9 Cheap and Easy Side Hustles for Grad Students and Academics

I inadvertently started my first side hustle when I was a grad student and discovered blogging.  I started my blog with all intentions of it just being a hobby. Because I noticed that I had stopped doing things “just for fun”. You know how grad school is...so demanding and all consuming.  It takes over your life! Can you relate?

Anyway, I started my blog and learned about affiliate marketing.  You know, the thing most Instagramers and YouTubers do. They talk about products that their audience would like.  And if their fans purchase the products using their link, the influencer could make a commission from the sale.

Well, as it turns out, this was just the beginning for me!  Learning about business became a major hobby of mine. Over the next five years, I learned everything I could about entrepreneurship and online marketing and I even started a couple side hustles beyond affiliate marketing.

As you can probably tell by the title of my website, I talk with a lot of grad students and academics.  And one of the topics that has come up is funding. Funding can be an issue in academia. Especially summer funding!

So, this summer, I’ll be running a program called Side Hustle Summer School to help grad students and academics start a profitable side hustle that requires minimal time and money to get started.

Sound interesting?  Well, I’ve created a free cheatsheet on the logistics of starting a side hustle in grad school or academia.  And by downloading the cheatsheet, you’ll get an invitation to join my FREE mini course on how to make money in academia.

Download the Side Hustle Cheatsheet

You may already know what kind of side hustle you want to start.  But you may not. So the purpose of this blog post is to give you a few ideas to help you get started.

9 Cheap and Easy Side Hustles for Grad Students and Academics

Cheap and Easy Side Hustles for Grad Students and Academics | The Academic Society

Every side hustle on this list is really easy to get started, really inexpensive to get started, or both.

Side Hustle Idea 1:  Tutoring

This one is probably a no-brainer.  As someone who has made it to grad school or beyond, you know a lot about school at this point.  You can tutor undergrads studying in your field. You could help with writing, problem-solving, or math.  You could even help students prepare for the SAT/ACT or the GRE.

Side Hustle Idea 2:  Virtual Assistant

Being a virtual assistant is a great side hustle to start because you can work for another business owner and learn a lot about how they run their business which could help you with yours.  Plus, you can do your VA tasks on your own time. Virtual Assistants to business owners typically do tasks such as transcribing videos or podcasts, schedule social media posts, or manage email inboxes.

Side Hustle Idea 3:  Social Media Manager

If you are particularly skilled or interested in social media and understand what works and doesn’t work on each platform, you could manage the social media accounts for another business owner.  There is a particular need for social media managers by businesses owned by “more mature” entrepreneurs or brick and mortar businesses. Your youth and social media know-how could be a major asset to them.

Side Hustle Idea 4:  Freelance Writing

I know you probably already do a lot of writing for school.  But is it fun and creative? You know, businesses pay people to write articles, quotes, and social media captions.  They could be paying you!

Side Hustle Idea 5:  Write a Book

Did you know that you can self-publish a physical book or an ebook for free on Amazon?  Well, you can and it’s super easy to do. So if you are interested in writing self-help, fiction, a cookbook, or even a book on crafting, you can write it and sell it on Amazon the very next day!

Side Hustle Idea 6:  House/Pet Sitting

Living in a college town can be great because everything revolves around the university that you attend/work at.  And often, professors will travel for the summer or go on sabbatical for a semester or to a conference for weeks. These people have pets and plants that they can’t take with them.  Or they just don’t want their houses to sit empty for weeks or months at a time. You could be their house/pet sitter.

Side Hustle Idea 7:  Nannying

For the same reasons listed above, professors may need babysitters.  If you like kids, this is something you could do for extra funds.

Side Hustle Idea 8:  Photography

If you own a nice camera and are passionate about capturing moments, you could be a photographer.  You could be a graduation photographer and specialize in senior pictures. You could take professional headshots for people at your university.  You could even be a wedding photographer! So many possibilities.

Side Hustle Idea 9:  Professional Organizer

There are so many people who struggle with creating an organized and decluttered space.  If you enjoy organizing and decluttering, you could do it professionally!

So what do you think?  These were just a few options but there are so many more side hustles that you could start as an academic.  

Does the process of starting a profitable side hustle sound overwhelming to you?  Not sure about the logistics or how much time and money it would actually take to do this?

I’ve answered those questions in my side hustle cheatsheet.  When you download the cheatsheet, you’ll be invited to my free mini course:  Make Money in Academia where I will walk you through coming up with your side hustle idea, creating a business plan, and actually starting your side hustle.

Download the Side Hustle Cheatsheet