Starting a business in college can seem like a very daunting task, but college entrepreneur (having started while at college) will be first to tell you that it is.
But not for the reasons you are probably thinking.
If you look at Facebook, Microsoft, or Apple, all companies started in college by the way, and you see the size of them today it is easy to think that starting any business will cost you a fortune.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact is that there are a lot of opportunities for college student entrepreneurs out there. And a lot of them do not require you to spend a fortune.
But they will require a lot of your time and patience. Especially when you first start.
This article will cover 15 businesses for you that you can start without a fortune! Who knows, you might see something that you like and create something great.
Let’s get started!
1. Start Your Blog
Starting your blog can be a rewarding experience.
To start one, all you need is a topic you are passionate enough to write about and get to typing.
Your blog can be about anything: health & fitness, lifestyle tips, fashion, gaming, opinion blog, technology reviews, and many more (literally anything!).
But how can you make money from this?
There are many ways to make money from your blog, but the catch is that you will have to grow a loyal audience.
But once you have that audience, your blog a very lucrative source of income when you use ads or affiliate programs to monetize. There are bloggers out there that make $5,000 a month with just 20 hours of work put into their blogs.
The most important thing is for you to start from somewhere and to grow your audience, everything else will follow.
(For more information on initiating a blog visit: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your First Blog in College)
2. Website Design
Every website we visit presents us with a different and unique visual produced by ordinary people like yourself.
So, if you happen to have skills and experience with WordPress, HTML, Flash as well as other site building platforms, you can use your knowledge to earn some money.
Offer bundled services such as setting up a blog for somebody or revamping a website for a fee.
There are websites filled with people always looking for freelancers to help them with their websites. There are a few out there but Fiverr is the only one that we would recommend.
Also, try to promote yourself on your social media like Facebook or LinkedIn, by updating it with projects as you complete them. That will create a platform where potential employers will be able to see what your portfolio.
From there, you can start getting jobs to design websites for others and further grow your portfolio.
3. Virtual Assistance
How about becoming a virtual assistant?
A lot of busy professionals like to get extra help when it comes to reading emails, responding to inquiries, setting up meetings, or handling payments without worrying about the seeking the services of a personal assistant or secretary.
These professionals prefer to hire an online assistant who would work from home or, in this case, your college dorm. Consider taking advantage of this opportunity and offer your services.
Now don’t be fooled, this is a very competitive market to jump in.
One of the significant challenges here is building your reputation to show that you can be trusted to handle people’s businesses.
With a little bit of hard work and dedication, you will be making money in no time.
To learn more about becoming a virtual assistant, check out this guide from HorkeyHandBook to get you started.
4. Build Mobile Applications
If you have excellent programming skills, then starting a business building, mobile apps might be for you.
This can be a more open market to get your feet into because people generally don’t know tech beyond what they can do with their iPhones and anyone with the skills (or the drive to learn) can make some real cash here.
This business venture requires minimal startup cost, and people are always looking for people to help them build mobile applications.
Also, you get to refine your skills in programming which you can put on your resume. It is always a good thing when you can make some money and set up your future self at the same time.
5. Become a Graphic Designer
If you have the creativity and talent to create stunning artistic designs, you should make a portfolio of your best projects and start offering your services.
If you are interested in becoming a graphic designer but don’t you have never “graphically designed” anything in your life, there is still hope for you. You can always find tips online and YouTube, which has proven to be a good teacher for many. (this tip also works for other businesses on this list. Even the greatest people we know had to start somewhere, right?)
Looking at the history of humankind, you see we have always used images. Sometimes as a tool for communication, sometimes for celebration, sometimes to record history.
And life today is no different thanks to platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook that allow people to take pictures and post them for the world to see.
Our smartphones even come equipped with camera’s built to take pictures that look like professional photography.
If you have one of these smartphones, you already have a starter kit to begin your career in photography.
Take stunning images that will make people and company’s want to pay you for the photos that you take.
When your first start, your photos might not be as good as you might want them to be but keep taking more pictures and you will find your way of making your photos amazing.
If you already know what you are doing with a camera, then what are you waiting for?! get to selling!
Market your skills as you develop them, and soon enough people will start to pay you to show up and take pictures for them.
That is another business where building a portfolio of your best projects will come in handy when talking to clients to help them see your work.
7. Promote Events
If there is one thing that could be considered a guarantee for most, if not all, students are that we love our parties!
Why not become the reason for that party happening?
Event promoters are the geniuses behind getting people to show up to parties.
