Is there any group of people more stereotypically in need of money than college students? The tough part is, college tuition is infamously on the rise with no signs of slowing down. This means that many students are in need of extra income to pay for tuition and living expenses while taking a full load of classes. Since going into a job isn’t always practical, lets look at some online jobs for college students.
What Kind Of Job Do You Want?
Our guess is, there are probably a couple of reasons you are looking for “online jobs for college students.” One could be that you don’t have reliable transportation or a way to get to work regularly. An online job would allow you to make money without having to commute. Some may be thinking that an online job is nice because you can work by yourself and don’t have to worry about dealing with customers and/or co-workers while slaving away as a waiter or cashier. For others, when you think online jobs you think about working for yourself with no “boss” to answer to. Maybe in the end it is all about flexibility and the feeling that nobody is looking over your shoulder. Perhaps you are hoping to find something with a flexible schedule, so you can work when you want. (If flexibility is the biggest reason for you, we’ll share why “selling stuff” is the best route to go!)
All of these are valid reasons, but it is important to point out that those thinking that an online job is away to escape dealing with other people isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, many of the online jobs for college students are very similar to jobs that you would find in a brick and mortar location, only you are based out of your house.
For instance, many companies are open to “telecommuting” (AKA working from home) as a customer service representative. Here are a few examples (based on availability):
Online Jobs For College Students In Customer Service
1-800 Flowers (in some states)
Teletech Customer Service
West At Home
In order to have a work from home customer service job, you typically need a dedicated land line and reliable home internet connection. While you don’t have to leave your house, it can still be a high stress and fast paced environment to work in. You need to be realistic about what you are getting yourself into, as this definitely isn’t “working for yourself” – you will have lots of responsibility.
How Much Will I Make?
Working a customer service job at home will pay similar to what you would make working in a call center or office. This means it could be in the $9 – $13 an hour range, as a general guideline. These positions tend to be high turnover, meaning people don’t stay on for too long as it is easy to get burnt out.
Beyond customer service for a large company, you can also find a number of “virtual assistant” jobs online. A virtual assistant generally just means someone who is a personal assistant, perhaps for a small business owner or entrepreneur, and you work from another location (like your house). Since most everything can be done online and over the phone, many people don’t need their assistant to be physically present.
One way to start looking for a job as a virtual assistant is to sign up as a freelancer on Elance, which is a site where people in need of finding freelancers can post opportunities. You can get started for free, and apply to a certain number of jobs. Some are ongoing jobs and others are just for a project. This could be helpful if you are merely looking for an online summer job until school starts back up. Elance could keep you busy for a couple of months on a project or two. Lets dig further into freelancing.
Online Jobs For College Students As A Freelancer
You’ve probably heard the term “freelancer” before, and this can really mean quite a few things. In general, a freelancer is someone who works for themselves – not really employed by one company. They do whatever it is they do on a project basis, or in short term gigs to make money.
This could include being a freelance translator, graphic designer, video editor, writer, assistant, and the list goes on and on. Pretty much, anything that can be done without being physically present can be done online as a freelancer. The aforementioned Elance is a great place to start looking for work in your desired area. Odesk is another site very similar to Elance, where you can look for freelance job opportunities.
This is a great way to find a job with little to no experience. No doubt, the person hiring will want to know your work history and you’ll have to demonstrate value, but you can make up for that by pricing your services a little lower than others bidding. As you start to get some positive reviews and a work history, you can raise your fees to reflect that. This is also a great opportunity to gain experience for your future career, to build a resume.
How Much Will I Make?
This really depends. The more in demand your particular skill is the more you will be able to make. For instance, a virtual assistant is more “replaceable” than someone who is really skilled at designing logos. This may not be completely fair, but working as an assistant would likely pay in the line of a customer service rep mentioned above.
Working as something like a designer would be more likely to pay by the project. Someone may look for a logo design and say they have a budget of $500. There is no set amount of time for you to create the logo, so that could represent only a few hours of your time in order to make $500.
So in short, the more unique your skill the more likely you are to make decent money as a freelancer.
Online Jobs For College Students That Aren’t Jobs
What? Jobs that aren’t jobs?
What is the point of having a job? As a student, why are you looking for something you can do online to make money? The key phrase: “To make money”
There are tons of ways to make money without having what you might call “a real job.” The power of the internet makes this more and more of a viable option, with seemingly new opportunities rising all the time. The first non-job to make money while in college is my favorite.
