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23 Income-Generating Ideas for Students



A student is ought to focus on things school related, but sometimes having a side income is needed, especially in today's economy. Luckily, today's resources has also made it more feasible for us to do a side hustle while we prepare for our future.

Today's time has made business become more conveniently doable and encouraged than ever before. But what businesses could you do to help you earn some cash while maintain your class schedules? 

Here are 23 Income-Generating Ideas I've listed for you so you will not have to squeeze an mL of your creative juices finding inspiration. 

Income-Generating Ideas for Students


1. Sell Pre-loved items 

This may not yet be a passive business to begin with but this can give you enough funds on whatever it is that you'd be venturing out that needs capital. Besides, almost all businesses needs a capital investment (though I don't believe you need to start big to run one) like for your materials or expenses while building it. 

With today's prices of commodities going up, more and more people have now preferred buying second-hand items than even before. 

And there is no easier way to make quick money than to sell stuff you already own. Items you loved and took good care of that are still in good condition can be sold for a fair price. 

To make a win-win deal to both you and your potential customers, find something that are still in demand, usable, and something people still value even if it's already used.

 A few examples of things you can sell:

a. Branded pre-loved clothes. If you have fashionable branded clothes that are still on trend, then you can sell those. They'd still make hot items to thrifty brand-conscious shoppers who won't mind buying slightly used items every now and then. Just make sure the item is clean and still in good form for it to be usable and attractive to potential buyers.

For instance, you might have a sexy summer outfit you got bored of wearing. Instead of keeping it for years until the next fashion trend comes, where you'll most likely no longer want to use it, why not make money off of it now while it's still on demand? A sexy summer outfit will always be on a hot list because, hey, unless a typhoon hits territory, it's practically always "summer" in the Philippines. "Is it hot, or is it just me?"

b. School-related materials you no longer use. If you have usable study-related materials you no longer use, but is still in good condition, then display them for sale. You might have a small study table you used in High School that you no longer use in College since you've got a bigger one now. You can sell them to students looking for cheaper alternatives for brand new buys. 

Another good item that never goes out of demand are books. Even if we are already in the computer age and we can use any computer-based gadget to read pdfs, or webpages, we still use textbooks in our classrooms. Using textbooks is still quite the normal school setup in the Philippine settings. But brand new books can be quite expensive, so cheaper books that are still in good condition are always appreciated. 

Things you need to make sure before selling your Pre-loved Items:

a. Make sure you're ready to sell it. If you're sure you can finally let it go with no attachment issues whatsoever on your part, e.g. sentimental value, still an essential part of your day to day routine, then you're ready to convert it into a sale.

b. Make sure it's clean. Even if it's a used item, people will always check if it's usable and neat. Presentation can still close or lose the deal.

c. Make sure it's still in good condition. Potential buyers want to know if they can still use it for a couple of years, vetting to get the best deal for less.

d. Evaluate if it's in style or on trend. People will not want to get left out. The more relevant it is to the current fashion trend, the more appealing it is to potential buyers. 


2. Resell products online 

With the advent of technology and the growing number of ecommerce sites sprouting around to cater the needs of every type of seller for every product imaginable, marketing to a large market, has become a breeze. Whether you want to go worldwide or just within your locality, is up to you. All you need to get started is study some guides and techniques readily available online at your disposal, for free. 

This could simply mean buying then selling. This will require you to buy from a supplier for a cheaper price (wholesale) and sell them at a retail price on any ecommerce site of your choice. Some of the sites you can post your items to are Lazada.com, Carousell (app), and Shoppee (app). Study each site to see what works best for you. Or you can sell to all three of these channels. These sites make it easier for you to sell with their added customer and seller-friendly features like the ability to automatically track shipping through the site, instant messaging the seller, inputting buyer votes and leaving product reviews. You can even attend their seminars or trainings to help you earn more sales and become a top seller in your ecommerce business.


3. Dropshipping 

Dropshipping is a widely used term in the ecommerce industry. Dropshipping is like reselling, except that you don't have to buy the item first before you can resell it. In other words, you don't have to have the item in your hands before you can make a sale. You can make a sale on a specific item (with a profit margin applied), then once the buyer pays you, that's the time you buy the item from a seller with the physical product on hand making sure you direct the delivery to your buyer's physical address, so the item will arrive to his door, not yours.

