5 unusual ways to make money as a student

Side hustles have always been a smart way to bring in extra cash, but with rising unemployment and people struggling to make ends meet, the number of people with a side project is rising too. To help people discover ways to top up their income, OddsMonkey have put together some ideas for potential side hustles. Here, Peter Watton, the company's spokesperson, outlines which of them would be best for students. 

There are lots of ways of getting into a side hustle — you might pick up something as a hobby, then find that people start paying as your skills increase. This is very common with small businesses like photography and blogging. Or you might prefer something that you do purely for extra cash, where you don't need to develop a business. With some creative thinking, you can find a side income that suits you and gives you a bit of extra breathing room around spending and bills. 

1. Grab your camera to grab some cash

At OddsMonkey, we surveyed 2,000 British adults to find out how they're using side hustles to make ends meet. Our results showed that photography was the most lucrative side hustle, with earnings averaging £389 per month. While it takes some time to develop your photography skills, once you're confident behind the camera, you can reap the benefits — a bonus if you enjoy it as a pastime! If you enjoy taking photos, you might already have the skills to bring in this money, so start asking around friends and family to see if anyone has a wedding, birthday party, or concert coming up that they want pictures of. 

You can also sell your holiday and travel photos to stock photo websites like Fotolia, which can bring in even more cash. So make sure to take some extra snaps when we can travel again after coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.

2. Get blogging and see how much you earn

The second most lucrative side hustle identified by OddsMonkey is blogging, with people earning an average of £333 per month. If you have a way with words, try reaching out to small businesses, and friends and family members with websites, to see if anyone needs help in this area. Like photography, this one requires a bit of skill to master, but the earnings are definitely worth it. Plus, you'll get to know lots of different businesses, which is great experience while you're studying. 

3. Scientific studies and trials

There are plenty of ways to make money by being a subject for scientific studies and surveys. There are lots of PhD students running studies on topics like sleep, fitness, and brain activity that will gladly pay you £20 for half an hour's work answering questions or being monitored. You can usually find out what kinds of studies are going on by visiting your university website.

Before you are invited to participate in the study, there will be a questionnaire to fill out to check that you are a suitable candidate. Make sure to answer this accurately, to ensure you're safe to participate in that particular test. You should also discuss any studies with a doctor prior to starting.

If you don't fancy taking part in any of the studies at your university, you could try consumer focus groups and online surveys instead. These will pay you for answering a few questions about anything from food to video games. Just sign up to any focus group or surveying websites like Focus Groups UK or i-Say to get started.

4. Enter a talent contest

This side hustle is one of the more fun ones. While something like Britain's Got Talent might seem out of reach, you never know! Both Britain's Got Talent and The Voice can earn you lots of money even if you don't win, so if you've got a secret talent, this is the place to use it. If you do win, Britain's Got Talent will get you a massive £250,000, so it's worth the effort. You'll also get the opportunity to perform for millions of people on TV, a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Also, check your city for smaller talent shows with cash prizes — your chances of winning are better in smaller competitions, even if the prizes are smaller than the big shows.

5. Become an extra in films and TV

You might not know this, but you can actually earn £60–80 per day by being an extra in TV shows and films. Sign up to a casting website for extras, create a profile, and keep an eye on any jobs that pop up. You can choose which shoots fit your timetable, and there's no obligation to do a certain amount so you can pick it up when you have time. You might even find that you enjoy it so much it opens up a career in acting, camera work, or directing!

Of course, be sure to check coronavirus restrictions in your area to ensure you're allowed to participate in filming and take any necessary safety precautions.

It can be difficult to plan how to get a side hustle off the ground, as well as to decide what exactly you should choose as your extra earner. But, by looking at this list of ideas you should be able to find something that you haven’t heard of, and which could bring in some extra money to help you at university. By choosing a side hustle that suits your skills, timetable, and interests, you can earn that extra cash without it eating into your study or socialising time.

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