As a college student, I wanted to find ways to make extra money, more specifically passive income. I was never interested in getting a job with set hours or a set hourly rate. I wanted something where I could set my own hours so my side hustles wouldn’t interfere with school, and I wanted to make income that was as passive as possible. So I flipped items on eBay, and made more passive income than I ever imagined I could make as a beginner. When I look back, I realise I could have done a couple other things at the same time to make even more passive income.
How can you make passive income as a college student? There are many passive income ideas you can consider as a college student. Some ideas include advertising with your car, affiliate marketing, blogging, creating and selling chatbots, flipping items and more. These passive income ideas for college students don’t require fixed hours that would interfere with schooling.
In this guide, we uncover 39 passive income ideas for college students that are easy for beginners, lucrative, and highly flexible to help you supplement your income while still in college. We also have a guide with passive income ides for 18 to 20 year olds. If you would like more details about each idea, you can learn more in each specific beginner guide on our blog by clicking on the images or the orange button. So let’s dive in!
1. Advertising With Your Car
You can earn extra money by renting out the advertising space on your car. You offer advertisers space to showcase their ads and in turn, earn a commission or monthly income without incurring any expenses. All you need is to be an active driver with a roadworthy car, a clean driver’s license, and a contract with the advertising company. Advertising companies offer different payment packages depending on the terms of the agreement. Wrapify, for example, pays drivers per mile and earn about $400-$600 per month. Advertising with your car is an ideal source of passive income because it is easy, low-risk and with high returns on investment.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing allows you to make money by choosing a product or service from a business with an affiliate marketing offer. All you have to do is promote it to an audience, and earn a commission for sales made through your link. You can do it physically or virtually, online or offline, and earn commissions depending on the value of the product or service. Commissions may be based upon a flat fee, or a percentage of the sale. You only need to sign up to an affiliate marketing service, promote and sell their products, generate sales, and earn money. Commissions vary depending on the affiliate program, but some of the most lucrative ones include Amazon Associates, eBay, Clickbank, and Affiliate.com. As a beginner, you can earn $1,000 a month or more depending on the number of sales you generate via your affiliate links.
If you are passionate about reading books out loud for an audience, this idea is for you. You can easily become an audiobook narrator and make money while at it. You make money by either narrating your own book, or books for other clients and get paid at an hourly rate or per book. Some audiobook sites pay beginners approximately $100 and up to $500 to professionals per finished hour. Better yet, the popularity of audiobooks is on the rise making it one of the most promising passive income ideas for the future. You only require a laptop or phone and a good quality mic to start narrating audiobooks and earning extra bucks. If you want to make it completely passive, you can generate leads and then outsource the work on platforms like Fiverr.
If writing essays is something you love in college, than blogging may be for you. Blogging entails creating quality content like articles, videos, reviews. Your content is monetized through various means like affiliate marketing, display ads, print on demand or eCommerce. All you need is a monetized website with high traffic and regular quality content to grow your audience. Bloggers with a sound following (mostly 30K+ monthly views) can easily make over $1,000 a month from various blog activities. We highly recommend Project 24 to learn how to create a successful monetized blog. Their course contains a step by step process that is super easy to follow for beginners and that actually works! Learn more in the article below.
5. Cashback Credit Cards
If you swipe frequently and want to make money while at it, this idea is for you. Cashback from credit cards is an easy way to earn for spending money from your credit card. This form of passive income requires you to spend on (necessary) purchases and clear your debt in time to earn a percentage discount of the money spent. If you spend $5,000, you can get a cashback of $50 at 1% rate. Although you spend money, this idea helps you earn a few extra bucks monthly without doing much. We do recommend that you only try this if your spending is necessary and you are sure to pay back on time, otherwise it is counter productive.
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As a college student, you can earn passive income by charging electric scooters and becoming part of a growing trend of people making money from this. There are many electric scooters in major cities and few charging spots, and you can make a few bucks by charging them. Scooters need to be charged daily and you can earn between $5 and $10 per scooter (or more). Scooter companies like Bird and Lime also pay to have their scooters charged. This can be done fairly passively if there are scooters on your way to and from school for example. You only need to sign up as a scooter charger, pass the scooter training programme, identify profitable scooters around you, charge them, and earn money.
