As the Internet becomes more advanced, there are constantly new ways of making money online, even for students. No need for professional certificates or years of entry-level experience– there are easy ways to start making money out there.
In this post, I’ll show you 16 legit ways to make money online as a student. Some will produce results quickly, while others will require time and long-term effort. Check them all out below!
Do Online Surveys
Completing online surveys for money might sound too good to be true, but it’s an actual way to earn quick cash! Companies use surveys to look for user input and improve their products, and they pay you for your time.
There are two important things to note:
1) These surveys will probably ask some personal questions to better categorize you as a user. Don’t do the surveys if they ask for sensitive information.
2) It should be free for you to do the surveys– you should be the one getting paid.
With these things in mind, here are a few credible websites to find paid online surveys:
Many companies that are in development will ask real users to test their products before they officially launch, as this helps them find bugs and other problems before officially releasing them into the world.
Some tests will require more time for you to complete (anywhere from 30-90 minutes), while others can be as short as just a few minutes. Here are some popular testing sites:
Note that most testing websites pay through PayPal, so if you don’t have an account, consider making one (you must be 18 years old to use Paypal, so if you are a minor, you could ask a parent or another trusted adult to use theirs).
Become A Freelancer
To freelance essentially means to work individual jobs– often individual projects rather than a full job. Freelancing is a popular choice among younger adults, as it guarantees much more freedom and flexibility than the regular 9-5 desk job.
There are many freelance jobs out there, such as writing blog posts for others, copywriting for advertisers, transcribing audio recordings, designing logos, editing pictures, and more. There are many niche jobs that require specific skills.
Here are some websites you can hop on to advertise your skills and land your first freelancing job:
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Sell Old Clothes
If you’re like me, you might have a pile of clothing that you never seem to wear. Whether you’ve outgrown them or they’ve outgrown the fashion trends, it’s a good idea to try to donate or sell them.
Many thrift shops are always looking for secondhand clothing to buy and sell to people who need them for low prices. You can bring in your old clothes or send them to the shop, and make some money off of them!
Here are some of my favorite thrift shops you can sell your clothes to (the shops with asterisks are online thrift shops):
Sell Handmade Products
If you have a knack for arts and crafts, why not make a gig out of it? Trinkets and items like handmade jewelry, keychains, charms, and pins have large numbers of customers.
You can set up a store on Etsy, or create your own platform completely. Joining Etsy as a seller is free, but there are small fees for each product you list and every transaction you make.
Shopify is a popular service for making your own website; you can set up a personalized online store super quickly and sell items, track analytics, and more. Shopify is not free (the basic plan is $29 a month), but it’s one of the most powerful and intuitive platforms out there.
You can also create your own website (on Squarespace, WordPress, etc) and turn it into an online store, but it will take more effort and energy to make it perfect. I would warn against this option if you don’t have much experience with web design, website maintenance, etc.
Once you start your shop and drive enough traffic and customers, you’ll be able to sell your own products (physical or digital) and start making money. Driving traffic is much too complicated to explain in this section, but you can visit this post to learn how I drive traffic to my blog – the process is similar!
Sell Digital Products
You can sell digital products as easily (if not more easily) as physical products. They can be listed in the same places as mentioned before (Etsy, Shopify, even social media), and promoted in the same ways.
If you think you’d have fun creating and selling any of the following digital products, starting an online store might be for you. Some of these require skill and equipment to make (at least in a quality good enough for sale), while others simply require some time and interest:
- Commissioned drawings
- Commissioned logos/designs
- Planner designs
- Journal designs
- Website templates
- Notion templates
- Font packages
If you’re strong in a certain area of academics– like geometry, chemistry, writing essays, or doing the SAT– you could offer your tutoring services to other students or younger kids.
Many parents look for tutors for their children around the neighborhood or school, so if you’d like to tutor for some extra money, ask around! You could even advertise yourself and create a poster, asking parents to come to you.
You could also promote yourself on social media or online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. However, the most effective method might be word-of-mouth; simply start tutoring someone (maybe a younger cousin or a friend’s sibling), and if you do a good job, more customers will appear after hearing about you.
Online tutoring is easily achievable with Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or even Discord. Just make sure you are communicating with the student (and their parents, if necessary) and establishing rules about attendance/tardiness, etc.
Sell Your Notes
After each school year, you may be wondering: what do I do with my notes? Here’s an easy solution: sell them!
A prerequisite for this option is that your notes are comprehensive, neat, legible, and informational. If you can understand them but no one else can, they’re unlikely to be popular as a product.
If you believe your notes are up to par, you can consider selling them. I especially recommend this option for those who take online notes for the following two reasons:
- If you take notes in a notebook and end up selling the notebook, you’ll have no way to access your notes again if you ever need them.
- Digital notes are easy to export and upload online to sell and share.
