15 Genuine Passive Income Ideas for Students

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Are you a student struggling to make ends meet? Are you worried about incurring huge debts that will follow you later in life? What if I told you that there is a way for you to go through college without choking in debt? Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing agency. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Affiliate Marketing and remarketing. If you are a student looking for passive income ideas, then this article is for you! The great thing is that the tips that I give here will remain relevant even after you have left school. Once you have built your passive income streams, nobody is going to take that away from you! And I am not just saying these things because I want people to read this article! I am saying them because I survive through passive income. I haven’t needed to work in over 15 years. And I don’t actually need to do any more for the rest of my life! Yes, you heard me right! I am 43 and have made enough to retire comfortably. Anyway, in this article, I am going to;

  1. ​Define Passive Income
  2. ​​Show you how I did it
  3. Give you 15 passive income ideas for college students

What is Passive Income?

Passive income is a topic that I have covered a lot on this blog. But what is passive income? Well, to put it simply, passive income is income that you get on a regular basis without having to work regularly. There are two ideas to this concept. The first is that passive income needs to be regular. If you do something and you only get paid once, then that’s not really passive income.

The second requirement is that passive income should come without you having to put in regular work. Some people, particularly students, think that they are going to get passive income without doing any work. That is hardly true. In fact, you are probably going to need to work your feet off to get started. However, once you have set up your passive income streams, you should be good to go. You income should start rolling in on a regular basis without you having to do more than a few tasks.  

How passive income works for me

I started setting up my passive income streams when I was still in college, so I know what I am talking about here. Passive income for college students is real. In this section, I am going to give you an example of how passive income works for me.

I created a channel

The first thing to understand is that you need to have a digital digital channel in order to succeed at most of the passive income ideas that are given in this article. For me, that’s my blog, planetmarketing.com. Does that mean you cannot do it without a blog? Well, setting up a blog is not such a big deal. It can be done in a few hours. If you don’t know how to do it, feel free to get in touch with me and I will be glad to help you out. Your channel can be any of the following (or all of them);

  • A blog
  • A YouTube channel
  • A vibrant social media following
  • A mailing list

I grew my traffic

Setting up your channel is easy. However, it’s not enough to have a blog or a Facebook Page. What you need to do is to make sure that you have enough traffic or followers to be able to monetize your creation. If it’s a blog, you are going to want to make sure that it has enough visitors to make it worthwhile. You can get traffic through SEO. But it’s not the task of a single day. You are going to have to do such things as guest posting to build links that give your site visibility. You need to think long term. Otherwise you are going to give up. Set up your channel today and you may not see meaningful traffic till a year or 2 later. So, if you are a student, you may need to tell yourself that it’s all long term. You should look for passive income sources for later in life, and not just for your student days.

I joined affiliate programs

Once your traffic has grown, you can join affiliate marketing programs. This can be done in 2 ways. First, you can join affiliate programs directly. Some companies out there run their affiliate marketing programs in-house. The other option is to join an affiliate network such as CJ Affiliates. Check out my article on the top affiliate programs for affiliates.

I promote a few brands on my site

Passive Income Ideas for Students
I have referred hundreds of people to this company.

Let me put everything in concrete terms. One of the companies for which I am an affiliate is Shopper Approved. This is a great company for getting star ratings in Google Ads. It deals in online reviews. I have referred over 300 people to this company over the years. And most of them are still customers. That’s how I was able to build up my passive income.

For as long as these people remain customers, I will continue to get paid a certain percentage of their monthly subscriptions. So, it’s a great situation for me. This is something that every student should be on the lookout for. Note that there are some affiliate marketing programs that pay on a once off basis. Also note that affiliate marketing is not the only passive income idea for students, as you will see in the next section.