You're kind of the middle man of the transaction, although your buyer may or may not necessarily know that the item does not physically come from you on hand, and the seller you bought the item from may not necessarily have to know you're only a "bridge" to get the item to its real buyer. This may sound clever or unethical, but "scam" is not a label that applies to it, since it has now become  accepted and widely used in the ecommerce industry. Many small ecommerce businesses of today circulate and thrive around dropshipping.  

A lot of dropshipping business owners began at Ebay and Amazon where they'll post products on Amazon and buy those products from Ebay at a low price. And I cannot tell you how much money these people has made already successfully doing this for a long time.

If you wish to venture into dropshipping now, you may need to study this business model more to make sure you can penetrate through market that has not been overly saturated yet. Dropshipping has evolved but so does your options.


4. Sell Networking Products

It has never been easier to sell networking products than ever before. You can sell networking products without doing the door to door strategy of direct marketing through selling it online.  

All you need to do is set up a website, upload photos of your products and add your "pitch," be it an article, video, or just graphics your company might have already provided you. The good thing about creating a website for your network marketing business is that your posts will do most of the marketing for you. It will do the talking, prospecting, and convincing for you. 

You can also sell your products directly at Lazada.com, if you find creating a website is tedious. Nevertheless, it's a great avenue for you to market your business and products without going outside or involve yourself in lengthy conversations that, admit it or not, are often awkward and disappointing. 


5. Sell Digital Products

This is probably the easiest way to establish a business. There are no shipping fees involve and you can create your own brand that you can later on bring offline if you wish to expand more and make your brand popular in your own locality. 

A lot of today's marketers and business owners do this because it's the easiest route to establishing a brand. Selling online is great because it allows you to have access to a huge market without the huge monthly overhead expense you'd normally have to shell out in running an offline business. 

Some digital products you can sell are ebooks, music, ringtones, videos, cliparts and even DJ drops or cross-stitch patterns. 


6. Sell Offline Products Online

You can make your own products and sell them online. They don't need to be fancy or as nifty as that of factory-quality products of big brands. Remember every successful business imaginable started small.

You can bake homemade goodies like cookies, mango float, black zambo, tiramisu, leche flan, maja blanca, cassava cake, brownies, banana cake and the list goes on. 

Or you may create your own crafts, jewelries, accessories, student furniture and more. Or you can sell T-shirts. You can have the T-shirt printed and sell your finished product online. Or if you have sewing skills, you can create your own simple designs and start selling your own clothing brand online. 

I saw a seller online selling cute keychains she made herself using commercial clay. Her process included baking the clay after molding it into cute miniature of basically anything cute like icecream, popcorn, etc. She's got tons of sales on MySpace where she posts her products. And that was the time before Facebook, Instagram or Big Ecommerce sites became famous or even created yet. Imagine how far creativity can bring you. 


7. Create Your Own Ecommerce Site 

Speaking of selling products online, you can create your own ecommerce website. It's a good avenue to sell anything you can think of online, be it an offline or digital product. You may even drop-ship at your own store. 

But on top of that, this might also be a necessity, especially if you plan to go long term. And what I mean by long term is going big someday. 

Why you say? A lot of ecommerce store owners that have setup their brands through famous ecommerce sites have been shut down. Yep. Most are due to violation of the sites' ToS. Yes, your store can be shut down to the slightest sign of violation to any rules the site has established because once you set up a store on an ecommerce site, you are subject to follow every rule stated in their Terms and Conditions of that site and if you happen to have overlooked something, your account can get suspended. That will hurt your sales, online presence, and most especially, your brand's reputation.  


8. Sell Your Services Online

You can advertise your services and start taking orders online. Various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Youtube, can be great avenue to make your services known. 

You can advertise your T-shirt printing service, cleaning service, resume making service, design and photography, and all other services you can imagine. Fiver is a site famous for selling your services for cheap like writing articles, proof-reading, transcription, logo design, image editing or "sing a weird jingle for $5." Despite that, you can build a business around it and earn more. 


9. Freelancing

Speaking of selling your services online, one service you can't go without is freelancing. In fact this term has been widely popular and "working from home" is now a very real "employment" option/alternative. 

