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Anyone in high school or college knows that your day doesn’t end after your last class. You have a few hours for dinner and other stuff, but then it’s back to the books. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to earn some spending money.
Summer jobs are great but it’s tough to earn enough money for the school year in 10-12 weeks. If you’re in college, and you don’t want to graduate with a mountain of debt, then finding a way to keep some money coming in during the school year is key.
The two big issues that make it hard to work during the school year, are the hours you’ll need to spend at the job, and getting to and from the job.
So here we’ve found some ways you can earn cash either online or right in your own neighborhood, spending the least amount of time as possible.
Take some short surveys between classes.
If you have an hour between classes, or thirty minutes before you’ll start homework, try kicking back on the couch and fill out a survey or two. It’s pretty mindless work. You’d register for free, then fill out a survey, and submit it. Done. Paid. Try making a routine of it around your classes. It won’t make you rich, but being able to earn money from your bedroom (or anywhere there’s wi-fi) can’t be beat.
Here are four of the popular ones:
In 2016 Inbox Dollars paid out over 50 million dollars to users. In fact, they pay you your first $5 just for signing up. The main way to earn through Inbox Dollars is to fill out surveys. But you can also play all sorts of games, like card games, word games, or strategy games and get paid while you play. Or if you use their toolbar for your searches you’ll earn money just for doing the normal searches you’d be doing anyway. Another way to earn through Inbox Dollars is by referring friends. For every friend you refer, you’ll earn 10% of what they earn.
Swagbucks is available to teens at least 13 and older. And like Inbox Dollars, there are several ways you can earn – take surveys, play games, do web searches etc. As you take surveys, you’ll earn Swagbucks which can then be redeemed for gift cards or PayPal deposits.
Paid Surveys at Home will pay you not only for taking surveys but also for watching movie trailers (really!) or for trying new products or participating in focus groups.
Really simple to sign up for and use, Survey Junkie has over 5 million users. For surveys you take, payments are made right to your Paypal account.
Sell Your Old Textbooks
If you have any old textbooks collecting dust you’d be surprised at the value they hold. Just enter the book’s ISBN number into Bookscouter. You’ll see immediately what you can be paid for it. It’ll be a fraction of what you may have paid new, but if they’ll never be used again you may as well earn something.
I had 3 IT related textbooks. I just entered their ISBN number and found they were worth $53.75! I printed a FREE shipping label from Bookscouter, put them all into the same box and mailed it off. Not bad for about 15 minutes of work.
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Did you think those foreign language classes were a waste? Think again.
Not only can you make some money for the foreign languages you took, but being able to include ‘translator’ of ‘transcriber’ on your business resume will instantly make you a more valuable job candidate.
You can choose to work only the jobs you want. You can work translating documents or transcribing. First, you’ll take a short test (don’t worry, there’s no studying) when you sign up, and then accept whatever jobs you want.
Or, if English is your first language, you can earn money by teaching other people English from the comfort of your home. With sites like Samespeak, you can be as young as 16. They don’t require prior experience other than your language training. You’d earn $10 for every 30-minute tutoring session. Not too shabby for not having to leave the house.
Pet Sitting or Dog Walking
Ok, so technically, you can’t do this from your dorm room. But you can make some contacts, maybe even within walking distance who’ll pay you $15-20 to stop by and give their dog a quick walk. Or what if those dog owners are going away for a few days? Boarding a dog in a kennel usually starts at about $40/day now. So a lot of people are happy to be able to leave their pet in his/her own home and pay you to stop in a few times. Cha-ching!
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Become a mystery shopper
Ok, so for this one you do have to leave the house, but if you have any stores close by, you could earn a nice steady paycheck by shopping. Yes, you heard me right.
A mystery shopper is when you’re paid to pose as a regular customer and shop at a certain business. Then after your visit to their business you provide simple feedback on it. You’d report on things like their customer service, or the overall appearance of the store. In return for your review, you’ll receive a fee. You may also be expected to make a purchase, but you’d be reimbursed for it.
Just beware of any companies that ask you to pay to sign up. Legitimate mystery shopping gigs should not be asking you to pay anything to sign up. One way you can make sure is to check on their site to see if they’re a member of the MSPA. This is the organization that regulates mystery shopping businesses.
Once you sign up, then look on their site for an available merchant to shop at. Just think – you could sign up for companies that you’d be going to anyway.
Here’s a list of reputable companies you can start with:
Write Articles that get published
If you’re a student, then researching and writing is something you’re pretty familiar with. And if you’re considering any kind of career in journalism, this would be a no-brainer. You’d be honing your craft while you get paid for it. You can be as young as 13 to write for certain magazines.
Who would you write for?
What do you read? Men’s or Woman’s Health magazine, Entrepreneur, Gaming magazine….see? There’s no limit to the number of clients you could send out feelers to. Just check to see if they have a”work with us” link on their home page.Wouldn’t it look great to see some major publications on your resume?
Reading and Editing
Is English your favorite subject? If it is, this could be right up your alley. Even if you’re still a teenager, there are companies that’ll hire you to do proofreading and editing. You can expect to earn an average of 35 cents per page, and if you read the average of 50 pages per hour, it’ll total about $17 per hour.
One site to check out is Proofread Anywhere where you can even take a free 7-day course.
