Five ways students can boost their income

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Very few students spent their Christmas break reflecting on how easy, calm, and financially rewarding their university experience has been.

Not only do current students have to battle against the various mental and practical effects of Covid-19 on their studies, but they do so in the knowledge both long-term debt and immediate cost-of-living expenses are always on the rise.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for students to find new ways of mitigating those expenses, reducing financial stress while ensuring that their degrees aren’t negatively impacted by the time and energy needed to keep those side hustles ticking over.

Luckily, there are plenty of options available for students willing to get creative and use their skills, talents, and resources to build up their side hustle empire.

  1. Selling clutter

Students looking to improve their finances in the New Year might well begin by turning to Santa Claus.

After all, with the season of giving now behind us, some presents might be more useful as an eBay listing than as a new feature of an already cramped house-share.

This doesn’t just apply to unwanted presents, but any kind of clutter – clothes, shoes, and games can all add up. Though you may have turned exclusively to streaming services, plenty of people will pay a surprising amount for the old DVDs and Blu-Rays gathering dust in your childhood bedroom.

Between the likes of eBay, Amazon, and Gumtree, there are plenty of options for the savvy student to get a short-term injection of cash to tide them over.

  1. Taking note of new opportunities

Of course, students have more to offer than their cast-off clothes and out-of-date games consoles.

Students are, after all, in the midst of higher education, gaining specialist knowledge and – hopefully – taking the time to write some of it down.

Though notetaking might feel like a run-of-the-mill habit – something students do when they’re not hatching money-making schemes – those notes are a powerful and potentially lucrative resource for those with entrepreneurial inclinations.

Various note-selling platforms now exist, to which PDF scans of notes can be sold – or, better yet, would-be sellers can type up their notes and gain an extra dose of knowledge before converting the fruits of their studies into cold, hard cash.

  1. Getting creative

These examples are great for those looking for a short-term weapon in the fight against overdraft limits, but unless those eBay earnings purchase a successful lottery ticket most students will need a steadier stream of income.

And, of course, students are more than the sum of their studies – so, while note-selling is a completely tenable option, they can equally employ some of their more recreational skills in order to create, craft, and sell homemade items. Think jewellery, upcycled clothing, and assorted knick-knacks from the world of arts and crafts.

Platforms like Etsy are particularly conducive to this vein of entrepreneurialism, allowing students to match their need for income with their crafty skills.

  1. The traditional option

Of course, even the likes of Etsy don’t have the same kind of reliability as perhaps the most traditional option: a standard part-time job.

Areas like retail and hospitality are, perhaps, the natural (or, at least traditional) choice for students looking to supplement their incomes with consistent infusions of rent and food money.

However, the rigid shift hours and lack of flexibility that this kind of work entails can have a detrimental impact on academic study, especially at times of increased pressure surrounding important deadlines and exams.

A reliable income is a great way to reduce monetary stress but standard part-time work can increase the risk of burnout – a state which, amidst the tumult of an ongoing pandemic, is never far away at the best of times. So be careful about the number of hours you take on.

  1. Going freelance

Across the previous examples, it’s easy to piece together the qualities that make for a good student side hustle.

Selling through platforms like eBay allows students to flex their entrepreneurial muscles, while note-selling and crafting allow students to make money while tapping into their academic and creative strengths.

Standard part-time work, meanwhile, allows for consistent earnings, albeit at the substantial cost of inflexible working hours.

The best kind of side hustle, then, is one that draws together the positive qualities of the above: work that’s consistent, flexible, and makes use of students’ existing skills and resources.

This isn’t a hypothetical dream scenario – in fact, it’s eminently achievable through project-based and freelance work.

This kind of work has seen a significant rise in recent years, with high-profile examples including food delivery companies like JustEat and UberEats leading the charge towards a more flexible mode of living and working, allowing workers to set their own hours and be their own boss.

Delivery is, of course, far from the only option. We have found that students – given their intelligence and drive – are well-suited to tackling advanced forms of work that draws on their wealth of skills and interests, ranging from manual labour to digital services like marketing and design.

Through engagement with task-based freelance platforms like UniTaskr, students are also provided with valuable and relevant experience that significantly strengthens their post-university careers, allowing them to build a robust bridge between their upcoming graduations and the working world beyond the confines of campus life.

With the right platform, it’s never been easier for students to throw themselves into freelancing. By seeking out such platforms with a will to succeed, students can support themselves through projects that suit all tastes, ambitions, and wallets.

Joseph Black is CEO and co-founder of UniTaskr

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