“Sorry man but I’m broke.” Said the text from my fellow graduate student. One more of the countless rejections to go out for a drink and then maybe a movie.
This response has occurred not only once but on multiple occasions to the point where I stopped asking altogether. I haven’t been to the movies with my grad student friends in over a year. There goes down the drain your social life at graduate school.
My family calls and says, “When are you coming home?” My response is usually, “I’m sorry but I don’t have the money to pay for gas to come home.” They say, “Well don’t worry we’ll put money in your account.” The bottom line is: I’m sick of asking my parents for money to help get me through graduate school.
I get a call from my friend who lives in another state, “When are you going to take a vacation and come visit me?” My response: “I’m sorry but I don’t really get a spring break. And even if I did I couldn’t afford it.” “Oh” she says. “I’m going to tour Europe for two weeks. Have fun. Oh and when do you graduate?”
I haven’t bought a single item of clothing in over 6 months. I haven’t been on a real vacation in over 4 years. I rarely ever go out for dinner. I was ready to stop my internet and cable bill for 3 months just so I could catch up. Air conditioning in the summer? Forget it.
If my car breaks down, I have to put the repair bill on my credit card. My student loan company keeps mailing me statement letters with “optional” interest payments. Seems like a joke with what little money I have. I try to apply for a better interest rate on a credit card and the company asks me if I have a Savings Account. I laugh. “Sure I do.” In the back of my mind I know it only shows 3 numbers: 0.00.
After running into old friends several years later, they look at me and say, “Wow you shrunk!” I usually look down and say, “Yeah I haven’t been eating as much as I should.” I found out if I made 200 dollars less a month each month that I would qualify for food stamps! So you feel powerless. You feel like you’re stuck. You know you are going to be in your graduate program for the long haul. Maybe you get out in 5 years. Maybe it takes you 7 years. Either way time is going to go by.
A key concern is that maybe the financial stress prolongs your graduation time! Maybe you would be more motivated if it wasn’t so hard along the way. Maybe things would just be a whole lot easier than what they are now.
Unfortunately, you are going to make the same amount of money during your entire time in graduate school. If you live off a stipend, it maybe only goes up 500 dollars every year if you’re lucky. If you are living off student loans, that number that you borrow each year will only rise because of tuition inflation and higher cost of living.
You are going to be a poor graduate student … unless you make a change. Now.
Then it hit me. It doesn’t have to be this way. Even if I had an extra 100 dollars a month as second income in graduate school that would go a LONG way. Why is that so much to ask for? That 100 may just get me an extra meal, allow me to enjoy more time with my friends, or even help me pay off my debts (particularly student loans and credit cards). And it would allow me to not have to ask my parents for money each month or even have the thought of working a second job on the weekends.
As broke as graduate or professional students are, why aren’t there any options? How come if this is such a huge problem that there isn’t more useful and legit information on how to overcome it? Is a second job really the only solution? Or is there a better way to earn a second income in graduate school?
Earning Online A Second Income In Graduate School
So how did I earn a second income in graduate school?
The short answer: I developed and implemented my own informational product (aka ebook) Generating a second income for the poor graduate student, and sold it online. I started an online Science Blog (I’ll get to this later). I learned as much as I could and I taught myself. I have just started and it is growing as you read.
In the end I am confident that I live more comfortably.
Having a second income in graduate school helps get me through the daily grind. It gives me an edge over my friends who just decided that “this is it and I just have to accept that things are the way that they are.”
I wanted to help others overcome a very specific and widespread problem, “The Lack of Income in Graduate School.” This was one of many of my online informational products. And in the end, I wrote this book to share with you what I learned.
My only hope is that graduate students can live a better life. I’m happy to say that it is possible to live a better life even during graduate school, and I’ll tell you first hand that you don’t have to live scraping the bottom of the barrel each month.
If you are sick of it all and are willing to put in a little time and work each week, then your chances of earning a second income in graduate school greatly increase. You see that first sale. You become motivated. You push through. You watch your sales increase. You look back and smile and thank God you were lucky enough to be the one who stumbled upon the knowledge and information that allowed you to live more comfortably. Have I got your attention? I hope so.
I am in my 5th year in a PhD program in Cellular and Molecular Pathology. Without support from my parents (at first) and a second income I have no doubt in my mind that I would not have made it this far.