Do you have a clear speaking voice? Lock yourself in the bathroom and create a voice sample. Sound good? Ok, now upload it to Voices.com and create a profile. There’s no age requirement for this site and believe it or not, you can make as much as $100 per job.
Take Your Talents Online
Upwork – As long as you’re at least 14, just sign up and create a profile describing your skills. Then bid for whatever jobs that fit your profile. Once you start getting a steady stream of work, you’ll make about $10 an hour – from your couch.
YouTube – If you’re into making videos, and can post some that have a wide-spread appeal, the sky is the limit with YouTube. I’ve seen everything from how-to’s about stair-building, to dating advice. To monetize your video, you’d choose to enable monetization and then sign up with Google AdSense. Then you’ll start earning depending on the number of views your page gets.
Fiverr – are you a whiz at graphic design, or can type at the speed of sound? Fiver is a site where you can advertise whatever expertise you have and have them act as the middleman. You just produce your work and have the customer deposit your pay into PayPal.
Sell Your Artwork
Whether your talent lies in duct tape wallets, hand-made jewelry, photography, knitting, woodwork or any number of genres, there’s probably a market for your creations. You could also market them at Amazon Handmade, or even create your own website and collect payments through PayPal.
Design Your Own T-Shirts and Drop-Ship Them
Have you ever thought of a great design or saying that you thought would make a great t-shirt? You don’t need to own a screen printer or even t-shirts. Just log in to Teespring, create your own custom design and have them shipped from Teespring right to your customer. You don’t have to package it or worry about shipping it. Have a great idea for a T-shirt? Put it on eBay, Etsy, Facebook or another platform and you’ll only lay out the money for shirts once you have a sale.
Study while you earn by Babysitting
If you’re lucky, you can get the kind of gig where parents go out for dinner for a few hours, and you sit on their couch studying while little Johnny sleeps. You’d be available for whatever comes up but in most cases can earn money while you study.
The average pay you can expect to earn is about $15-$20 per hour. If you can’t find any jobs through word of mouth, check either Sittercity or Care.com who each connect babysitters with paying customers. One unique thing about babysitting is, that once parents find someone who seems reliable, they’ll keep your number and you’ll have a semi-regular paying gig.
You won’t start pulling in big bucks from your blog next week, but if you’ve got something to say that other people would read, you can start monetizing the traffic coming to your blog.
Once you have a few thousand page views per month, you can sign up for Google Adsense. They’ll supply you with the code that you’ll place on your site and you’ll start earning depending on the traffic and the number of clicks. There are several other ways to earn from your blog too, like placing affiliate links, doing sponsored posts, and qualifying for even higher-paying ad networks.
If you’re willing to work at it, there’s no limit to the income potential of a blog. For a step by step tutorial on how you can setup your own blog in about 20 minutes click here.
Publish an Ebook
Is there a certain area you have knowledge in – or can do a bit of research on and bang out 30-50 pages on it?
One great way to establish a steady income is to self-publish short informational books using Kindle Direct Publishing.
You’d be surprised at how many people are searching for information on so many different subjects. Anything from Paleo recipes to How to Master Minecraft.
How much could you make?
Most eBooks on Amazon sell for between $2.99 and $9.99 and Amazon pays you a 70% royalty for eBooks priced within that range. With Amazon’s reach of hundreds of millions of customers, uploading your eBook is comparable to distributing a hardcopy book to numerous countries.
What’s great about publishing eBooks is the passive income they can produce. You don’t have to consistently update and maintain them. You do the work once, publish it and it’s available to an audience of millions 24/7/365.
How would you do it?
- You’d write the text of the book in your preferred word processor.
- You’d choose a cover. You can either pay someone on Fiver or 99 Designs to create a cover, or Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing has a wizard that walks you right through it, free of charge.
- You’d upload your book’s text and cover to Amazon, and tell them what you want to charge for it.
- That’s it! Now you’re a published author!
A lot of companies want to get feedback on their website. They want to know how user-friendly it is, and they’ll pay people to spend a little time and give their feedback.
You can sign up for free on Usertesting.com First you’ll answer a few questions and they’ll accept you into a certain program based on your answers. You can earn about $10-$15 for each test which would take you about 20 minutes.
Drive for Uber
If you have a dependable car and like to determine your own work hours, Uber can be a great way to earn some cash. You keep 80% of everything you earn and give Uber 20%. Uber doesn’t require you to drive all over the state either. You can decide what fares you accept.
There are a few regulations. You’ll need a valid, in-state driver’s license and a four-door car that seats a minimum of four passengers, not including you. Your car needs to be registered and insured in your state, and you’ll have to pass a background check. But you can easily make several hundred dollars per week.
If you’d like to apply to be an Uber driver, click here.
Hopefully, some of these ideas work for you. The main point is that it’s possible to bring in some income without exchanging lots of hours commuting or sitting at some job site. And once you get involved in earning money online you may recognize other opportunities.
And aside from the money, the entrepreneurial experience alone will be valuable. Marketing your own talents enables you to start drilling down and determine where your specific talents lie – maybe you’re creative, or you enjoy marketing a product. Or coming up with different selling angles. Identifying and then maintaining focus on your specific talents can make a huge difference in your career.
If you’ve tried any of these methods to bring in income let me know how it worked out for you down in the comments. Or if you’ve come across any other unique ways to earn money we’d love to hear about them!
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