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I Tested 7 Ways University Students in Kenya Can Make Money Online – Here Were the Results

I Tested 7 Ways University Students in Kenya Can Make Money Online – Here Were the Results

As a university student in Kenya, extra income can make a huge difference in affording fees, essential expenses, and building savings.

But taking on a traditional part-time job can be difficult with a demanding course schedule. Fortunately, the rise of remote work and online platforms opens new possibilities for students to earn money on flexible terms.

To separate viable ideas from hype, I tested 7 popular ways Kenyan university students can realistically make money online.

Here’s an inside look at what worked, what didn’t, and key lessons from my experiments trying to profit.

1. Taking Online Surveys

Popular survey sites like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks pay users a small sum for completing market research questionnaires. Could they provide a passive income stream for a Kenyan student?

My Experiment: I spent 2 hours per day over 2 weeks maxing out surveys across top platforms. I answered questions honestly, targeting surveys for my demographic.

Results: I averaged about Ksh300 per week across the sites by diligently taking surveys during all my spare time. However, the repetitive questions became mind-numbing quickly.

Verdict: While reputable survey sites pay reliably, the tiny amounts per survey require hours of dedication for insignificant income. The boredom factor also makes this unattractive for students long-term. Surveys work better as a secondary income source than primary money maker.


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2. Tutoring Online

With sites like, CheggTutor and Varsity Tutors, students in Kenya can register as tutors to give online classes in high demand subjects.

My Experiment: I signed up as a tutor on 2 top platforms in subjects like computer science, math, and English. I set competitive hourly rates and made myself available for bookings during evenings.

Results: It took 2 weeks before I received my first booking. After investing time applying and adjusting my tutor profile, I was able to secure a handful of students wanting 1-on-1 online tutoring in my niche tech subjects. I earned around Ksh1,500 per week tutoring 5-6 hours in the evenings.

Verdict: Online tutoring is a great option if you have advanced skills in a subject with high demand like mathematics, computer programming or academics. Expect a slow ramp up while building your tutor profile. But hourly pay can be rewarding.

3. Freelance Writing

Leveraging writing skills by creating blog posts, articles and other website content for global clients is an oft-cited option for students in Kenya seeking online income.

My Experiment: I signed up for top freelance platforms like Upwork and searched for entry-level writing jobs requiring minimal experience. I applied for over 20 gigs, emphasizing my ability to craft SEO-friendly content.

Results: My lack of robust writing samples and client history proved a barrier initially. However, I was able to land a few small freelance writing assignments by positioning myself as an enthusiastic student willing to learn. I earned around $250 total over 6 weeks.

Verdict: While further honing writing skills is required, cold outreach combined with taking on small paid writing gigs can help Kenyan students gain portfolio samples and reviews needed to win bigger assignments over time. This income stream has potential but the learning curve is steep.

4. Reselling Products Online

Arbitraging trendy items from platforms like Alibaba to resell locally on avenues like Facebook and Instagram is a popular online selling strategy. Could it work for a student in Kenya?

My Experiment: I ordered Ksh2,000 worth of jewelry and hair accessories in bulk from a Chinese supplier to resell in Kenya. On social media, I targeted fellow university students with ads for my accessories.

Results: Marketing the products locally proved trickier than expected as a student with no sales network or following. I sold around 25% of my inventory to friends which earned back roughly Ksh1,500. The time invested exceeded the minimal profits.

Verdict: For students, reselling physical products has potential when combined with a captive network or audience to market to. But profit margins can be slim given the logistics of sourcing, storing and distributing inventory. Likely better as a supplemental income stream only.

5. Affiliate Marketing

By promoting products on social media or blogs and earning commission on resulting sales, students can purportedly monetize their online networks through affiliate programs.

My Experiment: I created product recommendation posts on Facebook targeting student gear like laptops and apps. I applied for affiliate programs with Amazon, Best Buy and other major retailers.