Freelancing is selling technical services to clients who needs projects done in a specified amount of time. It can be as short as 15 days to a steady "homebased" employment that will go on for years and years to come. Most of the skills needed are related to running an online business. "Jobs" include customer service, English learning tutorials, web design, web development, game development, software development, product interface design (UI and UX design), optimizing websites for Google ranking (Search Engine Optimization), project management and social media management are among the most popular. 

Offline services like Human Resources, Recruitment, Book keeping, Accounting, and other Administrative Jobs are now even outsourced online, too. If you have solid experienced in these fields offline, you may apply to these postings online should you decide switch to online freelancing and ditch the 9-5 tradition. 


10.  Create a Blog

Blogs started becoming very famous around the early 2000's and a lot of people use it as a way to express themselves through writing about their experiences or lifestyle, like how their day went (like an online diary), or unique information they'd like to share. As time goes by, blogs have slowly become a way to sell information, and make money off of it. 

During those times, a lot of bloggers have become millionaires through selling information products and running ads in an exchange of a fee through their blogs.  

Now, blogging has become an integral part of every running business. Business now cannot be without a site and a blog. These channels are used to draw people and drive them to be loyal customers and buyers of their products. Sort of a magazine, except that the information is dispersed freely. A blog can create value to any potential income-generating entity, be it a human person (services), or a company. 

Personal blogs still work until today and you can create one by posting quality informative contents on your own space. Simply choose a niche (topic/subject) you'd like to focus on and start applying techniques to make money off of it. You can run ads off of the information that you post on your blog if you don't have a product to sell yet. There are a lot of ways to do this, techniques can vary, and I may not have all the time to explain it in this article, but don't be intimidated. You can find information everywhere on the web on how to do this so your only problem is deciding if you'll start or not. 

Your niche can be as simple as reviewing make up products, writing about herbal homemade remedies you know about (and this can be done through research), or  writing about a particular subject you like such as Celebrity humors and gossips. You can create a 1000 word article per week about your niche and post it on your blog. Google search how to optimize your site and promote your blog on various social media channels. Just be remember to be consistent, because consistency is key to growing your blog and business online. 


11.  Youtube

Creating videos on Youtube is just like blogging, using videos. Video blogs or Vlogs are quite common these days and I probably don't need to explain what they are because chances are, this is one thing you most likely know among all the other things I've mentioned here. 

If you have a device that can capture decent videos, like your smart phone, or DSLR camera, then you can make a Vlog. Pick a niche for your Vlogs and create a plan on your topics and when you are going to post each one. There are a ton of scheduling software that can help you schedule your post so you can shoot your videos during the weekend then schedule them throughout the weekdays. 

Also, search on a good niche that most people would search about but don't have high competition on Youtube, so you can establish faster than compete with the already established Youtube channel of  famous niches. 

The way you earn money on Youtube is through running ads on your videos and this can be done through partnering with Youtube. You should see an email from Youtube offering you to partner with them if your blog already has a lot of views and subscribers. Or you may accept advertising from other sources, like other companies looking to advertise their product on a related niche. That's one reason for you to learn techniques on how to increase your page views and be seen on Youtube search fast. 


12.  Buying and Selling Bitcoins

This suggestion probably falls under the investment "category" and I'll tell you why in a bit. 

First off, what is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is an internet currency that can be used to purchase or pay for any services online (and offline now). Bitcoins were cheaper before but because of the important use people saw in it, it has become a valid alternative to hard cold cash and you can use it as an alternative money when you go abroad, should  you have a hard time getting a dollar account. 

The reason why this fell under the "investment category?" Well, it's because bitcoins value has increased and you need somewhat of serious amount of cash to buy them now than before. A lot of people would recommend buying some now before it becomes an even more expensive "commodity" in the future and selling them by then will earn you some serious amount of profit. 

"Those online business ideas are great and I'd love to try them some time. But I need offline ideas I can do during my spare time."

Okay. So much for online income-generating ideas. How about traditional income generating ideas that are simple to do and won't require you a laptop, phone, or camera? 