Ideas for passive income for students

Enough of that! Now, it’s time for me to lay out the best passive income ideas for students that can be found out there. First, let me repeat that this is not just an article to needlessly raise your hopes. I know what I am talking about, because all the ideas that I give here are working for me. What’s more, many of them have been working for me since I was a student. The following, in any case, are the best passive income ideas for students;

1. Launch a blog

Most students start blogging because they feel this is a way of expressing themselves. However, blogging is actually one of the best passive income ideas for students. In fact, every student that’s out there needs to set up their own blog right now! It’s not a difficult task, and the rewards can be exponential. And the rewards go way beyond your college days. Your blog is something that you are going to be able to earn money off well into your life. And many of the passive income ideas for students that are given here will only work if you have a blog. So, how does a blog become a passive income source?

  • You can use it for affiliate marketing (see below)
  • By displaying AdSense Ads
  • Through sponsored posts
  • By directly selling products on the blog (see below)

2. Affiliate Marketing

Passive Income Ideas for Students
Passive Income Ideas for Students: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is probably the world’s most loved passive income idea out there . I have already talked about affiliate marketing above. Just to repeat, you need to have a channel to make it work. This can be either a blog, a YouTube channel, a vibrant social media following or a relevant mailing list. Affiliate marketing is great, but setting up your channel is a challenge. It’s not something that’s going to happen in a single day. The good news is, once you have everything set up, you can expect affiliate marketing to work for you even after you have left college.

Affiliate marketing is a huge topic. One thing to note is that your site needs to be focused. If you are going to become an Amazon Associate, as an example, you can create a site focusing on any of the products on the platforms, from Bose headphones wireless versions to the latest toothpaste. The same applies even if you are marketing products off CJ Affiliates or ClickBank. You can only sell something if you have a relevant audience. It’s not going work to try and sell headphones on a Digital Marketing website, as an example.

3. Turn your car into an advertising billboard

This is another of the best passive income ideas for students. To earn extra money, why not rent out space on your car to advertisers? This works great if you have a van, but any car will do. There are companies out there that are willing to pay you on a monthly basis to get their ads on your car. It’s going to be different, of course, depending on where you live.

The good thing is that this is a perfectly viable and legitimate way for college students to earn something extra on the side. You do need, however, to be an active driver. Nobody is going to want to rent advertising space on your vehicle is stuck in the garage. You are also going to need to prove that you are an active driver, so this is something that you are going to need to take into account. The following are some of the companies that offer car advertising services;

4. Self Publish an eBook

passive income ideas for students
Self publishing is a great passive income idea for students

It used to be that getting published was reserved for a select few who seemingly got all the attention from publishers. Today, the world of publishing has become rather liberalized. If you feel you have something to say, you can write it down, edit it yourself and by the end of the day, you will have it published somewhere online. The most popular place for self publishing is Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. There are other places, such as SmashWords. The good news is that you don’t even need to hire an editor to get going. And if you are really good (and lucky), you can earn thousands from your drivel (sorry). But is self publishing a passive income idea for students? The answer is yes! There are many things that happen at this point in your life, and you can write about them.

5. Become a freelancer

Becoming a freelancer is very popular among students in some parts of the world. While some of the income that you earn this way may not be passive, it’s still a viable way for students to earn something extra to see them through the lean college days. There are plenty of freelancing sites out there, including Freelancer and Upwork. All that you need to do is sign up.

Once that is done, you can then start doing work for people in various parts of the world. This work can range from the mundane, such as data entry, to the specialized, such as computer programming. The trick with freelancing is to take up jobs that you are good at. Otherwise the whole thing can become a chore. If you take up transcription work, as an example, without the requisite typing skills, then you are probably not going to be able to complete much work.

6. Sell photos

Selling photos is another of the great passive income ideas for students. If you are like the typical student, you probably have lot’s of photos festering somewhere on your computer or on your phone. The good news is that you can turn these into a source of passive income by posting them to platforms such as CanStockPhoto and Shutterstock. You will get paid each time people use your photos. The amounts that you end up making this way will depend on how good your photos are, of course.

