Making Money as a Student

Every kid needs to make some money , right ? You want a job. You can’t get a job. You need experience. You got no experience. High School and College kid problems.

But fear not. Not every job has to be a career. Money plays. You don’t need brilliant ideas. Sometimes you just need to  make some money for the summer. Or to pay for your braces. Or to pay for the phonebill your parents killed you on. Whatever you need cash for , its always a problem that needs solving.

To solve your big money problems, sometimes you only need to solve simple problems. Sometimes you just need to be creative. I’m going to give you 2 ideas any student going to any school can do to make more than minimum wage.

1. Shoelaces.

Say what ? Shoelaces. I said it.

I guarantee you that if you go to the parking lot of any high school or college football game with a bunch of shoelaces in team colors that you bought for 2 bucks a pop,and put up a sign and 2 chairs, you can make money. Not football season? . Go to where ever there are people in your community. Flea Market. Basketball Game.  Dance recital. Wherever people who go to your school show up , you show up. You set up your sign and your chairs.

On the sign you put something like ” Get in the YourSchool spirit”.  I will re lace your shoes with “YOURSCHOOL” color laces for $10 (small schools), $20 bucks (big schools with more drunk alums or lots of rich people).  If you want to make it even more fun. You can add “I will lace them in 5 minutes or they are free”. If you are really enterprising, you can put up on the poster about 5 different ways to lace the shoes and charge a premium for anything but “Missionary” lacing.

Easy money. Guaranteed.

2. Become an expert in programming All in 1 tv remote controls. People are buying a single remote control to replace all the remotes they have. No one really wants to take the time to figure out all the options.  No one wants to take the time to learn how to program the stupid remote. In fact it pisses them off that it takes far more time than they have to do something they bought the stupid remote to do.

To help solve everyone’s problem, go to a local electronics store and find out what remotes they sell. Go to the local Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc, etc. if the grocery store sells remotes go there too. Find out what the most popular sellers are . How do you find out which are the most popular ? You ask someone.

Then , you become an expert in programming those remote controls. The worlds best expert.  Once you know your shit. Go back to the store with business cards with your email/cell phone number on it and the following


Your Name

I will program any Remote Control for $20

I Have a Phd In Remote Control Programming

Cell #/Email/Website


Then you go to all the stores and tell them that their customers will be far happier if they send them to you to program the remote. You will program it exactly like they want it, connecting to any and all devices.  All the store has to do is let you put up a stack of cards next to the remote control maybe a little sign.  Then you give a sheepish grin to the manager of the electronics or remote control section of the store and tell them how this is really important to you and how you will do a great job. you promise.  Then every couple days you go back to the store and talk to the salespeople who work there and remind them about your PHD in Remote Control Programming and how if they send you enough business, you might be able to spiff them a commission.

Then you damn well do a great job or some other kid is going to steal your remote control programming business

There you go. Easy breezy money. nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. Just some hard work , some customer service and the ability to be nice to people and thank them when they pay you and tip you.



43 thoughts on “Making Money as a Student

  1. We used to make hard candied suckers and sold them at school for $.25 each! (Early 1980s) Sold out every time!!!

    Comment by Darci Warner -

  2. Yes, I agree with your blog, all the student have to required money, and you solve the all student problem. And I like your Idea programing for remote control. I appropriate your blog nice helpful shearing with us Keep it up.

    Private Schools Melbourne

    Comment by whichschoolmag -

  3. Another great way for college students to make a few extra bucks is through is a website where high school students and their parents go to research colleges. They have a great feature that allows high school students to video chat with current college students at schools of interest.

    If you are a current college student who wants to share what your knowledge and opinions about your school to prospective students from the comfort of your dorm room…and get paid for it…then check it out.

    Here is the link:

    Comment by Jack Skirkanich -

  4. Pingback: Larry Chiang’s Startup Advice for MIT | MIT Entrepreneurship Week

  5. Pingback: Making Money as a Student | The King is Born

  6. This is also a great article for well beyond student years. As a SEO professional and Internet Marketing consultant it is not enough to say that I am. the proof is in the results and client list. Your ooly as good and the expert results you have achieve allbeit for a remote control programmer or a fortune 500 SEO consultant.

