15 Ways College Students Can Earn Great Money Online in 2024 | AVOID This Common College Job

August 18, 2023

Ways college students can earn great money online are:

  • Start a lead generation agency
  • Sell products online
  • Start a blog
  • Do freelance writing gigs
  • Become a translator

The average working college student makes approximately $15/hour, or about $2,628/month, according to data from the online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter. If you are a college student that can bring in over this amount from your part time job while in university, you're earning great money! However, many college students are earning less, and do so while working in-person roles that require them to spend some of their precious time and money on transportation. 

Fortunately, in 2024, there many opportunities for college students to make great money online from home jobs. No, I'm not talking about taking paid surveys to earn some extra cash or gift cards on sites Survey Junkie or Inbox Dollars. Taking online surveys isn't going to make great money. I'm talking about real opportunities to make a legitimate online income while in college. Some of the opportunities I'll discuss below have even enabled college students to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars while studying full time in university

1. Start a lead generation agency

Lead generation is an online business model where you make money by connecting businesses with customers. This service is in high demand because many small businesses struggle to balance their marketing efforts while actually performing their service. In fact, a study published by the digital marketing platform APSIS found that 68% of businesses struggle with lead generation.

There are a few methods you can use to do lead generation online. For example, you can use paid advertising channels like Google Ads to target customers with ads for the business or you can help a business set up a referral marketing strategy to utilize the customers they already have to find new leads. However, college students are likely to find lead generation using local SEO to be the best option because it allows you to make passive income so you can earn great money online while still having time for studies. This local lead gen biz model entails targeting services in strategic locations and using local SEO to rank websites on Google. These websites capture potential customer leads that you can sell to a relevant business in those locations to perform the service for the customers. 

Fortunately, lead generation doesn’t require any formal certifications, you just need to learn some fairly simple digital marketing skills, such as setting up a website with WordPress. A college student can make an extra $1,000 a month by doing lead generation. This is a conservative amount you can make by just setting up one or two websites, considering that a local lead generation site can generate anywhere from $500 to $3,000/month. By setting up multiple lead generation websites, you can easily earn a 5 figure income each month while in college. The local lead generation business model is also highly flexible so you can work on it whenever you have spare time. 

2. Sell products online

The Ecommerce industry has exploded over the last few years, forecasted to reach $1.1 trillion in the United States alone by the end of 2023, according to Forbes. Therefore, it’s no surprise that there are many people out there making great money by selling products online, many of which are college students. Take for example Amazon YouTuber and creator of The FBA Roadmap course Warner Fields, who was able to generate $600K in revenue in just one year as a full-time college student by doing Amazon FBA

Ecommerce can be a great option for college students because it’s highly flexible and you can work as much or as little as you would like. You can also use a variety of different selling methods depending on your budget and preferences. These are some popular places you can sell products online to make money as a college student. 

  • Amazon - You can use a variety of business models on Amazon, like private label, wholesale, and retail arbitrage. When selling on Amazon, you can also take advantage of the Amazon FBA program and have Amazon store your products in the Amazon warehouse and ship your orders to customers. 
  • Shopify - Shopify is considered one of the best Ecommerce platforms for the dropshipping business model. Dropshipping is one of the lowest risk Ecommerce business models because you don’t buy any products upfront. You just market products through your own online store and then buy them from your supplier only once a customer has purchased the product from you. 
  • Facebook Marketplace - A shrewd college student can make a lot of money on the Facebook Marketplace by just by selling used products other college students have finished with, such as used college textbooks and furniture. Each semester there are old students moving out and new students moving in, so you can get a bargain on these used products and resell them to new students who need them and are looking for a cheaper option than they can find in the store.
  • Etsy - For college students who enjoy crafting, Etsy is an online marketplace for handcrafted goods. You can create your own craft business and sell items such as homemade candles, hand carved kitchen utensils, or personalized art pieces. 

3. Start a blog

Starting a blog requires little startup capital and you are free to publish content whenever you aren’t busy with your studies, so it’s a solid choice for college students looking to establish an online income stream. You can even create your blog around one of your favorite hobbies or even relate it to your field of study in school. There are quite a few ways you can make money from your blog, with the most popular being running AdSense ads and promoting products with affiliate marketing. These can potentially enable your blog to generate a substantial income online. 

However, you won’t make money right away from blogging. Instead, you’ll probably have to spend around 10 hours a week minimum working on your blog and may start to see some money coming within the first year. According to business journalist Janette Novak from Fit Small Business, first year bloggers typically earn between $200 to $2,500/month from their blog, but more established blogs can earn up to $15,000+/month! Therefore, although your blog may not make you great money right away, it can definitely make you great money if you put in the work. 