Sell Stuff Online
That is pretty wide open, right? Sell stuff online. Really?!
Yes, you can do this.
Selling stuff online is beautiful because you don’t have to be a “salesman” to do it. Really, you just need to be able to spot value and exploit it online. Here are some real examples of how I made money, in college, selling stuff online.
Everyone knows about eBay, and if you don’t it is basically the world’s largest online auction site. You can sell virtually anything on eBay and there are 2 basic categories of how to get your inventory to sell:
1. Find items from wholesale.
There are tons of wholesale suppliers out there, but it does take some experience to find them. Once you do the opportunity exists to list items and have them “dropshipped” where the wholesaler ships them on your behalf to the buyer, for an extra fee. There is a little more of an “art” to this process, so click here to learn more about finding wholesalers.
2. Sell random stuff
This is just a general category of things to sell. Personally, I lived in a small college town with a used shoe store that always had tons of hunting boots. Some were in really good shape, so I started searching eBay for certain models to find out what they were selling for. What I realized is there were a number of boots that I could get for $25 that sold for $75 on eBay. You can use eBay’s advanced search to look for only completed listings to see what things truly sell for.
Maybe it isn’t boots for you, but maybe you have an “in” on new or used equipment, electronics, etc. that would have a market on eBay. Generally since you are going to be shipping things, you don’t want to sell things that are too big. The shipping cost may make it cost prohibitive to a buyer, and cut into your profits.
I’ll be brief here, but see my insanely thorough guide to selling on Amazon here. Amazon is like the Walmart of the internet, they sell everything. The good news for you is that over 30% of the stuff sold on Amazon comes from people like you and me – not Amazon.
That means you can have access to their incredible reach, and sell your products via Amazon’s website. If you “google” just about any product, Amazon is almost always the first online retailer to pop-up in the search. People love buying from Amazon.
The cliff notes version of how you can capitalize on this is by selling “Fulfilled By Amazon” which means you ship stuff to Amazon, and then Amazon actually ships it to the customer when people buy it. There are many advantages to this, one is that it saves you a ton of time because you can ship everything you are selling just once and not worry about running to the post office every time you sell something.
You may be wondering what kinds of things you can sell FBA, and here is a short list of things that I have personally sold for a profit using this method:
- Pop Tarts
- Starbucks K-cups
- Foot Massagers
- Trader Joe’s Food Items
- Dog Treats
And the list goes on and on… As mentioned earlier, I go very much in depth on selling through Amazon here. I am a big believer that this makes for a great online job for college students.
If you are more of a creative or crafty person, then selling on Etsy may be for you. The goal of this site is to provide a forum for people who make things to be able to sell them while not paying outrageous fees. Generally, Etsy does have very conservative commissions allowing you to keep much of what you make.
Here are some great tips on how to get started selling on Etsy.
Of our list of places to sell stuff online to make money while in college, Craigslist is probably the easiest. That is because you don’t have to sign up for an account to post to their free classified list. There are also no fees you have to pay, so it can truly be tried for free.
We’ll assume you have an idea about what Craigslist is, and skip straight to how Craigslist fits into our online jobs for college students guide.
You can definitely sell things you have around your house or apartment on Craigslist, but there are a limited amount of things available this way. Another approach to take is to search on Craigslist’s free section, to find things that really have some value. You aren’t going to find things you can sell for hundreds of dollars each, but $15 here and $30 there can really add up.
There are apps available which can send Craigslist notifications to your phone, like when a new free item has been listed. It is important, because the decent free stuff will go fast. So get notified, and go pick that couch up!
After you’ve found a free item that isn’t complete junk, post it immediately for sale in the right category on Craigslist. Price it fairly cheap, so you don’t have to hang onto it for long. Once you’ve done this a few times, you may just get addicted!
A similar strategy that works even better is if you are a Mr. fix-it. You can find free things or things that need repair on Craigslist and refurbish them to sell. There are plenty of things that get put on Craigslist which may need just a minor repair, but rather than mess with it, the owner prefers to unload it. What a great opportunity to add some value and get paid for it.
Hopefully you’ve found this guide helpful. If anything, please realize that finding ways to make money online don’t have to include finding a “real” job. In fact, I would argue that selling things online through the various mediums mentioned above (and probably many more available) can make you more money and provide immensely more flexibility than working another job.