Recently I came across the Subreddit /r/beermoney. A subreddit which explains to, mostly, college students how to earn a buck on the side to pay for your beer. After browsing it for a little bit, examining some of the websites I was stunned. People are really doing these things. I am really against this websites, especially for college students. Allow me a minute to explain.

If you are not in the mood to read a long piece, here is the TL;DR:

Would you put this on your resume and if not: does it earn more than 5 beers/hour?

How NOT to earn Beer Money in College

The websites where you are supposed to earn beer money with are sites where you need to click on ads, get paid to fill in a survey or you have to look at an for a couple of minutes. Even mTurk is on there, where you can do little chores for money.

So for instance there is TopLine (no I am not even (affiliate) linking to it). This application thing swaps the ads you see on a website with special ads for you. Every time you see such an ad you will earn something like 0.000001 dollar cents and in the end you might get paid 10$ per quarter – if you are on the internet a lot.

Yes. I have been there, I’ve tried these websites. Earning a couple of cents to write a description for an Amazon product, reviewing a clip of music, I even had TopLine running for a little while.

But after thinking about it – I cannot understand why so many college students are making use of these websites, while they can do so many other (cool) things. You are as smart as a lot of people hope to be. And you are getting your beer money from clicking on advertisement? Seriously? You have so much potential and you decide to take a survey meant for a stay home mom? (No offense)

Why I hate these Sites

  • The payment is low. Getting a buck or two out of a couple of hours of work isn’t worth it. Seriously, you decline to flip burgers because of the payment, why would you do something like this?
  • It misuses the ‘make money online’ phrase. Getting paid from the internet feels AWESOME. I mean, earning money on a medium you are on a lot is awesome, of course. But this is not getting paid for something you like. You get paid for stupid chores.
  • You learn nothing. The level of chores you have to do is so low, you won’t learn anything from it. Nothing. Zero. This is not something you would put on your resume!

How to Earn Beer Money Online

Alright, thank you for letting me rant like this. Now, time for something constructive. Because I do have some idea on how you should earn beer money online. I am going to explore a couple of ideas.

Market a Skill You Have (as some people would call ‘Freelance’)

There are a lot of Freelance opportunities for you to do on the internet. If you have a marketable skill go to Elance or oDesk to sell that skill. Things like webdesign, writing and translation jobs are great to do over there. You will receive recommendations and you will learn more about being your own boss. If you are cheaper than those sites (or you know ho.w to do a lot of work in a short time) you can work even on Fiverr for instance.

Important when freelancing: Decide how much you want to earn. Not every dollar is worth the same. If you earn your 3.70$ on Fiverr with every job and you have to work for two hours on one job, this maybe not worth it at all. But if you can do the work in 5 minutes you can earn 70$ per hour, which is a decent pay of course.

Create a Passive Income with Niche Marketing

Now for something where you actually learn something.

Something I dove in a year ago or so is earning money through niche websites. This is a completely different ball game. I try to get visitors on quality content from Google and hope they click an ad on that website or they actually buy something from me.

I started doing this on InfoBarrel, a great learning school if you ask me. Sign up and check out AJWalton’s ‘November Earning Reports‘ where he shares everything you need to know about article marketing. Seriously, you will learn everything you need for InfoBarrel in these three articles. I made decent money from InfoBarrel already, but more important: I learned more about SEO and it kickstarted me in creating niche sites.

Squidoo is another place to learn and make some money as well. There are a lot of people who are making a lot of money on Squidoo, take my online friend Skeffling for instance. She makes over 4000$ a month from Squidoo alone. She is a dentist, but is able to quit her job right now because of the revenue she is generating.

If you want to learn something about Squidoo read ‘Article Traffic Jackpot’. This made me earn my first Squidoo dollars.

My two favorite article websites:

What I like especially about these two learning schools is what it brought me. I am now in the process of building niche sites and actually earning from them.

The important thing with article marketing: The money is slow. It will require time before you actually earn something with these sites and you need patience. Now matter what the scams say about ‘quick online money’, they are lying. But in time, when you keep going, you may end up not earning beer money, but actually earning Champagne money, because it will add up!

Forget Online – Learn Something in Every Day Life and Market It

The last option is to go offline! Learn something and market yourself on a place like Craigslist. Maybe there is a business which could use a smart mind like yours for some consulting. Maybe you can make that summer internship into a paying job!

Concluding Thoughts

Value your time for what it is worth. You are only in college for a couple of years, don’t spend it on desperately earning beer money online through surveys and ad clicking scams. You should be able to say you are happy with what you are doing. It should be worth your time.

To distinguish whether or not you should do something online I have a very simple formula.

Would you put this on your resume and if not: does it earn more than 5 beers/hour?

I would love to learn your take on this, share it in the comments :) By the way: I am thinking about explaining more on niche sites. Only I don’t think this website is the right platform. If you are interested in earning money online as a student, please share it in the comments, if there is enough response I may start a little side blog (or email list, maybe that’s better, not sure yet) to teach you how to earn from the internet.



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