By: Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
Making a steady paycheck when you’re a college student means more than just having enough money to pay for that laptop for class. That paycheck represents a sense of responsibility and opportunity. The perks of working through college are helpful in your development to adulthood: it’s a great way to meet new people, it can stave off student debt, add a few bucks in your pocket for recreation, and if you play your cards right, it can open doors to future employment opportunities (I unknowingly began my career as a sport journalist while working in college).
The trick is finding the right job for you that has enough flexibility so that it won’t get in the way of your studies. What’s the point of working your way through college if you’re not doing your best work in college? Luckily, there are a lot of ways to supplement income, even when your traversing through your busy school schedule. And bonus points: there are studies that suggest college students who develop the skills to balance a part-time job and school tend to get better grades. So what’s the best [art-time job for you?
Animal sitter/Dog Walker
If you love animals, this may not be considered work! Imagine if you had a pet sitting indoors while you’re booking it from class to class or if you have an uninterrupted 9-hour work day ahead of you. Start your own dog walking business and work your own hours depending on your availability. An easy way to get started is by printing some business cards and leaving them at nearby dog waste stations. I know I’ve used a local dog walker in a jam.
This will only work if you’re good with kids and are ready for this kind of responsibility. You could be a Friday night or weekend-only babysitter for parents so it doesn’t affect your school week. Ask within your network who could use a babysitter and start building your clientele one parent at a time. Since it’s their kid(s), you need a sound reputation. Encouraging parents to share their experiences with you can generate word of mouth advertising and will allow your customers to market your service for you.
Getting a job as a bartender in your college town will do a couple things for you. For one, you might notice more people want to hang out with you, especially at the bar you work at. Also, there’s good money in bartending. Note that being a bartender requires you to be comfortable in a high-stressed, very fast-paced work environment and typically requires a minimum age to serve.
One of the newer additions to flexible jobs for college students is being a driver – typically on rideshare apps that have become so popular as of late. This job is so flexible, it goes beyond college students. I’ve had drivers who were professionals ranging from ages 20 to 55, college students, and once a retired CIA agent. These rideshare companies allow drivers to work their own hours based on their schedules, and is one of the major reasons you can get a ride in your college town at 1am no problem.
Has anyone ever handed a sponsored freebie out to you during an event of some kind? Whether it’s on campus, at a music festival or on one of your favorite Instagram users, this where you could make money as a Brand Ambassador. It’s probably easier to be an ambassador in physical spaces at first because you’re meeting people in person and introducing them to a product or brand that resonates with the event you’re at. But if you have a strong social media following, you might leverage your social media footprint to market products from the comfort of your mobile device.
Social Media Manager
Many college students today are already social media gurus to a certain extent. Managing social profiles for a business is a fun and flexible way to use what you know while gaining valuable experience in a specialty that could take you further after college. The important thing to remember is if you’re managing these profiles, you are essentially serving as the voice and/or face of the business. Have fun and think outside the box, but remember you’re now representing something bigger than you.
If you have the smarts, use it! Tutoring is nothing new for a college student working part-time because it works in your favor two-fold – you make money and you retain the knowledge you’re teaching even more! You could be a one-off tutor and leave flyers around campus or go as far as starting your own tutoring business. You can get started with your planning here.
Writing is certainly not for everyone. But if it’s for you, I highly recommend going down this route. I began my career as a journalist at age 18 when I randomly landed a job at the sports desk of my college town’s newspaper. After a year, I got my first story. After my first story, I had an assignment every week. Within two years, I was the weekend editor and that began my decade-long career as a sports editor for multiple news outlets.
The Internet has made this profession more accessible than ever. Clicking on almost anything will direct you to a piece of content, because it’s everywhere. Bookmark job boards and search for those one-off article requests. Freelancers tend to get paid article by article, but there are many cases where if you can prove your worth in words to a publication, they might consider reaching out to you for future projects.
It’s never too early or too late to improve your organizational skills – especially if you’re juggling schoolwork, classes, a job and a social life. Help manage things like data entry for a business, IT support, research, scheduling and whatever else comes your way. It will only make you better at it!
Virtual assistants are in high demand considering telecommuting capabilities as well as the rise in freelance and self-employment.
With very flexible hours (you choose the projects you want to work on), transcribing can be a convenient and somewhat lucrative way to make money when not in school. It requires little-to-no experience but you’d be faster (and could make more money) if you can type quickly and accurately.
Basically, you are listening to audio and typing what you hear. Sounds easy, but it can get repetitive and you must have strong attention to detail.
Some advice in your decision-making – pick an activity you enjoy or at least a job that provides an environment for you to grow personally and professionally.
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based out of one of the most exciting cities for startups – Austin, TX – Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
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All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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