passive income for college students

7 Passive Income Tips for College Students

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Are you struggling to support yourself while going through college? Are you aware that you can live comfortably while in college through a variety of passive income sources? Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Remarketing. If you are like the typical college student, you are probably feeling overwhelmed right now as the debts pile up. Believe me, I went through that experience myself, and it wasn’t very nice. In fact, so big is the problem of student debts that it comes up on the campaign trail every election season! But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways in which college students can generate income for themselves while still going to school. So, sit back and relax as I lay it out for you. In this article, I am going to;

  1. Define passive income
  2. Give you 7 passive income sources for college students

What the heck is passive income?

Most students survive college by taking the odd job. This may include putting in a few hours at the local Walmart, or sweating behind the grill at a nearby restaurant. The trouble with that is that this sort of work can be…well, it can be so much work! There are so many things that need to be done while in college, and having to sweat to earn extra income is the least appealing of them all;

  • Books need to be read and classes need to be attended. After all, nobody is going to just hand over a degree or diploma to you without a little bit of pretense at study.
  • Parties need to be attended. It can be hard juggling one’s social life with work. College is, after all, supposed to be one of the golden periods in people lives. Unfortunately, working at the local Diner leaves you with very little time to partake of these social obligations.
  • Relationships need to be formed and discarded. With that in mind, who has time for real work?

Enter passive income

With passive income, you can sit back and relax knowing you are fully covered
With passive income, you can sit back and relax knowing you are fully covered

Passive income is what every college student should be on the lookout for. In fact, being able to generate passive income can be useful even for those that are no longer in college. The life that most of us aspire to have is one where we go to the beach, or to the local bar, to relax with the money continuing to roll in on a daily basis. Imagine spending your entire life traveling from one country to the other without having to worry about ending up destitute? Well, you can do it with passive income. But what the hell is passive income?

Passive income can be defined as money that is earned on a regular basis from sources that do not require regular attention and effort.

Just to clarify a bit further, passive income is passive, meaning you don’t need to put in regular effort in order to earn it. That’s not to say, however, that virtually no effort is required. In fact, you may actually be required to put in a lot of effort while setting things up. That’s not really surprising. Nobody is going to simply hand you money on a monthly basis for free. And you will probably need to put in a little bit of effort to maintain and grow your passive income sources. You may, as an example, need to check out your bank balance every now and then. That’s work, right? Anyway, passive income also needs to be regular for it to qualify as such. If you only earn a once off amount, with nothing else coming after that, then those earnings cannot really be defined as passive income.

Passive income for college students

Okay, so what are some of the passive income sources that college students can take advantage of to stay ahead financially? Read on to find out;

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a subject about which I am really, really familiar with. That’s because I am an affiliate for a wide range of brands. I sell their products and services and they give me a commission per sale. Not only that, but I also have my own in-house affiliate marketing program. If you check out the provided link, you will be able to sign up for my program. Once you have done so, you will be able to sale any of my products, including SEO packages, my Facebook Ads Marketing Course and my Google Ads plans. The following are some of the types companies for which I am an affiliate;

  • Web hosts: I sell web hosting packages. My own website, planetmarketing.com is hosted by Kinsta, which, by the way, is a great host. You can sign up with you are interested, using my link.
  • SEO tools: These include companies such as SEMrush and SE Ranking. You can check out the reviews that I wrote on these and other rank tracking tools through the provided link.
  • Online review companies: I sell products from companies such as Shopper Approved to those that are looking to get seller ratings in the Google Ads and to those that simply wish to effectively manage their online reputations.

Affiliate Marketing Definition

So, what is affiliate marketing? I hope the above examples have helped you get an understanding of affiliate marketing. I actually started doing affiliate marketing when I was still in college. So, I know that everything that I am talking about here actually works. Anyway, to clarify things, here is a definition of affiliate marketing;

Affiliate marketing is a business model under which affiliates/publishers promote and sell goods and services on behalf of brands/merchants/vendors for a commission.

