The Beginner’s Guide to Earning Income as a Student

Being a student is hard. But we all know what’s even more complexbeing a student and having little or no cash to spend on your needs.

On the one hand, students rightfully rely on their parents for their needs. But what can you do if your parents don’t have the means to provide? On the other hand, students who have the aptitude for thinking on their feet and work creatively can make money by doing online or freelance jobs.

The global market may have fluctuations, but there is always a business out there looking for help in marketing and other essential tasks for running a business. If you don’t wish to risk it in the local market, I strongly recommend that you seek work outside of the country (virtually, that is) to start making some cash for your needs as a student.

Since my area is digital marketing, I will share some areas and positions that would fit your specific skill sets. And if you feel that you don’t have a skill set yet, what’s Google for? Read and study. Develop new skills. Practice your new skills. Your existing skills learned from school can constantly be developed and improved. Who knows? You may be the next freelance superstar of the Philippines.

First Thing’s First

If you are venturing into online work or freelance work for the first time, you will need means to receive funds. A local bank account, GCash, or Paymaya account will suffice if you work for local clients. However, if you work for an international client, I recommend getting a PayPal account or Payoneer.

There’s also Wise.com which some clients prefer because Wise has a lower transfer fee, which benefits both the customer and the freelance worker. However, PayPal should be the priority as it is the biggest payment processor. In my experience, anyone who has anything to do with any business in the United States or in any of the big countries that outsource to Philippine talents has a PayPal account.

Be sure to verify by submitting your ID during the KYC and give them what they need to make your account active. When you have an active PayPal account, an entire horizon of opportunities for making money.

Develop the Proper, Professional Mindset

Working online doesn’t mean you can get away with being inattentive or lazy. Just because the client doesn’t see you physically doesn’t mean that a client a thousand miles away will take your irresponsible behavior lying down. While no client will spend thousands of dollars to sue a freelancer from the Philippines when that freelancer ruins a task, that customer can open a dispute on PayPal, and you can be sure that he will inform his network not to hire you. Eventually, word gets out (especially now that there are social media), and your reputation will die.

Losing clients is normal in freelancing. But losing a client because you failed to deliver after you’ve agreed to do something for a client is just a bad business practice. You can develop the proper professional mindset as a freelancer by focusing intently on the client’s needs and identifying how you can best help your client. I always ask many questions at the beginning of my interaction with the client, and I familiarize myself with the customer’s business. I visit the customer’s website. I check out their social media channels. I study how their business is engaging their customers. After researching the customer’s business, I started aligning what I could offer based on my skills. I have a specific skill set, and I am a jack of all trades, but my main area is freelancing writing. I offer SEO copywriting services, meaning I write copy for businesses to be found by the right people on the internet.

I started working at seventeen, so I have had a lot of practice. In the beginning, it is going to be difficult. You may also feel after a few months of failing to secure projects that it may not be worth it. But the financial needs are still there. So instead of risking it with networking scams and MLM, I highly recommend that you sit down and work on finding an online job that fits your skillset.

Graphic Designer

A graphic designer creates graphic assets or collaterals for businesses. This online job is suitable for students who know about photo editing, photo manipulation, and visual design.

Knowing how to use Photoshop will almost certainly ensure that you can get a few gigs here and there. However, if you only know how to edit on your phone, you will have to obtain a laptop or PC and get the right software so customers will treat your skills seriously.

I won’t lie—starting an online business in the form of freelancing or online jobs will require a capital outlay. But since this move may change your life forever, I suggest getting a good enough laptop (even a secondhand one), so you can start making money from graphic design. You artists know who you are!

Content Writer

Take one good look at the web, and you will realize that the internet won’t be that useful if it doesn’t have any content. Someone has to write the content that the website publishes. Candle-making recipes? Gotcha. How to make jewelry? Yes, write that. How do WordPress websites work? Someone has got to answer these questions. Content writing jobs are perfect for students who have a good command of English and can process information quickly. It would help if you also were research-oriented, and most importantly, you shouldn’t think that copying word for word is a good idea. Intellectual honesty is a big thing in the writing industry.

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can take on many roles, but these workers are usually tasked with paperwork, answering emails, organizing files, etc. They are the backbone of offices because if they didn’t exist, the business owner would probably lose track of things. You can start as a VA and branch out to other tasks as you gain skills over time.

WordPress Website Maintenance

If you are studying to be an IT professional and already know how the back end or front-end of WordPress websites work, why don’t you bring that theory you’ve learned in school into the real world? Thousands of businesses need people to post content, update plug-ins, and generally keep the WordPress website running. The beauty of WordPress website maintenance is you don’t have to know much of the market to serve the customer. However, you must have the customer’s best interest in mind as you work on the website.


Marius D. Carlos, Jr.

Marius D. Carlos, Jr. is an editor, author and translator based in Pampanga. He is the Creative Coordinator and a founding member of Vox Populi PH. He is the author of two books and has published locally and internationally. His works have appeared in Rappler, Business Mirror, Philippines Graphic, Breaking Asia, and the Philosophical Salon. Marius is a freelance professional engaged in SEO copywriting, content SEO and making websites for business rock. He writes for businesses and agencies at The Content Experts PH. Email him at marius@contentexpertsph.com

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