The 15 Best Business Ideas for Students

A young man sitting under a tree in a park and working on his laptop

Starting your own business as a student can be very rewarding. Indeed, many business success stories can be traced back to a crummy college dorm room.

You don’t necessarily need extensive resources and an office to develop a successful business idea during your studies. Take Mark Zuckerberg, for example, who cofounded Facebook when he was still a student at Harvard University. What followed, of course, is history.

If you want to take your first steps into the world of entrepreneurship, this list of business ideas for students will definitely come in handy.

1. Pet Sitter

If you love animals and you’re really starting to miss your beloved pets while you’re at university, starting a pet-sitting service could be an excellent idea.

Pet sitters usually need to be available during business hours, weekends and holidays. Your tasks will range from walking, feeding and grooming the pets, and keeping their cages clean.

To start a pet sitting service, you might need to sort out a few logistical aspects first, such as having a clear policy for emergencies and having insurance to protect you from liability. Once you’ve got those out of the way, you could start advertising your services online and start petting – err, I mean earning.

2. Personal Trainer

If you’re a fitness enthusiast who already spends what some people might say too much time in the gym, why not earn some money while you’re at it?

As a personal trainer, your duties will involve building custom training and nutrition plans for your clients, overseeing their progress, and improving their technique.

Due to the physical aspect of personal training, you will need to be familiar with specific first aid procedures. Completing certain certification programmes could also be beneficial. Even if you plan on running your personal training service on a more casual basis, having first aid knowledge is still essential.

3. Tutor

A business-savvy entrepreneur knows how to use their skillset to their advantage. So, why not use your expertise on a subject or skill, like music or a foreign language to tutor others? You could offer sessions in the evenings and create a flexible schedule that works both for yourself and your students.

Many online platforms can help you get your tutoring business started, such as Tutor Hunt. Word of mouth also works wonders, so encouraging your students to refer you to friends can boost demand for your services. Once you get a steady flow of regular students, this could become a profitable business!

4. Transcriptionist

Transcribing is the bane of every student’s existence – well, unless they’re getting paid for it!

As a transcriptionist, you’ll listen to audio recordings of lectures, voice notes or meetings, and then type out what was said word for word. It’s a simple job that you can quickly adapt to your schedule.

All you’ll need to create a transcription business is a computer, a trusty pair of headphones, a decent internet connection and good typing skills. From there on, you can begin advertising your services to students on campus, online platforms and local businesses, and before you know it, you’ll have a steady list of clients.

5. Cook

As a student, you’ve probably figured out that the myth about starving students is true. However, if you belong to the rare breed of students who can cook proper meals, why not do your peers a favour and offer those services to them?

You could prepare meals and create different price bundles depending on people’s dietary requirements and budget. If you need recipe inspiration, meanwhile, MOB Kitchen is a great place to start.

6. Virtual Assistant

Freelancing as a virtual assistant could be a great match to your student lifestyle, and establishing your own business from the comfort of your dorm room will be an easy task.

A virtual assistant’s duties can vary but often entail things like email communications, social media management and bookkeeping. Before you launch your virtual assistance business, you should first decide on a list of services you’ll be offering. You should also settle on what your rates will be. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll be ready to set up a website and create your online presence.

7. Proofreader

You’ve probably proofread your friends’ assignments before, but have you ever thought about making a business out of it?

If you have an eye for detail and a knack for grammar, you’d be able to make this happen. Very much like everything else, you’ll need to promote your services online, and an online profile that outlines your rates and services will be an excellent start. After a while, you will build a network of customers in need of your sharp proofreading skills.

8. Clothes Mender

Are you any good with a needle and thread? Not many people can say so.

Creating a clothes-mending business could prove to be quite a popular service, especially at university. Your services could vary from altering to revamping and repairing anything from clothing to soft furnishings.

You could easily set up a workshop in your room and mend clothes from there. Once the word spreads on campus, you’ll probably find yourself with a lot more clients than you could have thought.

9. Driver

There are clear benefits to becoming a driver: you can choose when you work, and it’s quite fun and easy to do.

Depending on your location, you could offer friendlier rates for students than other transportation services. You could even opt to work as a chauffeur on some occasions to embellish your list of services. Additionally, you could include a carpool option so that more people can join in a ride.

The most important thing is to get the word out and to outline your rates and the area you’ll cover. Once all that is figured out, you can drive yourself towards some income.

10. Online Clothes Seller

If your closet is looking a little full lately, you could consider selling used or vintage clothes online. All you’ll have to do is upload images of the clothes, create brief descriptions for them and ship them off to your buyers once they’re sold.

Setting up an online store would be the first step, and sites like Depop make the task of creating a virtual storefront particularly easy. What comes next is figuring out how to promote your business and your products creatively. Once that’s done, you’re good to go!

11. Web Designer

If you’ve mastered the necessary skills to create attractive and fully functional webpages, then why not make a business out of it? All you’ll need is a trusty computer and a reliable internet connection.

A good way to go with this is to first create samples of your work which potential clients can browse through. After that, you can advertise your services online and even reach out to local businesses who may want to spruce up their webpages!

12. Residential Cleaner

With often no time between classes, library sessions and assignments, many university students find it challenging to keep their homes in order. If you enjoy cleaning, this is where you come in.

Starting a residential cleaning service means that you can have a flexible working schedule that fits around your studies. You could start by posting an ad online detailing your cleaning services, including your rates.

To avoid expensive startup costs, meanwhile, you could ask clients to provide you with cleaning supplies. Once you start getting referred to other houses, you can create a steady customer base and even recruit a few more people and expand your business.

13. Graphic Designer

If you’re a skilled graphic designer, you could sell your services in the online creative marketplace. Not only will you be able to work from home, but you will also have a professional portfolio by the time you graduate.

First, assemble samples of your work for your online portfolio. Then, start building a network of contacts and promoting yourself both on and off the internet. Once you establish a good client base, you’ll be able to use your skills like the young entrepreneur that you are.

14. Jewellery Maker

Starting a jewellery business is a fun and easy way to earn an income as a student, especially if you’re a crafty person. What you’ll first need to do is source your materials and create your first designs.

You could advertise them as affordable, handmade gifts and set up an online shop for orders. Before you know it, your jewellery could be the trendiest thing around campus!

15. House Sitter

Ever wished you could get paid to stay at home? Well, good news: you can.

Starting a house-sitting business is easy to do without much fuss. Your responsibilities could range from taking care of pets, watering plants and carrying out general maintenance around the house.

Firstly, you’ll need to convince potential customers that you’re reliable. After all, they’re entrusting you with their house.

Setting up a website where you can receive reviews, meanwhile, will help you attract more business, and it will act as proof of your professionalism. It’s also a good idea to prepare a house-sitting agreement; this doesn’t necessarily need to be a formal contract but rather a list of tasks you’ll be expected to complete.

The instant noodles and canned beans diet is a standard component in every college student’s life. However, if you’re not all about that life, starting your own small business as a student could be a good idea.

Unlike a typical part-time job, you get to create a schedule that works for you and your studies. Not only will you be able to sustain a good balance between your studies and work, but you will also learn the wiles of running your own business, all the while earning some extra pocket money – and maybe even potential fame. What do you say then?

Can you think of any other business ideas for college students? Let us know in the comments section below!