There are so many ways to make money. This statement might not have been true 30 years ago when the world was still in the industrial age. But in today's fast-paced technological society, there are more ways to make money than anyone can possibly try. As a student, it's important to learn as much as possible, but also to start seeking out some of the many ways to make money. There are a few things that you can do to lay a foundation for yourself and to help with expanding your money-making potential. In this post, you'll learn of 4 simple strategies for how to build income opportunities as a student and an action tip for each one to get you started with applying it.
These tips apply to you whether you're in Canada or the US or anywhere in the world. To be honest, you don't even need to be in school to leverage these, but being a student presents you with tremendous opportunities that others don't have access to. You're young, have access to your school's resources, and are surrounded by many other smart students. If you apply these principles, you will be even more effective at building out income opportunities. Before we dive in, let's address the question: what exactly do I mean by “building income opportunities”?
What Does Building Income Opportunities as a Student Mean?
Building income opportunities is not just about priming yourself for potential jobs, it means actively constructing opportunities for you to make money, job or jobless.
One super common example is school. School is a way to learn more and expand knowledge which you can then use later on to build income opportunities. I think we can all agree that it is tougher for a high school dropout to get a job at an engineering firm than a college student with an engineering major. The education you receive puts you in a better position to make money. Not only that but hopefully you also gain some critical thinking skills that will help you problem-solve and make money outside of your job.
However, school is super common. According to Statista, the percentage of adults who have a college/university degree is 92%. And that number is rising! If everyone you're competing with has the same advantage, then nobody does. The 4 strategies that will be presented to you are straight-forward and intuitive, but take effort to apply. These strategies aren't used often. The reward for using these strategies is a significant increase in earning potential. Let's jump right in.
“One person can change your life.”Israelmore Ayivor
Put simply, networking is the concept of connecting with other people and expanding your own “network.” Forbes states that “networking is used by professionals to widen their circles of acquaintances, find out about job opportunities, and to increase their awareness of news and trends in their fields.” Networking is so important that there are literally hundreds of books dedicated just to the topic.
How can it help you build income opportunities as a student? Well, the more people you truly have in your network, the more opportunities will come by.
“But I can just apply for jobs online and search for them on sites like Indeed and Monster.”
Yes, you can, but did you know that 70% of available jobs are not even listed? (Business Insider) These roles are filled by word of mouth. By NETWORK. Also, when you search for a job from a stranger on the internet, you are often forced to get what you can take. However, when you receive a job opportunity through your network, it'll often be very well suited for you as it came from a personal source.
How do you build your network? Contrary to what many believe, your network is not actually the number of followers or connections you have on social media. Someone could have 100k followers on Instagram and have a true network of less than 10 people. That's because your true network is people who will root for you and are supporting your dream.
Networking Action Tip
How many people can you honestly say fit this criteria? Probably not that many. The key to building a strong network is not quantity of interactions, but quality of relationships. When you genuinely care about someone else, that feeling will be reciprocated and you will gain someone in your network. So instead of something like “meet one new person everyday”, or “comment on 5 Instagram posts every week” the action tip for networking is: genuinely start to care in your day to day interactions with other people and put the focus on the other person.
Do this and you'll expand your network significantly, in turn expanding your income opportunities.
Leverage Your Talent
Everybody is good at something. Maybe you're really good at a sport, or have a powerful voice, or play a game really well. You are good at something. And this can be used to build income opportunities for yourself.
You might be thinking “well I know so many people who are good at _____, how am I special in any way?” It's true that even if you're good at something, there's probably someone out there who's better. BUT, when you put together the thing you're good at with the opportunity you're trying to acquire, that significantly narrows the playing field. There are probably tons of people who are good at using Instagram, but there are significantly fewer who are good at using Instagram AND want to work in a consulting firm.
“Well if everyone is good at something then everyone will get what they want and there will be none for me.” No, because not everyone leverages their talent. They hide it and never bring it up because they feel it isn't relevant.
Let's use the above example. If you're good at using Instagram and your interest lies in working in a consulting firm, all you need to do is figure out a way to synergize those two. One way to do it might be to go to the hiring director and say “hey I'd love to work here and I'm also great at Instagram (show him Instagram profiles you've designed). I'll teach your company about effective Instagram strategies if you'll hire me and teach me consulting.”
Leverage Your Talent Action Tip
For this action tip, you'll need a pen and a piece of paper (or your phone's “note-taking” app.) Remember, everyone is good at something and can leverage something. For me it's golf because I grew up on the golf course, but for you it's probably completely different. It's important to identify what sets you apart so the action tip for leveraging your talent is: write down what your talent is and what you want; then write down how those two could intersect.
