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Top 40 business ideas for college students

A college student with an orange coat and bag is walking with a bicycle doing delivery business
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Still in college, but want to find a way to make money? In this article, we’ll list 40 business ideas for college students. Although it seems like being a broke college student is the norm nowadays, it wouldn’t hurt to be an outlier. We will share with you some good college ideas for business you can easily put up.

Business for students doesn’t always have to be related to school.

You can expand to other niches like food, online content creation, service, etc.

How to start a business for college students?

When brainstorming business ideas, you have to make sure you’re doing it legally.

Illegal businesses don’t only entail selling prohibited items.

Moreover, it also entails opening up a business without permits (if there are any needed).

Make sure to check any laws or regulations within your town or city before investing a lot of time and money.

RELATED: TOP 30 WAYS HOW TO MAKE QUICK MONEY IN ONE DAY

Furthermore, it is best to talk to someone who has a similar form of business ideas as college students.

You can also do your research when it comes to the legalities of any of your business ideas.

That way, you’re sure you won’t encounter any brushes with the law in the future.

Small business ideas are where you should begin.

You don’t want to start a business with high capital.

It’s never recommended to do so.

Furthermore, make sure you’re looking at business ideas for college students.

Focus on ones that are feasible for you to start.

Without further ado, here are 40 business ideas for college students.

1. Sell high-yield college notes

Are you good at transcribing notes?

Do you have a knack for creating concise, organized, high-yield notes for your classes?

Then selling college notes might be the best business for you.

It doesn’t require any extra effort because you’re already doing it for your classes.

Furthermore, it won’t take up much from your studying time.

You may sell your notes digitally or in print.

If you do them on your laptop, it’s not difficult to export them in a PDF file.

Meanwhile, if you write them down on a notebook, you can transcribe it or scan them to create a digital file.

You can sell these as digital files or print them out.

Just be cautious of piracy or illegal duplication of your notes.

2. Put up a delivery business

Nowadays, people are getting busier and busier.

Thus, most people don’t have time to pick up groceries or takeout themselves.

Delivery businesses are thriving because of this reason.

It’s time to take advantage of this.

If you own any vehicle, car, motorcycle, or bike, you can deliver anything.

There are certain apps you can use to get clients or customers.

However, you can earn more by putting up your own.

You can also hire more delivery people to join your business so you can cater to more customers.

Some things you can deliver are food takeouts, groceries, mail or documents, packages, etc.

Because of heavy traffic and time constraints, people resort to small delivery businesses to have things delivered to their doorstep.

3. Start a blog, vlog, or podcast

Starting an online business through a blog, vlog or podcast is ideal for college students.

This is because the majority of work is done at home and online.

Thus, you won’t have to spend time traveling to a different location.

Furthermore, if you do this right, you can potentially generate passive income.

If you grow your online presence, your earning potential will significantly increase.

There are tons of resources online you can use to find out how you can start this business.

RELATED: HOW TO MONETIZE A BLOG? BEST WAYS TO START EARNING MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG

Just take note that it’s one of the business ideas wherein your earnings aren’t ensured at the beginning.

Thus, if you want quick business ideas to make money, this might not be the right one.

4. Fall in line for other people

Do you want to make money but have no marketable skills?

You should try queuing for other people.

Especially in the advent of the pandemic, banks, groceries, and other establishments limit the number of people they allow to enter their premises.

Thus, there is a tendency for people just to line up outside.

Some people do not enjoy this time-consuming task and are willing to pay other people to queue.

It may sound silly, but lots of people are already making easy money from this kind of small business.

You can get clients through social media or post on sites like Craigslist.

5. Become a personal shopper

The pandemic has certainly put a lot of people out of business.

Moreover, it has also left many people jobless.

However, it also opened up some unusual business opportunities for others.

Nowadays, people are refusing to go outside to buy groceries, clothing, and other home essentials.

Although most commercial establishments are starting to re-open, there are still people who refuse to go out in person to shop.

You can start a personal shopping business.

Here, you can charge people a service fee when you go out and buy items from them.

Some businesses even mark-up the prices of the products.

Thus, it could potentially earn you a lot per client.

6. Produce and sell music

Are you a musician and have the talent of creating music on your computer?

You can certainly make money off of your talent.

Lots of online content creators are looking for unique music to use in their content.

You can sell it on various royalty-free music websites.

Moreover, you also earn more from licensing and royalties if you choose to sell it outside royalty-free websites.

You can connect with videographers and content creators if they want a specially-produced music or sound effects for them.

You can turn it into a viable business over time.