13.  Sell Products

Offline

Resell preexisting products with a profit margin or create simple products to sell. Food, accessories, crafts, simple furnitures, or cute trendy products like that cute keychains I mentioned one of these list. Even without the internet, you can still sell these products to your friends, colleagues or display them in a store (your parents', relatives, etc.) 

Now, you may not necessarily have your own store, you're a student anyway. But if you can be a little gutsy, you can ask a store or shop if you can partner with them and sell your products in their shop under an income-sharing agreement. That is, a percentage of the sales profit goes to you and a percentage goes to them. This may not be applicable to all, and this is quite an odd idea to start with, but hey, where do businesses start from? Ideas and execution. Be a little creative and do stuff that are out of the box, because that's how most successful big business thrived. Remember the adage, "if there's a will, there's always a way."


14. Sell E-loads

Okay. Probably the easiest and smallest one. But do you remember what every Chinese business owners always tell us? Consistency. "Doesn't matter if the profit is small as long as it's consistently coming." Be faithful to your business, market it to more and more people and be consistent. Don't be tempted to use it without paying yourself every cent of the amount of load you used. 

E-loading may be a small business if you're starting small but the product is in demand and has a potential big market, so if you stay consistent to your goal, the small profit will add up soon. 

How do you do this? Well, you carry a cellphone anywhere. True? And you've got tons of friends and classmates in class. True? I bet most of them are not using Postpaid plans. True? You can tell them your mom is selling E-load (even if it's really yours) just to avoid the E-loads being loaned by your "friends." Be consistent on your target until you start to see serious profit. Roll the money until the profit becomes bigger and you kept some savings off of it and then roll them again. Remember, "It's not how much you earned, it's how much you saved" - Robert Kiyosaki. 


15.  Sell Lugaw (Porridge)

Seriously. I am not kidding a bit and this business should not be taken discriminatively just because its "market" value is underrated. 

I remember going to a mall in Cebu City, and there were no other cheaper alternatives for a meal besides Jollibee and McDonalds situated in front of each other. Then I saw this cart selling lugaw with flexible add-ons. It made my day. I saw how many people flock this cart to get a meal. 

The product is a simple homemade lugaw, like that of Arozcaldo, with toppings you can choose from--egg, pork, beef, etc. I mean, how simple can a product get? And yet the cart is earning probably more than an entry level employee is earning. 
It didn't need to spend hundreds of dollars to franchise big names just to get it standing and functioning out there. It can be created out of originality, imagination and will. It's a "hot item" because there is a need right there on that spot where Jollibee and McDonalds meet and no other cheaper food alternative is nearby (okay, not inside the mall). 

Now, you may not need to put up a cart just to sell lugaw, you can have your own version by selling them to neighbors during weekends or your free time, or bringing a few sets of cups for your friends during snack time. If you think this is something you don't want to do, you can set up a lugaw cart (simple design, low cost sturdy materials) on a populated area (know how to obtain permit), and pay someone else to serve customers. This way, you are learning to run a business while you study at school. 


16.  Layouts Design

You know how much each layout designed costs? A birthday graphic for tarpaulin printing can cost around $200-300 a page, if done in a small Graphic Printing Shop. That's just for the layout of the design. The printing cost is different. 

If you are a student with some design skills looking for some quick buck offline, then you might want to sell your design service to your friends and relatives. Cater to every design need they have like birthday tarpaulin layout, or birthday invitation card layout, etc, for a little lesser than the commercial price. People love cheaper prices and if your output outperforms the commercial ones, chances are you'll becom a hot recommendation and that's when selling your design services can become a profitable small business for you while you are still studying. Be sure to submit your output before deadline.


17.  Tutorial Services

Tutors, even in the presence of technologies like Google and Youtube, are still needed today. There are learning needs that needed the close supervision of a live human being, like reading, or writing. And still a lot of parents would prefer getting a tutor for their kids to closely supervise their progress in a particular area they have difficulty in. 

Offer to Tutor to your friends' or neighbors' kids with a fair fee. Make people know you offer Tutorial Services. You can tell kids you know that you offer tutorial services so if their parents would ever need one for them, they will know you are the person to call.

I know someone whose source of income is through Tutorial Services. He is earning roughly the same as a School teacher is earning, plus he has loads of free time to spare for other things.