Although they are still fairly new, the popularity of Chatbots is growing making them a viable sources of passive income. Like blogging, you have to monetize your Chatbot to make money from it. You could do so by selling Chatbot services to clients or businesses. You can also earn money through affiliate marketing, advertising, eCommerce, lead generation etc. The idea is to identify a niche product or service and generating sales using your Chatbot. You can earn hundreds of dollars every month by creating and running a popular bot with a huge fan base or engaging prospects.
Copywriting helps you make passive income in two ways – by running a monetized website (like blogging) or establishing a copywriting agency. You earn money by ghost-writing articles, infographics, press releases and other types of content that helps you maintain monetized traffic on your site. You can also choose to start an agency that offers copywriting services and make passive income. You need to possess good writing and content creation skills to run a successful site or agency. Although it can initially be expensive to start and learn, copywriting can easily earn you $1,500 passive income or more every month.
9. Data Entry
If you are a big fan of information and data processing, data entry can be a good source of passive income. As a freelance data entry clerk, you receive tasks from companies that require you to process large amounts of data using computers and systems. All you need is a good quality laptop and some software to start. To make this more passive, you can write scripts, or macros to automate the work, or just outsource it. Some companies pay clerks up to $20 per hour, making it a great passive income source.
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You can make decent amounts of fairly passive income by creating an eCommerce site and selling products and services. You earn passive income by running a site that stays active without requiring your constant attention. Marketing is key for this, but it won’t require any development skills if you choose the right platforms. You can earn money from eCommerce with drop shipping, affiliate marketing, print-on-demand, display ads etc. If you are interested in eCommerce and would like to learn more, check out our guide below.
11. Flipping Cars
If you love cars and would like to make a few extra bucks from them, this is an idea you might want to consider. We have a ton of cool things you can do related to cars to make passive income, even in college. But one way is by buying cheap cars and selling them at a profit. You only need to have the capital for the first car and good negotiating skills. You can sell many cars and make more profit by setting a fair price, searching for recent, highly sought, low mileage, low-cost cars in good condition. Depending on how you do it, flipping cars can earn you thousands of dollars of passive income after every successful sale.
12. Flipping Items on Craigslist
This is one of the easiest things a college student starting out can do. Craigslist and other peer-to-peer ad platforms can also be a lucrative source of passive income. You make money by buying products cheaply from the site, in garage sales or at auctions, and then re-sell them at a profit. For you to start flipping, the platform only requires you to sign-up for free and create a personal profile. You can earn thousands of dollars or more depending on what you sell. To make more money, you need to choose high demand products, products with high resale value and offer a good price. Although the process is not entirely passive (it does not require a lot of your time and presence) it can definitely be made more passive once you find your niche.
13. Food Delivery Services (Uber Eats)
Uber recently unveiled a new food delivery service that uses their taxi service to deliver food to customers. Uber Eats can be a good source of passive income especially for those with a passion for driving. To make that extra cash, you need to sign up with the company and possess a clean driving record. Like many Uber drivers, you can earn thousands of dollars every month depending on the number of deliveries you make. If you can fit this into your regular schedule, it can be a good way to make some side income.
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Gaming is most definitely one of the most enjoyable sources of passive income on our list. You can earn money by playing video games while other people watch from around the globe. Two of the most popular places to make passive income gaming is on Twitch or YouTube. If you love gaming and love to animate your gameplay, this may be for you. Check out our full guide by an online gamer below. She shares her experience on how she quit her day job to become a full time gamer on YouTube.
15. Gaming Apps That Pay
If you spend so much time playing mobile phone games and would want to get paid for it, this idea is for you. You can download, sign up, and play games on your phone as you earn some passive income. Some mobile apps actually pay you money to play games, take surveys, and interact with the app. You only need a good quality phone and then you can start earning extra bucks. Some apps pay as much as $5 – $25 in cash or gift cards depending on how many points you accumulate in the game.
16. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing involves endorsing products from companies and earning an income as you do it. You can make passive income by affiliate marketing products or services through online platforms like social sites and websites. Influencers earn money through commissions on sales, ads, and other forms of endorsements. You need to establish an active online following or clientele that consumes on your content and your audience should be laser focused on a specific niche such as beauty, travel, fitness or lifestyle for example. As an influencer, you can earn thousands of dollars every month without taking up too much of your time.
17. Niche Membership Sites
If you are skilled and knowledgeable at something that you can teach others and love creating content, this is your idea. You can earn passive income by identifying a niche and establishing a membership site accessible exclusively to members. Members sign up with a membership fee to access your content – a lucrative way to monetize a blog. You can expect a steady income flow so long as members are willing to remain subscribed. Depending on the number of subscribers and the membership fee, your niche site can earn you thousands of dollars monthly.
18. Participate In Sleep Studies
Although it is a less popular way of making money, sleeping can actually be a source of passive income. You simply need to take part in sleep studies that companies and organizations introduce during research. Organizations like NASA recruit volunteers to take part in sleep studies and pay them over the period of the research. Institutions like Harvard and others also pay volunteers to take part in their studies, which is an easy and lucrative way of earning extra cash. It may not be common, but it is definitely a lucrative source of passive income.
19. Pet or House Sitting
You can earn passive income by offering pet or house-sitting services. Sitter’s offers day or night services and take care of client’s pets or houses when they are away. This idea is ideal for beginners because it requires little experience. You should, however, have a passion for pets. Dog sitters can make between $50-$80 daily by offering doggy daycare services. As a night sitter, you can make twice as much as day sitters making it a cool way of making money passively. This can easily be done while you are a college student. As long as the place has good wifi, there is no reason you couldn’t get your schooling done, take breaks with a cute pet and get paid in the process!
20. Peer-to-Peer Lending
If you have extra cash at your disposal, you can actually earn passive income by offering P2P lending services. You lend money to individuals online and charge interest – similar to financial institutions. You need to sign up on P2P lending sites and you can start lending money and earning interest from it. Although it is fairly risky because of bad debt, it can be rewarding and earn you hundreds of dollars monthly from interest. It also allows you to remain flexible and offers a high return on investment in the long run.
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21. Print on Demand
If you love art and design, this is an idea you might want to consider. You can earn passive income by designing and selling merch prints and designs and selling the products to customers. Print on demand allows you to just create designs, add them to items like shirts, bags, and phone cases, and then sell them online. Once the product sells, the Print on Demand company will print the item and ship it directly to the customer for you! No need for a printing machine or to waste time with returns, they take care of it for you. It’s an awesome passive income source for anyone with an audience. Learn more in the guide below.
22. Rent a Friend
Are you a fun, social person who loves to meet new people? This idea will impress you. You can earn passive income by being a friend to hang out with. Why not, especially if you participate in many college events. There are many people willing to pay you money to take them to for an event, show them around or travel with. You only need to join a rent-a-friend service to start earning extra money. Sites like rentafriend.com pay as much a $50/hour, which easily translates to thousands of dollars weekly. You only need to be a likeable, fun person that loves meeting new people. Eventually, you make new friends and also earn money by doing, making it a way to earn passive income while still in college.
23. Renting Your Bike
If you own a bike(s) that you rarely use, you can earn money by renting it out to other bikers. Bike renting has actually existed for a long time and can be a lucrative source of passive income. You only need to know bikers in your area or to join peer-to-peer platforms like spinlister.com to start a bike renting service. To maintain your clients always ensure you rent good quality bikes and offer customer-friendly prices. Depending on the number of bikes and clients you have, renting your bike can earn you over $500 dollars every month.
24. Renting Your Car
If you have a car that just sits around or that you rarely use on your college campus, you can rent it out and make passive income. You can offer car rental services to clients by joining car rental apps and peer-to-peer platforms. Ensure that your car is in excellent condition, clean, and roadworthy to keep your clients coming back. Depending on the number of cars and clients you have, renting your car can earn you up to $1,000 passively every month. Learn more in the guide below.
