If your gut is telling you no, don’t engage with an offer.
- Lastly, make sure what you’re doing is legal! This could mean many things depending on your field. Someone could commission you to reproduce a work of art that they don’t have the rights to, or ask you to re-write articles for their site from other online sources. Doublecheck before taking work that it is well within legal bounds.
Good Beginner Platforms
One of the key components to success in making money online is the platform that one is using. The platform not only determines your chances of getting scammed but can also give you the exposure necessary to make a profit.
For the solo flyers, eCommerce platforms are the best option for selling your work. Here are some of the top beginner-friendly platforms:
- Amazon: 39.99/month professional seller plan
- Facebook Marketplace: sell locally and avoid the cost and headache of shipping
- eBay: no setup or monthly fees
- Etsy: great platform for facilitating art sales
When it comes to the For-Hire platform, any general freelancer website can work as a good start. Here are some of the safest ones:
- Upwork: Well recognized, the largest freelancing site
- Fiverr: Another great option, more flexibility in what you can offer
- WeWorkRemotely: Not as big as the other two, but still has a sizeable client base
Finding a place for the non-traditional jobs depends entirely on which option you choose.
- YouTube or TikTok: best options for creating video content
- CourseHero: best option for being paid to tutor other students
Final Thoughts on How to Make Money Online for Students
We’ve outlined several great options on how to make money online for students, and it really just comes down to what your skills are, how much time you have, and where you can find your niche!