7. Start a babysitting business

Babysitting is one of the business ideas that will never run out of customers or clients.

This is because lots of families have homes wherein both parents are working.

Thus, there is always a market for babysitting.

The key is to set yourself apart from other babysitting businesses.

You can do this by creating a nice Facebook page to list down your schedules, terms, and rates.

For college students, they can easily block out their free time to babysit.

8. Start a pet sitting business

Babysitting isn’t only for human babies.

Pet parents are also looking for people to watch over their pets while they’re away.

Thus, a pet sitting business is one of the viable business ideas for college students.

You have full control over your hours.

Furthermore, most times, it won’t take much time.

However, there are times when you could be asked to pet sit for a whole weekend or so.

You can hire other college students to join your business as well.

Pet sitting doesn’t require a lot of skills.

You just need to enjoy being with animals and know the basic things about taking care of them.

9. Become a dog walker

Do you not have a lot of time to pet sit?

No worries.

You can do business out of dog walking.

Lots of other people already make money with dog walking.

Certain apps allow you to book dog walking gigs.

However, you can certainly market yourself through Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

It’s one of the best business ideas for college students because it doesn’t take up much of your time.

Furthermore, you only have to work if you want to and if you have the time.

Some apps and websites you can use are Rover, PetBacker, and Wag.

10. Become a house sitter

Want an easier business than babysitting or pet sitting?

Start a house sitting business.

Many people are looking for people to watch over their homes while they are away.

It could be because they would go on a holiday vacation or a business trip.

You don’t have to exert much effort when house sitting.

You just need to keep things in order and make sure to keep the house secure.

Furthermore, it’s an easy task to do to make money.

11. Start a meal delivery business

You might be surprised by how much people are willing to pay for convenience.

The answer is a lot of money!

Thus, you should use it to your advantage when you’re starting a business.

Especially nowadays, people are reluctant to buy food, and you can start a business that will surely pick up.

Plan out your weekly meals and have people sign up for meal deliveries.

Advertise them on your social media sites.

Furthermore, make sure you take good photos of them so you can entice more customers.

Just make sure you have a vehicle to deliver your meals to your customers.

If not, you can certainly hire other people to deliver them out.

12. Sell your photographs online

Do you have an eye for taking good photos?

Or perhaps you just enjoy taking pictures of your surroundings as a hobby?

Put your talent to good use and make some money by selling them online.

With everything becoming digital, including magazines, newspapers, and books, lots of people are looking for stock photographs.

You can easily sell them on websites like Shutterstock, Pexels, and Adobe Stock.

If you already have a good quality DSLR camera, you’re all set.

It won’t take up much of your time, and it can earn you a couple of extra bucks.

Thus, it’s one of the good business ideas to start for college students.

13. Become a photography model

Don’t you know how to take good photographs?

No problem.

You can still start a business by becoming a model.

Furthermore, you can recruit other people to expand your business.

If you want, you can also just pay freelance photographers to take your picture, and you can sell these pictures yourself.

Stock photographs typically need a human model for certain types of photos.

Thus, it’s an in-demand business.

14. Become a freelancer

Freelancing becomes a business when you hire other freelancers to do the work, and you get a commission from their paid jobs.

It’s an ideal business for college students because it’s mainly a work-from-home.

Furthermore, you also have full control of your time.

It won’t take a chunk of your time if you don’t allow it.

There are tons of business opportunities as a freelancer.

You can be a writer, graphic designer, encoder, typist, translator, etc.

15. Start a ride-hailing business

Uber and Lyft are two of the most popular ride-hailing companies in the world.

You might think that starting your own now doesn’t make sense.

However, if you’re in a college setting, you can start a business that will cater specifically to people around your area.

You don’t even have to make an app to start this business.

Just post an ad on your college’s Facebook page, bulletin board, or other social media.

If you have a car, you can offer to drive people around for a fee.

Furthermore, you slightly lower your rates than those of Uber and other similar apps.

This way, more people will be encouraged to avail of your service.

16. Proofread and edit term papers and CV

Are you good at business writing?

Or maybe you’re a Grammar nazi?

If you’re good at writing papers in general, you might make a profitable business out of it.

Editing written projects is one of the best ideas for college business.

It’s a perfect business for students because it’s technically still schoolwork.

No additional equipment or capital is needed to open this business.

Furthermore, it will just take a few hours of your time in the day.

You can accept proofreading jobs online, and you can send the product online as well.

Moreover, payments can be made virtually.

17. Sell clothing online

Selling clothes is one of the most lucrative small business ideas for college.

College students tend to be more into fashion and trends.

