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Business Ideas for College Students

Updated on August 18, 2015

Business Ideas

As a young person in college, you may need extra cash. (I know I do.) But, it can be hard to keep a steady job, whether part- time or full- time, while being a full time student.

So, you may consider digging into your entrepreneurial skills and finding a business that you can start around your studies.

You can make this as simple or complicated as you want. You can start with a little money or with out any and work your way up to a few extra bucks a month.

Starting with a little money

If you are starting off with money, you will be able to open the field a little bit. With money to help back your business, you will be able to explore a wider range of options.

For example:

With a little money to back you up, you can start a website devoted to your interests or major. Use the money for hosting fees. You may, also, consider selling products via Amazon Affiliates, Ebay, and other affiliate programs. Or, you can invest a little and go to a wholesaler; purchase the minimum dollar amount of select products and feature them on your site.


You may want to go to Sam's Club and buy snacks and drinks in bulk. Sale them cheaper than the dorm vending machines. It'll give you a few extra bucks, but you just have to spend a little more in order to make a profit.

Business Ideas for College

These are a little more practical in regards to money. For the most part, you're just going to need gas money, time, and energy.

  • Tutoring: If you already have an Associate's degree or certification of some kind, you can tutor other college students who need help in that area. You don't have to have a degree or certification, though; you can tutor in areas that you are just naturally good at. Spread the word, and I'm sure during finals and mid- terms other students will be flocking to your door for help.
  • Editing: If you're an English major or you're just good at editing papers, you may want to charge students to read and edit their term papers. Don't write the papers, just proofread and edit them.
  • Take Notes: You may consider taking extra detailed notes in class, and offer your friends and classmates to buy copies for a set fee.
  • Cleaning: This may not be the most ideal business option, but most dorms are pretty messy. You could consider starting a dorm cleaning service. Consider stopping by on a scheduled day once a week or twice a month, depending on the person. Basically, you'd just clean up- take out the trash, dust, make the bed, straighten up the desk or work area. You may consider for an additional fee, filling the persons fridge, again the other student would need to supply the money, but it would save them from going to the store to restock.
  • Computer Support: If you're good with computers, you may want to offer services to fix basic computer problems. Do manual updates or downloads. Set up virus protection.
  • Freelance: You may consider signing up to various websites such as HubPages and Associated Content, to write articles that interest you. Make sure to have a Google Adsense account as well as Amazon and Ebay for websites that allow you to use your own IDs, such as HubPages. Associated Content pays you upfront for some submissions and monthly for your performance.


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    • profile image

      Paulina Lukas 6 years ago

      wow great ideas yes

    • AllSuretyBonds profile image

      AllSuretyBonds 7 years ago

      Great Hub. These are all great ideas for college students who are looking to make some money on the side before finding a career that fits them.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      That's actually odd, as my cousin is a paid tutor for his college. He has tutor session a few times a week with a small handful of other college students in each session. The college pays him to tutor.

    • profile image

      GRS 7 years ago

      As an English instructor, I should warn you that you've just recommended to students that they engage in a kind of academic dishonesty that could result in them being removed from most universities. I do, truly, appreciate that you recommend English tutors stick with proofreading and editing, but even *those* acts are violations of most university codes of conducts. And yes, I know of a student who got busted for exactly that. She thought she was helping a friend (one of my students), and thought it was okay, but I referred the friend to student conduct over other issues, and the student conduct office learned the sorority sister was editing my student's work, and nailed her to the wall for it. If you're going to get paid to help peers with their writing, that's great. (I did it, too.) But you need to be identifying problem areas and then giving lessons, not fixing the paper. That's the author's job.

    • fdoleac profile image

      fdoleac 8 years ago from Hollis, New Hampshire

      The boomer generation is tech challenged - find a tech related problem, solve it, sell it. It can be as simple as setting up facebook accounts for them or other tools like my fax.

    • profile image

      Alphonse 8 years ago

      Very practical ideas not far fetched at all. have been motivated will get activated and start making the difference.

    • Smart Dad profile image

      Smart Dad 8 years ago from Northampton

      I nice load of ideas here, I know as a student I was always eager to scrape together a little extra cash... And a great tale there from Ralph

    • mssmallbiz profile image

      Tammy Love 8 years ago from Brisbane

      I think these types of business lessons are a vital part of life and should be included as part of any curriculum!

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Great ideas!

      When I was in college I worked 3 years for a student owned and operated company called Student Agencies, Inc. that was incorporated in, if memory serves, in 1894 when a Cornell student named Seth Higby started a business providing laundry services to students on the Cornell University campus. He collected laundry in the dorms and fraternity houses in a horse and wagon and hauled them down the hill to a laundry with which he had contracted to do the laundry and dry cleaning that he collected on the campus. By the time I worked there Student Agencies' business had expanded to include laundry and dry cleaning for townspeople as well as students, summer storage of clothing, cap and gown rental for graduation, sales of class rings, franchises to sell newspaper and magazine subscriptions to students and for the sales of pennants and souvenirs at football games and other events. Since then I believe a student off campus room and apartment rental service has been added. The business was a private, student-operated corporation, independent of the university.

      When I was there the agency's sales volume was more than $1 million per year. I got my best grades my junior year while working nearly 40 hours a week competing with several others for the two top jobs in the agency. As I recall I earned around $1500 my junior year and $3500 my senior year (more than my total expenses for that year) as the number two person in the agency (Secretary-treasurer). That experience gave me a leg up on my application to a good MBA program (which I needed because I didn't have a stellar grade point average).

      In the summer following my senior year I was afforded by the New York Attorney General the opportunity to give a deposition about price fixing of laundry and dry cleaning by the Ithaca Dry Cleaner's Association of which Student Agencies was a member. I was given immunity to testify about meetings of the the Association I had attended where agreements were reached among the dry cleaners on price increases. As I recall the matter was settled by a consent agreement to end the price fixing without any big fines or anyone going to jail.

      Another useful and memorable experience occurred in my junior year when we discovered when we closed the books at the end of the year an unexplained shortage of $5,000 or thereabouts. We traced the shortage to embezzelment by a fulltime person who was one of two full time, non-student employees. The individual had apparently been stealing money from the business for several years and using it to build a house for her family. Although the business had insurance covering embezzlement we were not able to collect because we could not prove beyond a doubt that the individual who stole the money was the only one who could have done it. This taught me that insurance companies don't succeed by the number and amount of claims they settle and that some trusted employees, given the opportunity and financial need, succumb to temptation and steal from their employer. The lesson: "Trust other people but cut the cards."

      I may have learned more useful lessons from my experience working for Student Agencies than from any or even all of my classes.