In the United States alone in 2008, 488,000 Master’s degrees and 56,000 doctorates were awarded. Thousands of students enroll in graduate school each year and during that time they struggle. They accrue student loan debt and interest. They have high hopes of landing a better job. Maybe they are in for a bitter disappointment about careers in science. Some people even say a PhD is a waste of time.
The bottom line is that most people figure they will just get a good job after going to graduate school and this will allow them to dedicate their time 100% to their day job and not have to worry about a second income. Well, it never hurts to have a second income in graduate school no matter what situation you are in.
The problem with grad students is that they don’t seek out answers. They just “tough it out.” They don’t want to put in the extra time or effort into anything but their graduate studies. If you remain complacent, you will live complacent. It doesn’t have to be that way. There is a solution that I’d like to share.
I can hear your brains thinking, “This will never work. It’s already been done. I’ve tried everything from blogging, to surveys, and falling into the trap of pyramid schemes.” I can understand, I would think the same.
Forget it, ALL OF IT. This is a NO fluff, and NO hype book that I wrote to specifically help graduate students to earn a second income in graduate school. You’ve been trying to filter through all of the other garbage methods out there on the internet with no luck. I feel your frustration.
What if I told you that you could earn money using social media (Facebook), blogging, sending out emails, or simply surfing the web? You’re busy with school. Time and money are scarce. You need a quick and reliable method that will yield you the best results within a reasonable amount of time.
I’m not promising you will get rich or make a living online. But I will promise that you have great potential to earn a second income in graduate school and live more comfortably, which will help get you through college or graduate school. So let’s dig a little deeper if this still seems vague.
Sell an Informational Product Online That Relates To Your Particular Situation and Helps Others Overcome A Problem
This is by far the best way to earn a second income. This is the best bang for the buck. It’s a slow crawl at first and takes a lot of patience and persistence. It takes hard work. But with anything, hard work is a given.
What is the one TRUE method to actually earn a second income while in grad school or college? I have yet to read one or find a method that is geared towards specifically towards graduate, professional, or college students.
The trick is to find something you are good at and teach others about it. Or in other words, find some problems you and others have and provide a solution based on your expertise.
So how does one create a product to help another OVERCOME A PROBLEM? And keep the originality? And not produce some cookie cutter website or product?
The answer is you create your own informational product (like an E-book, paid video tutorials, podcast). And you don’t have to be a writer for this to work. You can pay someone on Textbroker to write it for you (this is optional).
If it’s your problem and you are passionate enough about the topic, you should be able to write about it and create an informational product mostly on your own. But you have the option of using Textbroker.
Outsourcing Your Ebook?
You’re busy with school. Time and money are scarce. So you can outsource your article. You can spend little money having someone else writing it for you. Then you can edit it and give your personal touch to it. Or if you have the time as stated previously, write the book yourself.
Then it comes down to online Marketing Principles. You earn all your money back and more. It’s a no-brainer. The hard part is getting the traffic to your sales page/product and promoting your product. Once you get past this, the profits start rolling in. There really is no secret to it. It takes time and hard work as with anything.
Is Writing An Ebook Something Original?
Sure! You pick the product or idea that you want others to overcome that is UNIQUE to your situation. Graduate or professional students are constantly faced with problems that they must overcome. I help people to earn a second income in graduate school. Next Scientist shares digital hacks that help scientists to be better at their work. Find something you are passionate about.
Here you have some ideas to title your ebook:
- How I Found Ways in Grad School to Make Money on the Side.
- How A Science Blog Saved My PhD.
- Using A Science/College/Graduate School Blog for Online Advertisement/Promotion.
- How I Effectively Wrote My Thesis in 3 weeks.
- How to Effectively Network While in Grad School to Land Your Dream Job.
- Top 10 Things I Learned in Grad School: For The New and Prospective Students.
You need to tell people your story. And yes if it is useful then people will pay you for it! Share your hardships. Your audience will listen. And you can sell your product and help others learn from your experience. Maybe it’s something you struggled with and now you look back at all you have learned and you can’t wait to share that information.
Not only are you creating a product to help yourself earn income and tell your story, you are helping others along the way. You help others with their struggles or hardships and in return you earn a second income in graduate school. It’s a win-win.
