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50 Best Small Business ideas for College Students

Do you want to graduate from school without looking for a job or depend on the government? If YES, here are top best small business ideas for college students to start. Education is an expensive project. Students have to pay for or buy a number of things ranging from text books, hand outs, excursions, field trips, research projects, practical and even accommodation.

While some students have sponsors who readily provide them with funds for such items, majority of students are either self-sponsored or have to rely on their parents who can only do little for them.

With the increasing costs of tuition and other fees in schools and colleges, it’s now becoming more than important for college bound students or those already in college to start a business. Before now, college students can easily get part-time jobs.

But due to the bad global economy, there are now fewer jobs, stiffer competition, automation with technology, and constant changes within corporations. So, the key is to accept the new economic reality and prepare to survive even in the face of harsh conditions.

However, you can still live comfortably and achieve great career accomplishments if you make the right strategic moves.

Launching a business while in college will set you up for success and responsibility. There are many unique startup business ideas for students that can turn out to be profitable ventures later on. It may begin with the young and enterprising person’s passion for something.

Whether it’s computer games, gourmet sandwiches or special home-baked goodies, cute accessories, gadgets or sports equipment (the list goes on), there’s bound to be something that can appeal young people looking to make big bucks. So without wasting your time, below are profitable business ideas that you can start as a college student:

Business ideas for College Students

1. Transportation service

If your parent has an old car that has been abandoned for a long time, you can fix it and start a micro transport service. Chances are your fellow students need transportation to and from campus. And most of the time, the transport arrangements by school authorities are not very good.

So, your college colleagues would be willing to pay you to transport them. They will prefer your services to that of the college because yours will save their time and provide more comfort and flexibility.

2. Tutoring service

As a college student, chances are you are particularly good in one or two subjects. You’ll make a lot of money by offering to teach others who are having problems with those subjects — most especially if they are very important subjects that students must pass before promotion or graduation.

3. Career counseling

If you have good communication skills, you can meet the recruiters and employers in the on-campus career center to learn what they are looking for in job applicants. Then you can become a career coach and counselor simply by leaking these secrets to other students.

4. Sports training service

If you are a good athlete and sportsman, think about starting a personal sports training service aimed at teaching fellow students who are interested in becoming skilled sportsmen like you. You can use either an on-campus facility or a local fitness facility off campus.

5. Party promotion

Most college students love partying. So, you can make decent income if you know how promote parties and get the best deejays and party people to events. You can also organize shows involving celebrity singers and entertainers.

6. On-boarding services for international students

If your college admits students from other countries that have never lived in your country for long, you can start an on-boarding service for international students. Such students find the campus environment overwhelming, and they may have a hard time blending with the new system.

If you are compassionate, and you enjoy meeting new people, you can set up a hospitality or familiarization program for international students. You can either collaborate with the office of students’ affairs in your school or run your business independently.

7. Graphics arts design services

If you have a knack for creative design and you are very good at it, you can start a graphics design business. You can offer your services for both students and college professors who want to beautify their research and reports as well as their presentations.

You can also make additional income by designing banners for events and occasions in your college and by designing creating greeting cards for birthdays and holidays.

8.  Freelance writing services

If you are very good with words, then you can start a freelance writing service. This would involve handling writing assignments for clients — not fellow students, because this is unethical and against the rules in virtually all schools and colleges. You can hook up with clients over the internet by registering an account with freelance outsourcing sites.

You can start a blog for marketing your writing services and promote your business in online forums and via social media. Writing assignments that you’ll be handling for clients include articles, blog posts, ebooks, sales copies, press releases, business proposals, and so on.

9. Dog walking services

If you love dogs and other pets, you can start a dog walking service. If some of your colleagues come to school with their pets (though this is not allowed in most schools), you can advertise your services to them. Before starting, consult a professional vet to get tips on how to care for dogs and other animals.

10. Hair styling service

You can start rendering your services as a hair stylist or professional barber. Everyone loves to look good, and good hair care is one of those factors that improve one’s overall appearance. So, you will make a lot of cash off of your colleagues by starting this business.

