As a college student, I was always at a limbo in finding ways to make more money.
The biggest trouble was finding the right balance between activities that didn’t take a lot of time, but also actually made money. I tried numerous side hustles and I decided to go over my top four side hustles that made me money almost immediately.
While the side hustles that I mention are not my favorite by any means, you won’t see me discussing starting a blog, creating an online course, or affiliate marketing because those things don’t make money right away.
Yes, I believe that some of those side hustles are better for the long run, however, for someone who wants to put money in their pockets this month then I would recommend the side hustles below.
Side Hustle #1: mTurk
mTurk, or otherwise known as Amazon Mechanical Turk, is a task based platform that allows you to do small tasks for a small compensation.
These tasks could be taking surveys, transcribing bits of audio, testing out apps, or pretty much anything in between.
The tasks are designed to do what robots can’t do, which is why the require the human interaction. The people who provide these tasks want actual human feedback.
Pretty much anytime you log on to mTurk, there will be thousands upon thousands of tasks to choose from that you can complete to make money. The typical compensation per survey, for example, is about $0.25 to $1.00.
Since I started mTurk personally, I have made over $700. This is over the past three years, so it is not as much as you may think. However in the months where I really needed a few extra dollars, I could make upwards of $75-$100 a month.
Below is a screenshot from my mTurk dashboard.
Over the years, I have seen mTurk get a lot of bad publicity because of the small amount of money that is offered for the time that is required.
I would have to disagree with these critics.
mTurk, while you won’t get rich with this survey taking strategy, is most efficiently used when you have idle time.
If you have time to spend hours and hours trying to make money, then you will be better off building something that is more scalable and sustainable.
I would recommend mTurk to those who don’t have a ton of time to make money on the side, but want to make an extra $50 a month by doing small tasks on side in between classes, projects, or TV commercials.
My Advice on Using mTurk
While there are a lot of tasks that you can choose from, if you really want to be the most efficient with your time, then I would recommend focusing only on surveys.
In my experience, surveys on mTurk have the most compensation per minute of work. This is because you can get through a survey in about 5 minutes and get paid $0.25 to $1.00 for that minute.
Now if you really want to be the most efficient, I would recommend only doing the top surveys of the day.
When I was doing mTurk consistently, I would log on in the morning and complete the top paying surveys that were greater than $0.75
I found that this was the point where my time was being “appreciated” the most and after that compensation point, I could spend my time better by doing some of the other tasks that I mention later in this post.
Side Hustle #2: Reselling iPhones
I truly believe that the “flipping” industry has made millions of people wealthier since the start of the internet.
The concept is simple. You find someone who is selling an item for below what is believed to be “market value”, buy that item, and then turn around and sell it to someone else for a higher price.
This concept works with clothes, shoes, entire houses, and in my case, iPhones.
When I began reselling iPhones, I focused on the strategy of “flipping” by repair. I would buy old or broken iPhones for cheap and then find a high quality screen replacement (along with some other parts if needed such as a camera or new home button), and then sell it on eBay or Swappa.
I did this for a while and the profit from it was good, as long as I could buy the phone at the right price.
My Advice on Flipping iPhones
You must do your due diligence first.
The easiest thing to overlook when flipping iPhones is the fees. You have to take into account eBay fees, PayPal fees, shipping fees, taxes, and any other fee that you can think of. Then you have to take into account the price of the repair. If you do it yourself then it would typically be about $20-$30 depending on the type of screen that you need. If you have to take all of these expenses into account before you even consider buying a phone for a flip.
If not, then you will go from profitable to bleeding money really quickly.
I found the best way to go about this was to first find out what the phone was selling for at the market. You can easily find this out on Swappa, as they will tell you what a used iPhone is going for for pretty much any carrier that you can think of.
Next I like to discount that by 5%-10% to allow the phone that I sell to be priced under the market. This would ensure that my phones sells fast and allows me to use that money to buy more phones.
After that, I would take all the applicable fees away from my projects sale price. This would give me my final revenue number.
Afterwards, I would take my minimum profit margin away from the sale price. If my profit margin was 25%, then I would reduce the sale price by that amount.
This leaves me with my highest offer price to be paid for a phone. This threshold gave me a guideline to bid on phones. I knew that if I bought a phone anywhere under this threshold then I would be able to make money.
Lastly, I just had to be patient and wait for the right deals to present themselves. A lot of people wanted the price (or close to the price) that they actually paid for their phone when reselling it, so it is important to know which deals to pursue.
Throughout my time selling iPhone, I probably made around $2,000 profit over a course of three months.
Side Hustles #3: Repairing iPhone Screen
The flipping business came to an end at the end of the summer when I had to go back to school and had last time to meet up with people to buy the phones.
That’s is when I had to be creative in using the knowledge that I had learned about fixing phones and turning it into a new income stream.
Throughout the semester I would offer my services by word of mouth that i could fix a cracked iPhone screen for a smaller compensation than would be asked by a retailer.
This word got around slowly but eventually I was fixing about 1-2 phones per week for about $30 profit per phone.
This translate to an extra $200 per month for about 2 hours of total work.
If you’re interested in learning how I learned to fix iPhones, leave a comment so I know to go over it further in future posts.
Side Hustle #4: Tutoring
If you want to hear me go in depth on all four side hustles, click the link below!