The Humanities are a large field, including subjects as widespread as theater, visual arts, film, music, English language and literature, history, and foreign languages. If you’re studying the Humanities, you have probably had someone ask you how you plan to make money with that degree. Someone inconsiderate may have even mocked your degree because it doesn’t necessarily include “transferable skills” like some others (e.g. math or biology). But what they don’t realize (and what you may not even realize yourself) is that you have developed plenty of really useful skills – skills that can score you some cash and an incredibly fulling career.
Hopefully, you have some long-term plans for what to do with your degree, but if you’re in need of some money in the short-term, here are some side hustles for which those in the Humanities are particularly well-suited.
1 Birthday Party Performer
For all of you theater folk, have you considered working for children’s birthday parties? You might roll your eyes at being a clown, but birthday party performers have come a long way since the days of terrifying clowns! Many parents like to hire their child’s favorite princess or superhero to hang out, stay in character, and take pictures with party guests for a few hours. All you need is a convincing costume, some acting chops, and a high tolerance for sticky hands and high-pitched squealing.
If you’re a music major or you are proficient with a musical instrument, you may be able to set up some side gigs as a musician. You could advertise your services online with platforms like GigSalad and note your availability to play at special events like weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other parties. Or you could try to set up a regular gig playing at a local bar. While some gigs could be done solo, it might be worthwhile to team up with other musicians to offer a well-rounded ensemble.
3 Freelance Composer
Music majors are typically required to take music theory and music composition classes. If you discovered a knack for composing music, you could try your hand at freelance composing. Businesses, television shows, and plenty of other groups are often in need of original music and will pay good money for it. This website provides some basic information about getting started as a composer.
4 Freelance Translator
Humanities students often take language courses. If you have become fluent in another language, you might be able to work as a freelance translator. Find out more here. Depending on the language you speak and where you are located, this could be a particularly lucrative side gig!
Check to see if your school has a Tutoring Center. If so, they are often hiring tutors to assist students struggling in certain classes. If you’ve previously succeeded in one of those courses, you might be able to make some extra cash working as a tutor – as a perk, reviewing material that you previously learned in class can help you to really master it.
6 Campus Tour Guide
Your Humanities degree may have required theater classes. If you enjoyed being the center of attention in your theater class, you might consider applying to be a campus tour guide. Being a guide is excellent for those who are comfortable in front of a crowd. The schedule is often flexible, allowing you to squeeze this in as a side hustle.
7 Community Theater Actor
If you’re an arts or theater person, check to see if your local community theater has any part-time gigs. While performers in community theater productions are not typically compensated, sometimes community theater does have a budget to pay other staff, like set designers or ticket sales managers. If you’re interested in pursuing something related to your career, this can be a good way to make a little money while earning some lines for your resumé.
Have you thrived in art classes? Do you enjoy making art on your own? Consider opening an Etsy shop to sell your artwork. This is great because it allows you to earn some money while also refining your skills as an artist or craftsperson. If Etsy isn’t your thing, you could consider setting up at local events, like craft shows or farmer’s markets, which often reserve spots for arts and crafts vendors. Some events may also offer vendor discounts to college students.
9 Living History Interpreter
History buffs, take note! You can turn your encyclopedic knowledge of George Washington into an income-generating side hustle. History museums, special events like pioneer day festivals, and even nerdy birthday parties sometimes enlist the services of living history interpreters. This job basically entails role-playing a certain historical figure. Remember that episode of The Office when they hire a Benjamin Franklin role player for Phyliss’s bridal shower? It’s pretty much the same idea! Your historical knowledge will be handy, you’ll make money, and you’ll have some fun too!
10 Caricature Artist
Are you working on your art skills? Consider working as a caricature artist. You might be able to score a part-time gig somewhere local, like at a zoo or amusement park. Or you could advertise your availability for special events and parties.
11 Freelancer with Fiverr
Whether you like to write, craft, draw, paint, or something else, consider offering up your services on fiverr.com. Fiverr.com is a freelance marketplace where you can offer up almost any service – you can translate documents, make a drawing from a photo that a buyer provides, write a custom story about a child using their name and interests (e.g. “Laney’s Trip to Monkey Island”), and on and on. The possibilities really are endless, and while the prices start as low as five dollars you can earn much more depending on the requested work.
As a Humanities student, especially if you’ve taken a lot of English classes, you’ve probably been writing your butt off. Along the way, hopefully, you’ve gained some mastery over grammar rules. If so, you can put those grammar and writing skills to good use copyediting! Here are some currently available copyediting gigs.
13 Freelance Writer
peaking of writing your butt off, don’t forget that writing isn’t just for term papers. You could try your hand at freelance writing. Many websites will pay for content. Check out this list of websites that compensate writers for generating new articles.
Maybe writing for websites doesn’t quite scratch your writing itch. You could always take a shot at writing your own blog. Monetizing your blog with ads will allow you to (eventually) earn some money.
15 Publish an eBook
Writing and self-publishing an ebook might allow you to flesh out some ideas that you have had while working on assignments for writing classes. It could be freeing to write without the usual constraints you have when writing for school. Plus, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to make some good money from selling your ebook!
Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself to the ideas on this list. As a student of the Humanities, you may have other talents totally unrelated to your major. If you’re a math or spreadsheet whiz, you could try freelance bookkeeping or accounting. And no matter what your major is, using the BookScouter app to sell your used textbooks is always a simple way to earn some extra income!
Peruse this list of 50 ways to make $50 online to spark some other ideas for how to get a side hustle going.
This article was written by BookScouter contributor Crystal Koenig.
Crystal Koenig is a freelance writer and adjunct college instructor based in Southern Utah. She holds a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis.