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ABIGAIL PLUFF | OPINION CO-EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
Legend has it that college students are typically short on cash. Whether this is true or not, the world may never know — as a college student, however, I’m pretty sure it’s a valid assumption.
COVID-19 put many students’ summer job plans to an end, and now that school has started again, there’s even less time to make money. You may be wondering, consequently, how to make enough money to make it through to next summer. Whether you’re saving for something big or just need to bulk up your grocery fund, side hustles are the answer!
Special talent or not, there’s an option for everyone to make some cash without committing to a schedule or a boss. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
The ultimate college and COVID-19 approved side hustle is house-sitting. You’re getting paid for quarantining in a home other than your own — change of scenery, baby! — and can use all of their amenities without having to pay the bills. You know what that means: showers galore! House sitting is safe, effective and fairly low-effort for someone who can’t spare much time to do extra activities during the day.
Finding someone to house sit for can be a daunting task, but start with people you know. That way, you can get comfortable with what house-sitting entails and if you mess up, it’s in the house of someone who already knows and loves you. If you don’t live near anyone you know, try an app like TrustedHousesitters or mindmyhouse.com to connect you with people who need a housesitter.
2. Dog walking/pet sitting
If you’re an animal person like me, walking dogs or pet sitting might be the side hustle for you! For people that have a couple of free hours during the day, walking someone’s dog is a perfect way to supplement your income. It’s good for the dog, helpful to the dog’s owner and can also benefit your mental health. You have an opportunity to go outside, move your body and build a relationship with a pup who has nothing but unconditional love and acceptance to give you. That can feel really great! Plus, you don’t have to interact with anyone but a dog, which is the deepest form of social distancing.
If you only have enough time to commit to one week of money-making, pet sitting might be better for you. Pet sitting provides a way to branch out from dogs — this one’s for you, cat people! Plus, you get the added benefit of being with them nearly 24/7, and this is often a way to make money for a more condensed period of time.
For pet sitting and dog walking, it is also a great idea to start with people and pets you know. It can make the experience less intimidating and stressful for everyone involved. Once you’re more comfortable, you can move on to apps like Rover or Wag! for vetted and safe dog walking and pet-sitting jobs.
3. Mow grass/landscape
Calling all plant parents and outdoorsy humans! If you love to be in the sunshine and can’t imagine making your extra cash inside, offer to mow the grass of those who live around you. People are busy and many absolutely despise mowing their own lawn, so they would jump on the chance to pay a struggling college student to do it for them.
If you’re a creative plant-whisperer you could go the extra mile and offer landscaping as well. If you ask people to purchase their own plants and supplies and simply offer the labor, it can be a simple side hustle that’s confined to one weekend only. If you’re speedy, you might even be able to get it all done in one day! Not to mention, spooky season is coming up, and home owners are looking for people that can artfully arrange some fun spiderwebs, mums and pumpkins on their porch.
To find lawns looking for a little TLC, walking around, talking to people or even making flyers to hang in your neighborhood can be a great place to start. If you’re still looking for more customers after that, putting an ad in the newspaper could be a good second step. Lots of people read the newspaper, and could realize that they need a bit of help!
4. Sell your clothes
The resident fashionistas out there know that clothes can pile up. Lots of times, you get a piece of clothing only to realize that it doesn’t necessarily meld with the rest of your wardrobe, fit you like you wanted, or your sense of style simply outgrew it. Instead of letting it sit in your closet until you can’t stand the sight of it anymore, sell it to someone who will love it and give it the life it deserves. Reselling your unwanted clothes can also help to reduce environmental waste created by the fast fashion industry. Your clothes can get a second chance at greatness, all while helping to save the planet!
A PSA is necessary for this one, though. I don’t recommend going to local thrift stores and finding pieces to resell, as this takes quality pieces from thrift stores from those who cannot afford another option, as well as raises the prices in local thrift stores. Reselling clothes that you genuinely liked and purchased for yourself is a way to make money, clean up your life and avoid the gentrification of thrift stores that are essential for some. For those who think this is the side hustle for them, make sure you mail or do distanced delivery of your wares so everyone stays safe and healthy.
To sell your extra clothes, try making a second Instagram specifically for your clothes that you can promote on your personal Instagram. That way, your friends can have first dibs on all of your great pieces and you know the clothes are going to a good home. Another benefit is that you can keep all of your profit if you do the work yourself instead of sending it to a clothing resale website, where they charge a usage fee and the unsold clothing sometimes still ends up in a landfill.
5. Creativity, baby
Your unique talents can present a wonderful opportunity for a lucrative side hustle as well. If you paint, sew, make music or anything else under the sun, there’s a market out there of people that want to pay you for what you do. If you’re comfortable, selling your art or doing commissions can be a way to make products that people can’t get from anyone but you. This can create a side hustle that not only pays your bills but nourishes your soul and perfects your craft as well.
Create an Etsy shop, promote your work on Instagram and share your talents with your friends and family! The people that truly love you want to pay for your work, and there are lots of strangers out there who will love it as well. If you’re looking for a bigger project, try to sell your craft at your local farmer’s market. That way, you can get your name out and run into other people who have small businesses built from the heart, just like you!
Side hustles can be anything. These are just five ideas, and if none of them fit your lifestyle, that’s okay! There is absolutely a side hustle out there that fits you perfectly, if you’re willing to go find it. Remember, when doing any money-making, stay socially distanced, wear a mask and do your best!