4. Do freelance writing gigs

If there’s one skill college students learn to master during their time in university, it’s writing. So, why not start getting paid for your writing skills? Writing can be tedious and time consuming work, which is why so many companies choose to outsource and compensate fairly well for it. According to Indeed, the average freelance writer makes approximately $22.71/hour in the United States. That means you could make nearly $2,000/month working just part time at around 20 hours a week. You can even choose freelance writing projects that are related to your major to earn a higher rate for your expertise or just learn new information within your field of study. For example, a Finance major could write for a financial blog like Nerd Wallet.

There are many places to find freelance writing jobs online, including websites like:

5. Become a translator

College students who grow up bi-lingual or who have put in the work to become proficient in a second language can make great money online by offering translation services. Translators make an average rate of $28.73/hour in the United States according to ZipRecruiter. Considering that only 20% of Americans can speak languages other than English, there is also certainly less competition for translation jobs than many other opportunities for college students to make money online. You don’t need any formal certifications or degrees to get freelance translation jobs online. However, if you want to legitimize yourself to improve your opportunities, you can obtain a certification from the American Translators Association for $525. 

Some websites you can use to find translation jobs online include:

6. Become a graphic designer

Those studying artistic disciplines or who just enjoy being visually creative are likely to find graphic design an enjoyable and quite lucrative opportunity to make money online while in college. The average salary for an entry level graphic designer ranges between $25 to $32/hour, according to Salary.com. However, a recent article by CNBC that details how graphic design skills are in high demand notes that some graphic designers on freelance platforms like Upwork are charging as much as $145/hour!

Besides Upwork, other great websites to find graphic design jobs online include:

7. Get a proofreading job

Proofreading entails doing a final check on a written work before it gets published, typically for newspapers, magazines, websites, and publishing companies. As a proofreader, you are tasked with verifying the accuracy of written facts, making sure proper grammar is used, and ensuring the content is properly organized with headings and page numbers. According to Indeed, the average proofreader can fetch $22.43/hour, which isn’t too bad considering you’re just checking over work. You can even do proofreading specifically for publications related to your major of study to consume more relevant knowledge that is inline with your chosen career path. 

You can find proofreading jobs on:

8. Offer resume writing services

Offering resume writing services is a great opportunity to make money online as a college student. Your campus is filled with tens of thousands of potential clients in your fellow classmates. Many college students have no experience writing up a resume, even though they will soon be entering the workforce upon completion of their degree. As a college student yourself, you have a first hand understanding of what they can bring to the table and what pieces of information they can include on their resume to make them stick out to potential employers. 

According to CNBS, resume writers typically make between $100 to $400/resume. If you create a few solid resume templates to use and spend a few hours on each resume between talking to your clients about their experiences and achievements, and drafting up the resume, you can make an incredible hourly rate. 

9. Do online tutoring

Tutoring fellow students is an excellent way to earn extra money while in college, and you can earn a lot of it! According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate of a stay at home college tutor is $22.37 in the United States. Tutors help students to better understand their course concepts and realize superior academic results by working with them one-on-one to review class materials and solve problems they are struggling with. If you are a student who achieves high marks in your field of study, you can offer tutoring services to other students within your program who are struggling with the materials you have a proven understanding of.

10. Offer social media management services

98% of college-aged students are on social media, according to Experian. In fact, most college students nowadays have grown up with and used social media for the majority of their lives. If you’re in college and have already generated a large social media following for yourself, you probably have an advanced understanding of social media platforms and have a high value digital marketing skill that businesses would be willing to pay you for.  

Businesses like to see results, so you can use your already established profile to get your first clients. The average social media manager in the United States makes approximately $70,287/year, according to Zippia. Although you probably wont make that much starting out or working just part-time, you can still expect to make a nice hourly rate of around $30/hour. The types of social media management services you can offer to clients to achieve this hourly rate include:

  • Creating and publishing content
  • Monitoring online activities
  • Collaborating with influencer to promote the brand
  • Community management
  • Measuring and reporting social media performance

11. Become a social media influencer

You can earn money online being a college student without experience and without disturbing studies by becoming a social media influencer. If you’re not afraid to put your face out there, you can create a social media following around your favorite hobby like weight lifting, playing video games, cooking, or just showcasing your life as a college student at a particular school. There are quite a few platforms that will pay you for uploading content that captivates an audience, like creating YouTube videos, short-form TikTok videos, or live streaming on Twitch. 

If you grow your audience to be large enough, you’re likely to have brands reaching out to you to promote their content through sponsorship deals as well. For example, according to Attention Always, YouTube sponsorships can pay between $10 and $50/1,000 views. If your content gets hundreds of thousands of views, you can expect a serious paycheck from just that single video with the sponsored product. The amounts some college influencers are getting paid is truly astounding. For example, LSU gymnast and social media influencer Olivia Dunne revealed on the Full Send podcast that she has received over $500,000 for a single sponsored post!