25. Renting Your Parking Spot
While you are away at college, your parking spot back home may be free. If you have free parking space like a free garage or driveway, you can make hundreds of dollars every month by renting it out. In big cities where finding a parking spot is difficult and expensive, people with free spaces actually make money by renting them out as parking spaces. The amount of money you make depends mainly on the location and demand of your space. Parking space can earn you $100-$400 every month depending on the demand for space and the location. You can also list your space on renting apps to get more clients and make more money.
26. Renting Your Storage Space
If you have a free storage space like a garage, attic, basement, closet, guest-room, RV pad etc. you can earn money passively by renting it out to people who need it. Storage spaces can be rented out by individuals businesses or companies that have run out of space. It is an easy way of making money passively especially if your space has not been used for a long time. Some factors like demand and location determine the amount of money you can make renting out storage space. However, you can list your space on apps or peer-to-peer platforms to get more clients. You can easily earn up to $1,000/month depending on the size, location, and demand of the space.
27. Renting Your Things
You can make passive income by renting out your personal items and other kinds of stuff to others. There are many people looking for items you own but don’t use often. Items may include bikes, drones, clothes, electronics, cameras and other household items. Depending on the items you rent you can earn different amounts of money. A good quality camera, for example, can make you $100/day, a bike $50/day etc. This is an easy and lucrative way of making passive income because you make money from items you don’t use frequently.
28. Reward and Discount Programs
If you are a loyal customer to a particular product or service, you can earn extra cash in the form of rewards or discounts. Companies offer these programs to boost customer loyalty and maintain a strong consumer base. You can capitalize on reward and discount programs by using them to make an extra income. Some of the most common rewards include rebates, discounts, lower-costing travel, special treatments etc. You can make passive income by redeeming the rewards and earn or save. However, some programs can be pointless and are only meant to increase profitability. To earn a decent passive income, enrol in a viable program for a product or service you actually use and love.
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29. Ride Sharing (Uber)
If you don’t mind driving people around and would want to make money doing it, this idea is for you. Uber and other ride sharing companies allow you to earn passive income by offering rideshare through the company. You only need to sign up with the company, meet their requirements and you can start earning extra bucks. You can earn up to $2,000/month by offering Uber rides haring services in your free time. The idea is easy and does not require you to go out of your way if you are taking passengers on your regular route to work.
30. Selling Ice Cream
This may be a bit more difficult in college since it’s a business, but many people love ice cream and you can earn passive income by selling it. Ice cream is one of the fastest moving food products and with a well-established clientele, it can earn you extra cash. You only need a good location and delicious varieties of ice cream to start earning. To increase sales and maintain your clients ensure you offer high-quality, delicious ice cream that will keep your customers coming back. You can sell ice-cream at events (football anyone?), on the roadside or from a food truck, which helps you earn more money.
31. Selling on eBay
You can make passive income by selling products on authority and eCommerce websites like eBay. The platform is a search engine and marketplace for both new and used products and has over 180 million daily visitors. If you have products or items that you wish to dispose and earn a few bucks, eBay can be an ideal place to do so. You need to identify items that move fast and learn a few online selling tips to make the idea lucrative (see the beginner guide below). Depending on what you are selling, you can earn over $1,000 as a beginner. Professionals sellers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars passively by simply selling on the platform.
32. Selling Stock Photos and Videos
If you have many pictures or videos that you don’t intend to use, you can sell them and make passive income doing it. In the selfie era, many people take pictures while travelling or during events and end up stocking them in their computers. There are many agencies that can buy your stock content. Some digital agencies, for example, are willing to pay a couple hundred dollars for pictures. They may (or may not) edit the pictures to ensure your privacy maintained and use them for different purposes like advertisements. Depending on the content you sell, you can earn hundreds of dollars per month very passively.
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33. Taking Surveys
There are many companies out there willing to pay you a few bucks just to take part in a survey. Companies use customer surveys to understand a product’s or service’s popularity amongst the customers. You can earn passive income by signing up on survey sites and taking part in surveys during your free time. It is an easy way of making extra bucks because you only require a phone/laptop and internet connection. Depending on the number of surveys you participate in, you can earn hundreds of dollars weekly as passive income.
