Can You ‘Be Your Own Boss’ As A Student?
In the current economic climate, getting an education is more important than ever—but it’s also more expensive, and it can be a real challenge to get hired before graduation. Instead of waiting for a job to open up, create your own position. Most of these require no startup costs, and they’re all jobs you can pick up without any formal credentials.
If a particular subject comes easily to you, tutoring can be one of the easiest and most rewarding “odd jobs” you could find. Math, writing, and science tutors are in high demand on any college campus, and tutors may charge anywhere from $10 to $25 for an hour-long session.
This business requires self-confidence and some canny marketing; but if you struggle to find clients on your own, and you’ve got an especially high-value skill like post-calculus math or chemistry, there are a few online tutoring sites for freelance work.
Blogging for profit is a lot of work, and requires a large time investment to get noticed and networked, but nothing beats getting paid for your opinions. Setting up a blog is free, and all major blog hosts make it easy to monetize.
Regardless of the monetization strategy you choose, it’s all about getting connected. Offer to guest post on blogs related to your chosen topic, with a link to your blog at the end (as you can see below). Contributing solid content from as many popular blogs as possible will draw increased traffic, as well as helping your blog get noticed by search engines.
This is the only job on our list that requires any up-front investment, and you’ll endure a longer period of unprofitability as you get comfortable with your equipment and build relationships with customers, but it can be extremely lucrative once you build a portfolio and clientele. For that reason, it helps if you’re already passionate about photography—if you’d buy a $500 camera for your own benefit, you’re more likely to be comfortable with the wait.
Do your first jobs for friends free of charge, and tag the photos on Facebook (from your business page) to spread word-of-mouth. Make sure every element of your marketing—from your Facebook page to your business cards—reflects attractive, trendy design.
4. Pet Care
This is a great job for students in dense urban areas—you’ll have access to a broad, busy customer base. It also has the advantage of being scalable; it’s extremely easy to get started with a simple service, and increase the depth of what you offer as you get more comfortable and find more customers. As this is primarily a face-to-face job, you’ll want to get a merchant services account so you can swipe credit cards and avoid the risks of carrying large amounts of cash in public.
Start with a simple dog-walking service, and as you gain trust from your regulars, expand your service to include regular baths, and move from there to more sensitive jobs like administering medication, grooming fur, and trimming nails. To give you an example of the profit possibilities, chain pet stores often charge $25 or more for a 10-minute nail trimming.
5. Web Design
6. Computer Repair
You don’t need to be a CS major to make money repairing, upgrading, and optimizing PCs—in fact, most of what computer repair shops do is painfully simple. It’s a great job for tough economic times, because families will be trying to get as much mileage as possible out of their current hardware, and you can perform a valuable service by making the process less hazy and intimidating.
Shawna Davies is a staff writer for Going Cellular. She has a talent for organization and helping people navigate new technology. She’s a confessed gadget freak, but when she gets out of the house, she loves spending time at the lake with her husband and young son. They live in Beaumont, Texas.