Doing an online degree offers a wealth of advantages over going to college the conventional way. One of the biggest of these is keeping down the cost of your degree and the amount of debt you have to get into to finally get your qualification and start your career.
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens (Jimi Hendrix).
The world of work may currently seem like a ‘pay to play’ setting where you can only get a good start and good career prospects by getting in debt upfront to earn a college degree, but by doing an online degree course instead, and finding ways to make money as you study, you can come out of your time as a student debt free, or possibly even having made some money to save!
Of course, the most obvious way that you can make money as a student is to get a part time job. Working in retail, fast food, waiting tables, and other jobs that people often take on while they are students can mean you make some money, but having a job with fixed working hours can play havoc with your study schedule. You also don’t really get the option to take time off whenever you need it for things like coursework, exam preparation, or even just a vacation, and there is a pretty low ceiling on how much you’ll be paid per hour.
Making money through other things like the gig economy or micro-business ventures can be a lot more flexible, and can also allow you to change how much you are working and earning as and when you need to to suit your needs, simply by taking more or less work or upping your productivity. If you are a business student, then doing this kind of thing can also be very helpful as a learning experience, as even with the smallest business, you’ll need to learn a few things about promoting yourself, managing customer expectations, and managing yourself.
Here are some ideas for ways that you could make money while you’re an at-home student doing your online BBA:
Become a Delivery or Uber Driver
Depending on where you live, you may be able to make some extra money in your free time by joining a rideshare service like Uber, or by doing other ‘gig economy’ style work, such as delivering food or other items for an online service. These kinds of things can be good because they’re very flexible, so you can work whenever you have a bit of time when you wouldn’t be doing anything else productive. This makes it a good way to work around your course, allowing you to work more when you’re not too busy, and less when you’re doing something very involved, or when you simply want a break.
Become a Virtual Assistant
If you have good computer skills (something you’ll develop through doing your BBA online, even if you’re not that great with things like office suite software yet), then you can put this to good use by working as a virtual assistant. All sorts of people and companies hire VAs to do all sorts of different work for them, for instance aspects of their marketing, or data entry. You will usually find that VA opportunities are paid by the hour, and can be found through online freelancing sites like Upwork, or by networking on forums for people like marketers who often use these kinds of services. You’ll usually be using your own equipment for the work (though you would normally be provided with any non-standard software you’d need to do a job) and so if you are investing in a powerful new laptop or a higher end mobile device to help with your studies, then doing this kind of work can be another way to justify that expense!
Sell Your Old Stuff Online
While it isn’t something you can keep on doing for the whole length of your degree (unless you have a lot of stuff) a great way to get a cash injection that can add to what you are making from some of the other methods on this list is to sell your old stuff on sites like eBay, or in local trade groups you can find on social media sites like Facebook. It is good to get into the habit of selling the things you don’t need anymore that are still likely to be useful to someone else, rather than hoarding stuff or throwing it away. And if you find you have a knack for it, you may also decide to start a side business doing this sort of thing – seeking out stuff at garage sales or other places you can buy them cheaply, and selling them on for a profit online.
Here are some ideas of things you may well have at home that you can fetch good prices for online:
- Designer clothes and accessories
- Electronics (some people even sell old computers for parts)
- Old comics
- Fitness equipment
- Baby related items
- Games and DVDs
If you like writing, then a good way to make some money while you’re studying could be to self-publish some eBooks. It is easy to publish your own books on platforms like Amazon, and depending on what sort of books you write and how involved you get in marketing them, it can be very lucrative. Both fiction and non-fiction books can be good for making money, and you’ll also get to learn things about business aspects like marketing and SEO by trying to make your books more successful. Of course, self-publishing fiction can also be a great way to make money from a hobby, if you’ve always enjoyed writing stories, and you can also self-publish things like comics if you are more interested in doing artwork than writing short stories or novels. Non-fiction books about things you know a lot about or can provide tutorials in can also be popular, and can even be used as a way to set yourself up as an authority in a subject area you’d like to start a business in later, after you graduate.
