“Can you stay 2-3 hours to water the plants a few times per week?”
I hit the jackpot when this elderly gentleman asked me to sit around and do nothing while I turned on the sprinkler to water his garden. At $7/hr I thought that I was set. He wanted to pay me to come over every morning to water his garden. I was working with a company that connected teenagers with seniors in the community for lawn care (for minimum wage).
If you’re reading this as a student (college or high school), I’m jealous of you. This is the best time in your life to start making money because you have all of the energy in the world.
“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work… When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof. And then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant. And then I got a job in grocery store deli. And then I got a job in factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job that I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.” — Ashton Kutcher
For some reason, I vividly remember reading Hulk Hogan’s biography while sitting around and getting inspired as the sprinkler system worked its magic. I would wake up at six in the morning and journey down on my bicycle for 30 minutes each way just to make some money every morning. That fresh smell of grass on a summer morning made waking up so early a bit easier.
My only goal was to save a few bucks so that I could buy whatever I wanted as a teenage punk. Not much has changed. Now I’m 30 and I just want to work to buy whatever I want. For those who are interested, I banked about $1,500 in the summer of 2003. I wore a really corny Hawaiian shirt which had a front pocket for my cash and bank book. You had to actually go to into a bank to deposit your money. I also didn’t have a cell phone yet!
Some of my most memorable moments from my younger years involve me hustling to make a few bucks. I always had a part-time job from when I can remember. I started delivering newspapers in the second grade.
My philosophy has always been the same: I’ll work so that I can have whatever I want.
I had to write an article for students who want to make money this summer.
How did I make money as a student?
I always found myself working in a grocery store. I really enjoyed these jobs because they were pretty laid back and usually filled with people my age. The jobs were also easy to land as they just needed an able-bodied person to work for minimum wage.
Odd jobs that I had:
- Selling chocolates door-to-door. Yes, I sold chocolates. It was a pretty shady setup now that I think about it. These guys drove us around Toronto in a van and dropped us off with a box of chocolates. They would then come pick us up four hours later and pay us $1 per box sold (a box was $3 or 2 for $5). My parents eventually shut this whole gig down when I came home at 9pm on a school night.
- Working at a go-kart track. This was the dream job at the park near me until I got fired for getting greedy and trying to sell tickets on the side. I got to ride the go-karts and collect tickets while it lasted.
- Retail. I worked at a bunch of department stores. I never lasted too long because the work was boring.
There are many other odd jobs out there that you can do as a student this summer. You just have to look around to see who’s hiring in town.
I enjoyed playing soccer so it was a natural transition to try to make some money out of this game.
The course wasn’t too difficult and once I took the in class session I was officially certified.
I had some fun times as a referee. There was the time where I ended the game a few minutes early because I wanted to go out that night. Then there was the time I worked a game that my brother was in. My Dad was okay with berating the ref.
This job allowed me to be active. I would ride my bike to the games where I would run around for a few hours.
Lawn care specialist.
First off, I hate to be “that guy” but I have to be. When I first started hustling as a kid, I had to use a manual phone book. Like I had to actually write numbers down with pen into an organizer/phone book combo.
Imagine that? Do you remember those?
Then I had to call them from the house phone. As you may remember, there was often a wait to use this house phone because someone else at home was waiting for a phone call.
I wasn’t really much of a “lawn care specialist” if I have to be brutally honest with you guys.
My cousin told me about this company that would connect teenagers with seniors who needed someone to help them with their lawns. Most people just needed a friend or someone to help them with chores around the home.
The toughest part was always the collection of the payment. Some people would take forever to get the correct change while others just wanted to chat for an hour.
There are plenty of ways to find work out there as a student. Get out there and make some money.
How can you make money as a student?
You have the whole world at your fingertips. You don’t have to leave your home to make money. You can also work a traditional job since most people your age want to stay in to play video games.
Let’s get started…
Blogging or something online.
I honestly don’t even know where to begin here. There are all kinds of people making a killing from YouTube channels, podcasts, and blogs.
- You can do freelance work.
- You can try to grow a social media channel.
- You can start a blog.
- You can produce content for YouTube.
Old school hustles.
I know that technology has changed, but there are lawns all around you.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel at all. You can be the best lawn care specialist in your community. You can clean windows. You can wash cars.
These services are still needed. People will always need these tasks to be completed.
Here’s a secret: older people like to support young hustlers.
Learn a skill.
My youngest brother Adrian is a barber. My cousin Damian played in a wedding band as a student.
Can you learn a skill? Can you pick something up that will allow you to make more money in the future?
You could work at a grocery store this summer while you learn how to grapple or play the guitar.
What advice do I have for students who want to work this summer?
Get started ASAP.
You have all of the time in the world. Don’t worry about being efficient. Just get going. Start working. Start right now. Switch gears as you go along. Where you start will be totally different from where you finish off.
Here are the a bunch of episodes of my podcast (Do You Even Hustle) that you can binge listen to today for some inspiration:
- How our childhood hustles helped us.
- How Gabby Wallace grew her HUGE YouTube following.
- How-to get started as a freelancer writer.
- Everything you could possibly want to know about sales.
- How Sean runs a business from the beach.
Get into the habit of saving up.
I thought I was the man that summer when my account went over $1,000. Saving up $10-20 a day from cutting grass or $50 from $90 check didn’t feel like much, but I was impressed when I saw my bank account rising. The habit of saving money becomes very handy when you get older.
See what you’re good at.
Everyone tells you to follow your passions. That’s great if your passions pay. They won’t always pay. Find what you’re good at. See what pays you.
Explore and try everything.
You don’t have to feel stuck at the next job that you get because you have so much time in front of you with no real responsibilities. You also never know when something totally random can lead you down the right direction.
Learn from others so that you don’t make the same mistakes.
Making mistakes is fun. Learning from your mistakes is really beneficial to your growth. Learning from where others messed up is even better.
[Must read: open letter for all college students.]
You can learn from everyone around you. You can see how someone built a successful lawn care business or you can find out why that one older person never chased their dreams.
Watch your bank account grow.
It’s kind of fun watching your bank account grow. You’re going to eventually feel inspired to make more money because you want the numbers to keep on going up.
I ended up graduating debt-free from college because I became obsessed with growing my bank account.
Summer comes and goes pretty fast. Don’t let it pass you by. Make some money, grow that bank account so that you don’t have to rely on your parents, hit up some parties, and create some memories.