Money

6 Side Hustles That Can Earn You Solid Dough During Uni

Working in a bar or in retail aren’t the only viable jobs for students. And if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort setting something up at the start, you could reap financial rewards well past graduation.

For some, uni is a magical time of day drinking and late rising, procrastination and socialising. But that’s not the reality for everyone; it often depends on your finances and employment situation. For a lot of students, they’re up and out the door as soon as class is done, pulling on a work uniform in the toilet and off to work. It’s never easy to find a job that fits in with your uni timetable – which is why retail and hospitality are the evergreen choices.

But what if you can get a bit smarter about your employment? What if, instead of sweating it out in the evenings and on weekends in boring, precarious jobs where your penalty rates could be taken away at any second, you build your own little business that pays a bit more and where you’re your own boss?

If you’re feeling a bit entrepreneurial, here are a few ideas to get you started on a side hustle:

#1 Teach a skill

You’re studying at a tertiary level, which means that you’ve probably got a few decent skills in the bag, not to mention a recent memory of the high school curriculum. Tutoring is a tried and tested way of getting paid more than minimum wage, and you don’t necessarily have to do it through an agency, either.

Your best leads will be through younger siblings and cousins, your parents’ friends, and your local community. Make a few flyers and drop them around the neighbourhood advertising your mad skillz.

If you’re super smart about it, you can get students to pay for tutoring sessions upfront to avoid losing out if you get last-minute no-shows, or offer group sessions where each participant pays a little less for an hour, but you end up increasing your hourly rate dramatically.

#2 Work the gig economy

The industry that has sprung up through companies like Uber, Airtasker and Deliveroo is ripe for the student schedule. It might not be for everyone – and there have been no shortage of critiques about the way people are paid – so proceed with caution.

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Tokyo Airbnb loft via Airbnb

Another way to approach the gig economy is to think about what needs arise from it: for example, Airbnb hosts often need people to manage their listings and organise check-ins.

#3 Sell stuff

Know a particular market – like videogames, cars or clothes – well? Many a hustler has built a mini business off flipping on eBay and Gumtree. I went to uni with a guy who cruised around in his ute picking up sofas from the side of the road and selling them for $150 a pop. All you need is a decent knowledge of what people are looking for, how to write up a description and take some snazzy photos so that your item will be found, and a little start-up capital.

#4 Get domestic

People in the far-off Gen X and Boomer demographics have money to spare to pay for nice things—like other people to walk their dogs, mind their children, clean their houses, mow their lawns, run errands and wash their cars.

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Check out listings on Gumtree and the newer Nabo as a starting point, or run a good old-fashioned flyer drop. The real kicker is that if you work at getting enough clients, you can start hiring others to do the actual work while you expand your business.

#5 Sell a skilled service

If you’ve got specialist skills that are useful to businesses, like proofreading, basic website coding, or graphic design, start hawking them out through family and friends. Granted, you might be still acquiring this knowledge via your degree, but you can also look at this as getting valuable practice and laying the foundation for a future career.

#6 Create a product

Think about your hobbies, skills and interests. What are you an expert at? Can you turn that knowledge into a product that’d be worth someone paying for? Better still, can you turn your knowledge into a course, an eBook, app or set of instructions? Any kind of digital product is an ideal side hustle, as it allows you to make it once and sell it forever.

Need some inspo? Here are some people who make $600,000/year selling doll dress patterns, this woman made an online course of Gmail hacks, and this designer makes bucketloads of cash selling her knitwear via Etsy.

Side hustles have the potential to be much better paid than your standard retail gig, and come with much more autonomy. They’re not easy though: you have to put in effort for that extra cashola – that’s why they call it hustling.

But if you can build even a tiny business that you get to control, you don’t just have to drop it when you get a ‘real job’. That side hustle can keep generating you income long into your career, or even become your main job.

Good luck, hustlers.


Vivienne is a travelling freelance writer/editor, feminist, Harry Potter nerd and co-founder of Taylor Hermione & Co, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes safe relationships, consent and gender issues to teenagers in Australia. Find her on Twitter @VivEgan41 and Instagram @vivalogue