College is a busy time and often times unexpected expenses pop up! The good news? It’s easier than ever to start earning passive income for college students!
Passive income is a great way to earn some extra cash without ongoing effort. And what college student couldn’t use a little extra spending money? But finding the time to incorporate passive income into your crazy schedule isn’t always easy when you’re a busy college student. With the help of these passive income ideas for college students, you can start earning extra money quickly and easily.
So let go of the excuses – you do have enough time, and we’re going to show you exactly where to start!
After all – passive income is all about earning extra money without having a full-time job. And while some passive income opportunities take more time and effort than others, there are several great opportunities for college students to take advantage of.
What Is Passive Income?
Passive income is typically income that is retained with minimal effort. While you have to build the revenue stream, it can be a source of income — even when you sleep!
The main thing to remember is passive income is not free money. Typically, a lot of work goes into a project or asset at first, and then income is made from that effort later in time. This translates into income after the project is completed and without direct involvement from the creator.
25 Opportunities for Passive Income for College Students
We’ve found the easiest ways for you to make extra money in your free time! Some of the passive income streams require no time and only an initial investment. Others will take a little time, but no more so than a part-time job! So let’s jump right into these passive income streams and help you make money in your spare time.
Whether you’re looking for a side hustle to do between classes or want a way to earn residual income, check out these passive income ideas that are perfect for any college student.
1. Get a high yield savings account
Make your money work for you while it’s sitting in the bank with a high yield savings account. Since these accounts earn interest each month, you’ll be able to earn money while you sleep.
2. Create a course
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you don’t have knowledge to share. Whether you’re great at doing your makeup or understand the best ways to manage your time, you can teach your skills to earn some extra money.
We recommend creating an online course so that you can continue to sell it well after you created it. Check out Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy for a step-by-step guide to create and launch your course!
3. Write an e-book
Another great way to share your knowledge on a subject is through an ebook. While a course is typically made up of videos and slideshows, an e-book is written words. If your forte is writing, putting together a book on a subject you’re familiar with is another great way for a college student to earn some extra money.
Use this semi-passive income idea to earn extra money by keeping an eye on someone’s house while they’re away.
5. License your music
If you have a talent for music, record your own songs and sell the license to use your music online. Every time the song is played, you’ll earn a royalty!
6. Earn cash back
Sign up for cash back rewards apps, like Rakuten, Fetch, and Ibotta, to earn cash back on every purchase you make.
7. Sell your photography
Earn money by selling your photography online. Selling photos to a stock photo website is a simple way to make some passive income. Just list your photos for sale to website owners to use as stock photos.
8. Invest in the stock market
You don’t need a ton of money to invest. With apps like Robin Hood, you can invest small amounts of money over time to help you start building wealth. You could also look at mutual funds.
9. Peer to peer lending
Lend extra money you have on hand to others who need money and charge interest on the loan to earn some extra cash.
10. Write a blog
While writing a blog won’t earn you passive income right away, if done correctly you could earn money for years to come on the content you create. Once your site has traffic, you could sell advertising space, include affiliate links, enroll in Google Adsense or Mediavine, or offered sponsored posts for brands.
A monetized website is one of the passive income strategies I applied in college! We have a guide to help you start your own blog easily and quickly too!
11. Start a YouTube channel
If you prefer making videos over writing, starting a YouTube channel is another way to earn passive income. Like a blog, a YouTube channel isn’t an instant money maker. But putting in the work upfront could earn you some passive income in the long run through advertising and sponsored content. (Grab our best tips on How to Get More YouTube Views).
12. Affiliate marketing
Do you have an established online platform? Whether you write a blog, have a YouTube channel, or have an Instagram following, you can use your platform to earn money through affiliate marketing. Use third party links to promote the products you use, then earn a commission when your followers click on the link to make a purchase.
13. Influencer Marketing
Another great way to use your social media following to your advantage is to offer sponsored posts on your social media channels or blog. Creating paid posts to promote products and services for brands allows you to leverage your followers in return for payment.
14. Create an app
Do you have a knack for programming? Try designing your own app and selling it in the app store to earn some extra money while you’re in college. You could also become a freelancer and help people develop mobile apps for their business as well.