Thus, they tend to buy clothes more often than other age groups.

You can either sell your used clothes or purchase ones that are on sale.

You can later sell them at a marked up price for a profit.

Make sure to watch out for trendy clothing pieces that will easily sell.

You can sell these online or to your friends in person.

18. Start a cleaning business

Let’s face it.

College students are busy, and they probably don’t have a lot of spare time to clean.

If you’re someone who finds him or herself with lots of free time, you can offer to clean people’s dorm rooms or cars for a hefty fee.

You don’t have to create an app to find clients.

Simply posting your cleaning business on a college social media page will help get your business out there.

Just make sure you have all the cleaning tools you need, such as bleach, broom, mop, etc.

19. Bake pastries and desserts

College students are always looking for food items to eat or stock up in their fridge.

Pastries and desserts are some of the easiest food products you can make at home.

Furthermore, the mark-up price is usually high for these items.

Thus, if you are already a good baker, this business will just come naturally to you.

You also don’t need to bake your products unless there is an order.

That way, you won’t waste any of your products.

For foods like cookies and cupcakes, you can even store the dough in your fridge to save you time preparing them.

You can just bake them whenever someone orders.

20. Sell your artwork on Etsy

Etsy is such a flexible website.

You can virtually sell anything you make on Etsy.

Thus, it’s highly ideal for college students.

Some things you can sell are stickers, planners, sculpture, shirts, cups, mugs, hats, etc.

It’s a good way to do business out of your usual hobbies.

Furthermore, it won’t feel like much work because it’s something you enjoy.

There are also so many other things you can sell on Etsy.

21. Become a fitness trainer

Are you good with exercise routines or just gym in general?

Do you think you have what it takes to help people achieve their fitness goals?

Then you can certainly create a business surrounding it.

You don’t have to be a personal trainer who works at the gym.

You can simply communicate with your clients online.

Give them a set of exercise routines to do every day.

Moreover, you could also check up on their progress daily.

Furthermore, because of the pandemic, most gyms are closed.

Thus, people are looking to find a personal trainer who will conduct sessions via Zoom or Facetime.

22. Perform music in parties and events

Do you play any instruments?

Or are you a singer or a member of a band?

Live the dream and create a business out of your hobby.

Parties and other events are always looking to hire artists to perform.

The tricky thing with this business is you need a network of people to get regular gigs.

However, for a college student, you don’t even have the time to do it every day.

Thus, it’s a good side-hustle for you.

Furthermore, it’s a good way to unwind after a long week of classes and exams.

Make sure to market yourself well and don’t undersell yourself.

23. Social media management business

If you’re in college, chances are you are good with technology, and you know social media well.

Therefore, you can become a social media manager for businesses and companies.

It’s ideal because it’s a business you can run online in your dorm.

Furthermore, you’re only using sites that you already know by heart like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Social media managers handle customer service, publishing new posts, replying to comments, etc.

You can also hire more people if you think the job is too overwhelming.

You can certainly make a lot of money in this kind of business.

24. Become a makeup artist or hairstylist

Are you a pro at doing your makeup and hair?

You can certainly put up a glamming up business with your beauty skills.

Events like parties, weddings, anniversaries, photoshoots are always in need of makeup artists and hairstylists.

If you know how to do makeup and hair well, then chances are you already have tons of makeup to play with.

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Thus, you only need to grab a couple of makeup items to open your business.

Moreover, doing just one person’s hair and makeup will generate you good money.

It’s a perfect business for a student who can’t work every day of the week.

You can only work during times you’re free.

25. Organize trips for people

It’s one of the most brilliant ideas for college business.

College students are always looking to go on road trips, vacations, and getaways.

Why not take advantage of it by organizing group trips for them?

For example, you can charge for booking a group of college students’ plane tickets, accommodations, and tours.

Moreover, you can also charge for creating itineraries and choosing the best destinations.

You can even create trips that will coincide with a college semester break.

If you’re someone who knows travel well and is good with coordinating and organizing, this business is the right one for you.

26. Start an errands business

Time is the most valued commodity for college students.

Thus, some of them are willing to pay money to save some time.

You can offer to run errands for others in exchange for money.

This can range from paying bills, bringing clothes to the dry cleaners, picking up laundry, getting packages, etc.

You can charge an hourly rate.

You will be surprised by how many people are willing to pay tons of money to get their basic errands done.

Also, you will be surprised by how much money you’ll earn in a month by running errands for others.

27. Sell an “essentials” package

Selling college essentials is one of the best ideas for college business.