11. Babysitting

Working class mums always need babysitters to take care of their children while they work or attend to their businesses. You can cash in on this opportunity by becoming a baby sitter and earning extra income to support yourself through college.

12. Event planning

There are series of campus events from student parties to award nights, matriculations and convocations. You can offer your services and help in planning such events and get paid for it.

Although starting up might be challenging as you will need to be able to convince sponsors that you can handle the job perfectly. You can offer to do the first few jobs for free and start charging when you have proven yourself to be an excellent event planner.

13. Residential and Commercial Cleaning

As a student, you can also make money from cleaning other people’s homes or offices. Most people are often too busy to clean their homes or offices themselves so they simply outsource these services to other people. You can take out few hours daily from studying and get cleaning jobs to help you earn extra income.

14. Fitness Trainer

Our society has made keeping fit a necessity and many people are looking for ways to keep fit daily. Not many people have the time to visit a gymnasium and would gladly pay for a personal fitness instructor to come into their homes and train them instead. If you are someone who is passionate about sports, you can become a fitness trainer and earn decent income from it.

15. Pet Grooming

Everyone loves a clean and nice smelling pet but most people either do not know how to groom their pets or simply do not like doing these themselves. You can become a pet groomer and make extra income from it. You will be required to bathe the pets, trim their hair and sometimes take them out for fresh air and exercise.

16. Photography and Videography

Students love to capture beautiful moments in photos and there are chances of making good money if you are a very good photographer. You can also record live campus events on video tapes and sell them for a fee.

17. Master of Ceremonies (MC)

You can also become an MC and anchor campus and off-campus events and parties.

18. Food Delivery

As a student, you can make money as a part-time chef or by making pre-packaged meals and selling them to fellow students.

19. Sewing

You can make good money from helping students mend their clothes.

20. Dance and Music Classes

If you are really good at dancing or play any musical instrument well, you can become a music or dance instructor.

21. Gardening

Do you love gardening, trimming lawns and beautifying homes? A lot of people wouldn’t mind paying you to help them keep their homes and gardens beautiful.

22. Start Selling E-books

As a student, there will be topics you are passionate about and you can make money by writing e-books about them and selling them on the internet. Writing books would not cost you money but a little bit of your time and energy and this can easily be done alongside studying.

When writing your ebook, you must make sure you research hot keywords in that niche and use them so that people can locate your ebook easily through search engines.

23. Start Building Mobile Applications

Mobile Apps are hot right now and many businesses and individuals are hiring people to build mobile applications for them. Do you have programming skills? Then you can also make money as a student by building mobile apps and publishing them.

24. Start Blogging

You can create a blog on or WordPress and start writing about topics you are passionate about. All you need to start this is your computer and internet connection. If you write well and you gain much blog traffic, you can make money from Google AdSense or other third party advertising agents.

25. Consider Affiliate Marketing

What an affiliate marketer does is to help promote products and services of other companies and earn commission from sales made. You will need a good knowledge of web marketing, sales copywriting and pay per click marketing to become an affiliate marketer.

26. Freelance Writing

You can provide ghostwriting services to people who need it and get paid for it.

27. Offer Virtual Assistance Services

A lot of busy professionals would not mind getting extra help in reading their e-mails, responding to enquiries and organizing meetings and tasks for them without having to hire a secretary or personal assistant. Many people prefer to hire a virtual assistant who would work from home.

You can become a virtual assistant and offer such services as long as you have a computer and an excellent internet connection.

28. Start a Resume Writing Service

If you are very good with words and information presentation, you can help people write their resume in ways that would attract employers and get paid for it.

29. Offer Bookkeeping Services

If you are really good with accounting, you can become a bookkeeper and offer bookkeeping services to business and individuals online.

30. Engage in Website Design and Flipping

As a student, you can go into website designing and get paid for it. You can also buy websites that are undeveloped, develop them and then sell them for a fee.

