Regardless if you’ve spent this summer side-hustling for extra cash, building experience as an intern or traveling across the globe, the sunny season is gradually coming to a close. And if the waning days of summer mean back to school for you and your contingency, then those halcyon days of freedom (or making money) are numbered.
Instead of relying entirely on student loans, scholarships or funds saved by you or your family, there’s no reason you can’t earn some money on the side this autumn.
Side-hustling is great way to make it happen. Whether you’re already working a part-time gig or hope to find one that’ll help beef up your pocketbook, here’s how to get (and keep) work that you’ll be able to manage during those busy days of school.
1. Hone your time management
Easier said than done, I know. But if you want to study, keep side-hustling, and maintain some semblance of a social life, then you’ll need to optimize your use of the clock each day.
Wake up earlier
Many studies, including this one published in the Journal of General Psychology, point to a positive correlation between waking up early and increased productivity. At the very least, getting an earlier start to the day can’t hurt you (assuming you slept enough). Consider changing your sleeping habits if you want to continue side-hustling outside the classroom.
Make a to-do list
Or even better, try making an “already did” list. The main thing is to stay organized so that you know what you’ve got on the docket, as well as what you’ve already been able to finish.
Similar to waking up earlier, there’s some definite psychology at work when you create and knock out a checklist. Studies have shown dopamine spikes are associated with checking tasks off, and that even minor accomplishments help motivate us to tackle bigger ones.
Exercise for 15 to 30 minutes every day
You’ve heard it before, but exercise does wonders for not only our bodies, but our minds as well. It will also help you sleep, and you can mark it off your daily checklist, too. There are many types of body-weight routines at home if you don’t have time to hit the gym. Scheduling in light, daily exercise each day will help you in your quest to keep that side-hustle running.
2. Find a flexible gig
Side-hustling is all about making extra cash without sacrificing whatever else you’re focused on at the time (whether it be school or a full-time job). The biggest requirement for running yours successfully is flexibility. As a student, there are a variety of gigs that fit such a requirement:
Tutoring is the original student side hustle, and for good reason. It’s a solid way to make under-the-table money, it’s related to coursework you’re already familiar with and it’s insanely flexible.
There are a variety of ways to increase your chances of finding tutoring jobs, but the biggest one is to get online.
Even better, establish yourself on the internet with your own customized web domain. I’d recommend migrating it to WordPress if you’re new to the game, and then use it as a base where you highlight your certifications, areas of expertise, location, rates and more.
Look for your custom domain name now:
Freelancing isn’t just a viable source of income for students — it can be a good foot-in-the-door professionally as well. Getting a feel for freelance work early on will help you determine if you’d like to join the swelling ranks of American freelancers after graduating, or if a more traditional position is better suited to your personality.
There are platforms out there to help you find clients (I work for one, but to avoid sounding like a shill you can check my bio), and you can also try writing articles and pitching them to websites that pay you for your efforts. Setting up a blog with awesome content as your portfolio will help your chances of landing paid work as well.
Freelancing as a contractor is another option. Whether you’re working online as a proofreader, social media manager, or in some technical field, or looking for in-person contract jobs, there are opportunities all over. Personally I’ve found UpWork to be a nice platform to make connections, but they of course take a portion of your pay. Picking out an invoice template online and using your own paperwork to get paid is a better deal (but you’ll need to have a few clients first).
Working at your own school is actually great for side-hustling. It’s generally more flexible than a regular job, it could possibly get you cheaper tuition (or a variety of other school-related perks), and it’s a great way to make more social connections as well. Many universities and colleges provide a variety of interesting part-time gigs for students, they just need to be sought out!
3. Monetize your passion
Most people simply work to get paid. Pleasure and fulfillment are very secondary (or tertiary) when compared to making money, and that’s OK. But if you really want to make cash while simultaneously grinding away at classwork, the ideal scenario is doing something you enjoy.
There are more opportunities than ever to do just that (thanks to the internet).
Gamers get paid to livestream their sessions on Twitch.tv, niche bloggers make money running affiliate advertising on websites they own and care about, and some people even pull more cash live-streaming from their job than the actual job itself pays. Opportunities abound, and you’ll probably fail a time or two. But if you find something you love that can be done while living the student life (and actually pays you), you’re side-hustling like a pro.
Related: Envision the life you want to lead
Keep your side-hustling active
Soon it’ll be time to buy books (which aren’t cheap), pay tuition (which is expensive), and hunker down for a fall semester of classes and studying — a tiring prospect indeed. Going to school is definitely a huge investment, and most of us need money (and plenty of sleep) to make it through.
Even though the classroom can take a mental toll on the best of us, you should still have the energy for side-hustling if you manage your time well, find a suitable gig and derive joy from doing so. And who knows, your side-hustling could evolve into a profession later on in life, too. Being a student is a great time to find out.