How College Students Can Turn Side Hustles into a Full-Time Business

by / ⠀Career Advice Remote Work / September 8, 2022
college student side hustle

If you’re a college student, you could be looking for a way to make money while you study. Side hustles are common in the U.S., with 43% of workers choosing to make money on the side. 34% of people with side hustles do it to boost their disposable income. But something that starts as a side hustle could turn into a full-time business. 

College students with an entrepreneurial spirit often start side gigs and turn them into their main source of income. And you can too.

With these eight simple tips, what you do in your spare time could become so much more than just a side hustle.

1. Improve Your Business Knowledge

If you’re going to take your side hustle to the next level, you’ll need to know how to run a business.

Depending on what you’re studying, you may learn the basics at college. And you can use free online learning resources to improve your business knowledge. 

You should start with a business plan, which includes clear, measurable goals. Focus your learning on marketing, sales, and business development. 

business plan for side hustle

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It can be helpful to have a mentor, and there are short courses available that target different areas. For example, you can focus on business accounting, social media, goal setting, marketing, or management.

When you understand what makes a business tick, you can become more financially savvy. You can invest money in the right places and learn how to manage the day-to-day processes yourself.

2. Understand Your Legal Requirements

When you first start a side hustle, it could be just a hobby. As it grows into a full-time business, you should be aware of your legal and financial obligations.

One option is to start an LLC (limited liability company). This business model will protect your personal assets from any business debts. There are a few options for forming your LLC if you decide to go this route, for example through a lawyer or by utilizing an online LLC formation service.

You’ll need to keep accurate records and be aware of intellectual property laws. And if you plan to advertise, there are strict guidelines you need to follow. For example, you can’t make deceptive claims or cause offense. 

If your business is online, you’ll need to follow data compliance requirements. Your website visitors need to understand how you’ll use and store their personal information. You’ll also need to ensure that you follow security best practices to avoid data breaches

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And if you’ve got something to sell, you’ll need a clear refund policy and products that are tested to meet high-quality standards. 

When you’re a business owner or freelancer, you’ll be responsible for paying taxes. You may also need insurance.

Using the best bank for college students can allow you to get advice on which might be the best path to help your business grow while studying and which taxes you’re responsible for paying.

Your obligations can vary between states, and we recommend speaking to a business advisor or accountant. 

3. Be Innovative

If you want to take your side hustle to the next level, you’ll need a clear point of difference. Find ways to be innovative and fill a gap in the market.

Even if you’re offering a traditional service, you can still make it a unique business idea. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you can choose a niche area like web design or vector graphic creation. Or, if you’re a photographer, you can look for what’s in demand in your area, such as real estate or pet photography.

niche for side hustle

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You should continue to learn and upskill. When you’re up-to-date with trends and industry news, you can always offer customers what they want.

It’s important to keep reading and gain knowledge from credible sources. You can check book summaries before you invest in these resources.

And, make sure your service is always A+. When you go above and beyond for your customers, they’ll be more likely to recommend you to their friends.

4. Do What You’re Good At

When you run a business, it’ll be a long-term commitment. Chances are that what you’re studying at college will impact the type of business you have. 

You should be both passionate and good at what you do for it to be a success.

Still, wondering what type of side hustle to start? Be realistic. If you’re not confident with animals, don’t start a dog grooming business. And if you don’t have experience with kids, don’t start a babysitting business.

Think about what you enjoy and the skills you have. For example, if you can speak Japanese, there’s a demand for tutors in Japanese classes

For those that have the know-how, a tutoring business can be fulfilling. And you only need a computer and a reliable internet connection to get started.

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5. Take Time for Yourself

If you’re studying at college and running a side hustle, it can be overwhelming. You’ll probably be spending your weekends and evenings juggling work and study.

When you have too much on your plate, it can lead to burnout, so it’s important to take care of yourself. While maintaining healthy habits such as regular exercise and healthy eating is essential, having variety can help avoid burnout too. 

Plan some downtime doing something that you enjoy. For example, you might play the guitar, go surfing, catch up with friends, or watch your favorite television show.

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With all of your commitments, sleep can take second place. However, if you want a successful business, make sure you’re well-rested. It’s been found that better sleep during your college years has an impact on your future performance.

6. Use Your Side Hustle to Help Your Grades

You choose your specialty for a reason, and you can choose a side hustle that supports your study goals. When you graduate, it could lead to a full-time business in a field you enjoy.

The on-the-job experience and real-life scenarios can be used to support your essays. This work experience can help you get better grades. 

Or if you’re studying marketing and design, you could have a side hustle as a graphic designer. When you complete your degree, you’ll have the time you need to turn your passion into a full-time business.

When you graduate, you’ll have the qualifications you need to add more services and the confidence to put up your prices. 

7. Network with Others

You’ve heard the saying, “it’s not just what you know, but who you know.” This statement is true in business because growing your brand is all about networking. 

Tell everyone you know about your side hustle because even if your friends don’t need your product or service, they may know someone who does. Remember, a simple business mention is preferable to ongoing, shameless self-promotion. You can quickly lose friends if you’re pressuring them into a sale.

Start business pages on your favorite social networking platforms. Depending on your target audience, you may try Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. Don’t forget to update your pages regularly and answer any customer queries online.

You can also grow your business by collaborating with others. For example, if your side hustle is personal training, you can collaborate with a dietician and promote each other. Or, if your side hustle is making candles, you can work with a home decor store.

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Cross-promotion between businesses can be an effective way to open up new markets.

networking skills

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8. Work Hard

For your side hustle to be a full-time business, you’ll need to work hard. While it’s possible to be an overnight success story, it can take years to establish a profitable business for most people. 

To make it happen, you’ll need to be dedicated and self-motivated. It’ll require hard work and a positive attitude. 

The benefit of having your own business is you get to be your own boss. But this also means you’ll be accountable. It’s up to you to get things done. If you’re sick or don’t feel like working, you won’t get paid.

Before turning your side gig into a full-time venture, think about whether it’s something you see yourself doing in the future. Are you passionate about your business? Would you be happy doing it every day? If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” you’ll be more likely to succeed.

If the answer is “no” then you might be better off finding a part-time remote job to generate extra income without having to build your own business. 

Turning Your Side Hustle into a Full-Time Business

Are you a college student with a side hustle? You may be considering making your hobby business a full-time gig.

Before you take your business to the next level, consider a few things. First, you’ll need to improve your business knowledge. You can take a short course or access online resources.

You’ll also need to know your legal and financial obligations. You’ll be responsible for taxes, and there may be local laws you have to follow. Your business should be innovative, and you should focus on what you’re good at.

While you’ll need to work hard, it’s important to take some time to yourself to avoid burnout. Don’t forget to network with others because word of mouth is one of the best ways to grow your brand.

If your side hustle is in the same field as your college degree, the work experience could even help you get better grades.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to turn your side hustle into a full-time business.

Related Post: Common Side Hustles for Teachers

About The Author

Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.


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