Results: Even with call-to-action copy and detailed recommendations, the paltry web traffic I could drive as a student resulted in just 2 affiliate sales, totaling under Ksh500 in commission.

Verdict: Profiting from affiliate marketing without an existing audience and influence is extremely challenging. While adding affiliate links is passive, the affiliate income itself is in no way passive without a significant following to move products. Difficult hustle for students starting from scratch.

6. Selling Photos Online

Students often have access to cameras. Could they monetize photography skills by selling images online, like on Shutterstock or 500px?

My Experiment: I invested about 4 hours taking high quality photos of nature, street scenes, textures, buildings and other imagery around Nairobi with a DSLR camera. I edited images and then uploaded 30 photos across 3 leading photo marketplaces.

Results: Unfortunately, the sites are already saturated with millions of images. As a new contributor, my photos got lost in the mix. After 60 days, I had earned $0 in royalties despite keyword tagging and descriptions.

Verdict: While a passive income stream hypothetically, contributing photos to stock sites generally requires cohesive portfolios of hundreds of specialized, high-value images before seeing any meaningful sales. Not a realistic income stream for students casually uploading a few dozen amateur shots.

7. Developing Mobile Apps

A computer science student in theory could leverage coding skills to develop and sell mobile apps on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

My Experiment: I spent over 15 hours learning Android development basics and following tutorials to build a simple weather app. I customized it with a Kenyan theme and published it to the Google Play Store.

Results: My very basic app attracted just 36 users who downloaded it organically in the first month. After investing significant time learning to code, I had earned…$0.

Verdict: While a great resume builder, launching viable consumer apps from scratch requires months of dedicated development and design work, not to mention expert marketing. App stores are highly saturated making standing out difficult for student hobbyists. Monetizing mobile apps is extremely challenging without sufficient upfront capital.

Key Takeaways From My Experiments

While not every income idea proved fruitful in my tests, important lessons emerged:

  • Most income streams require deep commitment – Don’t expect passive earnings without investing serious time over months. Quick money is rare.
  • Play to existing skills and assets – Ideas like tutoring thrive when leveraging advanced knowledge while assets like a camera help with photography sales.
  • Understand the competition – Profitable concepts face saturation, especially in creative fields. Unique angles give advantage.
  • Have a marketing strategy – Without existing network or following, sales and promotion become challenging. Leverage niche communities.
  • Build foundational skills first – Time spent improving knowledge of writing, photography, ecommerce fundamentals etc always pays off before monetizing.
  • Consider combinations – Blending multiple approaches like reselling plus affiliate marketing provides more options to profit.


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Plus, they offer a variety of bonuses and promotions that make trading even more profitable.

✅ Trade with $1
✅ Earn up to 90% profits
✅ Easy deposits
✅ Fast MPESA withdrawals

Final Takeaway

While some ideas proved underwhelming in isolation, I remain very optimistic about the potential for Kenyan university students to generate meaningful income online with the right diligence and strategy.

It comes down to identifying and combining opportunities that align with your unique skills, interests and assets, then creatively enhancing them through exceptional execution and promotion.

With mobility and flexibility that surpasses traditional employment, a passion-fueled online income stream tailored to your strengths can absolutely thrive. Don’t listen to limiting beliefs.

As my experiments reinforced, the internet offers unlimited possibilities to leverage your talents into part-time income and beyond. The key is discovering specifically how it can work for you with an open mind and persistent drive.

Keep exploring new digital income concepts with calculated testing. Pay attention to where fulfillment and skillset align.

Let the income grow organically from there through consistency and reinvesting gains.

With relentless creativity, the online world offers today’s enterprising university students in Kenya endless potential to supplement their education with hands-on entrepreneurship. Our economic futures start now.

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Kevin Blogger
About the author

I'm Kevin and I'm excited to share everything I've learned about making money online through blogging and content creation. I'm an affiliate marketer, so I know a thing or two about how to make a profit. Check out my blog for tips, tricks, and tutorials on how to make money online!

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