Start a YouTube Channel
If you’re interested in something you can do as a proper side business, that you can apply the things you learn on your BBA online course to, while also doing something interesting and fun, then you may want to consider starting a YouTube channel. While just about anybody can make and upload videos, finding success and monetizing YouTube videos with ads is an industry all of its own, and one which can be fascinating to learn about and try your hand at if you love the idea of creating content – especially if you are passionate about a popular niche, or are interested in things like comedy, animation, writing, or providing tutorials.
Sell Crafts You Make
If you like making things from scratch or upcycling, then you could make a healthy income by starting a small home crafting business, and selling your products on platforms like Etsy, or promoting your own website. You don’t necessarily have to be highly skilled in a particular type of creative work or craft to do this, either. There are some types of product that you can learn to make fairly easily, such as candles and bath bombs, and so if you like the idea of making stuff and putting your own spin on it, you may be able to find a craft business idea to suit you even if you don’t know how to do complicated things like design and make clothes.
Here are some ideas of crafting businesses people can do well with:
- Upcycled clothing
- Handmade candles
- Prints and artwork
- Wooden toys and gifts
- Homemade candy
- Upcycled or handmade furniture
- T-shirt designs
- Bath bombs and other handmade toiletries
- Greetings cards and handmade stationery
Do Some Freelancing
If you have some skills that people tend to hire freelance workers for, then you may well be able to make a good income while you’re a student by doing freelance work in your spare time. One of the most common types of freelancing is writing blog posts for companies, and this can be an option if you’re a good writer, but there are plenty of other things you can do if you have the skills. Here are some examples of things people do as freelancers:
- Graphic design
- Fiction ghostwriting
- Web design
- Technical writing
- Custom artwork
- Data analysis
- Proofreading and editing
- Software QA
- Voice overs
Think about what kind of things you could have the skills to provide (or learn the skills for fairly quickly), and take a look around freelancing sites and forums to learn how to find clients.
Dog walking, House-sitting, Babysitting and Other Local Jobs
Online freelancing can be a great way to use the skills and resources you already have to make an income as a student, but you can also find work doing other tasks for people locally. Check out local websites and social media groups and put the word out among people that you know that you’re available, and you can find paid gigs doing things like babysitting, walking people’s dogs, looking after their pets, going shopping on behalf of elderly or disabled people, cleaning, or whatever else you can do that somebody needs in your area!
Try Affiliate Marketing
A lot of companies offer affiliate marketing programs whereby you can be paid a percentage of the amount a customer spends by referring them to the site where they buy things. Amazon is easily the best known affiliate marketing program, but you can find programs for all kinds of more niche companies as well, if you think you would be better at marketing to people with specific interests (for example if you are already an active member of communities that buy a specific type of product, or know a lot about a particular niche). The actual methods of doing affiliate marketing can include putting your affiliate links in social media posts, or having a blog or vlog where you review and recommend certain things. For example, you might start a book review blog, and link to all of the books you talk about on it on Amazon, making a commission every time one of your readers goes from your review to buying the book via links on your site.
Affiliate marketing can be a small, side income kind of thing, or it can actually be a pretty lucrative thing to do, depending on how much you put in to doing it and what type of niche you enter. One of the great things about doing it as a business student, however, is that it will teach you a lot about marketing and online methods, which will definitely help you understand aspects of your course and also stand you in good stead for your own future endeavors.
A good way to make money on your own terms as a student is to provide tutoring in your best subjects to high school or middle school kids. You can make some good hourly rates from private tuition, and you will also get a chance to gain some mentoring experience, which can be very helpful if your long-term goal is to get into management roles with your business degree. You may also have some other skills you could make money from by teaching, e.g. if you play a musical instrument, or speak a second language fluently. You can look for tutoring opportunities both locally and online if you’re teaching something that you don’t need to be in the same room as your student for.
As you can see, some of these ideas are more or less intensive than others, and some can even lay the foundations for a bigger business when you have graduated and want to work full time. Take a look at your options and think about the skills you have, the time you have, and what seems like the most viable way for you to make some money while still being able to work flexibly on your degree. You may be surprised at the number of things you could be doing and getting paid for!