    Comment by steveneubarth -

  7. I liked the remote control idea. You’re right – people don’t want to learn how to program a remote control. If you can program 5 remote controls a day – that is $100 a day. A lot more than what a typical college student makes.

    Comment by dingwizard -

  8. Haha, Cuban snapped on the latest Shark Tank (ep. 8). Like he said before, this man truly hates patent and that they’re only a hinder to society.

    Comment by omgsorrythatsiteexists -

  9. I love the shoelace idea! That’s really hustling, and a great way to use some free time to make some extra cash. Doing this could also give you an opportunity to practice public speaking skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life (and eventual career).

    Comment by MLS -

  10. thats very nice text. before thanks.
    Great advise so as a thank you I just bought your book on Itunes:)
    My first job in 6th grade was bagging groceries for tips:)

    Comment by benden1filmizle -

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  12. Be creative thats the idea. When I was in school I sold stereo equipment to students. I got to the point the UPS truck was coming almost every day and the school admin. asked me what the heck I was doing. Got to the point where I financed sales. Paid alot of my schooling.

    Comment by billbly -

  13. Teens can be incredibly creative and entrepreneurial. One of my friend’s teens started a carpool with his friends to pick up freshmen students to take them to school. Granted he could only pick up kids of family friends and he was well known to the parents, but for a tenner a week per kid, he made about 50bucks a week for driving a slightly different route.

    I guess it won’t work for everyone, but this kid cashed in on his reputation. Other benefit? he was going to school every day!

    Comment by teskidmore -

  14. Pingback: Meekospark » Mark Cuban Fixes Economy — With Shoelaces

  15. Awesome idea on the shoelaces, Mark! Thanks – I’m going to try this out with my daughters at my middle-daughter’s volleyball tourney this weekend. Might get kicked out, but what the heck. Been trying to think of some way to make a few bucks while I’m spending ten hours a Saturday at these vball tourneys, and didn’t want to mess with licensed t-shirts since they guard that like a hawk.

    When somebody can program the all-in-one remote, I’ll pay them to do it:) My PhD is certainly not in gadgets:) But again, maybe one of my girls could do that!

    Thanks! And go Dirk!

    Comment by Jeff Swan's social/ mobile media blog -

  16. …similar to remote programming…

    Good money is available loading music onto iPods for non-tech-savvy individuals. It’s so simple, but so many who haven’t grown up in, or caught up with, the digital revolution are incredibly frustrated with the process – and you can solve their problem!

    $50 a pop. Simple.

    For an additional charge, convert their CD library to MP3s and load it onto the iPod (likely required for the non-tech-savvy indivual anyway). Do it at home after work while you’re watching Shark Tank! You aren’t the guy/gal taking their iPod home; you’re the guy/gal providing DOOR-TO-DOOR SERVICE!

    Start with your grandmother/grandfather/dentist… ask them to spread the word within their circles! All you need is to provide quality, friendly service and a phone.

    You’ll build strong business relationship with these clients, and they may very well need follow-up iPod loads when they get new music.

    As a kicker, use Genious/your brain/”Amazon customers also viewed”, and make recommendations to the client about music they would likely enjoy – perhaps even throw on an album that fits their tastes well, free of charge, to establish your cred!

    Load the iPod = $50. Upload their library = $2+/CD. Add music of your own = $2/CD. BTW, you also serve as their music collection backup/restore when you save their collection to an external… reload a new iPod with their previous library = $20… and you’re their hero TWICE NOW! That pays well.

    Comment by oberdorfer -

  17. Great ideas! Wish people would more often share ones like this, much needed these days. I work in scholarships at a university and I see the incredible need out there right now, and hear both parents and students in tears many days. Funding very limited, tuition continuing to skyrocket, and while there are some great jobs for students on campus, those are limited too. College grads often now having to take the regular jobs the students normally would, like retail and waiting tables.

    Sort of on the same subject, wanted to toss out an idea; something I was thinking about with regards to how to help students with the costs they face, which from every indication I have seen are only going to get worse across the board in coming years. This is something that would not just be for college students but could work for any who are paying for schooling or are preparing to.

