17 Business ideas for college students

Starting a business in college can be a great way to make a living and pay for your way through school or even help your parents pay for your siblings’ school fees. It only takes a positive mind-set to get started. There are hundreds of opportunities available for anyone willing to try out and believe you me, people are in need of any service that will improve their daily livelihood.

The great thing about business ideas for college students is that campuses can be the perfect place to validate a product or service offering too.

We are going to go over 17 business ideas. There is also both a range of small and large scale business ideas.

  1. Hostel cleaning services

Some people in college and university really are too busy catching up with school assignments and note taking that they do not have time spare to clean their rooms. Some students were used to having maids or parents do the cleaning for them and now that they are at university, they may not want to clean their dorms by themselves. Leaving the perfect opportunity for you to charge them a fee to clean up the room. You do not need to look down on cleaning another student’s room, your focus should be at the money realized after offering this service after all you can grow out of this business and set up a cleaning company in the future.

This is an easy business to do as you can simply market the business by going door to door in hostels. Start-up costs are also very low since you would only need cleaning supplies. After a while, and if you have a consistent clientele base, you could look into hiring other students to help you out. The great thing about this idea is that it could be started from almost any college or university, and has the opportunity for expansion.

2.On-campus delivery service/Courier

There exists need for local delivery services on college premises which would be capable of delivering goods, packages, and food to students and members of staff around the school. A professor may need a suit from the school dry cleaner delivered to the lecture hall. Or a group of students may need a bunch of food delivered to their hostel from the cafeteria. Saving them time so they can study.

This also has low start-up costs for a college students as you would only need a motorbike or even a bicycle, a strong bag or trunk for transporting things. This business idea could easily be expanded across other schools if you want is to grow beyond making few Dollars from within your own college.

3. Online courses for college lectures

If you are a type of student that has a strong interest and specialty in a set of college courses, you could create an online and easy to follow set of PDF or video courses that others could watch and learn from. Sometimes students need to hear the course information in different ways than what the class lecturer presents to them, to fully understand the material.

Be careful not to indulge in plagiarism by copying the courses you just took in class, otherwise you could end up in legal trouble with the college management. Your courses should be different from how the regular material is taught in class. Your fellow students could pay a simple fee for each course or a package deal if say you produced multiple courses.

4. Language tutoring services

If you are at a college or university where there are foreign students that wish to learn a local language, you can start a translation service and charge them a fee.

This type of business can be started at no cost at all as you only need the knowledge and door to door advertising of your service to your potential clients.  

Again, this idea can grow into a large company if you hired other students to expand your workforce.

5. Research paper writing

If you love to write and have a strength in writing research papers, this business idea for college could be perfect for you. You could even setup a website where other students from different universities around the country could send in their research paper requests, along with deposits for work they want to be done.

This you could write from the comfort of your hostel room and charge a fee depending on the amount of work. Many of these students will pay big money for a great finished product as it means they get a good grade when they really needed it.

6. Virtual assistant

The virtual assistant is a great business model for college students as you can operate this business from your hostel room or house. As a virtual assistant, you would help other businesses and professionals with their online needs. This may be converting datasets in excel, transcribing audio, or simple data entry. This will depend mostly on the type skill you possess and you ought to be registered online as a freelancer using hundreds of platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and many others.

7. Notes Digitization service

If you are student that can type fast, you could offer a note digitization service to other students, teachers, or university staff. This service could be charged on a per-word basis for you to type up handwritten notes into word documents, excel sheets, or even PowerPoints.

If you like dealing with people in person and don’t have access to reliable internet connectivity, you could still run this business completely offline. There would be a human interaction component, as you would always need to pick up hand written notes in hard copy form, the from the comfort of your hostel room, you would be typing and delivering notes to the owners at a reasonable fee.

8. Laundry

Another straightforward and obvious business idea for students is offering laundry services to fellow students that are unable to do so by themselves. The market for such a business is ripe and is easy to set up. You only need laundry supplies that are available in all supermarkets and local grocer shops.

Doing this on an actual schedule can make it super-efficient. Sign up students on a specific route for a particular day of the week, then make the rounds according to your schedule. This business can grow into a big laundry service company even after you have left college.