12. Work as a data entry clerk

Data entry is how you can earn money online without any specific expertise being a college student. Data entry involves typing information into electronic formats like excel. A data entry job doesn’t require any specialized skills other than typing at a decent speed. You can expect to make around $17.86/hour with data entry, according to Indeed. Zippia shows that there over 132K data entry clerk positions open in the United States, so jobs are plentiful and the work is in-demand. There are many websites where data entry jobs are posted, including:

13. Become a virtual assistant

A virtual assistant is a remote professional that supports the activities of a person or organization. Virtual assistants handle tasks like scheduling meetings, organizing business trips, and schedule planning. Virtual assistants can also be used to handle more specialized roles such as offering guidance on accounting or maintain a proper functioning website. All you need to start making money online in college as a virtual assistant is a working phone number and reliable internet connection. The average rate for a virtual assistant in the United States is $27.40/hour, according to Indeed.

Some of the best places to find virtual assistant jobs are:

14. Become a search engine evaluator 

Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Amazon play a significant role in how the internet is used. Although they’ve come a long way in terms of using innovative technologies like AI to generate the most relevant and accurate results, they don’t always get it right. That’s where search engine evaluators come in. A search engine evaluator analyzes the search results of different human search queries to verify that the search engine is generating a proper response. For example, making sure the results provide information about which college has the best business school when someone searches for “college with best business program.” Search engine evaluators can also assess the quality of ads shown on a search engine as well. 

According to Glassdoor, search engine evaluators in the United States can earn $21+/hour. You can find search engine evaluator jobs on:

15. Do bookkeeping

Finance and accounting majors are likely to find bookkeeping a useful experience that can pay well during their college years. Bookkeeping is the process of tracking and recording a businesses financial transactions. Bookkeeping doesn’t require any formal degrees or certifications, but you will need to become comfortable and proficient in using bookkeeping softwares like Quickbooks or FreshBooks. According to ZipRecruiter, a work from home bookkeeper can earn an average of $23.81/hour. You can find bookkeeping jobs on:

Can college students earn better money online than in-person?

College students can earn better money online than in person. This is especially true if you attend college in a state that follows the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25/hour, such as Texas, which is much lower than a states that set their own minimum wage rate, such as New York, which has a minimum wage of $15/hour. Working online enables college students access to higher paying opportunities than what is often available in their geographic location. 

Most in-person college jobs just don’t pay very well either. The type of jobs that college students can get in their college town are generally customer service roles like cashier in a supermarket or working in a clothing store, or restaurant jobs like waiter or bartender. These jobs generally pay less than $15/hour, sometimes much less. 

Does the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program pay better than an online job?

The Federal Work-Study program does not pay better than an online job. The FWS program is a financial aid program through the US government that provides $1 billion annually to around 600,000 students for on-campus part-time work arrangements such as working in the library or research positions in a lab. Students participating in the program typically spend 10 to 15 hours each week in their campus job. However, some quick calculations will show you that $1 billion spread across 600,000 students leaves each student with approximately $1,667 from the program. That’s hardly enough to cover living expenses for even a semester, not considering tuition costs. Therefore, it's probably better to avoid jobs offered through this program and find higher paying work online. 

Related Articles on Make Money in College

  • Top Ways To Make Money Online - There are many ways to make money online, such as selling products through Amazon FBA or doing freelance work through a site like Upwork. This is a list of the most lucrative opportunities for making money online.
  • Wealthy College Kid Review - This program by Christianna Hurt teaches college kids how to make money online by selling Ecommerce. The course includes content about selling on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Shopify.
  • Small Business Ideas for College Students - Just because you're in college doesn't mean you can't start your own business. Here are 17 business ideas for college students, including coaching sports and offering photography services. 

What is the smartest way to make money online as a college student?

Despite the ability to take out a student loan or receive financial aid, many college students still need to work to help with living expenses and prepare for life after university. However, actively working while in school has been found to have negative consequences. The whole reason to be in college is to apply yourself to your major of study so that you can get good grades and find a high paying job in your field after graduation. Unfortunately, a 2018 study by the University of Georgetown found that students who work while in school have lower grades and are more likely to dropout. Students can become burned out between attending classes and working simultaneously, which is why passive income opportunities are far superior for college students than standard online jobs.

The smartest way to make money online as a college student is local lead generation because this business model can provide thousands of dollars per month in passive income within a year or less. Students can even set up local lead generation websites part-time over the summer while working another job so they can start producing passive income at some point during the school year. Because running a local lead generation agency doesn’t require much maintenance, students can better focus on their studies while having access to the income they desperately need to pay for living and tuition expenses. For college students that are interested in making passive income online, this online course and community can support you in starting your own local lead gen biz.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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