Jotting down these ideas is the first step to being able to leverage your talents and build income opportunities for yourself.
Seek Out “Dream” Opportunities
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Be ambitious! If you do the above tips, you will have a strong network and a specific talent to leverage. Don't low-ball yourself now. Whether it's an internship with NASA or an exclusive phone actress job, go after what you want!
Every job has “requirements.” But don't let those stop you from even trying to apply. A little known fact about jobs is that most people (no matter how qualified) have to learn the bulk of their job and everyday tasks while doing it. This means that you and every other candidate are basically in the same boat.
Producer of Jaws Stephen Spielberg got his start by sneaking into Universal Studios Hollywood at 19 years old! He had no credentials but he hustled and worked and impressed for months until he actually got a contract. That's how Spielberg became the youngest major studio director in Hollywood ever.
Maybe you want to be a doctor at a top hospital in your region, a software engineer at Google, or even a top advertisement maker. It doesn't matter what sort of qualifications you have. As long as you demonstrate that you know what the expectations of the job are, and how you can meet those, you have a shot at that “dream job” of yours. But remember, once you get it, you have to hustle hard to prove that you deserve it and to keep it.
Dream Opportunities Action Tip
This one is pretty straightforward. The action tip for getting your dream opportunity is: make a list of your “dream jobs” and reach out to them, no matter how underqualified you feel.
Even if you don't get it, you could potentially meet new people and build out your network. Either way, you increase your income opportunities.
Start a Side Hustle
The above tip was for finding your dream job, but this tip is about creating one for yourself.
When people think of income, they often think about employee wages and nothing else. In reality, there are so many more ways to make money, and one of them is a side hustle. The average side hustle brings in over $1000 every month. That's money that you make ON TOP OF your existing job.
Not only do side hustles bring in money in and of itself, but they can also be leveraged (just like your talents). A few ways this can happen:
1. You can use your side hustle as a boost in credentials. If you have a side hustle where you tutor and your dream job is teaching, you can use your side hustle as PROOF that you can do the work. You know how there's the dilemma of “I can't find a job because I don't have experience because I can't find a job because…” You can use your side hustle as experience!
2. If you have connections within your side hustle, those people can be converted to your network. By spending a little bit of time working with your connections, you can turn them into people that are rooting for you and your goal. The power of one strategy feeds another.
3. If you have a good brand, use it to your advantage! If you have a strong brand with lots of authority, you can instantly reach tons of people. This is powerful in many ways but can especially be levered through marketing. “I'll advertise your services if you give me a promotion,” or “I'll use my brand to support yours if you hire me.”
Side Hustle Action Tip
You might be busy and not have the time required to start a side hustle. That's ok, but you should definitely start thinking about ways to make scalable money outside of your job. For that reason, the side hustle action tip is: write down a list of 3 potential side hustles that you can start.
The first step to doing is planning. Starting your own side hustle is a huge step to help you build income opportunities as a student.
Start Small and Build Up
Every great thing had a small start. Don't worry too much about applying these 4 strategies all at once. Start with one and slowly work your way to all four. Then, expand on the four and find ways to mix and combine them with each other! The more you apply these strategies, the more you will build your income opportunities. Here is a quick synopsis for those of you who want a refresher or skipped through the post to the end:
- Build your network (genuinely care about people)
- Leverage your talent (figure out what you're good at and use it get what you want)
- Be ambitious (don't be shy in reaching for what you want)
- Start a side hustle (start it small but work your way up)
Build Income Opportunities As a Student!
In today's day and age, there are more ways to make money than ever before. As a student, you have the incredible edge of being surrounded by like-minded people AND you probably don't have any huge responsibilities yet. Use your advantage and start creating income opportunities for yourself!
Don't know how? Well, this post just detailed four actionable ways in which you can build income opportunities as a student. You've been shown the benefits and the quick tips for how to get started. Most of them can be applied right now… What are you waiting for? Get out there and start applying these 4 tips! Opportunities will start opening up before you know it.
How do you build income opportunities for yourself? Do you agree with the 4 tips above? What else am I missing? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading “How to Build Income Opportunities as a Student”! To learn more about financial freedom, head over to this post here. For more about me, head over to this link here. If you're interested in getting an online job, check out Bella Wanana's blog post “Online Jobs for Teens“! If you want to get a discount on Swagbucks, check out this Swagbucks sign up code. Finally, if you want to get exclusive updates and tips, drop your email in the “get updates” box (might have to scroll up a bit)! Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.