    There are groups like Scholarship America and such that make it easy to endow a scholarship, and you can set up endowments through schools themselves, but to my knowledge there is nothing that would let a person easily contribute a one-time or renewing smaller amount to a specific person, using a third party to verify the student’s enrollment and send the funds directly to the school. While not everybody can afford to endow a scholarship, many may be able to contribute smaller amounts, especially if they could choose exactly who it was going to, rather than a fund that makes the selection without their input.

    What I was thinking of was a social networking site that would be for students to basically ask for help with their schooling, in a way that is safe any donors and keeps the personal information of the students private. They could set it up to include whatever information they want, where they are attending/going to attend and major, pics, blogs of their activities, etc. There would be apps to put links to their pages on their Facebook pages and other sites, and would be something that could easily be passed along to individuals and groups without having to beg in person– something they seem to be having to resort to more and more. Students could also perhaps choose the ads that go on their pages and get a % of the ad revenue. Donors could receive thank you messages with updates on the students progress and such. Of course, it would have to be approved as a tax exempt organization so that the donations would be deductible. It could be set up too where corporations and such could sponsor a student and by doing so get a link/button on the student’s page and other sites they had. Sponsored contests and talent competitions might be another possibility. The donations would be refunded should the student not be enrolled or have been found to have falsified information. I suppose something could be added where FAFSA info could be verified and added to show need, but I’d rather stay away from that and let them explain their individual circumstances, as so many parents have pointed out the issues with the numbers it comes up with.

    I wouldn’t be able to do this myself; I don’t have the skills, and it would present a possible conflict of interest with my job. I don’t even know if it is workable, to be dead honest. But perhaps somebody here could take it and run with it, somewhere. Or maybe I’m just inspiring some patent troll to grab it if that hasn’t been done already; but hey, at least I tried. 😉 I think a lot of good could come of it, if it could work.

    Comment by bucfanpaka -

  18. I find it funny when Mark saids “I Have a Phd In Remote Control Programming”.

    Comment by Actor Tom Truong -

  19. When I was in grammar school I always had a good supply of pens and pencils. New or used I had them. Grammar school kids always need something to write with and will pay to do so.

    I always had extra money.

    Comment by Mark Ploch -

  20. BestBuy, etc.. already have people they’d pimp as their “remote control experts” – the Geek Squad types. Leaving aside the fact that these people are mostly incompetent, no store is going to let you compete with them.

    The shoelace thing, however….

    Comment by Ray Charbonneau -

  21. Thanks for that! Where was your blog when I was in H.S. and college. These are the ideas to help grease the wheels of a young entrepreneurs mind.

    Comment by powerlounging -

  22. See? Just another reason I love this guy. This is a golden nugget of an idea. Not necessarily a career path if you’re not so inclined, but a couple of real ways to make some money – now. So you can take a date to the Prom or pay your way into the kegger, or what ever you need the money for. Pure and simple.

    Thanks – again, Mark.

    Comment by KT Banks -

  23. Did you see the article in the Dallas Morning News: Students are doing amazing things at UTD campus and we are so proud of what they can accomplish! We will be hosting another summer camp for high schoolers in June. Parents, send your kid –!

    Mark, do you remember George who introduced you at UTD on 9/14/2009? Here is an article about him:

    Comment by innovationdallas -

  24. Pingback: Two Easy Ways To Make Money As A Student

  25. Where were you when I was a kid….the remote thing wouldn’t have worked for me we only had 3 channels back then and no remotes. You actually had to get up off the couch to turn the channel, man I am getting old. Looking forward to more ideas.

    Comment by Rocky -

  26. Very nice of you but Mark. Did you have to spoon feed entrepreneurship? Are the youts still in a deep state of entitlement even during a recession? Kudos to yOu that you still think in this basic manner.

    Comment by nedn44 -

  27. Great post…

    While at Iowa State my buddy noticed all the art students sketching buildings for class. He paid one students $50 bucks to do a pencil sketch of his Frat.

    Ran down to the print shop, had a dozen posters made, framed one, and headed back to the house. Ended up selling everyone in the frat one for $25, plus had them on hand for Alumni at all events. Became the official souvenir of the house.

    Mark – I’m passionate about Youth Entrepreneurship with our colleges, state legislature and the SBA – would love to hear more of your ideas on how we can help kids think like an entrepreneur, and to be ready to be part of an entrepreneurial team.

