Its a struggle almost everyone can identify with: you want to make some money in the summer before college, but no one is hiring. You’ve been to every cafe, movie cinema, store and fast-food joint in your town, given out countless resumes, sat by the phone waiting, but to no avail. After being given the brush-off from what felt like every cafe in the city where I live, I realized I was going to have to get creative if I was going to earn some money to pay for college. Here’s a list of some of the jobs I’ve done that, yes--are slightly odd, but still have the same effect as a job flipping burgers would: saving money for college.
1. Selling Cupcakes
I’ve always enjoyed baking, so when my mom suggested I find some way to utilize baking to make money, I thought, “Why not?” Because I live in the middle of a very busy city, I decided that similar to the door-to-door sale of Girl Scout Cookies, I would go door-to-door to businesses selling cupcakes. Sure, it was super weird at first: walking up to a business with a tray of cupcakes and having to explain to the receptionist what on earth I was doing, but soon enough I had regular customers who would eagerly await my once a week visit to their office. And once I told people that I was selling cakes to pay for college, they were super keen to support the cause and buy even more cakes!
2. Dressing Up as a Mascot
This one makes a really great story at parties. I actually saw an advert asking for people to dress up as mascots on Facebook and decided to give it a try, which is how I found myself dressing us as Rudolph (yes, the Red-Nosed Reindeer) at my local shopping centre and posing for photographs with overly excited children while their mothers took five minutes to get “the perfect shot." This job, whilst fun at first did lose its novelty factor pretty quickly, and eventually I found myself chanting “college tuition money” over and over again in my head while I counted down the minutes till the end of shift.
And yes, when I say dressing up as mascots, this is what I mean:
This one’s a little more pedestrian than the others on this list, but its still a great way to make money. It can be hard to find clients at first, but ask around: someone you know probably knows someone with kids who needs a sitter. Once you have one client its easier to find others and build up your client base, but why stop at looking after peoples' kids? You could house-sit, pet-sit or plant-sit, just be careful not to kill off your neighbors prized gold fish...speaking from experience, it doesn’t end well.
4. Host Kids' Parties
Remember when you were about five and everyone you knew was having a birthday party where a fairy or pirate would show up, play games, tell a story or two, pose for a photo and leave? Wasn’t it the most magical thing you had ever experienced in all five years of your existence?! Now that I too have joined the ranks of fairy party host, it feels a little less magical knowing that the fairy or pirate at your fifth birthday party was probably a recent high-school graduate who was only there so they have enough money to eat more than ramen in college. Still, I find this job really enjoyable; not only do I regularly get to pretend that I’m a fairy, but I get to create the magic that those college-student fairies created for me when I was younger. See if you can’t procure a pair of fairy wings, and try your hand at playing some games with the guests at your younger cousin's birthday party.
5. Busking (AKA Street Performing)
Can you sing, tap-dance, play an instrument, juggle or paint? If you can, not only am I extremely jealous, but that means you have a talent you can take to the streets and perform with to make some money for college. When I say busk I don’t mean hopping on the train, singing for two minutes, rattling a tin of coins in someones face, then hopping off at the next station. You can do that (personally I would be too nervous), but what I’ve found to be a really effective way to busk is by setting up outside a row of restaurants during lunchtime: you have an built in audience that isn't going to run past you because they’re late for the train! Just make sure before you start you have a busking license if where you live requires it.
6. Tutoring or Teaching
Similar to busking, if you have a talent or are really good at a certain subject, why not exploit it? Guaranteed that whatever you can do, theres someone out there who wants to learn. Whether you’re a fluent Russian speaker or a math-whiz, if you can find someone who wants to learn, it can be a really fantastic way to make money.
So there you have it, people may not be hiring, but there are still ways to make money – you just have to look for the opportunities and think outside the box!