34. Teaching Languages
Are you fluent in a particular language? You can earn extra cash by teaching the language to others. Many people are looking for someone to teach them a new language without necessarily having to sit down in a class setting. You can become a language tutor, teach both physically or online and earn money. You only require a few teaching materials to start and a laptop and internet connection to offer online language classes. Language tutors make up to $20/hr., which translates to thousands of dollars in monthly income. If you want to make it more passive, you can create and sell a digital video course instead of trading your time for money.
35. Selling Your Notes (StudySoup)
This one is awesome for college students. You can easily earn passive income by selling your college essays, notes, and projects to other students that need them. Some essay sites like StudySoup and educational blogs buy content from students that do not intend to use them. Chances are that another student can benefit from your content and purchase them from writing agencies. The agencies buy your content and then edit it to get rid of any plagiarism before selling it to another student. You can make hundreds of dollars every week depending on the type and size of the content you sell. It is an easy way of making extra cash without disrupting your college life.
36. Sell Old College Papers (GradeSaver)
If you have old college papers and other types of college content that you no longer use, you can make extra bucks by selling it to people who need it. Many college students can benefit from your papers and are willing to pay for them. Agencies and sites like GradeSaver buy college papers from a past college student, edit them, and re-sell them to current students. Depending on the quality and content of your papers, you can earn hundreds of dollars by selling them. It is an easy task that you can do during your free time and do not need to take extra time off school.
37. Offering Transcriptions
There is a lot of spoken content out there that needs to be transcribed and used in written, sound or video form. You can earn passive income by transcribing the content, which is easy and lucrative. You need to sign up on a transcription site that then offers you tasks to listen to and transcribe at a pay. To start you require a laptop, internet connection and good quality headphones. Transcribers earn up to $20/hour on sites like transcribers.com or more depending on the transcription level. It is easy to start, offers a high return on investment, and allows you to remain flexible. Want to make it more passive? There is a ton of transcription software out there. Find your favourite and automate most of the work!
38. Video Editing
If you know and enjoy editing media like videos and photos, you can earn extra money by offering your services during your free time. Many individuals and production agencies frequently look for people to edit content. You can choose to become a freelance video editor and offer editing services from your most comfortable location. Video editors earn a lot of money especially when the content is long and high-quality. Finding the clients and then outsourcing the work is one way to make it more passive.
If you have content, skills or talents that others may be interested in learning, you can make passive income by sharing it with others on YouTube. The video-sharing platforms allow you to make money from ads placed on the content you share on the platform. You earn money depending on the number of views and watch time on your videos (among other factors). You can share anything including funny videos, educational content, gaming content etc. Depending on the popularity of your channel, you can easily make up to $1,000 within the first year as a beginner. Professionals and popular channels earn hundreds of thousands every month from the site. You only need to open an account and post content that attracts viewers to start earning from YouTube.
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You now have a few awesome passive income ideas you can start, even as a beginner, while you are still in college. Before choosing the idea you wish to pursue, it is important to consider the cost of starting and running the idea, the time you require to undertake it, and your ability to actually go ahead with it. One way to evaluate this is to read the guides provided above! We always have an in-depth look at how easy, passive, sustainable, expensive, and scalable each idea is in our guides. Doing so will help you choose an idea that best fits your needs, and one that you are most comfortable and passionate about.
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What is the Best Passive Income Idea? All the ideas we listed are ideal and can help you earn money passively. To settle on the idea that fits you best, consider the one you are most passionate about and one that you can easily start and run efficiently. If you are a passionate writer, for example, you may want to consider blogging, copywriting or transcribing over other passive income ideas. If it’s driving, renting your car or Uber Eats might be the best idea.
How can I boost my passive income? Depending on your schedule, you can combine a few ideas and make more passive income. Most of the ideas we listed do not require your physical participation and can be done as you perform other tasks. For example, you can combine advertising with your car with cash back credits and selling old college papers. You make more passive income by combining your favourite ideas.
What should I consider before settling on a specific idea? Each passive income idea is unique and comes with different requirements. To choose the idea that best fits your needs, consider factors like the time you have at your disposal, the amount of starting capital you require, the ease of starting and sustaining the idea, the potential return on investment, and how passionate you are about the idea.