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Student side hustles

A ‘side hustle’ is an informal term for a job that is undertaken in addition to full-time employment or study. Starting a side hustle is a great way to earn cash to help you through university, creating a little wiggle room in your budget. But with a variety of money-making opportunities on offer, what are the most lucrative side hustles for students to start right now?
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University can be expensive for students. Whether it’s spending money on textbooks and stationery, partaking in different societies, or paying for university accommodation, students typically boast a wide range of outgoings. 

Traditionally, many students take part-time jobs, such as bar work, to support university lifestyles. However, these days, you can earn extra money from your dorm room, as long as you have reliable student broadband

This report analyses the most popular online and offline side hustles and reveals how much students can expect to earn from each. If you’re planning on starting your own online side hustle, be sure to compare broadband deals to guarantee you get the best package and speed to accommodate your hustling needs. 

The highest paying online side hustles by project

An graph to show the highest paying online side hustles by project. Instagram Nano-Influencer ranks as the highest paid, at an estimated £169.49 per project.

According to our data, social media influencing is the highest paying online side hustle per project. Established ‘nano-influencers’ (those with a following between 1,000 - 10,000) can make significant earnings per project or social media post.

Nano-influencers can earn money from popular platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, by uploading creative content. This content can range from fitness tips and interior design, to travel inspiration and fashion photography. Content can take the form of reels, photographs, live streams and social stories.

Having established a following, influencers can drive income through brand collaborations, sponsorships, and content monetisation. However, how much you earn depends heavily on your follower count, and overall audience engagement rates.

1. Instagram Nano-Influencer - £169.49 per social post

Nano-Influencers on Instagram earn an estimated £169.49 per post, the highest rate of all online side hustles studied. Small-scale influencers usually stick to one particular niche, posting photographs and videos with a specific purpose, whether it’s fishing, product reviews, wildlife photography or another activity.

By focusing on a particular niche, nano-influencers can attract hyper-relevant followers that share similar interests, thereby driving authentic engagement.

2. TikTok Nano-Influencer - £157.32 per social post

TikTok is a relatively new social media but it is quickly dominating the social space. It’s a video-sharing app that allows users to share short videos on any topic to a mass audience.

There are two main ways to make money from TikTok: 1) earning money directly from TikTok through its Creator Fund, and 2) partnering with brands to post sponsored content. A nano-influencer on TikTok can average revenues of £157.32 per post.

3. Facebook Nano-Influencer - £147.76 per social post

Influencing on Facebook is the third-best online side hustle by project earnings, according to our data. A nano-influencer on Facebook can expect to earn an average of £147.76 per post.

Similarly to Instagram, nano-influencers on Facebook are usually opinion leaders, authorities or experts on a specific topic. So if you have a lot of knowledge in a specific niche, Facebook might be the place for you to share your expertise.

The highest paying online side hustles by hourly rate

 An graph to show the highest paying online side hustles by hourly rate. Tutoring ranks as the highest paid, at an estimated £26.07 per hour.

Influencing can sometimes be a hard game to become successful on a regular basis. In addition, rates per project are for established influencers, which can take some time to reach.

If you’re looking for an online side hustle where you can start earning straight away, these are some of the highest paid areas to consider. 

1. Tutoring - £26.07

Online tutoring is the highest-paying online side hustle in the UK. You can earn an average of £26.07 per hour as an online tutor, with this rate increasing with respect to experience and reputation. 

Online tutoring service Tutorful is a great place to begin your tutoring journey, as it can put you together with a wide host of potential pupils. You can, however, also share your services across social media, and through word of mouth to encourage further engagement. Tutoring is great for those with a knack for a certain subject, for example, maths or languages. 

2. Voice-over artist - £17.38

A voice-over artist earns an average of £17.38 per hour, the second-highest online side hustle earnings. Voice-over work can be found on Fiverr among other online platforms such as The Mandy Network and Malt.

Prices for voice-overs on Fiverr range from £4 to £41 per hour, depending on your experience and reputation. And as a voice actor, you can charge a flat fee for your services or negotiate with each client depending on the work you’re doing.

As a voice-over artist, you will be expected to use your voice to create characters, tell stories, and communicate vital information in an engaging way. These sorts of roles are great for those with an interest in acting and performing arts. Having or developing a strong, clear speaking voice is key to success as a voice actor. You will be required to bring scripts to life in your narration, accentuating the appropriate tone, emotion, clarity and enunciation.

3. Video editor - £8.69

The third highest paying online side hustle is a video editor. While the average hourly rate for a video editor is £8.69, experienced editors can make up to £41. When you start out as an editor it is important to value your services at a competitive rate. Conduct research into the rates other editors are charging so that you can determine a suitable fee. Once you have built up your reputation and experience you can start charging higher rates. 

As a video editor, your role could vary significantly, from managing camera footage to editing recorded dialogue and specific effects. To take on this hustle, you will need to have access to (and an understanding of) key video editing software, including the likes of Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro. Once you have a general grasp on how to use such editing software, start practising on small projects, consulting tutorials, and other online resources as required. 

Video editing is however far from being just a technical challenge; more significantly, it is a creative one. As part of this side hustle you will need high attention to detail, as well as a strong understanding of both aesthetics and storytelling. 

The highest paying offline side hustles

An graph to show the highest paying offline side hustles. Tutoring ranks as the highest paid, at an estimated £21.19 per hour.