    Comment by mikenolan99 -

  28. I love this post Mark.
    Someone should make a blog about creative simple ideas like these that kids can leverage and take inspiration from.
    Great stuff.

    Comment by amintorres -

  29. @lazlazlaz They’re copyrighted, but there’s not a lot they can do to stop someone from selling on foot in a parking lot for a couple hours once a year. If you start selling stuff like that on a website, you’ll get C&D’d for sure, and like someone else said, if you were a student doing it out of your dorm room, probably the same thing.

    (That doesn’t make this in any way a bad idea or even wrong, in my view, of course. Just saying.)

    Comment by researchrants -

  30. Excellent post, Mark. I’ll be sharing it.

    Kids are not taught to hustle, schools are factories for turning out, in George Carlin’s words, ‘obedient workers’. I think entrepreneurship is a natural condition, and it is squeezed out of most kids as they work their way through day care, pre-school, then K-12, where the emphasis is on learning to stand in line quietly and do what you’re told.

    I was born and raised in a different era, but we always had some scheme going to make a couple bucks. Lemonade stands in the summer, mowing yards in the summer, raking leaves in the fall, scooping snow in the winter. Now kids are getting busted by the health authorities for having lemonade stands, and lawn services and fear of liability have killed the market for yard work for school age kids.

    I think what all kids need is recognition that there are new and different ways to tap into needs, and that once they are started the ideas will follow. And there is nothing like a little success to spur not only the creative juices but the ‘hustle’ juices as well.

    Comment by John Magor Photography -

  31. Pingback: Making Money as a Student « blog maverick | Facebook Money Marching

  32. You know, success and being ‘normal’ is a very fine line. It’s the same as having big ambitions and just being another hopeless dreamer. I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say that I think high school/college students who try to go down this “entrepreneurship” route are dumb as shit. Especially if they’re high school kids who think they’re smart enough to create some revolutionizing product. Fuck, these kids don’t even know themselves, let alone the next big product. Now you hear those stories about Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs, etc., who started big things in college, well they’re the exception, not the rule. If you’re (assuming) like me, not very creative, not naturally very smart, the only thing we got is hard work (heck, even that’s still lacking), then we got no choice but to go down the ‘traditional’ route’. We got to tuff it out, learn as much as we can while in College and fucken realize that we’re dumb as fuck, but we can improve. We can be a little smarter, maybe even a little more creative after learning some things in college. Then can we try to take a stab at creating something, and only then are risks presented in front of us. Because deciding to drop out or not is not a risk, it’s stupidity – the three I mentioned above were crazy.

    You know, as I write this, I feel like I contradict myself more and more. But all I am trying to say is that entrepreneurship is not as glamorous and as easy as people nowadays make it sound. Big products only come in once a blue moon. Creativity is not something so easily acquired. Even if you work your ass off, you probably won’t be coming up with the next big thing. (Or maybe I am just mad that I am not ‘creative’ enough, and just another conflicted dumb shit.)

    Oh, I know.

    Will you tell your kids entrepreneurship is the future? Probably not, or I hope not. Do you think entrepreneurship is what built this nation? Yes and no. Entrepreneurship instead is a by-product of certain traits. These traits being: work ethic and critical thinking. These two traits are what you would want to encourage and see your children have. You want them to work hard, but also be consistent. You want them to not only work hard, but work smart. You want them to be able to logically think things through, be analytical, know how to connect the dots, see the big picture. …I guess creativity also comes in somewhere, but nowadays, I think creativity is just some random chance/luck mixed in with thinking smart and working hard. And when someone stumbled upon this ‘chance’, everybody else on the outside just thinks that person is “creative”.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Went around in a circle for like an hour, but whatever. It’s 4am my time and I got school tomorrow. Night and take care. But remember, we’re all just stupid. 🙂

    Comment by omgsorrythatsiteexists -

  33. Entrepreneurship is the future. The traditional route is dying and college degrees are becoming more and more diluted. Creativity, taking risks, experimenting through trial and error… the demand for those with skills outside the proverbial box will increase.

