11 Clever Ways to Make Money as a Student Athlete


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Making money as a student in college can be challenging, making money as a student-athlete is even harder.

The purpose of this article is to give student-athletes a new perspective on how they can make a little extra money while living the student-athlete life.

As a former college basketball player myself, I can attest that having too much money as a student-athlete is not a problem that most of us were familiar with.

Between practices, games, road trips, team meetings, film sessions…..  and some studying, finding time to earn extra money is not easy.

But it can be done. I was able to fund my lifestyle for 5 years as a college basketball player with some of the methods listed below.

Anyways, who cares about me – let’s just get into it. Here are 11 clever ways to make money as a student- athlete.

Start an Online Business

To make money as a student- athlete, you need something that is flexible. Starting an online business is just that – flexible.

As long as you have your laptop, some wifi connection and a cup of coffee, you’re all set.  

Not only that, but they are often quite scalable too. In other words, you can make money online when you sleep, and as student-athletes know, this is usually the only time they aren’t on the go.

But starting a successful online business is not easy. It’s quite the opposite actually, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Don’t listen to people who tell you otherwise – it is certainly not impossible, but it’s not easy.

Popular ways you can make money online today include things like e-commerce websites, Youtube channels, blogs, investing and freelance work, just to name a few.

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If you do plan on starting an online business, don’t expect to make money overnight. It’ll take at least a few months until you see any real profits.  

But hey, that might be okay, if this is a long term play for you, go for it.

For a step by step guide on how to start a blog, check out my article Start a Blog in 3 Easy Steps | Step by Step Guide (2022) This article will give you a detailed, step by step guide on how to about getting a blog setup. It’s the exact same method I use for setting up the current blog you are reading, and again – it’s really inexpensive. The web-hosting platform I recommend is less than $5 per month.

Train Younger Athletes

If you’re a college or university athlete, you clearly excel at a sport – so make use of your skills to make money by training younger athletes in 1 on 1 or in small group sessions. 

Parents are willing to pay for their kids to be trained by real athletes who actually play the game. 

Not only that, but parents often reach out to universities to see if any of their athletes would be willing to coach/train their child.

Ask your coach or athletic director if they know of any opportunities available where you could train a kid or even a couple of kids for a few hours each week.

I used to charge $25 an hour to train kids with no costs outside of my time, the gym was free and I always had basketballs in my locker. $25 profit for one hour.

Imagine if you could get a group of kids, maybe 4 kids and charge them $20 an hour for a group session. That’s $80 an hour.

Regardless of what you play, take advantage of your hard earned skills and use them to make money.

Manage a Small Business’s Social Media Accounts

Moving away from sports, one thing most college and university athletes know a lot about is social media.

What else are they supposed to do in class? 

Jokes a side, you don’t need to be a social media guru to run the social media channels of a few small businesses.

Here’s what you do. 

Target a few small businesses near campus and see if they have social media channels already, if they do, check to see if they’re active. 

If they’re not, make note of this.

Secondly, make note of all the businesses near you that don’t even have social media channels.

These businesses could be anything – barbershops, pizza joints, bike stores, gyms, bars etc. 

Now that you have a list of businesses that either don’t have social media channels or aren’t active with their existing channels – reach out to them and see if they’d be interested in paying you to run their social media accounts.

You could probably charge anywhere from $100-$500 a month per client depending on what you offer them.

Get 5 clients on board, bang, you’re making a couple thousand dollars every month. 

Apply for Scholarships

If there was ever an easy way to make money as a student-athlete, applying for scholarships would be it.

Look online for all the scholarships that your school offers and apply for every single one that you qualify for.

Trust me, a lot of these scholarships often go unapplied for so they’re easy to win.

Not only that, but the scholarship amount can often be for a nice chunk of change, I’m talking thousands of dollars here.

Athletes, please please take advantage of scholarship offerings at your school. Take a weekend and bang out a handful of them and see what happens.

It’s possible you don’t get any of them, but, as a student-athlete, you are already ahead of the game so there is a good chance you could be awarded one or even multiple scholarships.

And lastly, you don’t even have to be a great student –  take it from me.

Choose a Degree that Offers Work Terms

Okay this one is a SLEEPER. What I mean by this is that it is often overlooked.

If you are still deciding on what to study, pick a program that offers paid work-terms throughout the degree.

Co-op programs are great because for one, they give you real world experience in whatever field you are studying in, and two, most of them usually offer paid work-terms which means you can earn money while completing your degree.

I did a Bachelors of Commerce degree which required me to complete 3 work-terms throughout my 5 year program. 

These 3 work-terms earned me over $50,000 in total and that basically funded my life for 5 years and it allowed me to not have to get a job outside of school. 

The only downside of this is that managing a full practice schedule plus games on top of a full time internship can sometimes be exhausting.

But if you’re disciplined and focused, it’s not too bad. If I can do it, so can you (and I drank like a fish).

Sell Your Old Gear

If you want to make extra money as a student-athlete, try selling your old equipment or gear.

Whether it’s old shoes, cleats, skates, helmets, training equipment, whatever, if it still holds value, you can sell it. But throw out your jockstrap, please.

But seriously, look around, I am willing to bet you have a few hundred dollars worth of old gear laying around that you no longer need or use.

Put them up on some second hard marketplaces like Kijijij or Facebook Marketplace, you’ll be surprised how quickly your stuff will sell.