31. Do Search Engine Optimization Jobs

Companies and business owners are always looking for ways to place their businesses at the top of search engines such as Google and Bing. You can make money by helping companies improve web page ranking.

32. Provide Language Translation and Transcription Services

As a student, you can offer language translation services. If you are very good in a second language, you can help people translate documents from that language to English or vice versa. There are also lots of opportunities for transcription services on the internet. Transcription entails converting recorded speech to written text.

33. Start Organizing Webinars

You can organize seminars online known as webinars and share your ideas on a certain topic that people would be interested in while you charge attendance fees.

34. Become an Online Nutritionist

A lot of people are looking for ways to eat healthy so as to prevent diseases in future and a lot of people are also looking for diet plans for weight loss online. You can make money by selling weight loss meal plans or nutritional guides to people online.

35. Become a Ticketing Agent

As a student, you can make money from selling air travel tickets to people who need it on the internet.

36. Become an Online Tutor

If you are smart and very good academically and wouldn’t mind imparting knowledge in others, you can make money by becoming an online tutor. There are websites that offer such services and you can sign up to become one of their tutors or you can create your own website and start helping students get better at their academics.

37. Become a Graphic designer

If you are very good with graphics, you can make money by becoming a graphic designer. There are websites where you can offer your services and get paid for it. Such websites include Freelancer, Odesk etc.

38. Start a Property Finding Service

You can offer property finding services to fellow students searching for accommodation or even to non-students. You will need to go around and search for vacant houses and list them on your website so that people who need such accommodation can contact you. However, you will need to create awareness for your website by printing flyers and telling as many people as you can.

39. Establish Online Directories

You can also create online directories and charge companies for listing their businesses.

40. Engage in Online Surveys

There are lots of opportunities to make money from filling out online survey. Simply register on a legitimate paid survey site and get paid when you answer survey questions.

41. Online Reputation Management (ORM)

A company’s reputation translates to sales most of the time, which is why companies pay people to manage their product and brand reputation online.

42. Buying and selling stuff online has become one of the big money-earners in the digital age. The challenge comes in offering something unique or which stands out from other product offerings in the marketplace.

43.  Cute and unique gift items presented in a website can sell like hotcakes especially during seasons like Christmas and Valentine. Reasonably priced cupcakes with creative designs can likewise capture the attention of pastry lovers or food gift buyers browsing the web.

44.  Computer enthusiasts who use the Internet for research, emailing, and playing online games may find huge appeal in taking part in a business like testing new games and providing feedback on the games.

45.  Making personalized invitations for occasions like baptisms, bachelorette parties, birthdays and special events may also turn out to be a money earner for students.

46.  Students can also usually find making websites, writing and posting blogs about places they have been to or products they have tried a good way to earn money. It does not take a genius to try out and succeed in these unique business ideas for students.

47.  Other creative ways for college students to make money and enjoy themselves in the process; depending on their hobbies and interests are arranging/mixing songs (which require initial investment on equipment); offering photography services with background design and CDs; and making beaded jewelry.

48.  Indeed, students have many ideas on cool stuff they can sell that other kids would love to purchase. For some students who know where to source goods like slippers/sandals with a design twist, cute kiddie costumes or teen apparel.

49.  Students can also choose among the reputable affiliate marketing programs online that sell products; then they can allot time to learn details about products the affiliate companies sell, like jewelry, supplements, apparel, gadgets, home wares.

50.  Another business idea for students is using a leading e-commerce site to sell goods. What young enterprising individuals need to do is simply take good photos of the products they intend to sell and post these online, along with a concise product description so that potential buyers can bid on them.

Careful judgment must be used though, when dealing with online customers as there are individuals who are not really serious about buying but keep bidding.

In conclusion, I want you to know that some unique small business ideas for students may be inspired by existing products in the marketplace. Take for instance milk teas, which now come in various delicious flavors and are snapped up by beverage loving customers.

Most small business ideas that start out small end up churning out huge profits, and the best thing about such businesses is that youngsters can manage them from the comforts of their homes or neighborhood.