Remember when your friend was throwing a party, and you texted everyone on your phone to get them to show up? You were an event promoter then!
When the party is ready, and it’s time to get the word out to everybody, this is where an event promoter comes in handy.
Now, this does require a bit of legwork when you first begin, because you will need to grow a consistent audience that will always be willing to listen to your suggestions. You can always start with your friends!
But once you’ve passed over that threshold of building your audience, event planners looking to promote their events will be willing to pay you to promote their event (parties, formal events, etc.) for them.
When done correctly, you could help bring audiences to planned events involving popular influencers, and who doesn’t want to be a part of that!
But remember, this all count on your ability to grow an audience!
Also known as Video Blogging, vlogging has seen an increase in popularity in recent years.
This increase might make it hard to get a foot in the door quickly, but it still can be a lucrative way to generate income.
There are so many ways to get into Vlogging, and like written blogs, making money from Vlogging is dependent on your ability to grow an audience.
So, if you are interested in pursuing a career as a vlogger, get ready to spend a lot of time building up your fan base because that will be the key to generating an income.
You can start recording and posting your videos as soon as you create an account.
9. Repair Smartphones
Learning to fix phones is probably one of the easiest ways to make money in college because phones are always breaking.
Screens are always getting cracked, sometimes screens completely stop being responsive even without a crack.
You can find ways to fix these problems through the internet and interactive YouTube videos.
Both will give you an in-depth explanation of why the phone broke and how you can fix it.
Practice solving the issues phones have on old phones so that when you start working on someone else’s phone, you will be able to resolve the issue.
You do not want a situation where you return the phone to the owner even more broken than when they gave it to you for a fix.
Patience is key here.
10. Online Seller
It’s straightforward to become a merchant on these sites; all you need is an account, and you’ll be ready to go.
Your biggest challenge here might be finding something you want to sell (which can be anything like your used books, a painting you might have made, a wallpaper, custom shoes, pens, Handmade anything, etc.).
If you decide to become a seller on these sites, keep in mind that they will take a little money from you for the sale that you make.
Be sure to keep an eye on your customer feedback because this determines your credibility in the eyes of a lot of customers.
The higher the positive feedback (about 85%+ plus would be safe) your market receives, the more of your products you are likely to sell.
Whether you are great with computers or writing, there will always be a marketplace for you.
Your skills and experience set you apart from everybody else, which means you have an opportunity to make money.
If you have experience running specific programs, fixing computers, installing anti-virus software, you can sell your skills.
If you are good with writing, you can offer a fellow student your services to write one of their papers for a fee.
The goal here is to use the skills that you have to make a profit, whatever those skills may be.
Like explained earlier, Fiverr is a great place to start to look for people who might need you!
12. Bake Shop
Who doesn’t love to treat themselves to some baked goods every once in a while?
College students are no strangers to this craving, and if you have mastered the art of baking, then you are sure to make some money.
13. Produce Beats
If you have an ear for music, then creating your beats might be the path for you.
Artists from all genres of music are always looking for a sound that they can use to spread their message.
As a beats producer, you fulfill their need by showing and marketing your talents to them.
To start making beats, you will need a computer, and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) installed on the computer. Some useful DAW tools to consider are Cakewalk Sonar, Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, Reason, and Ableton Live.
A podcast is a digital audio file.
That is the fancy talk for recording yourself talk about things.
They are typically available as a series where each new episode can be received by subscribers automatically.
What your podcast series will be about and how it will be set up is entirely up to you.
Like Vlogs, the revenue you make here will depend on the size of your audience.
The advantage of Podcasts, however, is that you can create a website and make it a subscription-based service where subscribers must pay for your content.
Now if you go the subscription route, you will have to make sure that the content you produce is high in quality and entertainment for your audience.
Alternatively, you can use channels like YouTube to upload your podcasts.
Don’t feel any pressure when you are starting your podcast because it is one of those things that you can get better you continue to do it.
(Check Out: How to Start Your Podcast by Collegeinfogeek.com)
15. Pet Sitter Service
Odds are there are residential homes around, or somewhat close to, your college dorm.
And where there are homes, there are pets, and for the people that don’t have time to take care of their pets, they look for a sitter.
You can print out flyers that explain what type of services your offering as a pet sitter and post those flyers in the neighborhoods around your college.
You may also go door to door as a secondary option to advertise yourself.
Be sure to present yourself as a trustworthy person because you are essentially asking your potential clients to trust you with a considerable part of their lives.