It’s also one of the best small business ideas for college students.

Some of the things you can include in the essentials package are college guide, maps, toiletries, binders, notebooks, pens, pain.

And fever medications, first-aid kit, emergency contact list, and other similar items.

Make sure to promote your essentials package on your college’s social media accounts.

This is where you can get most of your buyers.

Furthermore, you should also check out the Freshman’s social media pages because this will be your main target market.

28. Create a meal planning/diet business

In college, students are always finding ways to save themselves time.

Many students are too busy to do basic chores at home or in their dorms.

Thus, a lot of them always rely on convenience services, such as food deliveries.

Moreover, it isn’t unheard of that college students are struggling with their weight.

This is due to a combination of stress, overeating, and lack of physical activity.

This allows you to start a meal planning business.

This is an untouched start-up business ideas for college students.

You can offer to customize a weekly or monthly meal plan for college students for a fee.

Furthermore, you can also deliver the diet meal kits to your customers if you have the skills to cook.

29. House renovation jobs

We get it.

You’re a college student and not a handyman.

But you can create a business by helping people renovate their homes.

This includes painting walls, installing wallpapers, moving furniture, etc.

These tasks don’t require intense skills, like laying down tiles or fixing pipes.

Typically, people who will hire you will only need an extra set of hands to help with the housework.

You can create a Facebook page to promote your business.

Furthermore, you can even ask friends to join.

If you charge an hourly rate, you can earn tons of money just over a weekend.

30. Start a styling business

Do you have a good eye for fashion?

Are you always told you dress well?

You can then offer your talent to other college students who might be looking to upgrade their wardrobe.

Typically, stylists charge an hourly fee for their time.

Their job entails getting their clients’ body measurements and finding the most flattering clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Furthermore, they help their clients learn and find out what their style or aesthetic is.

You can go to clothing stores alone and shop for your client.

Meanwhile, you can also shop with your client and help him or she choose the appropriate clothing items.

31. Sell and rent old textbooks

You might think that there is no use for textbooks because of the advent of ebooks and e-readers.

However, there are certain university or college textbooks that still only exist in print.

Thus, there is still a market for old-school textbooks.

College students don’t like paying a lot of money for something they will only use for a few months.

Thus, renting out these books is also a viable option.

It’s one of the best ideas for college business.

Ask your seniors if you can purchase any of their old textbooks for a low price.

If you’re lucky, some of them will even give these to you for free.

You can create your textbook collection and open your textbook business.

32. Organize schedules for other students

We don’t like to encourage laziness for other college students.

However, we cannot deny how some students can be bad with time management.

Thus, they are always cramming studying for exams and writing term papers.

You can be of help to these students, as well as make a business out of it, by offering organization services.

That’s, of course, if you’re good at organization yourself.

You can work with students at the beginning of the semester to block out their important weeks.

Furthermore, you can create daily schedules they can stick to, so they are always on top of their studying.

It’s a business that will bring a lot of value to students but won’t take up much of your time.

33. Start a tutoring business

Are you a straight-A student who wants to build up a business in college?

Make use of what you have – use your intelligence to earn money by tutoring people.

You only have to be good at one subject.

For instance, are you good at Calculus?

Tons of college students are crying over getting a passing mark on this subject.

These people are more than willing to pay to get some help.

Thus, you can make a business tutoring them.

For other subjects, you can recruit other students you know good at those subjects.

If you’re a college student, it won’t be difficult finding clients to tutor.

Just post it on a Facebook page or group or have your friends spread the word.

The good thing about the tutoring business is you can either do it online or in person.

Thus, you can also tutor students who are not in your college or are not in your area.

34. Sell thrift shop finds

A thrift shop is a place where you can find good items at a low price.

If you’re someone who always goes to garage sales, flea markets, and thrift shops, you can look for great items to resell.

This can be vintage clothes, decor, jewelry, etc.

Most people who have this business earn lots of money for marking up the products.

You just have to have a good eye for these items.

You can either sell them online or in person.

If you choose to do it online, you can use Amazon, Shopify, or simply post it on Facebook or Instagram.

It’s a business you can put up as a college student that won’t take up a lot of time.

35. Start an Airbnb or room rental business

Do you live in an apartment or house with a spare room?

Make some money off of it by listing it on Airbnb or your college’s page.

Tons of college students are looking for a place to stay near campus.

You don’t need to make your spare room look like a hotel room or a vacation house.

You can even leave it bare, but you might need to bring down the price.

If you have the budget, you can stuff the room with the essentials like bed, nightstands, and closet.

However, if you don’t, you can leave it as it is.