    Comment by jstevens2009 -

  34. Hah, that was a funny read. Entrepreneurship is the fun route. The more boring, yet productive route should be the ‘BUILD HUMAN CAPITAL’ route. Honestly, instead of working at McDs or chugging kegs, just lock yourself in a library and start reading. Just read whatever is out there, even a blog like this. Read, read, and read. And if you’re going to procrastinate studying (like what I’m doing right now), just read something. A good GPA, a good foundation in whatever your expertise is/will be, will get you much further. Selling shoelace – fun, but not going to get you very far. Learning and selling your skills on how to program a remote, eh…, takes up too much time, go read ‘The Intelligent Investor’ instead – study it like the Bible. You probably won’t become a billionaire with the traditional route, but being a millionaire isn’t half that bad either. You can only have so many Ferraris and Lamborghinis in a garage anyway. Anything after the first one or two is just collecting dust.

    Ok back to ‘studying’ for me… after I go check the WSJ, Forbes, random forums, Mark Cuban interviews on Youtube, etc.. Hah.

    Comment by omgsorrythatsiteexists -

  35. Mark, I think the TV remote idea rocks. Im sure the geek squad at Best Buy gets $60 an hour min. for that service. I’m just a little preplexed on when SIRI (Iphone) is going to change my channel for me!

    Hey how about a social website for kids that is monitored by retired law enforcement/ FBI. Alerts are sent to the parents so they stay informed of what their kids do online. This has the potential to make the internet a better placw for kids and keeps the creeps at bay. Looking for a angel investor or partner.

    Comment by Peter Langevin -

  36. Great advise so as a thank you I just bought your book on Itunes:)
    My first job in 6th grade was bagging groceries for tips:)

    Comment by mercedespens -

  37. JayChang I meant Middle and High Schools

    Comment by lazlazlaz -

  38. Good Call Lazlaz – That’s what I did when I was in school with websites and wordpress!

    However I have to disagree on the Schools mascot not being copyrighted. It is most definitely in many cases, especially universities.

    People at USC and UCLA I know for a fact have gotten in trouble with the school for selling things like FUCLA or University of Spoiled Children Tshirts that use schools colors and logos. (me included haha) Offensive / Copywritten or not, “Don’t BRUIN your life” is a great slogan on a shirt for USC fans.

    Mark – your Facebook Plugins broken! We want to like you on facebook and share your blog with our friends haha

    Comment by JAy Chang -

  39. I think the fundamental problems with highschool kids/college students not being able to make money is the lack of push on entrepreneurship in schools.

    -> Yes, schools might have a few intro-to-business/marketing/accounting courses, but particularly in high school, you’re not taught how to hustle. They don’t tell you how to sell. How to build the right team, etc.
    ->Lots of kids think of ‘part-time McDonalds or BurgerKing job’ when they’re trying to earn cash. We need more emphasis on students and kids learning how to buy low -> sell high, find ways to teach them how to create solutions for problems and turn those solutions into monetizable, profitable businesses, etc.
    -> Most importantly, schools should teach students that luck is only a factor that is a result of preparation and opportunity and very little else. Students aren’t taught that Mark Cuban lived in a room with 5 other guys eating ketchup sandwiches and slowly hustling and gaining knowledge/expertise to build, students are given implies that Mark Cuban got rich because of the dot-com boom. Need to teach that smart work combines with hard work brings results, period.

    The remote control one is a great idea though – i’d pay.

    Comment by Yousef -

  40. Not sure the geeksquad would approve.

    Comment by sandieman -

  41. Great advice! I would pay for the all in one remote expert!

    Comment by rablm3 -

  42. Chances are a school’s mascot is NOT copyrighted. I used to go to OTHER school’s football and basketball games and sell t-shirts with their respective school mascot and various snappy taglines. Had them made for $4 and sold them for $10 easily. Twenty years later, I still see one 1 or 2x a year.

    Students can also learn how to do basic code (or WordPress) and offer to make websites for friends, local businesses and even school clubs, i.e. Debate Club, Drama Club, etc.

    TV Remote is an awesome idea, it could lead to mounting and connecting Flat Screens, etc.

    Comment by lazlazlaz -

  43. Or doing what I did and throwing keggers. Charging $10 for men and women. But if women came before 10PM it’d be $5 for them. So all the women would come early, guys would notice, and pay the entrance fee. They after traffic dies, you call cops on your own party and rinse repeat. Maybe not the last part..:)

    Comment by ysfysf -

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