Professional Development Post

9 Ways for College Students to Earn Money Online

Anna Klawitter July 17, 2020

The “broke college student” stereotype is part of our culture. Between paying for books and classes, paying for your dorm, and spending all your time studying, as a college student, you may often find yourself strapped for cash. But, just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to be broke. 


There are many jobs that you can earn money as a student that go far beyond delivering pizza and working fast food. With some creativity and a little tool called the internet, it’s even possible to earn an income without having to leave your dorm room or apartment. Here are 9 ways you can make extra cash freelancing from anywhere!


Freelance Writing


If you want to work as a freelance writer, don’t worry about your credentials or experience. You may think that you need extensive credentials or years of experience to be a freelance writer, but all you really need is a passion for writing! If you love writing, it’s not hard to get started. Freelance writing is a flexible and great way to make money in college, and it's one of the easiest ways to start making extra money, especially if ideas come easily to you and you love writing.


There is a lot of freelance work online. You can sign up for sites like UpWork and Fiverr to get started and then once you’ve built your portfolio you can start finding freelance jobs on sites like Problogger and Freelance Writing Jobs. You can also submit your writing to any number of online writing and blog outlets as well as publications on Medium. If you end up getting published on one of those sites, you can add that to your portfolio to land even more freelance work! 


Personal Blogging


Blogging is a great side hustle because you can do it at your own pace anywhere you want. This isn't a quick and easy way to make money, but it is a way to build your own audience and write on topics you're interested in. The key to making money as a blogger is to write content that provides value to your readers. For example, don't just write about your experiences, also include what you learned from that experience and how it can benefit others.


Once you’re ready to start your blog, the next step is to choose a host for your website. HostGator and Bluehost are both popular options for beginner bloggers.


Check out this guide on how to start earning money through affiliate marketing and links.


It does take time to build up an audience to make a decent amount of money, but once you have a large following, you could earn over $15,000 per month or more!


Graphic designer


If you're an artist and have a knack for graphic design, you could do online design work for websites and businesses. This could be everything from creating small graphics for advertisements to full site redesigns.


If you don’t have the necessary skills but graphic design still interests you, sign up for free Graphic Design Basics courses on Skillshare. 


To help you get started earning money, you can enter design competitions on this site and if you're selected as the winner, you get paid.


You can also reach out to small businesses in your area. Let them know what services you offer (business cards, branding, flyer design, etc.) and how you can help them increase brand awareness. Show samples of your work.  Many bloggers use freelance designers for Pinterest image creation and other social media images. Email your favorites or any friends who blog and see if they could use your new skills.




Proofreading is a fairly simple job if you have an eye for spotting grammar and punctuation mistakes. It’s one of the best online jobs for college students since you’re using your proofreading skills, checking for spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors in your classes anyway. It’s the final stage directly before a piece of content is published.


Interested? Check out Proofread Anywhere for some free seven-day courses on proofreading. Begin booking proofreading jobs by setting up a freelancer profile online.


Social media manager


If you’re already spending hours per week on social media, why not get paid for some of that time? Almost every business uses social media and many need help managing it.


This is why they hire independently contracted social media managers to help build brand awareness by curating content, building relationships with potential customers, and driving new leads. Your job is to be the online voice of the company.


Get started as a social media manager by approaching local businesses and telling them about your services. Reach out to businesses you already frequent including yoga studios, coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Focus on which social media platforms you’re most comfortable with, and talk about how you can use it to grow their business and reach new customers. Try building your own social media following so you can show businesses that you have the knowledge and experience to build theirs too. 


Virtual assistant


Virtual assistant services range from data entry and customer service to copywriting and email marketing. The amount you can charge as a virtual assistant depends on your skills and experience. Businesses hire virtual assistants to outsource tasks that don’t need to be done in-house.


If you’re interested in how to get started, check out this free course. Start working as a virtual assistant by compiling a list of services you can offer. Then create profiles on Zirtual and Virtual Assistant Network to start booking your first clients. 


Search engine evaluator


Google isn’t always perfect. That’s why it, and other search engines, rely on actual people to provide feedback on the relevance and usefulness of their results.


These types of online jobs for college students usually range between 10 and 30 hours per week and can easily work around a busy college schedule.


Find search engine evaluator jobs on sites like Lionbridge and Appen


Resume writer


You can learn how to create a killer resume by taking some free workshops.


This can turn into a lucrative side hustle if you take advantage of free resources to help build your skills, like this resume writing class on SkillShare.


The easiest way to start offering your resume writing services is through freelance sites like Upwork or Freelancer. You can even ask around in your friend circle and see who’s looking for a job or summer internship.


 Web developer


Regardless of your major, you can build up a side hustle as a web developer. If you have minimal skills, you can get started by taking The Complete Web Developer Course on Udemy.


This course will teach you everything you need to know to start booking clients and can pay for itself in as little as a week.  Of course, one class won’t make you a professional coder, but you will get an excellent foundation and the confidence to take on your first client. For new web developers, it’s best to start with smaller projects. Most of the work I did when I was learning web development was editing existing websites rather than building new ones.


The main things to learn are the most popular coding languages (and WordPress) and how they work together to form a website.


You can begin by bidding on projects on PeoplePerHour, Upwork, and Freelancer. Skilled web developers are always in high demand and can be extremely lucrative!


Earning money online doesn't have to be complicated or a chore. As a college student, you need that flexibility so you can work from anywhere and earn good money around your busy class schedule. Start by exploring your interests and skill sets, then do some research and determine a few options that you might enjoy. Interested in learning more tips and tricks about succeeding while in college? Check out the Meratas blog!

Topics: Professional Development


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