Everybody hopes they’ll get a job as soon as they graduate, but not everyone can afford to wait four years to start making some money. If you don’t have time to take all of your classes and work a regular part time job, then you might be looking for some quick ways to make a bit of cash so you can afford to eat somewhere other than the dining hall once in a while. Hell, I remember a week where all I ate was top ramen, easy mac, and hot pockets.
Here are seven ways to make some quick money that won’t sabotage your schedule:
mTurk, which stands for Mechanical Turk, is a service on Amazon that connects people looking to make some quick money for simple tasks with people who need these tasks performed. These tasks are known as human intelligence tasks or HITs:
HITs are things like SEO work, surveys, data mining transcription; really any simple task you can think of that can’t be fully automated. The example above is just freelance writing – 200 words for a beer? Pretty decent. You could knock a few of these out in a boring lecture – easy, quick money in the bank.
Once you sign up for mTurk, you’ll be on a ten day probation period during which you’ll only be able to complete 100 HITs per day. If you make it through the probation period though, you’ll be able to do up to 3800 HITs a day. 3800 might be a little unreasonable, but the more HITs you complete, the more you’ll have access to. Most tasks require you to have at least 500 HITs approved, while higher paying ones require 5000. Once you get 5000 HITs almost all tasks will be available to you. It’s recommended to stay as close to a 99% approval rate as you can:
Don’t think you can get away with just mindlessly filling out forms though. Once you complete a task, the person who requested it will approve or reject you, and your approval rating will affect what jobs you can get almost as much as the number of HITs you’ve completed.
InstaEDU is way to get paid $20 an hour as an online tutor. You’ll need to apply for this one, but the application process only takes about three days and if you have some college education, chances are you’ll be approved. You simply go through a check-list of subjects you are capable of helping students with and then get a notification through Facebook or G-chat when a student is requesting your help. Once approved, you’ll be part of a group of experts for your specialty/subject:
You’re more likely to make more money if you are tutoring in STEM courses, since more students ask for help in those subjects. If you build a core base of returning students, you’ll be able to make a lot more money. This isn’t necessarily quick money, but it’s relatively easy – unique to your skill set and knowledge.
Fiverr is a site that lets you sell whatever service you want for five dollars. Good at writing resumes? Know another language and can translate things well? If you offer to do things like that on fiverr you might find some takers. If you do decide to do some gigs on fiverr though, make sure nothing you’re doing is violates any intellectual property rights.
For instance, don’t offer to illegally download music for people. Also, don’t use images or templates that aren’t yours to sell your services. If you do well for long enough, you can make a good reputation for yourself, get return customers and attract more clients.
Try scanning your area’s craigslist for people who need help moving or cleaning up their house or lawn. Better yet, consider putting up your own ad that advertises your skills as a willing manual laborer. If you have a truck or van, stay especially alert towards the end of the semester: there will be a lot of people looking for help moving out. One of my buddies has an old F150 and we made $20-$40 an hour almost every day for the last 2-3 lag weeks after finals. Did the same thing before the next semester started.
You don’t even need a lawn mower or a truck to make money doing things like this: many times people will supply whatever tool you’ll need to get a job done and there are plenty of jobs—such as “carrying shit”—that don’t require any tools at all. All you need is a small bit of free time and the will to sweat a little bit. Reward yourself with some good old Lionshead afterwards.
Just um…do your due diligence. Maybe bring a good crowbar wherever you go.
oDesk is a site that links freelancers up with people who need their services. Jobs can range from quick 500 word blog posts to entire graphic design projects. It’s not just writing or design projects here either. oDesk supports anyone that can do their work online, including writers, but also developers, designers, marketers, accountants and personal assistants.
To be successful on oDesk, you’ll need to create a good profile. Your profile includes your picture, name, title and the reasons why you should be hired. Many oDesk workers have mentioned their profile picture can make or break deals in milliseconds. I’d suggest using your LinkedIn/professional headshot that’s in a suit with a nice tie:
This is a mundane but necessary way to sustain an air of professionalism. You can set your own rate on oDesk and back up your abilities with an oDesk skills test to prove to potential employers that you are worth the rate you set. You can be paid by the hour using the oDesk team app or for a fixed rate, paid upon completion of a project, by an employer.
TaskRabbit is a site that will make it easier to find the jobs you might be looking for on craigslist. To become a Tasker, you have to complete an identity and criminal record check, an in-person interview and a training session. If you make it through those, you’ll be ready to start completing errands. These jobs include things like cleaning, handyman jobs, personal assistance and moving help. It might be a little less convenient than your other options here, because you aren’t able to set your own hours as easily.
Donating plasma might be a decent way to get beer money, but just remember it’s a little too dangerous to drink right after a donation. Blood banks don’t pay for blood, but they do pay for plasma, and some offer up to $35 a pint, though you can donate no more than twice a week. Though it is relatively easy money, it isn’t exactly risk free. The process of extraction itself is safe, but the real danger comes if you choose to donate regularly. A lack of plasma can lead to a weakening of the immune system. But if you’re in a spot and really need some cash for the weekend, it isn’t necessarily the worst option.