It was the summer of his sophomore year in college and Andrew Marcus, not wanting to settle for a part-time job, was looking for side hustle ideas.
For many college students, summer is the time of year to make money that will pay for the upcoming school year. Side hustles can be a great way to earn a lot of money quickly. Sometimes they can even become businesses that last the rest of the year.
In fact, that’s exactly what happened for Marcus. Here’s how Marcus turned his side hustle into a full-time gig. We also offer four other ways you can get a side hustle going this summer.
Turning a side hustle into a full-fledged business
Marcus was a college tennis player studying resource economics at the University of Connecticut.
During the summer of his second year, he decided to put his tennis skills to use teaching people in his community. He advertised his services on Craigslist at about $40 an hour. Soon he had more clients than he could handle flocking to him for tennis lessons.
“I was probably teaching anywhere from one to six lessons a day,” said Marcus. “I learned more starting the business over the summers than I did in all of college.”
The demand for well-priced tennis lessons grew so large that Marcus recruited friends to teach and created a full-time business.
Seven years after graduating, Marcus’ summer side hustle, MyTennisLessons, is now a nationwide tennis lesson marketplace. A team of five is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and more than 2,000 tennis coaches are part of the marketplace across the U.S.
Here are a few summer side hustle ideas if you want to do what Marcus did and use a side hustle to pad your wallet this summer.
4 side hustle ideas you can start this summer
As a college student, you might only qualify for jobs that pay close to minimum wage. But with a side hustle, you could earn more. Here are a few ideas to help stoke your side hustle inspiration.
1. Offer gardening and lawn-care services
You can go the standard lawn-mowing route if you want to start a summer side hustle that involves working outside.
If you’re going to try to create your own lawn-care business, make sure you reach out to potential clients early to secure contracts throughout the summer. Also, consider yard cleanup services you can do early in the season, such as power raking, to help clean up lawns after a long winter.
Equipment you’ll need: You’ll need to factor in the cost of a lawn mower, gas, and oil, as well as a trailer or vehicle for transport. You’ll also need bags for clippings and gardening supplies if you’re offering those services.
Pro tip: Get a broom to sweep any stray clippings that might blow onto the sidewalk. Don’t forget about producing marketing materials to get the word out about your services.
2. Start a painting business
Summer is the time of year when homeowners usually update their fences, decks, and house exteriors, which could mean new paint jobs.
Painting a large exterior area can be a lot of work, so this side hustle might be best to do with some friends who’ll split the work and allow you to do multiple projects faster.
Equipment you’ll need: Your clients will likely pay for their own paint. But you should have brushes, rollers, and paint trays. You’ll also want to bring sandpaper and scrapers if you’re repainting an existing structure.
Pro tip: An electric sander gets the job done faster and might be a worthy investment.
3. De-winterize and detail vehicles
If you live in a colder climate, the start of camping season might mean there are boats and recreational vehicles in your area that need to be de-winterized after being in storage over the winter.
If you’re from a place that’s sunny year-round, you might still be able to find similar opportunities to detail cars.
Equipment you’ll need: You’ll need any vehicles you’re cleaning to be near running water, and you’ll need a house and plenty of space in which to work. You’ll need cleaning supplies and possibly a set of tools if you’re examining boat and RV parts.
Pro tip: A power washer will work better than a regular hose when it comes to cleaning.
4. Teach sports lessons
Many people use the summer as a way to get outside and try a new sports activity, which means an opportunity for you to offer private coaching.
The best part? You don’t have to be a college-level athlete to become a sports coach. Many sports organizations offer coaching certifications that anyone with knowledge in the sport can take.
Equipment you’ll need: You might not always need a coaching certification, but it could be a useful marketing tool to help you stand out. Consider factoring the cost of this training into your budget. You’ll also need any equipment used to play your sport.
Pro tip: Think about purchasing insurance for your equipment as well as liability insurance in case there are any accidents while you’re coaching.
How to cover the startup costs
Most side hustles cost a small amount of money to get started. Sometimes the costs are just garbage bags and soap, but other times they can get pricier, especially if you need to buy a lawn mower, power rake, or power washer.
If you don’t already have money saved up, here are two options for getting your costs covered until you start earning money:
Low-interest credit card: If you can qualify for a credit card, you might want to take advantage of credit cards with low introductory rates. Some credit cards have a 0% APR for the first year, which means you wouldn’t pay any interest on your initial purchases.
Low-interest personal loan: Another option is to get a small personal loan. Upstart offers personal loans for as low as $1,000 and you can apply online. Other lenders such as Earnest offer personal loans that start at $5,000.
The key to making your side hustle work
Now in his 10th year of business, Marcus attributes his side hustle success to his commitment — something he said college students should focus on when thinking about summer side hustle ideas.
“Make sure you’re putting in the work that will actually give you a return on your time,” Marcus said. “Because that’s the most valuable resource you have, especially when it’s just you getting started.”
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