Given the demands of coursework, many students find it difficult to find time for a traditional hourly job. Sideline jobs are a way for college students to earn extra money on the side without time constraints or planning problems.
Modern sideline jobs range from delivery services like DoorDash or Instacart to odd jobs like looking after animals or manual labor to selling old or new things like clothes, jewelry or stickers online, and the list goes on.
Michael Tucker, senior in business management, turns trendy clothes from thrift stores over and sells them on his Instagram and eBay. Tucker said the idea came to him in high school when he was low on money but wanted new clothes and was shopping at thrift stores.
Tucker said he realized he could make money selling these clothes and that his business grew about two years ago. He buys the clothes in Auburn from places like Mission Thrift, Local Thrift and Goodwill. He also shops in Columbus at the Goodwill Outlet Store.
“Half of my business comes from my eBay store and the other half is pretty local in Auburn,” Tucker said. “I like to make my own schedule and be my own boss and it’s really flexible with school.”
He spends about 30 hours a week in his business.
“The online classes helped me a lot because I can do everything from my house and not have to waste time walking back and forth to campus,” said Tucker. “This is my main source of income now and I want to have a stationary location at some point.”
Tucker said he started his business as an extra income on the side, and it has grown into a profitable business that he plans to grow after graduation.
Caroline Stone, a 2020 graduate of Auburn, started her clay earrings business on Instagram when she was a student at Auburn. She said she started making clay earrings for fun and learned the process through YouTube videos and lots of practice.
“Even if I don’t make a lot of money, it’s a great creative opportunity for me and a good break from class,” she said.
Stone said she had a conventional job before she started making earrings in college and then spent about 10 hours a week making earrings. She makes all of the earrings herself and has continued to make and sell them in the graduate school.
Liam Egeland, newbie to forestry, said his side business is DoorDash.
“I usually do DoorDash under 10 hours a week just to spend money,” he said.
Egeland said he thinks the pay is very good for the time you invest and it’s easy to bypass his class and extracurricular schedule.
Nolan Cartier, a senior mechanical engineer, does DIY work on weekends to make a little more money. He currently works full time in a co-op rotation at the College of Engineering and spends two to three hours a week doing DIY.
These tasks include assembling shelves and televisions, assembling furniture, building storage units, replacing light switches and sockets, and replacing car batteries.
Cartier said that growing up his father said to him, “If you can do it yourself, why bother paying someone else to do it?”
Cartier learned home improvement skills from his father and grandfather, he said. At the end of his sophomore year at Auburn, he began charging people for his services.
He said he generally does home improvement for his brothers and friends of friends who don’t know how to do the improvement themselves or don’t have the right tools. All of the jobs he got were word of mouth.
Cartier said he plans to continue his own home improvement after graduation, and possibly other people’s as well, if necessary.
“It’s a sideline, but it’s also a kind of hobby. I like doing home improvement,” he said.