Just to illustrate the point, let’s assume that a company, that we will call Time Management Inc, has come up with an app that is supposed to revolutionize the way that we manage our time. Now, the company has a website, a blog, a social media following etc. So, is this going to be enough to get the critical mass that is needed to achieve profitability? Probably not. Now, there are a number of ways of reaching out to customers.  One of these ways is affiliate marketing.

So, the company then sets up an affiliate marketing program. This can be done in-house, through an affiliate marketing agency or through a combination of both.  Whatever the option that is chosen at the end of the day, affiliate marketing ensures that Time Management Inc gets the maximum amount of publicity for their revolutionary product. Instead of selling the time management app on their own, the company now has hundreds, or even thousands of people spreading the word on social media, through blogging and on YouTube.

My Shopper Approved affiliate page
My Shopper Approved affiliate page: I get lots of passive income from the company

For their part, affiliates get paid a commission. This can either be once off or it can be recurring. Personally, I prefer recurring passive income sources. And this is what college students should be looking to get. What happens is after you have convinced someone to sign up using your link, that person becomes linked to you for the duration of their subscription. You get a certain percentage of the money that they pay every month. So, if I convince 10 people to subscribe for the Time Management App, I will continue to get paid for as long as they continue to renew their subscriptions. In fact, a large amount of the money that I earn comes this way. Some of the people were signed up for companies such as Shopper Approved years and years ago, yet I continue to get paid!

Who can be an affiliate?

Anyone can be an affiliate, from big companies to college students. All that you need to be able to do is to find ways of getting the word out about the products and services that you are marketing. To do this effectively, you need to have vibrant marketing channels.

How is affiliate marketing a passive source of income?

Income that is earned through affiliate marketing tends to be passive in that once you have set everything up, the money will continue to roll in even as you go about the serious business of partying and missing lectures at your college.

How college students can set up affiliate marketing

So, how do you get started with affiliate marketing as a college student? The following are some of the steps that you can take to realize your dream of living a carefree life (we all have that dream, right?);

Set up your content creation channels

content marketing
Content forms the basis of affiliate marketing

If you are a college student, and you are wondering how you can start earning money passively through affiliate marketing, then content marketing should be your first port of call. To be frank, nobody is going to sign up for one of the products for which you are an affiliate without you providing something useful in return. As far as content creation is concerned, one can safely say it is THE backbone of affiliate marketing. Anyway, here is how to do it;

  • Create a blog: You can call it whatever you want. For the sake of this example, lets’ call ours passiveincomeforcollegestudents.com. A mouthful, I know, but bear with me. Anyway, in order to create a blog, you need to first buy a domain. Then you need to sign up with a web host. For college students, I recommend low level web hosts like iPage and Bluehost. These hosts are cheap, and they are actually good. And they will sell you the domain at a discount alongside the hosting package. Get in touch with me if you need help getting your blog set up. When it comes to creating your blog, I recommend WordPress for college students and other beginners. It’s easy to learn, and there are tons of material on YouTube.
  • Launch a YouTube channel: This is another option for college students who are looking to earn money passively while going through school. YouTube has huge popularity among college students, and you can benefit by becoming one of the content creators on the platform.
  • Build a social media following: Social media is another platform that college students can use to market various affiliate products.  If you can become a social media influencer, as an example, you can use this to marketing various products and services to your legion of followers.

Monetizing your content channels

The key to successfully building an affiliate marketing business (yes it can be a business) lies in creating popular content. Fact is, the more people visit your blog or watch your YouTube channel, the more the chances you are going to have of convincing them to sign up. Anyway, once you have your content channels up and running, you can then look to sign up for an appropriate affiliate marketing program. If, as an example, the focus of your blog, YouTube channel or Instagram page is Travel, then you are going to need to look for companies in the industry that run affiliate marketing programs. Include your affiliate links in your content, and you should be good to go. The good thing is that once you have written an article on, say, the best holiday destinations in California, people are still going to be able to read this article years in the future! And you will still be earning money.

Affiliate Marketing and SEO

Most affiliate marketing relies on Search Engine Optimization. If you are a blogger, as an example, you are going to need to create content that ranks high on Google and other search engines. Otherwise, nobody is going to see your content. This is where the major challenge lies. As you can see, passive sources of income are not that passive, after all. At least not at the onset. Anyway, it only takes one viral article to get you going. So, the trick is to keep at it and to enjoy yourself along the way.

