High School Student Side Hustles – My Top 5 Ideas For Your Classroom

Creating a side hustle does not require you to be a minimum age. So why can’t high school student side hustles be a thing?

Making extra money can be a great way to buy the items you want, invest it to make it grow, or save for big purchases in the future.

Starting a side hustle can be a great way to make this happen. Not only can you make extra money, but you will learn a lot about yourself in the process.

Growing up, side hustle businesses were always run by people older than me. As a high school student, I saw some of the adults around me creating side hustles. However, few my age did this. We did talk about it in some of my classes. Unfortunately, we were never given the encouragement to do it ourselves.

This is no longer the case. More high school programs are teaching courses around entrepreneurship, and our local economies are starting to reap the benefit. We are starting to see more Gen-Zers turning towards entrepreneurship instead of colleges or the workforce. Due to this, education programs have to find ways to reach these students to enhance their skills and confidence early. This has also resulted in more high school student side hustles!

Since introducing a venture development into my business program, we have seen many budding entrepreneurs find success. Idea development is tough, as I outlined in my article about creating student-run businesses. However, we have seen some pretty profitable ideas develop in the past few years.

When students see others become successful with side hustles, they want to do the same. We have seen huge increases in our enrolment in entrepreneurship classes. In fact, a large percentage of students who enrol have never taken a business class before!

I aim to teach students about experiences. Students put a large focus on their grades. However, selling these experiences to future employers can give them opportunities a higher grade can’t replicate.

Let’s build these experiences early. Maybe along the way, you can make some extra money too.

Here are the top 5 high school student side hustles from my program. Each have various levels of success. However, the result has been the same. Each student earned an experience and some extra money to get the things they want.

High School Side Hustle #1 – Selling Coffee

high school student side hustle #1 -  selling coffee

Coffee has become a universal drink in any high school setting. On any given day, many people walking through the halls either have a McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s cup in hand.

One of the first things we do is look at who our target market will be, and what are the trends within that market. A group of students quickly recognized the coffee trend within our building. Students and teachers alike are willing to spend money on coffee. What would happen if it could be more convenient for them?

After some prototyping, the students decided on iced coffee. The majority of students in the school buy flavoured coffee options. Teachers were open to trying these options as well. Transitioning into the summer months also helped these students make the decision to develop iced coffee.

Using simple packaging and labeling, the students were able to create a low cost iced coffee in original, caramel, and vanilla flavours. In the first two weeks of sales, they sold over $1000 worth of iced coffee mainly to students and staff.

Additionally, the students contacted businesses in the community to try to generate interest in their product. They are now in negotiations with a few salons to carry their product as a purchasable item by customers and staff.

This group of students utilized social media more effectively than others. By using Facebook and Instagram strategically, they were able to generate more sales leads. Also, they used their social media accounts as sales channels. Many customers would contact them through their accounts to place pre-orders or large quantity orders.

Their Facebook page also lead them to a media interview. Even though the publication was small, more people within Portage la Prairie learned about them. This also generated more sales.

This business idea may seem simple. Being in the right market plays a large role in your level of success. Although we do have some major chains in our community, we do not have a business like a Starbucks. Due to this, the demand for flavoured iced coffees is high with little choice on where to purchase them.

Overall, if the market works for you or your students, I would suggest looking at this type of business as one of the simplest high school side hustles.

High School Side Hustle #2 – Services for Community Members

lawnmower mowing lawn

I know, the idea of performing simple services for people within your community is played out. The origin story for many entrepreneurs can involve a lawn care or snow clearing business. However, the reason is because it works.

Depending on the demographic of where you live, these types of services can be in high demand. With almost 20% of our population being over the age of 65, many services that we think are easy can be more challenging for the older people near you.

Some students have seen these numbers as opportunity figures. After a bit of market research, we found that a large number of older home owners and people in assisted living are looking for people to take these responsibilities away from them.

The top three services my students have been able to make money on are:

  1. Snow clearing in the winter time. This is even more necessary with our long winters and high snowfalls. Students just have to make sure they have the right gear for this type of job, since we deal with temperatures colder than Mars on some days.
  2. Lawn care in the warmer months. This has become a task that many people just aren’t willing to do. Because it is more time consuming, we find that people are more willing to pay someone to do it so they can prioritize their time to “more important” things.
  3. Running errands for those who can’t. When I talk to my students about simple tasks, such as going to buy groceries, they see it as something that takes zero effort. However, imagine having to do the same with no form of transportation. We found that many people in our community rely on public transportation to get to and from the grocery store. Many people were willing to pass off these errands for a small fee.

Although it is quite easy to enter this market, motivation will be the toughest aspect for students wanting to take on this type of venture. The students who have found the most success are ones who are willing to do whatever it takes to gain customers and complete their work. This may mean having to go door-to-door, visiting assisted living homes, or making cold calls.

When they do have clients, some students may have to set an early morning alarm to get their work in before school. Trying to convince a high school student to get up at 4:00 a.m. to shovel driveways before their 8:50 a.m. class is a pretty tough sell. However, if they are willing and motivated, the profit potential can be very high.

If anything, students will develop a pretty strong work ethic that can continue to be used through their post-secondary careers.

High School Side Hustle #3 – Become a Reseller

Supreme money gun

I will admit, I am one who buys into the hype of certain brands. I have been pretty good at decision making for a lot of things I want, but have fallen victim to the reseller market in the past.

However, taking advantage of trends and hyped brands can net you some pretty good money.

Seeing people make hundreds of dollars a week flipping Supreme is something a lot of teens will gravitate towards. Having them look at it from the perspective of the seller instead of the buyer is what you want to accomplish.

