Top 5 Ideas for Student Affairs Side Hustles

Brett Ellis
Jun 24 · 5 min read

We hear people talk about starting side hustles all of the time now. Especially those who work in education. But what if you don’t want to drive Uber, take surveys online, or donate your bodily fluids.

What if you wanted to start a business related to the work that you already do and love. That’s why I wanted to create this list of side hustles that are related to the work you are already doing as student affairs professionals (and some resources for getting started).

Number 5 — Online Course Creator

I don’t know if you’re aware, but online courses are becoming more and more popular every day. I’m not talking about semester-long courses. I’m talking about self-directed video courses created on specific high-demand topics. I recently met someone at a conference who makes 6-figures from teaching online courses and helping others do the same! Her name is Danielle Leslie, and she’s also on Instagram @danielleleslie. If you aren’t trying to dive into this seriously just yet, check out this online course I’ve taken on about creating online courses. Try waiting until they have a sale if it’s out of your price range. Udemy is like the Macy’s of online courses. There’s almost always a sale. Speaking of Udemy, this is a great site for uploading your online courses as a way to create passive income (you know, the kind you make in your sleep). I haven’t finished mine yet, but it’s definitely on the way!

Number 4 — Event Planner

Some of us have planned events for hundreds, even thousands, of students! Do you know how appealing that could be to brands who are looking for event marketing specialists? Put those skills to good use. Learn how to use platforms like Eventbrite, and start small. Try using it for your events this Fall to work out the kinks in a low-risk environment and learn best practices. You may even have to do some events for free to gain credibility and showcase your quality of work to your attendees. A great experience may encourage them to pay the next time as well as share events with their friends and colleagues.

Number 3 — Content Writer / Blogger

Now, I know you all have interests outside of higher education. Why not start a blog or write in your free time. Be sure to stay consistent. This is where most people fail. There are also plenty of opportunities to collaborate with journalists and other creators to be featured in articles. One of the most successful resources that I’ve used personally to be featured in articles is Help a Reporter Out (HARO). Check it out and sign up in your areas of expertise. I’ve also used as a location for my writing to earn some extra income. Take a look at some of my articles and articles I’ve been featured in here.

Number 2 — Public Speaker / Workshop Facilitator

Some of you are great at engaging crowds and in workshops. I’ve seen plenty of amazing higher ed pros present at conferences on topics that are in high demand in the business world (cultural competency, leadership, and more). If this is an area of interest, start by speaking & doing workshops at your current institution, conduct assessments (yes assessment), capture testimonials, and have someone record it. Then use all of that as proof that a place should hire you or bring you in to speak. Take a look at my LinkedIn profile for examples of video recaps and assessment reports from previous speaking engagements.

Number 1 — Resume Writer / Career Coach

Okay…so I’m a little biased. An obvious choice for me! It’s such fulfilling work to hear from a client that they got a new job that will help them to pursue a passion or better provide for their family. Now, I will say this: In my experience, most higher ed pros are not the resume/career experts they think they are. If this is an area of interest, look into certification programs that will teach you how to do this with best practices from industry leaders and experts. I did 3 of my certification programs through Career Directors International, and I highly recommend their courses. You should also be an active user of LinkedIn! Even though, I recommend active LinkedIn use for everyone.

Or…If you’re as much of a workaholic as I am, do several of them! ;) If I hadn’t started pursuing my side hustle, I would not have learned any of these things.


Brett Ellis is a career development educator, public speaker, and Gen Z workplace expert. He runs Brett Ellis Career Marketing Services as a professional career coach and career development speaker. Most of his career has been spent helping college students excel in school and through graduation into fulfilling careers. His clients and reach now span into multiple industries, age ranges, and geographic locations.

Brett Ellis

Written by

I love to get people excited about their passions and careers. I have a talent for making traditionally boring career development topics engaging and fun.