36. Start a carwash business

We know that there are probably tons of carwash businesses in your city or town.

So why is it still a good idea to put up your own?

As a college student, you have the advantage of reaching your fellow students.

Furthermore, these carwash businesses charge a lot for a carwash.

You can slightly bring down your price and give discounts.

A basic carwash won’t need a lot of equipment.

You can certainly do it manually, although it may take up more time.

Start a graphic design business.

You don’t have to have a graphic design degree to put up a business.

If you are majoring in Graphic Design or a similar course, that’s an advantage.

However, you can make it work if you have a flair for design and art.

Lots of online content creators are looking for people to design things for them.

This includes logos, banners, thumbnails, etc.

Some business owners also seek designs for their products like a t-shirt, mug, or packaging design.

If you are skilled in Photoshop and are generally good with art, you can do a viable business out of your skill.

38. Repair phones, tablets, and laptops

Do you know how to perform basic repairs on gadgets?

You can make a small business out of your skill.

Something like replacing iPhone LCD screens is something you can easily learn on Youtube.

However, some people still opt to bring their phones to service centers.

This costs a lot of money.

If you buy replacement parts on sites like Alibaba or Amazon, they are significantly cheaper.

You can offer to repair your friends’ screens at a lower cost than those of repair shops.

You can also do a business removing viruses from computers, reformatting drives, etc.

If you’re tech-savvy, you can do a lucrative business out of it.

39. Start a laundry business for college students

When we talk of a laundry business, we don’t mean you need to buy a set of washer and dryer.

If you live in a dorm with a laundry area, you can offer to gather your dormmates’ laundry for a fee.

It’s a silly idea, but you’ll be surprised by how much you can earn.

College students are always looking for convenience or business ideas.

Thus, they are more than willing to pay you extra just so you will bring down their clothes to the laundry room.

It’s one of the most lucrative business ideas for college students.

You don’t need any capital or equipment.

You just need to knock on their doors, get their laundry, bring it to the laundry area, and deliver it back to them.

It’s a no-brainer business that will generate you extra bucks.

40. Open a snack station business

As business ideas for college students, students are always hungry, especially if it’s a busy exam week or a party night.

Thus, you can use this opportunity to sell small snacks.

These are perfect to munch on during late-night study sessions or get-togethers.

You can begin selling chips, crackers, sodas, energy drinks, candies, and other small snacks.

You don’t have to create these from scratch.

Just go to the grocery where you can get these for the cheapest amount possible.

Account for your transportation costs and adjust your profit margin accordingly.

Thereafter, if your business picks up, you can expand to selling burgers, sandwiches, potato snacks, and other similar foods.

You will be surprised by how easy it is to sell these foods to your fellow college students.

It won’t even take much of your time.

Moreover, if you don’t sell all the food items in one day, you can store them for the meantime and sell them later.

Business plan examples for students

Any business requires a business plan – whether it’s a start-up or a large-scale business.

It’s similar to a blueprint for a house.

It typically consists of an executive summary, features, pricing, marketing strategy, research, and other relevant data.

You can certainly expand your business plan if you wish to do so.

It’s your guide and map to visualize your business.

Here is an example of a business plan for a cupcake business you can use.

Business Plan for Cupcake Business

Executive Summary

Location: Happy University, New York
Founder: John Scott
Target Audience: College students

Synopsis:

Amazing Cupcakes is a business founded with love for everything sweets.

It delivers homebaked cupcakes to anywhere within the Happy University campus.

Our menu mainly includes the following cupcakes: vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, butter pecan, and carrot.

We also offer made-to-order cupcakes per customer’s request.

Overview

Features:

  • Guaranteed fresh from the oven every time
  • Made of high-quality ingredients

Pricing:

  • Cupcakes range from $3-5 per piece, with a 40% profit margin.
  • Vanilla – $3
  • Chocolate – $3
  • Red velvet – $5
  • Butter Pecan – $5
  • Carrot – $3.5

Future Development:

Currently, Amazing Cupcakes only caters to college students at Happy University.

We aim to expand further around the New York area through a Facebook page and an online store.

Marketing Strategy:

  • Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  • Flyers

Competition:

  • Delicious Cupcakes
  • More cupcake flavor choices
  • Doesn’t offer free delivery
  • Slightly less expensive

Conclusion

If you want to start a business ideas as a college student, make sure to choose something that won’t eat up most of your time.

Remember that as a student, your priority is your education.

Thus, don’t start a business that will require a lot of your time during the day.

Ideally, it should only take up your free time, such as the evening or during weekends.