7. Create your own eCommerce site

eCommerce sites are good for students
eCommerce is a good passive income idea for students

We have already noted how creating your own blog is one of the best passive income ideas for students. However, that is not as far as it goes. In fact, you can create your own shop where you sell your own products. Having an eCommerce site is one good way of generating passive income during your college days. But what would a student sell on their site? In fact, there is no end to the number of things that can be sold online. The following are a few examples;

  • Artwork
  • Electronic goods
  • Clothes, such as T-shirts
  • You can do dropshipping
  • You can sell other people’s products

8. Buy and sell cars/bikes/computers

The idea here is to buy and sell stuff. This can be anything from computers to cars. The thing to note is that you need to have a bit of passion for whatever it is that you are selling. That way you will know what’s good and what’s not. If you have a passion for vehicles, you can go around buying them at a cheap price before flipping them. There are many places on which you can do the selling, from Craigslist to Amazon.

9. Teach English online

This is another one on which it is debatable whether or not it’s passive. However, it’s still a great way for students to earn that extra dollar. There are thousands of people out there, in non English speaking countries, who are willing to pay to be taught the language. You can dedicate a couple of hours of your day to it as a way of earning something extra. The following are some of the companies that you can join if you are interested in this;

  • VIPKID
  • Teach Away
  • DaDa
  • Qkids
  • iTutorGroup

10. Become and influencer

Becoming an influencer is one of the best passive income ideas for students

How many followers do you have on social media? To be frank, if you are the typical student, you probably have quite a few of these. Thing is, if you can create a big enough following, then you can become a social media influencer. Influencers are celebrities in various fields and by all appearances, they lead glamorous lives. You too can become one, but it’s not going to be easy. So, how do you do it?

  • You need to be good at something. As an example, you can present yourself as a fitness guru.
  • Promote yourself as an expert in whatever your chosen field.
  • Gather followers on Instagram and other social media platforms.
  • Companies will now approach you to market their products.

How much can you earn through influencer marketing

The amounts that you earn through influencer marketing are dependent on the number of followers that you have. Generally, you need to have thousands of followers to become relevant in a meaningful way. If you can get a million followers, then being a student would become simply a hobby because you will be well set for life.

11. Create a Niche Website

The idea of niche websites is great because the internet is generally flooded, as far as money making ideas are concerned. It’s hard for new players to gain any meaningful traction. One way for students to earn something extra is by creating niche sites. This can either be a niche membership site, where people pay for access, or a site covering niche products.

If you are good at Python programming, as an example, you could create a site covering this topic. The site would be members-only and would contain materials teaching others how to program in the language. For niche sites, you can identify a product on Amazon or anywhere else that has not been exhaustively covered. Do keyword research and focus on that product on your site. You can then monetize your site using Amazon Associates or other affiliate programs.

12. Take part in drugs trials

This one is not for the fainthearted, but it’s still a great way for students to earn something on the side. It was recently revealed that people taking part in COVID 19 vaccine trials in the United Kingdom were being paid 3500 pounds each. That’s a lot of money. Of course, there are some risks to taking part in drugs trials. However, they are not as many as many would think.

13. Rent your car

If you won a car, then you can rent it out to people for a fee. This is actually workable for college students because you probably have better things to do that to drive around. Car rentals are actually very great when it comes to earning something. There are some people out there who are earning as much as $1000 per month from it. So, it’s a good way of making sure that you do not get saddled with all those college debts.

14. Sell your notes

Sell school notes
You can earn something by selling your school notes

Notes tend to be one of the terrible but necessary aspects of being a student. However, you can turn them into an advantage by selling them. There are people out there who are willing to pay to get access to your notes. You just need to sign up for one of the essay sites that are out there. The trick is in ensuring that you have coherent notes. You can then sell them online for use by other students.

15. Create a YouTube channel

If you are into YouTubing, then this is something that you can do to earn something extra. The trick with YouTube is to focus on an area that’s of interest to many people. That way, you will be able to grow your audience to such an extent that you will be able to monetize your site. With YouTube, you earn money via ads that appear as people are watching your videos. You only get a few cent’s per ad, so you need thousands of views to be able to earn something meaningful. That’s why it’s important to focus on a popular topic.

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