18 Best Side Hustle Ideas for Busy Students in 2021
Looking to make some extra money while studying? Here are 18 side hustle ideas that even the busiest students can take on in 2021 to earn a little something on the side. These ideas don't require much (or any) money and experience, which makes them perfect for students.
Video transcript: If the past six months have taught us anything, it's that a lot can change overnight. If you're a student and you’re watching this video, you're probably not in the situation you thought you would be a year ago. And maybe that's why you're looking for side hustle ideas.
It's always great to have another income stream, but especially now when the job market is really shaky, it's great to have a side hustle where you can learn new skills and put that on your resume to be competitive.
Plus, side hustles are just plain fun.
So I'm going to share 18 side hustle ideas that are perfect for students. I've chosen the side hustles on this list because they are low-capital, which is a fancy way of saying you don't need a lot of money to start. And they're also really easy to get started, you don't need to have an extensive work history to succeed at any of these.
Now, I'm going to go through this list fast. Let's get right into this list so you can get started on your next side hustle or five after this video is done.
1. Freelance Writer
The first side hustle idea is to be a freelance writer. Now, you might be thinking: I'm not gonna make a lot of money as a freelance writer. Listen, you're just starting out. This is not the time to be picky about how much your starting salary will be. This is the time to start making a name for yourself so that in a couple of years, you can charge whatever you want.
And here's a little tip: niche down.
Yeah, there are a lot of writers in this world. What topics are you really good at writing about? Are you funny? Are you really good at science stuff? Use that to help find your first clients 'cause they're looking exactly for you and not for a generalist.
2. Virtual Assistant
The second side hustle idea is to become a virtual assistant. In roles like this, you help someone else keep their life and their business organized. You may have to start earning a little bit less, but virtual assistants can earn up to $50.
However, some people decide that virtual assistant jobs don't really get them towards bigger ambitions in life, which is why the third side hustle idea might be better.
3. Host Online Airbnb Experiences
If you haven't heard of this idea before, it's to host online Airbnb experiences. Maybe you haven't checked out Airbnb in a while because you haven't been traveling. Understandable.
Airbnb has started this really cool feature where people can explore other parts of the world through online experiences.
These are tours, lectures, and classes that take place totally online.
And the people who host charge for them. One person hosted a tarot-reading class and made over $11,000 in two months. Another person hosted a pasta-making class and made $20,000 in a month. There is real money to be made here.
Once again, go to the platform, see what other people are doing, find your niche, and then market it hard. People are going to be searching different cities, but you also need to be proactive in getting people to try your experience.
4. Become a User Tester
The fourth side hustle idea is to become a user tester. Now, this doesn't involve selling your body to science. Instead, go to sites like usertesting.com, copytesting.com, and respondent.io and offer to try new apps and products and online websites and let companies know what you think of them.
These jobs don't pay super well. They pay about $10 per five to 25 minutes. But the last time I checked, $10 can get you a pretty good pizza. I didn't even know about this next side hustle until I started putting together this list.
5. Sell on Canva
The next side hustle is to sell your photos and illustrations to Canva. I've often talked about Canva because I love using Canva to create social media posts and banners for my dropshipping stores. I know that when I use Canva, there’s always this option to use photos and illustrations that have a licensing fee.
Well, it turns out that those photos and illustrations were submitted by Canva contributors who make anywhere from $70 to $700 per submission, depending on how many people use that photo or illustration.
So if graphic design or photography is your thing, log into Canva and become a contributor.
You have nothing to lose and potentially a lot of money to make. And one really good thing to mention is that you give Canva non-exclusive rights to the photos, meaning you can still sell those photos elsewhere.
6. Sell Canva Templates on Fiverr
Let's stick with Canva for this next side hustle idea. It is to sell Canva templates on Fiverr. Now, to really understand this, you have to be a Canva Pro member because once you’re a Canva Pro member, you'll see that there are lots of templates you can use for invitations and brochures that already look great and you can just adjust little details.
Well, it turns out you can actually design these templates yourself, sell them on Fiverr for anywhere from a couple of bucks to a couple of hundred bucks depending on how in-demand your design services are.
I had never even heard of that one. So this is one to jump on if you love this kind of graphic illustration stuff.
7. Start a Podcast
Another side hustle idea for you is to start a podcast. Now, this is not a side hustle where you're gonna start making money right away. In fact, you might have noticed that the jobs that are making money right away are usually jobs that don't pay really well.
The jobs that you have to invest in with time and energy upfront are the ones that you can scale.
Podcasting is one of them. Once you’ve built a popular podcast, people will start paying you for sponsorships. And that's when you can start scaling up to even some six-figure-per-month dollar amount.
8. Write an Ebook
Do you need another side hustle idea? Of course you do. You're watching a list of 18 side hustle ideas. You must be hungry for ideas here. This one is to write an ebook. I've actually done this one and I’ve had a fair bit of success with it.
The key to writing an ebook is to choose your category wisely.
If you just go in there, guns blazing, writing mystery thrillers, well, it's gonna be hard to stand out. Do some research, Google around. There are some great guides that help you get started with this. You will need to put in work first before you start seeing money. But again, you can scale the success.