1. Tutoring - £21.19

Not only is tutoring a great online side hustle, but it is also the highest-paying offline side hustle. Rates for tutoring in person vary depending on your location, and the average rate for cities in the UK is £21.19 per hour.

You can choose to tutor in any subject you favour. As a tutor you have the freedom to decide when you teach, and how many students you take on, meaning you can work around your studies.

2. Uber - £15.76

As an Uber driver you can expect to make an average of £15.76 per hour in the UK. It is important to note though, that this hustle will require some initial investment on your part, including a driving licence, fuel-efficient vehicle, and private hire insurance (in case you don’t have any of these already). However, at an hourly rate of £15.76, you can expect to make a substantial £472 per 30-hour work week if you choose to.

Uber drivers pick up users of the Uber app and drive them to their chosen destinations. The minimum age requirement for Uber drivers in the UK is 21, but with almost 60% of UK students 21 and over, Uber driving is an ideal student side hustle. Uber driving is flexible and sociable, and payments are typically processed within one working day — perfect if you have a party planned at the weekend.

3. Lifeguarding - £11.00

The third highest-paying in-person side hustle is lifeguarding. Lifeguards can make an average of £11 an hour, with more experienced lifeguards making up to £13.05. Lifeguarding requires a professional qualification, but completing this will leave you with lifelong skills from how to handle equipment to first aid and casualty care.

Such skills are often desirable for future employers should you pursue a career in similar fields of work. It’s is a great way to stay fit and it can be a great way to meet new people.

The highest paying survey sites

An infographic to show the highest paying survey sites. Pinecone Research ranks in the first place, followed by i-Say and LifePoints.

Surveying is often cited as one of the most efficient side hustles for students. But how much can you really expect to earn from completing online surveys? This research has analysed 20 of the most popular survey sites to reveal which are the most profitable.

1. Pinecone Research

Pinecone Research pays out a flat rate of £3.00 per every survey you complete. At three surveys a month, this equates to monthly earnings of £9 and annual earnings of £107.70. This is the minimum you can expect to earn if you regularly complete Pinecone Research surveys, the highest of these sites.

Surveys at Pinecone Research focus on testing and reviewing emerging concepts for new products and brand services.

2. Maru Voice, Prolific Academic and PanelBase

Maru Voice (market research), Prolific Academic (higher education research), and PanelBase (market research & product testing) offer the second-best expected survey earnings. Each site pays out between £1 and £10 per survey completed. By frequently accessing the higher-paid surveys you could see annual earnings of up to £359.01.

However, how much you can earn through surveys depends on how dedicated you are to survey completion.

RankSurvey Site NameLowest Typical Survey EarningsHighest Typical Survey EarningsLowest Typical Survey Earnings per weekHighest Typical Survey Earnings per weekLowest Estimated survey earnings per monthHighest Estimated survey earnings per monthLowest Estimated survey earnings per yearHighest Estimated survey earnings per year
1Pinecone Research£3.00£3.00£2.07£2.07£9.00£9.00£107.70£107.70
2Maru Voice£1.00£10.00£0.69£6.90£3.00£30.00£35.90£359.01
2Prolific Academic£1.00£10.00£0.69£6.90£3.00£30.00£35.90£359.01
2Valued Opinions£1.00£5.00£0.69£3.45£3.00£15.00£35.90£179.51
2i-Say (IPSOS)£1.00£1.00£0.69£0.69£3.00£3.00£35.90£35.90
2New Vista Live£1.00£1.00£0.69£0.69£3.00£3.00£35.90£35.90
8Branded Surveys£0.77£0.77£0.53£0.53£2.31£2.31£27.64£27.64
10The OpinionPanel Community£0.50£4.00£0.35£2.76£1.50£12.00£17.95£143.61
10Panel Opinion£0.50£4.00£0.35£2.76£1.50£12.00£17.95£143.61
10Opinion Outpost£0.50£0.50£0.35£0.35£1.50£1.50£17.95£17.95
15Mingle Surveys£0.40£1.00£0.28£0.69£1.20£3.00£14.36£35.90
16Curious Cat£0.20£2.00£0.14£1.38£0.60£6.00£7.18£71.80
18Triaba Panel£0.16£2.80£0.11£1.93£0.48£8.40£5.74£100.52

With a wide range of side hustles available today both online and in-person, students have a host of options to choose from. But all of them will require a certain amount of work or experience to achieve, so you should prepare yourself for a slow start as you build your reputation in your chosen area.

If you’re considering starting an online side hustle, you will also need a strong, reliable broadband connection. Reliable broadband is especially essential if you want to succeed at your hustle from the comfort of your university accommodation.

While you can’t control your university halls' Wi-Fi, there are steps you can take to increase the efficiency of your Wi-Fi within your student house. These include positioning your router in a central location in your home and making sure it’s not obstructed by walls or furniture.

A good internet speed for you and your housemates should typically be 30Mbps and above, but the speed you need can depend on your internet activities. If you’re sending and downloading lots of heavy files, a faster connection will improve your efficiency, but they are also usually more expensive too. So finding the right balance between speed and expense is key.

Also, make sure that the student broadband package you opt for is robust enough for the needs of your entire household. It should account for all of your daily activities like using social media, streaming TV or downloading games too.


Methodology and sources

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