Stomping the Yard

5 Unique Ways to Help Pay for College

These five campus startup ideas give college students alternative ways to earn extra cash for expenses.
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Calling all college students!  Our new weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives.’s team of experts will show you how to get it done from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for The Yard via

I’d like to say that at 18 years old, I was a savvy, self-made woman building my empire from the inside of my dorm room, but that is not the case. In fact, at 18 years old, two weeks into the semester, I had 38 cents in my bank account, awaiting my financial aid, and no means of supporting myself.  I was too stubborn to call home and ask for help, so I did the next best thing: I got a job. My first job in college was in the dining hall of my dorm residence. I had a smock, a hair net, tired feet and a sore back. Suffice it to say, it was NOT glamorous.

College students are almost always strapped for cash–struggling to pay for books, countless fees, and tuition. If I knew then what I know now I could have saved myself some backache and been well on my way to a small fortune. If hairnets and hot lamps aren’t exactly your idea of gainful employment, these campus start-up ideas can help boost your resume and your bottom line:

1) Virtual/Personal Assistant: Running a business is a huge job for one person. There are a lot of bases that need to be covered, such as blogging, scheduling, email marketing, newsletters, etc. These things, while important, take precious time that could be better used growing the business through sales and marketing; thus the need for an assistant. If you have a laptop, are good at organizing, planning, writing, and time management, you can market yourself to entrepreneurs who are looking to outsource a few tasks. The best part is, your clients don’t have to be local. You can set up a profile through and offer your services to anyone in the world making anywhere from $10 – $15 an hour. That is pretty decent money for a “campus job.”

2) Graphic Designer: If you are creative, artistic, and know your way around Photoshop, you can make a pretty penny designing artwork for small businesses. Small businesses usually don’t have large budgets to pay for a full-scale marketing firm, but rely on quality imagery to build their audience and their brand. As a graphic designer, you can develop signs, posters, event flyers, invitations, Facebook banners, memes, and infographics. Depending on the project, you can charge anywhere from $40 – $150 per project.

3) Social Media Manager: If you are great at navigating Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook and have an eye for what’s current, hot, and trending, you can create and manage social media content for bloggers, entrepreneurs, and start-ups. Having a social media presence is critical for businesses and organizations, even the college that you attend. However, social media can be time consuming and overwhelming for busy professionals who already have tight schedules. Offer to manage content for local businesses or organizations. Some social media managers make anywhere from $200-$800 per month, per client! Imagine…getting paid for being on Facebook!

4) Nanny/Child Care: If you have a passion for working with little ones, or you’re planning to major in early childhood education, childcare is an opportunity to make some serious extra cash. Finding reliable childcare is a priority for working parents. If you are a responsible driver, and can assist with pick-ups, drop-offs, sports practices, and keep the kids from burning the house down, you can easily earn $400-$600 a month from a single family. You can also earn extra cash on evenings and weekends when parents are heading out for social activities. Check with campus faculty and staff and see who could use a reliable sitter.

5) Wardrobe Stylist: Is fashion your passion? If so, you can build a steady clientele helping fellow students audit their wardrobes, shop their closets, select the perfect outfit for homecoming, and design on a dime. You can also host style classes and consults on campus and build your credibility as a fashion authority. If you know a student/local beautician who can style hair, consider partnering up and offering styling packages.

Some of the benefits of being in business for yourself include using your natural gifts and talents to serve others, as well as fitting clients into YOUR schedule instead of having to a work a certain shift. It also strengthens your time management skills, builds credibility with people who can write letters of recommendation, and gives you the confidence to “create” income instead of waiting for payday.

About Dr. Shante Bishop

Photo Credit: Jeremiah-Phinally Phocused

Photo Credit: Jeremiah-Phinally Phocused

Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on FacebookYouTube and Twitter.