Since this is a service which requires you to go to other people's home on a regular, make sure to balance your time and make sure you are always safe. Don't risk if you think going to the area can be dangerous to you. Discern and proceed with caution. 


18.  Commission Work

If you have a special skill like drawing animes or charcoal painting portraits, you can accept commission work. Start by drawing your friends and classmates. Practice on creating commercial outputs. People love seeing artworks and if they see you painting your friend's face, chances are they'll want to be sketched, too. Sooner, you can charge a minimal fee for a start,  or ask them to spread the word to their families. Who knows, in seeing your work, their families might think of having a family portrait made of charcoal painting through you. Perhaps a newborn's portrait or a newlywed's. The chances are many. Explore and know how to price your artworks. 


19.  Tour Guide

This is probably one of the most exciting offline income-generating gig you'll ever have, if you love traveling and are good at creating itineraries. Plus, it can be a lucrative business, too. Most of your clients here can be tourists (both local and foreign), who can afford to travel because they obviously most likely prepared for it when they called you. 

To do this, you can post your service online with your phone number or a way to make them directly contact you, whether through Messenger chat or other means. You might need to research and study more of your locality's tourism to be able to do this. Also, you will need an online page (Facebook page is good) where you can establish credibility overtime. 

I recommend having reliable and trustworthy friends to partner you with this the first time you do this just to make yourself familiar with the job.


20.  Rent your Room at AirBnB

If you live in an accessible place and have an extra room at home nobody is using anymore (like your older sister may have move out to study at a faraway University or to work at another city or country), then you can convert that room into Transient Lodging. You can post the room and its availability details on AirBnB to get renters. Make sure the room is clean, safe and beautified. You don't want occupiers to regret ever renting your room so always make sure to keep up with the standards and keep things on par. 


21.  Event Photographer/Videographer

If you own a DSLR and have quite the talent and technical abilities to produce stunning photos and videos, then being an Event Photographer/Videographer could be a suitable gig for you. 

You can ask your family and friends to have you as their event photographer or videographer for a significantly lesser fee (compared to expensive experienced artists), as you are still starting out and still observing your results. You can practice by covering birthday parties or simple parties. 

Don't jumped directly into covering weddings just yet until you become really good, unless a friend of yours didn't set up a (huge) budget for a professional wedding coverage and would be happy to pay you instead rather than having no coverage at all. Not to make this sound demeaning and discriminative, just a rather practical take on a could-be realistic scenarios. 


22.  Organize Event Seminar or Talk 

You can create a particular training mini course of an in-demand topic and organize an event over the Weekend for a Minimal Registration Fee. You can gather as little as 50-100 people as a start to as many as you can get later on when you've gained some expertise and established a name on your chosen niche. Choose a hot topic everyone wants to know about and would be delighted to have someone teach them in front, for instance, Photography or Search Engine Optimization or working online. If they knew people paid for thousands to get to these kinds of events and you are offering it at a significantly lower amount (at first), people will consider attending yours especially those who were not able to attend the expensive seminars.

Just make sure you know the subject you will be talking or teaching about very well, and that you have prepared to make the seminar informative, interesting and as an engaging as possible. Study every important questions that could be thrown at you during the seminar.


23. Make up Services

If you are a student who have classes about cosmetics or just someone who just simply know how to do make up very well and has a ton of quality makeup to use, then this gig could be good for you. Like the event photographer/videographer gig, you need to inform families and friends that you can do make up for them should they attend important events that needed some heavy make up like  attending a wedding, attending a graduation ceremony or prom, etc,  for a minimal or lesser fee, since you're just starting out. 

Remember to do the standard drill for excellence: practice, be prepared, and give it your best. Once you get the hang of it as you become and better and better at what you do as your clients grow, then it will be easier for you to market your services to a more serious gig, like offering your make up service for weddings. When you stay faithful and consistent in what you do, it could lead to a future success doing what you love, even way before you graduate from school. 

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of ways to create an income flow while you're still studying. Just remember to keep the balance. Keep your eyes on the goal, be consistent and don't compromise your studies. (I know Mark Zuckerberg did, but when you will know when it's you call or not). Study those guides closely and don't let your excuses or procrastination hinder you to execute. Be creative. Never be afraid to go out of the box. 

And lastly, remember, if there's a will, you can always find a way. 
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