15. Rent out things you own
Do you own something that other people in your area might find valuable? Whether you have a top-of-the-line gaming system or a reliable bike, renting out your belongings is a great way to make use of the things you already have to earn some extra money.
16. Advertise on your vehicle
Use your car as a billboard by charging companies to advertise on your vehicle while you drive around campus.
17. Sell reusable templates
If you’re good at graphic design, use your talents to make reusable templates for people to buy. Templates can be sold for a variety of occasions, ranging from birthday party invitations to social media posts.
18. Rent out a room
Do you have extra space in your home? Rent out a spare room to earn money.
19. Make t-shirt designs
Use your own sense of style to create cute t-shirt designs to sell online. You can sell your own design templates on Etsy or let your customers purchase their own t-shirts through websites like Cafe Press.
20. Buy a vending machine
If you have a little bit of money to invest in your side hustle, consider a vending machine. While not totally passive, you can earn some extra income simply by keeping the machine stocked.
21. Rent your clothes
Is your closet stocked with high-end clothing and accessories? Make money on your fashion finds by renting them out.
22. Rent Your Parking Space
If you have a designated spot on campus or an extra spot in your driveway, rent it out to another student! You’d be surprised what a parking place can be worth!
23. Earn rewards with your credit card
Sign up for a card with cash back rewards to earn money on your purchases. Just be sure to pay off the balance of your card to avoid paying interest each month.
24. Offer Storage
If you have extra room, offer to let someone store their belongings in your home or garage. We recommend setting ground rules of setting a time period that they can store the items and how much notification they need to give before collecting or returning to their items as well.
25. Sell Your Notes
If you take great notes or create amazing study guides, you could sell them to students currently taking the class. (We don’t mean old tests or cheating though!)
The best part about this is that you can make copies or your notes and study guides and sell them to multiple people. You could even sell your notes online through a site like Studysoup.
26. Create worksheets
Another simple way to make money with your design skills is to make worksheets for customers to buy. College study guides, preschool coloring pages, and journal pages are all examples of worksheets you could sell online to make extra money.
27. Become a Call Center Operator
If you have some free time, plan time to become a call center operator. This can be done pretty much anytime – so it doesn’t have to disrupt your social life! Sites like LiveOps are a great place to look for gigs.
28. Do Voice-Over Work
If you have a great voice and some spare time, you could do voice work with just a simple microphone! You can find jobs on Fiverr and Upwork.
29. Offer to Ship Items
Did you know companies connect people with other people with trucks to ship things?! Check out uShip if you have a truck and like to drive.
30. Create Templates & Printables
Do you love playing with Canva or Photoshop in your spare time? You could create editable templates for Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook and sell them on Etsy or other third-party sites!
31. Offer Photo Edits
If you have Canva Pro or similar photo apps on your phone, you could offer photoshopping on photos. Canva makes it easy to remove the background on images, and there are 100s of affordable apps to photoshop a photo and give someone a more polished look!
FAQ on Passive Income for College Students
How can a 18 year old make passive income?
An 18 year old can earn passive income by creating their own products or joining an affiliate program for their favorite products or services. They could also sell their school parking spot or start a social media channel or blog to monetize in the future.
What is the easiest passive income for college students?
One of the easiest ways to earn passive income for college students is to use something they already have. They could sell their photography, license their music, rent out storage space, or even sell their parking spot.
How can I make an extra $1000 a month passive income?
Making an extra $1,000 is a great goal. We recommend starting with selling something, becoming a virtual assistant, or creating a platform – either a social media account or a website – that you can monetize.
How do I create a passive income with no money?
You can start creating passive income without any money by starting a YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok that people want to come to! As you gain followers, you can monetize the channel. Another option would be to offer your expertise in an online course, ebook, or through a third party site like Etsy.
How can a college student make a lot of money?
College students can make a lot of money by bartending or serving typically. With that said, both of those jobs are labor intensive and take a lot of time! We recommend choosing a passive income stream like doing online surveys in their spare time or working as a virtual assistant in their spare time.
Many, if not all, of these passive income streams could even be used by high school students because they don’t have to take much time.
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