9. Grocery Delivery

Just like laundry, this is a simple business a student like you can easily start. College students need food and toiletries. Supermarkets can be located some good distance from the college and some students are overwhelmed with class work that they fail to spare time to do their own grocery shopping. You could offer to run shopping errands and charge a fee per delivery.

10. Student Newsletter

The news industry in every country in the world is competitive. In Zambia we have a good number of leading newspaper firms, there is also countless number of online publications to choose from every day.

Why is this not so also at your college or your university? It would be good move to start a student news platform that would focus matters to do with student matters and other happenings within the confinements of the college. The news can range from academic matters, entertainment, business and even school politics. A friend of mine created a student news website which did phenomenally well. Add in advertising and partnerships, and you will get a real business opportunity.

11. Blog

If you are good with writing and with the right time and effort, you can start a blog by choosing any niche which can become profitable. If you are passionate about a specific topic that you would want to be covering. To make this into a reality, you have to buy a domain for as little as $13 per year though prices vary site to site. Try to set up your blog using WordPress site, bluehost, awardspace, Godaddy and several others out there and get writing. Aim for 500+ words per article and share it on your social media. When you have real traffic going through the blog, add Google Adsense to drive traffic to your site that would be converted into revenue

 12. CV/Resume writer

A curriculum Vitae is a very important document but time and again many people especially job seekers get unsettled at the thought of preparing a professional CV. Other generally don’t like talking about themselves. It’s one of those things that is a lot easier to do for somebody else than for yourself. If you’re great at writing and punchy in your tone, you can build a business with CV/Résumé writing. If you do this for a client and they get a job, grab a testimonial from them and list who they were, where they now work and their testimony on your website. Before you know it, requests will be pouring in.

 13. Be a freelance photographer.

During holidays and weekends, you can work as a photographer. There is demand for different niches of photographs out there. You can be selling your photos on platforms like Shutterstock, Istock actually there are several of them on the internet you just have to surf to find what suits your interest

Build your online portfolio and personal brand so people can see and identify your work from that of the rest. You can also take pictures during special events in school then sell with corresponding charges. Or sell pictures to websites which buy pictures of different objects.

14. Sell Videos Online

It is now pretty much easier for people to produce amateur videos and as a college student, you can consider producing and selling educative or entertaining videos. YouTube and other video publishing sites online and some of the internet platforms you can leverage on to sell your videos. If you can produce videos to teach people how to do stuffs for themselves, and put them online, you will be amazed at the rate people will be placing demand from all over the world for the videos. You will be able to make money through advertisement placed on your YouTube channel.

15. Become a Translator

As a college student, if you can speak and write two or more languages whether foreign or local languages, then you can comfortably list your services online as a translator. There are many authors of books and producers of films that wouldn’t mind translating their books to local dialects or other foreign languages once they can get someone to do it for them at an affordable fee. You can visit elance.com, freelancer.com, oDesk.com and other freelance sites to source for translating jobs.

16. Ghost Writing Job

If you are creative writer, then you can start your own online business as a ghost writer. There are countless number of people out there who are overdue to author at least one book, but they can’t due to their very busy schedule. All you need to do is to collect their thoughts together and help them write a book.

You can indeed write a book on their behalf. Although your name might not appear in the book, but you are sure of being rewarded adequately for your services. It could be a pay off or on percentage based on the number of copies of the book sold within a period of time. All the same it is a good way of making cool cash from the connection you can make with people online who knows you might even become an established author yourself.

17. Editing and Proof Reading Business

Editing and proof reading is yet another easy to start business in the education industry that a college student can start during holidays; it requires little or no start – up capital to launch this type of business. The nature of this type of business makes it easier to work from home and for clients who are thousands of kilometers away from your college or town or even country. This is quite a daunting task so if you are that person that would wish to offer such a service, you are good go for some cash. Start proofreading your friend’s assignments for something cheap like K20 for 1000 words

If you are a good editor and you have eyes for details, then you should consider visiting freelancer.com, elance.com, oDesk.com for an enrollment and become a member. From such platforms, you can get enough editing and proof reading jobs that you can handle.

Do it smartly and in no time more requests will be pouring in. All you need is your personal laptop.

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