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5 Businesses to Start from Your Dorm Room (or Kitchen Table)

Updated on June 8, 2016
Ronna Pennington profile image

Ronna Pennington is a newspaper editor, journalist and freelance ghostwriter and adjunct instructor.

Many college students need to earn money while they attend school. The problem is that there just aren't enough hours in a day to include school, homework, and a job. The same is actually true for everyone. It's hard to earn a little extra money for a vacation, new car, or living expenses when you have family and full time job obligations already. Here are five jobs to get you earning right from the comfort of your dorm room (or kitchen table):

Be a flasher

Wait -- don't get the wrong idea! Most young people are way more computer savvy than their elders. Start a business storing photos from digital cameras onto flash drives or DVDs. You'd be surprised how many people don't know how to get the photos from the camera and into their hands. Advertise for free by placing fliers at area supermarkets and restaurant bulletin boards. Use your printer to make some business cards to leave, too.

Sing it

If you have a good singing voice and don't mind using it, offer a singing telegram service. Expect to be busiest during seasons like Valentine's Day and Christmas. Craft a season-related costume and get the word out about your service. Advertise by posting video samples on You Tube and other social media. Talk with the local florists to see if you can work out a partnership.

Make and sell slgns

You've seen them -- the stork sign that welcomes a new bundle of joy and the Grim Reaper that let's the world know that "Lordy, Lordy, somebody's 40." Think of other occasions, too. Use foam core to craft the signs, and add metal stakes to the back to firmly plant it into the ground. If you have more room in which to work, you can use plywood instead and rent the signs. Deliver them and pick them up at a scheduled time so you can re-use them.

Record history

It's not as boring as it sounds! Offer your services to record then transcribe stories and family history told to you by clients. Type up their stories and print them to deliver to the client. You may even be able to do this without ever leaving the house!

Get social

Lots of small businesses would love to have a social media presence, but they don't have the manpower to do so. Offer your services to provide pages on Facebook or Pinterest, or to set up and write blogs for businesses. Know your client's needs up front and be responsible with their pages. Advertise by dropping fliers off at area small businesses that could benefit from such a service.

Don't forget

No matter which business you choose, be sure to let your customers know exactly what they can expect from you.Decide on the fees you will charge and how much time you will devote to each task.Determine when you will issue invoices for billing. Some services, like singing telegrams or yard signs, might be better paid in advance.

Be sure to keep records of your invoices by providing receipts to your customers. Always keep a copy, too, in case you need them for tax records.

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    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 4 years ago from Arkansas

      Thanks for your comments, Mike. A creative type person could really make a go of a singing telegram business, including the extra help from radio mics, etc. I wish I was talented myself! Good luck with your business!

    • minstrelmike profile image

      minstrelmike 4 years ago

      Hi Ronna, I love this hub page and I would like to agree with you that starting a singing telegram business may be a great business idea. In fact it is something that I can help people with if they wish. I am based in the UK, so am happy to provide free advice to anyone not in the UK who wants to start.

      However, I must point out that the singing telegram business has changed greatly. Today you can expect your singing telegram performer not to sing acapella, but use backing tracks, a mini pa system and a radio mic, so that they can do a professional performance anywhere.

      You can also expect them to sing a fully personalised song all about the person from information supplied by the client and then present the person with a full band production audio CD of the very song that has just been sung. I guess that is different to the old idea of singing telegrams.

      I definitely agree that putting video samples on youtube is a great idea, i have many, however, if you use copyright material you could fall foul of copyright laws if you upload music to youtube. In the UK you have to buy a license of about £130 per year to use such material and then you may still have to convince youtube that you have the rights to do it. You tube often silence videos that they think violate copyright law.

      Anyway as I said I am willing to give free advice to anyone outside of the UK who wishes to start a real singing telegrams business. you may contact me from my website

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 5 years ago

      This is very cool! Interesting tips. I always wanted to sing, if I only had a voice for it :-)

    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 5 years ago from Arkansas

      DeborahNeyens, Lots of businesses are small and just don't have time for it. Being really interactive on social media can soak up a lot of time! Thanks for your comment!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Clever ideas! I think there's got to be a big market out there for social media gurus. So many businesses are terrible at it.

    • profile image

      kims3003 5 years ago

      This is a great hub. You have been so creative with the different ideas you suggested for types of businesses that can be started from your dorm room or kitchen table.

      This is what people are looking for when they are seeking out information on this subject. Great work!

      I have voted up and also Google+ and Digg! Also added you to my circle of Hubpage friends.

      Thanks for the great comment you left on my article today!!

    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Billybuc -- follow away! Recording history would be another great idea!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions! I have actually thought about recording's an idea that has some serious merit. Well done! I like your profile and if you don't mind I think I'll follow you.

    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Thank you, Readwriteteach! College kids are so web-savvy that it just makes them perfect for that kind of work. With the chores a business already must tend to, it's difficult for businesses to find time for this social stuff.

    • readwriteteach profile image

      readwriteteach 5 years ago from Midwest

      Hey Ronna, good job on giving different ideas. I especially like number five. Many companies do not have someone on staff who can do this for them. Thanks.

    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Neat! Thanks for the comment!

    • profile image

      Team Leader 5 years ago

      Hello Ronna, I have read dozens of articles on this topic but your article was the most original and feasable I have seen yet. THANK YOU! I am a rock chick so I might go for the singing ;-) Your 'Team Leader'