Writing a Science Blog For Idea Collection And Ebook Promotion
So let’s go another step further here and put another spin on it. Maybe you want an online angle.
The first thing you can do to build your credibility with your audience is to start a science blog. It is a great way to vent some steam, show off your personality, and help others learn about your situation.
A science blog also has a great potential for earning a second income in graduate school. Your blog itself can even become a product. Yes, you can compile and sell your entire blog as an E-book. Then all you have to do is utilize online marketing principles as outlined in my E-book. Either way, you cannot go wrong with a blog. It is full of creative writing and original content, and gives you the freedom to promote your product and help others overcome your problem.
The other advantage to a blog is once you build an audience and your credibility (maybe it starts with your friends first), they are more likely to buy. What this means is if they bought your first product and they found it useful and informative, they are more likely to buy a second product as well.
The hard part is the starting point. But if your idea or blog is good enough, you will hit the ground running. You may even find by accident what your idea or problem is later on down the road based on your feedback from your audience. If they like the idea of say for example, “How I Effectively Wrote My Thesis in 3 weeks,” then write about it!
I’ve also seen a lot of PhD’s who are out of work. Can you help them somehow?
Maybe they are misinformed about having to do a post-doc and not knowing their career options outside of academia. Or you might know the best way to help someone land an internship. Or network. Or effectively write a scientific journal/manuscript. Or maintain a healthy lifestyle/balance or deal with depression/anxiety. Or be successful in graduate school (maybe geared towards students at the beginning of a program or at the end when it becomes tough to finish).
If there weren’t hardships then the drop-out rate wouldn’t be nearly 50%! So how did the other 50% make it through? How did they effectively overcome the problem? I ultimately leave that answer and idea up to you.
The possibilities are endless, and a science blog gives you the ability to sample all flavors, write about all the topics, and get a feel for what people would like to read about or potentially buy from you.
Do you want more ideas to blog about? Check these great science blogs and think how you can do something similar.
If you want to know to start your own science blog and don’t know how, check our video tutorial “How To Set Up Your Own Science Blog And Grow Your Academic Footprint”.
Leveraging Social Media
Social media has also opened a whole new world that will support your Blog, Website, or Informational Product. Can you use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook to get your story across? You bet!
Let’s begin with Facebook.
It has Fan Pages that you can create. This gives you the option to connect your blog with your Facebook Fan Page and your website/sales page. You can share in Facebook (or in Twitter, or LinkedIn) the live RSS Feed from your blog. Like this you can keep these different media channels automagically updated.Your blog posts will be visible to audiences across the board.
What we are aiming is that over time your friends will tell their friends and it spreads like wildfire. Word of mouth.
In order for this to occur, you must have informative, useful and interesting information. This will all come from your blog and is probably the best starting point. Either way, you add information and learn as you go.
Once you have a product to sell you throw this in the mix, and tell others via your blog and social media sites, the Social Media Trinity. The market is endless because if you come out with a second product all you have to do is repeat the process.
The advantage is that the second time around it will be easier to sell because you already have an established audience, reputation, and credibility that you built over time.
It’s Up To You To Make It Happen
These is a sketch of the basic steps you can follow to earn online a second income in graduate school. We just want to get you started. If you are interested in detailed steps, I would refer you to the ebook.
My goal is to not overwhelm you but make you aware of your options. If you use Social Media or a Blog and play it to your strengths, you can watch your informational product sales grow. You’ll never know unless you try. We are all full of information and problems that we have overcome or are currently faced with, and just need to know how to effectively portray and sell it to others.
Ultimately the idea is up to you. The only thing right now holding you back is yourself. If you want to go and work the traditional ‘second’ job to earn income be my guest.
The whole point of this post is to make you aware of easier ways to earn a second income in graduate school. Dig deeper and you will not be disappointed. Only you can guarantee your success. So take charge now and never look back.
If you want to go the extra mile you can get all the info you need in the book Generating a second income for the poor graduate student.
Thinking Of Applying to Graduate School? Check These Sample Letters For Graduate School
When applying to graduate school you are going to submit several letters. The goal is to give a good impression and get invited for an interview. You should adapt to your needs a sample letter that has been successfully used.
Additionally you can get sample letters you will need throughout graduate school, for instance when you are submitting your first scientific paper to a journal or when you are applying to a scientific conference.
Check the letters for graduate school here.