According to Forbes, over 44.7 million college students owe more than $1.56 trillion in student loans. As a student, earning extra money can help improve your school life and allow you to live more comfortably. Your level of education does not matter. There are ways you can earn a passive income doing something you are passionate or knowledgeable about.
How can you earn passive income as a student? Students can earn passive income online or offline in a variety of ways from blogging, YouTubing, gaming, building chatbots, renting their things, eCommerce, charging scooters (Lime), selling eBooks, affiliate marketing and more. Building passive income streams takes time but is possible and can be started as a student side hustle.
In this article, we highlight nine legit ways you can make passive income as a student. These ideas require you to be patient and dedicated to turning them into lucrative passive income streams. Some will be easier than others depending on your current skills and personal centers of interest, but most can be created during free time and are very friendly for students. Some are highly passive but others are more active (but you can turn the more active ideas into passive income by outsourcing and with automation). But with the right strategies, these ideas can earn you passive income well past your student life! Let’s get started
Blogging has become a very popular way of earning passive income. As a student, you can share information or ideas you know or are passionate about and earn money through a monetized blog. With the right niche and excellent content, you can grow your audience, monetize your blog, and start earning passive income. One of the most resourceful courses, Project 24 by Rick and Jim teaches you ways you can earn a full-time income with a monetized blog within 24 months.
You just choose a niche and provide answers to questions people actually search for in Google. This is why you should choose a topic you are passionate about or highly knowledgeable about. With a good level of traffic and a monetizable audience, you can make passive income from display ads, affiliate marketing, selling digital, physical products and more.
A monetized blog can earn you hundreds or thousands of dollars monthly, but do not expect this to happen overnight. At first, you must be willing to put in a lot of work (like creating, editing, posting content, building your site and more. This idea also requires a minimum financial investment (to build, run, and promote your site). With time, you can start earning passive income from your blog and earn more by creating and monetizing more blogs. You can view our detailed guide about blogging to see how you can get started making $1,000/month with a monetized blog.
As a student, you can earn passive income through a monetized YouTube channel. Your content and audience are key to the success of your channel. Currently, YouTube requires you to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4k hours of watch time in the last 365 days for your channel to be able to undergo review for monetization. So, as long as you have excellent content in an authorized niche, and a growing audience, you can monetize your channel (by placing ads, affiliate marketing, selling digital and physical products, royalties, endorsements, etc.) and earn a passive income.
The content can be something you are knowledgeable or passionate about and would like to share with others. It is not an easy task so you must be willing to put in the work, especially at the beginning to launch your channel. With an active, subscribed audience and excellent content, YouTube can become a lucrative passive income stream for you as a student. To learn more about making passive income with a monetized YouTube channel, definitely check out our guide.
Chatbots are popular automated communication tools and people are earning passive income from them. As a student, you can earn a passive income by creating and selling Chatbots online or monetizing Chatbots (source). Bots are becoming more popular. By 2020, 80% of businesses polled in this study will be using Chatbots.
You have to monetize your bot to earn passive income from it. Some ways of monetizing a chatbot include using it for advertising, to generate leads, conduct surveys, send traffic to landing pages for conversions, to sell products and more. As long as your Chatbot offers a quality conversation that provides users value, they will be likely to follow through with your CTA’s (or actions you would like for them to take). Getting started with bots is actually easy! You do not have to be a developer to make them.
4. Creating Niche Sites
A niche site is a blog or site that addresses a specific topic and that resonates with a specific audience. As a student, you can offer information you are knowledgeable or passionate about through a niche site and earn passive income from it. For example, let’s say you are passionate about photography, instead of blogging about outdoor photography, you can create a niche site that addresses outdoor photography specifically with iPhones. That way, you address a niche to help you stand out from other sites, beat the competition with more targeted content, and attract a specific group of people. According to Income School’s Project 24, following their specific methodology, you can make a full-time income with a well-run passive income niche site.
Here is a bit more about how it works. Your audiences visit your site in search of information, resources, and recommendations about a specific topic. You then monetize your site and start earning passive income from your traffic via ads, affiliate marketing, by selling merch, offering courses, email marketing and more. There are lots of ways to monetize a site once it generates enough traffic. With time, you can create other niche sites and earn thousands of dollars monthly as passive income. For more details about niche sites and making passive income from them, check out our guide.
As a student, you can make passive income from selling eBooks. You earn a passive income by creating and selling eBooks to online customers. You can actually earn over $500/month with the right eBooks (source). Selling eBooks is a highly passive means of making an income, especially if they are evergreen (or will still be valid in years from now). If you do not have time, you can hire the services of a ghostwriter to (write, edit, and publish) your work for you. Fiverr is an excellent place to access these services at a low cost.
All you need is to identify a niche topic, write the right content, and list your book for sale your eCommerce store. You can write, upload, and sell your words on other platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). You can actually create eBooks for free. We explain how to in this article. Once it is completed and uploaded, you can promote it to start earning passive income. Check out this guide for more information about how you can make passive income from eBooks.
If you are a gaming fanatic, you can earn passive income playing your favorite games. Although almost nonexistent two decades ago, live streaming game-play has become a popular way of earning passive income today. Students like Griffin Spikoski earned $200,000 in 2013 playing games online (source). You earn passive income from game tournaments, running a monetized blog, offering gaming courses, YouTube ads, donations, memberships, ad revenue on your site and more.
Live streaming your gaming skills of sites like YouTube and Twitch are effective ways of making passive income from gaming. All you need is to build an audience, monetize your channel, and turn it into a passive income stream. Once you monetize your channel or site, you earn passive income from ads, affiliate marketing, donations, memberships and more. Gaming may sound easy and lucrative, but it requires passion and dedication, especially to get your channel off the ground. To grow your audience, you need to create and post videos of you playing games, create hours of long live streaming videos, and gain experience in the games you choose. With time, it can become a lucrative passive income stream. For more details about gaming and how you can earn $1,000/month from it, please check out our guide.
7. Charging Scooters
I was using a scooter to get around campus before it was cool! I never thought that one day they would become a mainstream way for adults to get around. And even less did I think we would be able to make money by charging them. The electric micro-mobility vehicles industry is becoming popular across the world (source) and charging electric scooters and bikes can be an excellent way for students to earn passive income. Companies like Lime and Bird pay between $3 and $20 for charging a scooter. During your free time or at night, you can pick a couple of scooters, charge them, deliver them back, and get paid.
All you need is to sign-up on a scooter charging service, pass the training program, and start charging scooters. You can make good money depending on the number of scooters you charge, your location, and popularity amongst scooter owners. You can reach more scooters by signing up on two or more apps. You can learn more about making money charging scooters from our detailed guide.
8. Food Delivery Apps
You can earn a passive income by delivering food through delivery apps (like UberEats, Deliveroo, and DoorDash) during your free time. Depending on how many deliveries you make, your location, and other factors like tips, you earn can $500/month or more. All you need is to identify food delivery services in your area, sign up, ace the test, make deliveries, and make money.
This is more of an active income side hustle because you are involved in the delivery process. However, it can be highly flexible and you can do it during your free time or over the weekend. This is a cool idea for students to make money since the hours are so flexible. You can sign up on different apps available in your area and earn more income in the process. For more about food delivery apps as an income source, please check our guide.
9. Renting Your Things
If you have personal stuff that you don’t use much, you can rent it out to people who need it. Nowadays, many sites allow you to list your personal stuff and rent it out to other people at a fee. This is especially useful for students who do not use most of the things that are back home (if you are out of State). On sites like Fatlama, you can list a variety of items including bikes, electronics, clothes, household goods and more to connect with clients looking for rental services.
The most important thing is to ensure that you rent out your stuff in good condition and at affordable prices. This helps grow your client base and make more money in the process. You can learn more about peer-to-peer rental ideas and how you can earn passive income renting your stuff in our guide.
How can I earn more passive income as a student? You can earn more income as a student by combining two or more passive income ideas. For example, let’s say you are passionate about gaming. You can earn passive income from gaming, running a monetized blog or YouTube channel about gaming, affiliate marketing and creating a niche site. Your choice depends on what you are passionate about and able to do.
Are some passive income ideas better than others? All passive income ideas can earn you money, but the amount of money you make differs from the idea and how well you execute upon them. The best way to identify an idea that fits what you would like is to consider things you are passionate about. With passion, dedication, time, skill and motivation, any of the above ideas can earn you a decent passive income.
Do I need to invest money to earn passive income? In most cases yes, although renting things you already have does not require a financial investment in most cases. Most businesses do require an initial investment but generally online ideas require a lower investment than physical businesses. Make sure you set aside some money to help you get started with the passive income idea you choose and carry out your own due diligence to plan your expenses before getting started.