9. Be a Brand Ambassador
If you do wanna start making money right away, try being a brand ambassador. That's our next side hustle idea, and maybe you've even seen these people on campus. Brand ambassadors are usually handing out samples, getting people excited about a brand.
Now, the pay isn't that great, but the hours are usually pretty flexible and you get on-the-ground marketing experience. Literally, nothing will teach you better sales skills than cold sales experience.
10. Offer Transcription Services
This next side hustle will get you around $30 an hour, which is actually pretty good. And even better, you can do it in your pajamas. It is transcription services.
What are transcription services? Well, any time someone creates a video or a podcast and they want all of that text in spoken form transcribed into written form, they hire a transcription service.
This isn't the most intellectually demanding work.
You're just gonna put on your headphones, listen to someone speaking, and write what you hear. Nonetheless, if you're trying to make a little extra cash, this is a great side hustle to get started with.
11. Write Resumes
This next side test idea is kind of ironic. If you're looking to make money on the side, write resumes. I know, I know. You should be writing your own resume so you can get hired and here you are getting paid to review other resumes. But actually, your impartiality helps. Resume writers on Upwork charge around $30 per resume and up, and so there’s serious cash to be had here.
To get good at resume writing, do your research.
And by that, I mean Google. There are tons of resources online that will teach you what makes a good resume. And once you study up on that, you'll be able to offer services, get great reviews, and charge more for your services.
12. Offer Moving Services
You're young, you're healthy. Why not try the next side hustle idea?
Offer moving services. Maybe it was kind of a bummer because you didn't get to move from your parents’ house to that college dorm this year. But that doesn't mean people aren't relocating all around the world.
In fact, as a lot of people start working from home, they're deciding not to live in that city apartment and to move elsewhere. This means there's a high demand for moving services. Rent a van, find some friends, put up a Facebook page, and start charging by the hour.
That's how many businesses get started and that's how this one will get started too.
13. Open a Dropshipping Store
We're more than halfway through our list of side hustle ideas, which means it's time for me to officially suggest that you consider starting a dropshipping store.
The reason I suggest this is because, well, I've talked to a lot of students who have made dropshipping fit with their schedules. Because they don't have to manage inventory as they build this online store, they don't have to take up room in their dorm room or their parents’ house.
With dropshipping, someone can start an online store and sell products that are sourced from elsewhere.
This means that when a customer makes a sale from your store, that supplier ships the product to your customer, not you. You have to be really good at marketing to make dropshipping work. But if you're up for that challenge, this is the kind of success you can scale.
If you're looking for more resources to get you started with dropshipping, head on over to Oberlo. We have every single thing under the sun that you could possibly need to get started, and our support team is fantastic. They work with dropshippers day in and day out, so ask them if you have any questions.
14. Sell Your Study Notes
Maybe you don't wanna start a side hustle, maybe you're really good at school. That can be a side hustle. Sell your study notes.
Platforms like Nexus Notes and Omega Notes make this possible. Now, both Nexus Notes and Omega Notes kind of take a cut of the study notes that you sell, but you can make around $15 per set of study notes, depending on the notes you’re taking classes for.
So if you love studying, you're super organized, and you wanna make some cash on the side, try this side hustle.
15. Become a TaskRabbit Tasker
Are you the kind of person who doesn't really know what they wanna do, they just wanna make money? Perfect. This next side hustle is to become a TaskRabbit tasker.
TaskRabbit is a platform through which people can ask people to just run random errands for them, and TaskRabbit taskers do just that. So if you have some spare time between classes, sign up for TaskRabbit, take a look at the errands people need you to run, and see if you can help someone out for a little spare change.
16. Become an Extra in a TV or Film Production
The next side house idea is super fun. It is to become an extra in a TV or film production. Now, to do this, you need to sign up with a casting agency.
That part is free, but you do need to upload a headshot and maybe a description.
When a movie or a TV program needs someone to come on and play “bored woman waiting in waiting room,” boom. It's your 15 minutes of fame. Don't expect to make much more than $100 per day with this kind of work, and the work is long and boring. But it is kind of glamorous to say that you got to be a waiting woman in a waiting room on television.
17. Flip Books
If you're a total bookworm and you wanna make an extra $100 a month, try flipping books. This involves going to second-hand bookstores and library sales and looking for those hidden gems among all the musky books.
But if that excites you, perfect. Because you can sell those books online at a higher price. This probably won't be your path to riches. However, it's a great way to take a passion that you might already have for books and literature and turn it into a lucrative side hustle.
18. Flip Vintage Clothes
And while we’re on the subject of flipping, try flipping vintage clothes. The same model applies here. Go to a vintage store, sift through all the racks to find those hidden gems. Once you find those gems, sell them online. You can use platforms like Shopify or Depop to do just that, and then advertise your cool clothes through influencer marketing or your own modeling and marketing on Instagram or TikTok.
Depending on how much effort you put into this, you could make a couple of extra $100 a month.
That wraps up this list of 18 side hustles for students. Now, what I ask of you is to let me know what I left off this list. Which side hustles have you tried? And which ones work and which ones don't? Until next time, happy hustling.