While in elementary school, Imohimi Unuigbe discovered his love of music through singing and playing instruments, like the violin, cello and tuba.
“I loved the feeling I got whenever I was around music,” said Unuigbe, a freshman computer science major.
As he grew up, so did his love of music, he added.
He now creates and produces Nigerian rap on Soundcloud, an online audio streaming platform, and has accumulated almost 2.5 million streams. Unuigbe said he has made $200 from his music on Soundcloud over four years.
Some students, like Unuigbe, have side hustles — small freelance employment gigs in addition to a full-time job — that often stray from their intended college majors. By using platforms like Facebook, Soundcloud or personal websites, students are able to showcase their side business and promote them.
In 2017, 28 percent of millennials ages 18-26 reported they had side hustles, according to a survey from Bankrate, a consumer finance company.
Ray Lapinski, a sophomore advertising major, said they realized their passion for art as a 13-year-old, by creating and selling homemade jewelry with their mom at their local farmer’s market, at Boyertown, Pennsylvania.
“I was always in that culture where we would go to farmer’s markets on the weekends,” Lapinski said. “I liked that I grew up with that mentality I could always be making stuff.”
They currently sell paintings, jewelry and graphic designs that replicate skull and anime-like characters under the name “Skullduggery Studios” through online stores on Redbubble and Depop.
Lapinski said they made around $900 last year and spent it mostly on investing in materials to produce more artwork.
For Lapinski, their passion for art translates to their intended career.
“I’ve designed logos for people as well as graphic design work which relates to what I’m learning in my major,” they said.
They want to explore more art events and conventions in the Philadelphia area as well as look for more opportunities for showcasing, Lapinski said.
“I’m always going to want to make art,” they added. “I’ll always want to continue doing fun projects even if it’s on the weekends.”
Charles Seith, a sophomore entrepreneurship and innovation management major, has similarly grown his passion for creative media with “The Kolorhouse,” a blog that highlights artists and designers who use prominent color in their work and exposes visitors to content creators from across the U.S.
“I started with a desire to create something of my own and really express my creative side,” Seith said. “I’ve always been a positive person and I feel the world needs something that revolves around that idea.”
Within the first three months of starting his website, Seith said he made around $300. He is currently developing a fall and winter merchandise collection that he’s hoping to release in the upcoming months. Seith wants to showcase a variety of different creators as a part of his “New Feature Friday,” weekly blog post that highlights those who uniquely incorporate color into their work.
“I came up with this idea of finding those creators in the world that don’t care about money or making it out for themselves but want to show their color and give color and joy to other people in their lives,” Seith added.
While side hustles can provide full-time students with additional incomes, Unuigbe and his parents agree that this primary objective is to focus on schoolwork. Unuigbe knows to keep an ear open to opportunities that may present themselves though, hoping for one of his upcoming songs to go viral, he said.
“Growing up, my dad always told me about being at the right place at the right time because you never want to be given an opportunity and not be ready,” he added.