With college finals in full swing, it’s never easy to make Winter Break plans that go beyond a two-day nap and peppermint-bark-athon. But once all that fun passes, you might find yourself realizing you have no clue what to do for three more weeks at home.
Winter Break is a great time to get prepped for life after college before you get buried in another semester. I know, I know. It’s a break. But why not come back to school with some cash in your pocket and real work experience under your belt?
Thanks to the growing shared economy, it is really easy to make money and get experience — on your own time. Here are 4 entrepreneurial ideas to help you kick off your new year with some cash for spring break in your pocket as well as an awesome “self-starter” anecdote for your next interview.
1. Earn cash for the chores you already do for your parents.
Fancy yourself good with a hammer? Do you enjoy color coordinating your closet? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be a great fit for TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit takes a new spin on the concept of “neighbors helping neighbors” by creating a marketplace for safe and reliable help with just about anything. Personally, I’ve used TaskRabbits for a variety of jobs including bartending, cleaning my apartment, assembling Ikea furniture, and helping me pack up before a move.
As a college student, signing up as a TaskRabbit allows you to earn extra cash for doing things that your parents might ask you to do anyway. It is super easy, you get to meet new people, and you set your own schedule and your own price.
Signing up for TaskRabbit requires a formal application and an in-person interview. If you are interested, get going on your application here.
2. Get paid to play with puppies?
Animal lover? Amazing! Meet your dream job. You can literally get paid to play with puppies at DogVacay.
DocVacay connects pet owners with over 20,000 pet sitters across North America. Create a profile on DogVacay.com, set your calendar availability, overnight rates, and let DogVacay handle the rest. The best part? You get to choose the size of dogs and breeds that you allow into your home. You can also choose to watch dogs in other people’s homes. Either way, dogs.
3. Sell your textbooks
As a college student, I was always hesitant to sell back my textbooks at the end of the semester. I was certain that I would reference them in my future professional life. Or at least they would make for an impressive bookshelf.
I was wrong because:
A. 7 years out of college and 3 jobs later, I’ve had no need to revisit my studies in government.
B. Textbooks have a shorter shelf life than milk. Need proof? My college textbook from Introduction to Marketing does not even mention social media (and yes, I did go to college after Facebook was invented).
There are a lot of great options when it comes to selling back your textbooks. While your college bookstore might be the easy answer, I would check out two other options including BookScouter and Amazon — you can often get a better price.
Bookscouter is a third party website that easily allows you to plug in your ISBN number and receive quotes from dozens of book buyers. You can then sell to the highest bidder. The only downside is that you will still have to deal with the book buyers directly, and each one has different payment policies and shipping fees. Bookscouter does provide ratings of each vendor so you can make an informed decision.
Amazon provides an incredibly easy-to-use book buy-back program. Not only will they buy back your books, they will pay for shipping. Amazon also allows you to trade in old DVDs, CDs, and electronics. The downside to selling your books back on Amazon is that you will receive an Amazon gift card, not cash. Use it to buy next semester’s books?
4. Rent out your off-campus house or apartment.
Believe it or not, people might want to stay in your college pad. While you’re at home living off the parents’, rent out your house or apartment for a night or a month on Airbnb. Holidays are a peak time for travel and you will be able to get higher than normal prices for your pad. Airbnb makes it really easy to list and rent your house, apartment, or couch.
Just list your space, describe the amenities (don’t forget the hot plate and mini fridge), take some photos, and list the dates that your home is available. Remember, you set the price and the maximum amount of money you can make. Check out this article on Forbes for 7 Tips to Make Bank on Airbnb.
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit there are lots of ways that you can earn some extra spending money over winter break. We listed just a few of our favorites. What ideas do you have?
Elizabeth Kelton is the Director of Campus Engagement at Koru. A Colby grad, her first job was as an investment banking analyst at Barclays Capital. Most recently, she spent two years helping marketing agencies grow at HubSpot.