Another great platform to sell things is just on your Instagram page. Take a snap of your old gear, throw it on your story and watch what happens.

As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

You won’t get rich from selling your old gear, but you can certainly make a few hundred dollars each year from doing so. And let’s be honest, an extra few hundred dollars as a student goes a long way.

Work for Your Athletics Department

As a student athlete, you should always take advantage of all the opportunities you have around you to make money.

The role of an athletics department is to help their student-athletes succeed. Oftentimes they’ll support their athletes by offering them part time administrative work to help them earn a little extra money.

Don’t be afraid to ask your AD about this. These departments are often overworked anyway, so any extra help they can get on a part time basis is often welcome. Plus they get to support one of their own at the same time.

Lastly, the great thing about these jobs is that they’re often super flexible. Not only are they part time, but you’re never going to be scheduled at the same time as your other two major priorities – sports and school.

Work the Summer Camps at your School

Does your athletics department offer day camps in the summer for the sport that you play? If so, this could be an easy way for you to make money.

For example, most colleges and universities offer summer camps in sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer.

I used to work the basketball camps where I went to school and it was great. I worked Monday to Friday, 9-5. It was great money and a rewarding experience.

Not only that, but getting the job was a breeze, “hey coach, need anyone to work camps this summer?” That’s about the extent of effort you’ll have to put into getting the job.

Summer camps are great ways for programs to earn extra money for their teams, so coaches are always looking for their players to work at them.

Also, being on campus in the summer was great. When I wasn’t working, I was able to get my training done at lunch time and it also gave me the opportunity to bond with my teammates. I seriously loved it.

I understand this option might not be available for all student-athletes, so if not, I apologize for wasting your time, but if it is, you should definitely take advantage of it.

Vlog Your Student-Athlete Experience

Have you ever considered vlogging your student-athlete experience as a way to earn extra money?

I realize this is similar to the start an online business option I discussed above, but I wanted to single this method out because I think it’s a really good one.

If you do go down this route, you can’t just vlog your experience though, you have to publish your vlogs on a video hosting platform like Youtube if you expect to earn money.

I have seen a few athletes do this now, and they’ve managed to grow their Youtube channels pretty big.

Then they monetize their channels in one of two ways.

  1. Google Adsense

Adsense ads are the normal ads you see on most Youtube before and during videos. 

  1. Direct ads

Direct ads can be ads within your video that aren’t connected to Youtube. For example you could reach out to brands directly and exchange a shoutout in one of your videos for an advertisement fee. 

Now like most vlogs, it may take a bit of time to grow your following to a level that is monetizable. 

So be patient if you go down this route.

Start a Laundry Service Business

Okay, you might of read this heading and thought what the **** I’m not starting a ****ing laundry service business. 

And if so, fair enough, but give me one minute to try and change your mind.

I played with 2 different players who had laundry service business during their playing days and they both made a killing.

Here’s how you do it.

Find local sports teams around your city that are willing to pay you $100 a week to do their laundry. This could be high school basketball teams, indoor soccer clubs, intramural leagues, etc.

Once you get a team on board, bring their laundry to a laundromat so you can do it all in under an hour’s time and that’s it.

You pick it up, do the laundry and then drop it off – all in just over an hour (depending on the locations).

Now imagine if you could get 5-6 different teams on board, you could make a ton of money for a small time commitment.

The hardest part would be figuring out the logistics, pick ups, drop off, etc. But if you can get just a few customers on board, you’ll have a nice side-hustle going.

Reduce Your Expenses

Reducing your expenditures as a student-athlete is a great habit to get into. 

Have you ever heard of the expression, a dollar saved is a dollar earned?

If not, now you have. And I think it’s a great one.

Because think about it, if you can save a dollar that you would normally spend, then you are basically earning that dollar back.

If you can reduce your monthly expenses by $200-$300 any given month, then that’s the equivalent to you earning that money.

So go through your bank statements for the last few months and see where you are spending your money and see where you can cut back.

Take advantage of free meals, public transportation and student discounts. There is ample opportunity for students to reduce their monthly expenses in today’s day in age, and again, a dollar saved is a dollar earned.

So don’t think that you are saving money, because saving money is boring AF, frame it in a way that you are actually making money!

Conclusion

So there you have it, 11 clever ways a student-athlete can make extra money while living the student-athlete dream.

To conclude, here they are again.

  1. Start an Online Business
  2. Train Younger Athletes
  3. Manage a Small Business’s Social Media Accounts
  4. Apply for Scholarships
  5. Choose a Degree that Offers Work Terms
  6. Sell Your Old Gear
  7. Work for Your Athletics Department
  8. Work the Summer Camps at your School
  9. Vlog Your Student-Athlete Experience
  10. Start a Laundry Service Business
  11. Reduce Your Expenses

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, I have either personally made money from these methods or know someone who has, so if you have questions about anything that was discussed above, please feel free to email me at noel@thefinancialgeek.com.

I would be more than happy to help.

Lastly, I will leave you with this. If you don’t have to, don’t obsess over making money as a student-athlete. 

You have the rest of your life to work and make money. Focus on the things that matter, like your athletics, your academics and your beer pong record.

Geek, out. 

Noel

Noel is the founder and main contributor for his blog - Noel's passion for personal finance has helped him amass over 600k readers to his Financial Geek blog.

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