Business ideas

18 business ideas for college students

College is a time of learning and growth. However, many students can benefit from a little extra money. Starting a business can also expand opportunities and help college students put their newfound knowledge into practice immediately. Here are some ideas to consider if you are looking for college business opportunities.



Why should college students start a business?

If you are a student, here are some benefits you can get by starting your own business:

  • Earn extra money: What student couldn’t earn extra money? Starting a business can help you cover tuition, books, or living expenses. With a particularly profitable business idea, you could even save a lot of money for graduation when you’re on your own.
  • Get a head start on your career: Many people start their careers once they have graduated from college. But if your dream is to start a business, getting into entrepreneurship while in college means you’re even closer to your goals after you graduate.
  • Build an impressive resume: If you’re interested in a more traditional career path, acting on startup ideas while in college still has many benefits. Potential employers can notice your ambition, creativity, and leadership, giving you a better chance of landing your dream job.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities: You have access to a lot of help during your studies, from other students and teachers to business centers and student organizations. Connect with others who have ties to your industry to share ideas or partner on a new venture.
  • Start in a low-risk environment: Many students have loans or parental assistance to cover living expenses while studying. Once you graduate, you might have extra expenses, a mortgage, or a family that makes you risk averse. Starting young allows you to really get started without seriously harming your future.

Read more: Student’s guide to launching a startup

Ideas for local businesses founded by students

There are many business start-up ideas that you can execute in your college town. If you’re looking to serve others in person as a college student, here are some small business options.

1. Tutoring business

If you excel in a particular subject, help your classmates as a tutor. You can charge for individual sessions or offer ongoing plans. You can even help high school students in your area.

2. Cleaning company

If you want a simple business that’s always in demand, buy cleaning supplies and offer cleaning services to local homeowners and/or businesses in your area.

3. Essay writing

For those with strong writing skills, offer writing services to other students. Offering finished essays may go against school rules, so consider offering templates or basic versions that students can modify on their own. You can also provide essay writing services for a small fee.

4. Delivery Service

If you have a car or bike, offer to deliver food, groceries, or miscellaneous goods on campus or around town. You can partner with a delivery app or just post signs with your details to do it yourself.

5. Plan local events

If you enjoy organizing and working with vendors, offer event planning services for local businesses and individuals. Much of the work can be done remotely and you can take advantage of your weekends to attend events and make sure everything is running smoothly.

6. Personal trainer

If you like fitness, work with other students or people in your area as a personal trainer. Partner with a local gym or go directly to your clients to offer personalized workouts and health tips.

7. Photography business

If you have a nice camera and editing equipment, offer photography services for local events or portraits. Some photographers also make money by selling prints online or digital files on stock photo sites.

8. Food Delivery Services

If you want to specialize in food delivery, work with local restaurants that don’t currently offer delivery. Make a contract with them or just offer to pick up food for customers and charge them a fee for each delivery.

9. Athletic trainer

Athletically inclined college students can contract with local schools to train. You can also work with individual student-athletes as a private trainer.

10. Pet sitting business

If you love animals, offer your services to local pet owners, keeping their dogs and cats in their homes when they travel.

Online business ideas for college students

Small online businesses often allow students to serve a niche market for a low initial investment. Here are some opportunities to consider if you want to start an online business.

11. Develop online courses

Online courses typically provide video, audio, and/or written expertise on a specific topic. You can teach courses in live sessions or offer them as ongoing content that students purchase and work through at their own pace.

12. Social Media Platform

With some technical expertise, create a social network for your school or a special interest group. You can charge people a fee for using social media pages or just make money from advertising.

13. Web design

Another tech-heavy company offers website development and design services to local businesses or individuals. Charge an hourly rate or per project.

14. Sell online

Create your own online store on a marketplace site or build your own from scratch. Store inventory in your dorm or use a fulfillment or print-on-demand service to simplify operations.

15. Application Developer

Create your own app for which you can charge a small fee or offer add-on purchases to monetize. Such an app will need to offer enough value for people to actually pay. You can also offer your services to other companies on a contractual basis.

16. Market research

Offer research services to businesses in exchange for compensation. This may involve conducting surveys, focus groups or usage studies.

17. Translation Services

If you speak multiple languages, translate content for other businesses or organizations.

18. Transcription Services

You can also transfer audio or video content in written form. This service is often used in meetings or for files like podcasts.

Which business idea is the best for college students?

The best college business ideas vary depending on each student’s skills and goals. However, some options that can be both fun and profitable include designing websites, managing social media platforms, tutoring young students, and running a writing service.

Read more: Small business ideas for beginners

Which company is the most profitable for students?

The profitability of a student business idea can vary greatly depending on the market, business plan, and start-up costs. However, online businesses tend to be inexpensive to start up and can therefore be very profitable. Popular ideas include digital marketing, graphic design, and running a YouTube channel.

Image: Envato Elements


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