On those notes, here are a few reliable places to sell your notes online (almost all of them have a fee of some sort, but some are cheaper than others):
Scholarships ask for your hard work and effort (and some research the find the perfect scholarship to enter!). There are many scholarships out there for all kinds of students; whether you’re a graduating high schooler or a college student, whether you’re STEM-inclined or artistic, there’s a scholarship for you.
If you’ve been admitted to college, don’t stop looking for scholarships! It’s a common myth that scholarship season is the same as college application season– scholarships are always in season.
You can search for scholarships at the following resources:
- Your school’s counselor or your own counselor
- This Scholarship Finder
- The reference section at your library
- Local businesses, organizations, and foundations
- Your employers
- Other schools and universities
It’s important to remember that scholarships are not guaranteed. But it never hurts to try, as they serve as a recognition of your abilities and efforts and, of course, might get you some money!
Transcription is a specific type of freelance work, but it’s one of the larger and easier job options, so I’ve created a separate section for it.
Transcription jobs are usually paid by the word or by the minute, and the rate often depends on the difficulty of the job and the formality of it. Some jobs also require captioning as a supplement, which means that you caption the transcribed text at the right time in the audio/video.
Here are a few sites where you can find online transcription work:
Start A Blog
Starting a blog is relatively simple and quick, but maintaining it and building it to be profitable is a long process. Unfortunately, bloggers don’t usually earn money just by writing posts; instead, they use the traffic they get to these posts to earn money through ads, affiliate marketing, and selling products.
If there’s something you’re passionate about and believe that you could create content based on it, blogging is a great choice. You can start a blog for less than $5 a month, and it could grow to make you over thousands of dollars a month.
I have a complete, step-by-step guide here: How to Start a Successful Blog; I recommend you to check it out and read it carefully if you’d like to learn how to start a profitable blog. I’ve included everything you need to know and do in the first 6 months of starting a blog to help you maximize success.
Start A YouTube Channel
The YouTube market is extremely competitive, but nothing’s stopping you from trying. There are so many options for you on YouTube, and you can start a channel about anything you want.
If you feel very knowledgeable in one area, you can create a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching others about it. Or you can be more personal on your channel and create videos that show all about your life.
YouTubers, like bloggers, earn money through ads, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and selling your own products. And the more subscribers you have, the easier it will be to earn money through these methods.
Here’s an important reminder: you do not need expensive equipment and perfect editing to become a successful YouTuber. You need creativity, honesty, passion, and effort. If you’re willing to put in the time to learn and produce good content, you’re already halfway there.
Start A Podcast
Earning money from a podcast is probably one of the hardest options from this post, even more so than from a YouTube channel since there is a smaller audience for podcasts. I would recommend this option only for those who 1) are passionate about podcasting or 2) already have an established presence on social media.
Again, podcasters earn money not just through talking. Instead, income comes from ads, sponsorships, and selling products; the more listeners you have, the more income you earn.
It’s relatively easy to start a podcast. There are some programs made just for podcasts, such as the ones below. All require you to record your audio with an external microphone except the first one:
- Anchor.fm by Spotify
Stream On Twitch
If you love to play video games, are relatively good at the games, and have a decent gaming and streaming setup, try becoming a Twitch streamer! Becoming popular on Twitch is difficult, but if you genuinely enjoy playing games, it can be a fun experience for you.
Twitch streamers make money not through the number of viewers (though a larger number helps), but rather through ads, paid subscriptions, donations, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing.
It can be a long time before you get a few viewers on your stream, much less income. So if you’d like to become a Twitch streamer, be super patient and persistent! And don’t be shy to promote yourself amongst your friends and on social media– we all have to start somewhere.
Sell Stock Photos
If you’re a good photographer with a passion for taking photos of anything and everything, you could sell the photos you take! This income cannot be guaranteed to be large or consistent, but it’s a fun and easy way to make extra money.
Before you try to sell your photos, make sure to check the requirements of your market. Some have very strict guidelines for the quality of your photo, while others don’t. Here are some places you can sell your photos online:
Become An Influencer
The title “influencer” is becoming more common. You could become an influencer on Instagram, on a YouTube channel, on a blog, through a small business… there are many options.
Being an influencer is just like starting your own business, except that you are your product. You have to choose the right niche, attract the right audience, and give the right content.
If you’d like to try your hand at becoming an influencer, start on Instagram. Choose your niche (popular ones include fashion, food, and lifestyle), post consistently, and be sure to give what your audience wants (whether it be advice or entertaining content).
If you are a student, you could focus completely on student lifestyle, and post about your study schedule, your daily schedule, your diet, your workout, your favorite campus spots, etc. Over time, those who are interested in your content will become potential customers, and you can earn money from companies whose target audience are the customers on your page.
As an influencer, you’ll need a strong mindset and a positive attitude, as well as the willingness to work hard and long without rewards. This may sound cliché, but as you gain more fans, you will gain haters too. If you’re serious about being an “influencer,” you will have to adjust your mindset to stay focused on what you’re doing.
This tip goes towards almost all the jobs and gigs listed in this post. If you really want to make money, be consistent, persistent, and don’t give up easily.
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