Should You Start a Side Hustle? 5 Tips for College Students

Written by Elizabeth Pettie (they/them, she/her) 

Elizabeth is a Public Relations major at the University of Florida as well as a SDR for The Selling Factory. They spend their free time out in nature, cooking, or going on car rides with their cat Luna. Aside from work and school, they run the rising Etsy shop, Lunar Wares. You can find them on Instagram (@moon.scaped)!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Let’s be honest: college isn’t easy. 

Yes, you can have everything prepaid for, decide what to do with your free time, and so on—but it still doesn’t diminish the reality that being on your own for the first time or trying to get your life together can be frustrating. It can take a toll on your mental health as well as your financial wellbeing, especially as you figure out ways for paying for college

Throughout my college experience, I’ve found myself constantly thinking about ideas for side income. So: I decided to start a side hustle to make money by creating an Etsy shop, Lunar Wares


A side hustle is an extra source of income that supplements your full-time job. Nearly half of Gen Z had a side hustle in 2020 amidst the peak of COVID-19 pandemic and they’re proving more and more that they can handle that hustle. 

A recent example is their bold take on the modern thrift store Depop. Gen Z has flocked to Depop for its user-friendly platform and the ability to grow a side business simply through flipping vintage items, helping to pay for college.


I remember being super excited to open Lunar Wares and spending hours conducting intense research on local tax laws, inventory management, and shipping strategies. My online side hustle has given me experience in running things on my own as well as more appreciation for small business owners. 

I commonly get asked if starting a side hustle in college is a good idea. Here are a few questions and tips I picked up while creating my side hustle from home:

1. Do you have time for a side hustle?

  • A side hustle is something you need to be able to devote time to. You have to research, establish your brand, and figure out how to file federal taxes for small business, logistics, and more. It’s a lot. Consider whether the extra value a side hustle can bring is worth the cost in time and effort. 

2. Can you be realistic about maintaining a side hustle?

  • Let’s face it—you’re not going to become an online Etsy sensation overnight. Progress takes time and a lot of work. Be easy on yourself. Invest the time to learn, and accept that you will probably fail at times. Part of being realistic is knowing that every failure is an opportunity to learn from mistakes. If it helps, starting side hustle from home does give you some extra freedom, as opposed to finding employment at a brick and mortar location.

3. Have you done market research?

  • Researching the market is essential for starting any business. For example, if you go to a market as a vendor and you’re selling the same things everyone else is, why should someone come to you? Are your prices cheaper? Ethically sourced? How is your product different from others on the market?

4. Do you have a game plan to launch?

  • Check your local and state laws on what is legally considered a business. If you take home a certain amount of income per year, you may be legally obligated to register as a business. Buy a notebook to write out all of the necessities and how you plan your launch day and beyond.

5. Do you enjoy the product or service you’re providing?

  • Make sure to balance both your passion for the product or service and your effort to keep your business afloat. You should genuinely believe in the value that your product or service has to offer. For example, if you’re crafty, maybe you could start a shop on Etsy selling handcrafted accessories. Or, if you’re more into education, consider tutoring or creating digital content in a subject you love. 


Realistically, starting a side hustle while in college can be incredibly rewarding. For one, your side hustle may pay for college

Having a side hustle provides extra income, hands-on learning experience, as well as a community of people to connect with—connections that could be valuable later in your career. Find something that you enjoy doing that you can make some side money with. You might just find yourself falling in love with it!

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.