College Student's Guide to Making Money Online

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A college student's guide to making money onlineAbraham Lincoln once said, "Whatever you are, be a good one." Perhaps this is the concept behind fiverr.com, a website where people can sling whatever wacky talent they may have for the low price of one of Lincoln's namesake bills - $5.

I bet you didn't know you wanted a beautiful confetti necklace, someone to potty-train your cat, or a video of someone's bird named Pickle flying around your advertisement. All of these things could be yours for $5.

But this column is supposed to be about making money, not spending it on useless things. So, get on and make your own offers! The opportunities are endless and if you get lucky, you'll make a quick buck. Or browse through the requests. See if you can do any of them, and decide if you are willing to do it for $5. Fiverr, however, is just one of many websites that taps into the infinite talents floating about cyberspace.The concept of crowdsourcing was coined in 2006 by Wired magazine. It is the Internet age's alternative to outsourcing. Companies can put out a call for content and replies come pouring in. This is great for the companies; they have throngs of people offering up their talent in the hope that they will get picked and make a profit.

What does this mean for you as a college student? You have the opportunity to compete with professionals. Crowdsourcing removes a lot of the limitations of job requirements that create hurdles for college students who lack experience. Of course, you should still finish your degree and fine tune your expertise, but when it comes to crowd-sourced projects: if the company likes what you give them, they will buy it -– regardless of whether you have a PhD or a high school diploma.

Are you a writer? Check out Helium, Seed or Demand Studios. You can do some freelance journalism, copywriting or blogging. If your work is good, you'll get paid and published –- which is that experience you need on your resume to move up the job ladder.

Got a keen eye for design? Go to 99 Designs, crowdSPRING or logo tournament. Here you can work on identity branding, print design, t-shirt design, web design and more. Some of these contests get hundreds of submissions, so pick your battles wisely. Maybe no one wants to design the flyer for the murder-mystery-novel-anime-convention. Give yourself a challenge and take it on.

Don't feel like being creative? Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk program was one of the original crowdsourcing applications. It is a marketplace for robotic-like tasks that require human intelligence. This could be identifying photos, transcribing audio or researching data details. Although you will not rake in big bucks here (try 47 cents an hour), it might be more productive than staring at your Facebook newsfeed for hours on end.

Use common sense and beware of scams that promise quick ways to make money online. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Otherwise, good luck, and may you stand out from the crowd!

Sarah Smith is a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in international studies and visual communication. She writes for Money College about her personal finance experiences as a student.
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