Four side hustles you can pick up to fund your student lifestyle

January 10, 2017
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Woe betide anyone who dares apply for a job in 2017 and expects consistent hours and penalty rates on the weekend. The casual/part-time days of yore (from the beginning of time to 2016) are dead and buried, replaced by an ever greedy body corporate who couldn’t care less if your job security resembled a Peruvian jail. So with an ever-changing job market, particularly for those still encumbered in university hell and for whom free hours are a scarce resource, its time to hop on a paradigm shift towards the fad-tastic, new-age-cool-hip job market known as the side hustle or the ‘gig economy’.

But whatever is the ‘gig economy’? Aren’t gigs the things I go to in Marrickville on a Friday night when I’m feeling dangerous after having just dropped a bomb at the local C’s Flashback? Sort of. Gig has its roots in Italian, similar to the word ‘jig’ in English, adopted by jazz musicians to refer to their live performances. ‘Gig’ has now been co-opted by academic economists to refer to your one-hit wonder jobs that may be as frequent as a world tour by Beyonce or as scarce as a bluegrass folk singer in Berghein. Whatever your poison, here are a few job ideas to get you started.

Sharing is caring

An economic buzzword within an economic buzzword, “the sharing economy” jobs such as Uber, Airbnb, Deliveroo, and Foodora among a host of other businesses gives you the flexibility to work when it suits you, using your own stuff. Genius. Just be prepared to be the personal chauffeur to some drink-sodden youth on a night out, or hurtle through the pouring rain to deliver that deep pan pizza before it freezes over. But balance these downsides with a good-to-go source of income that comes out of stuff you already own and you are halfway to having a pretty stable income that moulds to your life, not the other way round. Sign me up.


Those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym. Those who have never been to a gym are either a lost cause or can apply their recently learned expertise in undergraduate essay writing or mathematics to educate the next generation of wannabe uni-lawn dwellers.

Tutoring can be an excellent “gig”, providing stability and handsome remuneration (think $50 or more per hour). The problem is finding the students to teach, which requires more than just nicely coiffed hair. Fliers, Gumtree, word of mouth, or just good old-fashioned door knocking are tried and tested ways of securing regular customers. And if its ability that’s holding you back, remember that most of the time the tutee just needs an extra set of eyes and ears to bounce ideas and questions off. Giggity giggity.

Online questionnaires

Probably a little on the less stimulating side of a job, but sites like Mysurvey and Pureprofile give you a bit of cash in return for a bit of time spent filling out online questionnaires and market research surveys sent out by businesses. The reward isn’t excellent, but trying it out for an hour or two on a Friday night might just give you enough to keep coming back. When all is said and done, expect about $20 an hour. Can’t complain.

Website design and digital services

Sites like Freelancer and Upwork pitch daily gig jobs targeted towards creative computer types to design websites, graphics, marketing tools and mobiles apps. Sound like your particular blend of software and hardware? Permanent design jobs are as rare as hen’s teeth, so sink your chompers into these websites and try your luck.

So if you don’t know, now you know what the gig economy is/can offer you by way of cash money job to pay your rent or your addiction to pub food, with these jobs as a starting point. Take care though; gigs don’t mean that your labour rights are to be reckoned with. So if you feel like you’re being scammed, you probably are.

Rory Marples

Rory is studying a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Notre Dame.

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