2. Google AdSense

AdSense can be another source of passive income
AdSense can be another source of passive income for college students

Google AdSense can also become another source of passive income. Indeed, thousands of bloggers and YouTubers across the globe earn money on a daily basis this way. For college students, AdSense offers a great way of monetize their content channels. We have already noted that college students who wish to earn money passively need to start by blogging or YouTubing.

Once you have you blog set up, you can then sign up with Google AdSense and they will deliver ads on your website. Google has what is known as the Display Network, and it is composed of millions of content producers across the globe. Once you have signed up, you will get paid for clicks on ads that appear on you site and for impressions.

Again, the key to success is content creation. Create articles and videos that attract thousands of people on a daily basis, and you can sit back and relax with the money rolling in. According to my estimates, you need to have about 20000 pageviews per day to earn $100 daily. Now, that’s where the challenge lies. You need to be really good in order to earn money this way. Check out my article on affiliate marketing vs AdSense to find out how the two relate.

3. Write an eBook

Becoming a writer is another ticket for the college student who is on the lookout for passive sources of income. Years ago, it used to be that in order to get published, one needed to go through the boot camp of the publishing world. It was all very secretive and forbidding. The advent of the internet has pretty much changed all that. Today, it’s possible for anyone to get published through such platforms as Amazon’s KDP. If you carry out a search on Google, you will come across stories of people who have done just that, and quite a number of them have made it! And they didn’t need to have their books edited or anything, though that will not hurt you. All that you need to do in order to start earning money this way is to let your imagination run wild.

4. Create an online course

This has been a really popular way of making money over the past few years. Wherever one turns, it appears everyone is peddling courses. Heck, I even have one of my own! The important thing here is to make sure that your course is professionally crafted. Being a student is no excuse for being sloppy. You need to make sure that you are giving value to people. That way, they will freely spread the word about you. Your online course can be about anything. Mine teaches people the intricacies of Facebook advertising. The good thing is that once you have created your course, it becomes a source of passive income. You will only need to update it now and then, and if it’s really good, money will start rolling in.

5. Stock photography

stock photos
Turn you photos into a passive source of income

The world, it is safe to say, is overflowing with photographers these days. Wherever one turns, there is usually someone snapping a photo of one thing or the other. And college students are among the worst culprits. If you are one of these people who love photography, you probably have thousands of photos lying about on your camera, your phone or your computer. Perhaps some of them are from that holiday in Venice or in Paris? Whatever the case, what you may not realize is that there are people out there who are willing to pay to use your photos. All that you need to do is upload them to any of the stock photo sites that are out there. And you will get paid each time someone purchases a photography. So, if one of yours becomes very popular, the money will start rolling in without you even having to lift a finger.

6. Become a social media influencer

passive income
Become an influencer and get passive income

This is something that I have already alluded to. The internet, as it turns out, is a great equalizer. Or perhaps not, but it gives everyone the opportunity to make that much sought after breakthrough. It’s not uncommon these days to come across a story of a stay-at-home mom who has become a millionaire while tweeting or Facebooking about her household chores. Social media is something that college students can take advantage of to get a source of passive income. If you are active enough on such platforms as Facebook and Instagram, and if you are lucky or interesting enough, you will get millions of people clamoring to follow you. These then become an asset. Build a big enough following, and you will get companies and brands rushing to have you endorse their products and services. It’s what’s called influencer marketing.

7. Create and app

If you are the tech savvy type, then this can become another source of income to see you through college. Let’s say you have created a game. If it gains popularity, you can charge people to buy it. You can also monetize your creation through in-app ads and purchases.

You need to work hard to get passive sources of income!

Here is the irony; you need to work really hard to set up your passive income streams. That’s the only way of ensuring that your days of partying, drinking and breaking hearts as a college student are as comfortable as is possible. Nobody is going to hand anything out to you on a silver platter. Any of the passive sources of income for college students that I gave above require a certain degree of work. You actually need to spend a lot of sleepless nights at the onset. However, the reward will be worth it, at the end of the day.

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