Typically, I push students to look at an area they have interest or knowledge in. If they already know about a specific type of product and the value certain items have on the reseller market, they already have a step up on others. Some examples of this are electronics, video games, shoes, or clothing.

The next steps are going to require a lot of discipline from teens. Finding products that sell at a reasonable price, or trying to purchase products at retail can be a tough process. It requires a lot of time and patience. However, the pay off can be large.

One of the more recent success stories from my entrepreneurship program is based on electronic reselling. I have a student who noticed the current AirPod trend, found a supplier who creates a similar product, and sells them at a fraction of the cost of the Apple alternative. Other students have been purchasing these like crazy. In fact, the popularity of the items have given this student more motivation to introduce other products, such as wireless charging pads. He is also starting to research how to start a dropshipping business on the side.

High School Side Hustle #4 – Resume Creating

high school student side hustle #4 - resume writing

The way most students get extra money is through part-time work. At the start of every semester, I get an idea of how many of my students have part-time jobs. It is amazing how large of a percentage of students do – even as young as Grade 10!

Although the majority of them work in pretty low-skill entry jobs, such as fast food, they all still need to hand in a resume. Most of these resumes are built using the same Microsoft Word-based templates!

Having a creative resume can be the easiest way for you to stand out amongst other applicants. This is even more important when your work and volunteer experience is empty.

Many of my students have difficulty being able to get themselves to stand out. This is usually due to lack of knowledge or effort. If you have a creative and technology-savvy student who has a bit of motivation, this can be a market they can enter pretty easily.

A student who is willing to sit down with another student, learn a bit more about them, and develop a custom resume to showcase their skills and interests can be an easy money-making tool. With professional resume writing services costing between $80 to $349, entering this market can be very profitable. Students willing to do this kind of work will start earning a profit right away, as the start up costs for this type of side hustle can be nothing. Additionally, professional resume writing can give a student a piece of information to enter on their own resume!

Profiting on the laziness of your peers may sound wrong, but it is a proven way to make some extra spending money.

High School Side Hustle #5 – Start a Blog

high school student side hustle #5 -  start a blog

Starting a blog, at least in the short term, is probably the least profitable of the 5 high school student side hustles, but hear me out on this one.

There are thousands of “how to write a blog” guides online, with many showcasing the profit potential of this type of venture. It can take a lot of time and effort to develop a profitable blog, but we look at it from a different perspective.

Every student has a passion, regardless of how minimal or specific it may be. Once you get a student talking about their passion, it is amazing how much information they actually know.

Getting them to put that information down in writing is a different story.

Encouraging a student to develop a blog can be a tough sell. Many are looking for an instant profit side hustle, and are more focused on the short game. Blog writing is a long-term game with more rewards if a student stays consistent with it.

My biggest selling point for developing a blog is building your personal brand.

Having a personal brand in high school will give a student a step up over competition in the future. Once you develop an audience, leverage, and are looked at as a trusted source for information, people will take you more seriously. This can help you land a better paying job, or give you opportunities to make money on your passion.

The best part is that this is all possible while talking about something you’re passionate about.

Blogging can be a large benefit for a number of reasons:

  1. Students will develop a platform to start building their personal brand, and can continue it for as long as they want.
  2. Blogs can be cheap (or free) to start up. Edublogs gives students and teachers a free platform to start their blogging journey. When ready, students can transfer that content to a paid host and domain.
  3. If they grow their audience, students can monetize and continue to build their blog into their future.
  4. Digital skills can be learned and developed. Certain things, such as website development, SEO practices, and social media marketing are integral in growing your blog and personal brand. These can be transferable into future career opportunities as well.

As I previously wrote, I am going through the process of creating this blog. I am still learning about blogging myself. However, I encourage students to take the journey with me.

Other alternatives to this can be vlogging or podcasts. These are two other mediums students can use to effectively grow their personal brand. We won’t go into detail on those with this post, but a lot of what you learn from blogging can be achieved through these two choices.

Are High School Student Side Hustles Worth It?

I have always been a huge supporter of supplementing your income. This can be even more beneficial for high school students.

Competition is everywhere. The growth of the digital workforce has made it even harder to compete for specific jobs. It is more important now to make yourself stand out.

Starting a side hustle can give you a step-up on the competition. By developing some integral skills earlier in life, students can set themselves up for future success.

Side hustles have been the best learning tool for my students. We spend less time looking at theory, and more time practically learning. My students have been able to develop the work ethic to come to class and get right on a task with their group without any teacher instruction or classroom management. Everything is taught on the job instead of in the classroom.

I also understand that this list will not be for every student. Passion and interest play a large role in deciding what type of side hustle they want to start. These are just proven successes in my classroom with select students.

There are a ton of guides online that showcase different side hustle ideas. Turning students towards these can help them come up with ideas. However, the decision has to fit into the personality of the student.

High school student side hustles has been the best addition to my program the past few years. I encourage you to give it a shot. Comment below if you have any questions or feedback!

Happy side hustling, and thanks for reading!

4 Comments

  1. Erin May 23, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    Love this! As a former high school teacher, I had so many students that had incredibly creative “side hustles”. I so admire the can do spirit of this generation! Thanks for this excellent post!

    Reply
    1. Sean Hopps May 23, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you, Erin! I appreciate the work you have put in as an educator!

      Reply
  2. Olavo May 24, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Love this Hopps! No question your the best teacher I’ve ever had, keep showing the kids how to work for themselves 🙏🏾💪🏾

    Reply
    1. Sean Hopps May 24, 2019 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks, Olavo. Great to hear from you. Hope all is well!

      Reply

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