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25 January 2024 • Resources

25 Best business ideas for college students to start in 2024

25 Best business ideas for college students to start in 2024

Navigating the bustling landscape of entrepreneurship as a college student presents unique challenges and opportunities. Balancing academic commitments with the drive to explore the business world, students are often on the lookout for ventures that not only align with their busy schedules but also offer valuable learning experiences.

If you want to start a business but have no ideas, don't worry—we're here to assist!

In this comprehensive guide, we explore a range of the best business ideas, ideas that are both innovative and feasible, tailored specifically for college students. From leveraging digital skills in a tech-driven market to harnessing creative talents in crafting unique products, these ideas not only provide avenues for income but also serve as a platform for skill development and real-world business experience.

Whether you're tech-savvy, artistically inclined, or have a knack for organization and planning, there's a business idea here that's just right for the entrepreneurial student!

1. Sell your own handmade creations

person making a candle

Selling handmade creations is an excellent business idea for students, blending the allure of entrepreneurship with the joy of creativity. It provides a platform to express your creativity and passion, whether it’s in crafting jewelry, art, clothing, or any other unique items you wish to create. This creative outlet can also be a stress reliever amidst academic pressures.

What's more, the handmade market is often associated with quality and authenticity, traits that attract a growing segment of consumers seeking personalized and one-of-a-kind goods. With the rise of online marketplaces like Etsy and social media platforms, reaching potential customers has never been easier. 

That being said, if you want the most control over your ecommerce venture, you'll definitely want to create your own online store. And for that, the WiziShop platform has got you covered.

With WiziShop, you'll be able to get started in ecommerce easily and quickly, with all kinds of resources at your disposal. Choose from a library of templates to design an online store that matches your vision. Take advantage of our powerful artificial intelligence (AI) to help you come up with a business name and slogan. This AI also makes it possible to generate text content like product descriptions, blog posts, translations, and much more in seconds—a time-saving tool that's a definite plus for busy students!  

Besides the AI, you'll have 400+ other pre-integrated tools at your disposal to facilitate the online-selling process and sell more products. No need to scramble around and search for third-party add-ons to make your site shine!

And if you're worried about entering the exciting world of ecommerce as a newbie, rest assured that WiziShop is committed to your success, regardless of your level of online sales experience. Avail of free training to learn more about numerous ecommerce-related topics, and don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable Business Coaches to ask questions or get tips and ideas for how to take your web store to the next level.

Sign up today for a 3-day free trial, and then get your first month for just $1!

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2. Tutor other students

tutoring session

Using your existing knowledge and academic skills to supply tutoring services is a practical and accessible way to start making extra money as a college student. As a peer tutor, you can capitalize on your understanding of current academic curricula and methodologies, offering relatable and effective guidance to help other people learn. This also provides an opportunity to reinforce your own knowledge, as teaching others is one of the best ways to solidify one’s own understanding.

In addition, tutoring is inherently flexible, allowing you to schedule sessions around your own classes and commitments. This adaptability makes it a practical choice for busy students. Consider also that there's a constant demand for personalized, one-on-one academic assistance, which creates a steady market for tutors.

Furthermore, tutoring fosters a range of transferable skills, such as communication, patience, and problem-solving. It’s not just a source of income; it’s an avenue for personal and professional development, enhancing employability capabilities while contributing positively to the academic journey of fellow students. 

3. Become a freelance graphic designer

mountain graphic design

Freelance graphic design is a fantastic idea for a business that students can start due to its blend of creativity, flexibility, and market demand. It involves creating visual content like logos, brochures, website designs, and social media graphics for others. This field allows you to utilize and hone your artistic talents while learning about different industries and marketing trends.

The flexible nature of freelancing enables you to adapt your work to your current course load and take on projects that suit your time constraints. What's more, the demand for graphic design is widespread across various sectors, offering diverse opportunities.

Building a strong portfolio showcasing your style and range of skills can boost your chances of success with this kind of business. Staying updated with the latest design trends and software is also key. Keep in mind that you can always take online courses or avail of other resources to learn more, level up your design skills, and become an expert in your field as well!

4. Manage social media for other businesses

managing social media content

In today's digital age where having a presence on social networks is crucial for businesses, social media management can be a great way for student online entrepreneurs to earn some extra money. For many students, who are often digital natives, managing social media comes naturally, making it a viable and accessible business option. This role involves creating content, scheduling posts, engaging with audiences, and analyzing performance metrics, skills many students already possess or can quickly learn.

The flexibility of social media management is a significant advantage for students. They can do the job remotely and adjust their working hours to fit around their academic schedule. There's also very low startup investment for this type of job compared to other ideas described in this article. Note that the demand for social media expertise is high across various industries, offering a broad client base.

This role also offers a pathway to developing a professional skill set that's increasingly sought after in the job market. As social media continues to evolve and play a critical role in business strategy, students with expertise in this area are well-positioned to capitalize on this trend.

5. Start blogging/vlogging

woman vlogging outside

Another easy way for students to make money is to start blogging or vlogging. With low entry barriers and extensive potential for both creative expression and income, this can be the ideal part-time business if you enjoy sharing your knowledge, opinions, and insights with a wider audience, building a community around shared interests. 

Starting a blogging or vlogging business entails creating written or video content about topics and ideas that interest you, such as travel, fashion, technology, education, or personal experiences. Over time, this can then lead to earning income via diversified streams like ads, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and merchandise.

Whether you opt to concentrate on blogging or vlogging, remember that sharing consistent, high-quality content is best for building and retaining a following. It's also essential to engage with your audience through comments and on social networks to help foster a community and increase reach. Don't hesitate to harness the power of SEO for your blogging/vlogging venture, as well-executed SEO strategies can do wonders for boosting traffic to your content!

6. Develop apps

man sitting in front of computers

App development involves designing, creating, and maintaining applications for mobile devices, a skill set in high demand across various industries. This field offers students a creative outlet to bring innovative ideas to life, whether in gaming, productivity, health, education, or any other sector.

Besides allowing for working on projects at your own pace, starting a venture involving app development also offers the potential for substantial financial returns, either through direct sales, in-app purchases, or advertising!

While there are all kinds of roads to take when it comes to developing apps for your startup student business, you'll find that it's a good idea to focus on identifying and solving a specific problem or fulfilling a niche demand. Staying on top of the latest programming languages, design principles, and user interface trends will be advantageous for the success of your business.

Engaging in this field not only provides a practical learning experience but can also pave the way for a thriving career in technology.

7. Try fitness coaching

people practicing yoga outdoors

Fitness coaching is another great business idea for students, especially those passionate about health and wellness. It involves guiding clients through exercise routines, providing nutritional advice, and helping them learn how to achieve their fitness goals.

This role can vary from personal training to conducting group fitness classes, both in person and online. Working as a fitness coach means that you'll be promoting a healthy lifestyle, which can be beneficial for your own well-being.

Consider obtaining a certification in fitness training to bolster your knowledge and credibility. Having a solid understanding of exercise science and nutrition is essential to provide safe and effective guidance. 

To attract clients, you could, for example, network in local gyms and community centers, in addition to building a strong online presence on social media. By offering personalized training plans to suit individual client needs, maintaining a positive and motivational attitude, and continuously updating your knowledge about fitness trends and techniques, you'll find that you'll be well on your way to success! 

8. Offer photography services 

woman using camera

Another way to turn your artistic flair and eye for detail into a profitable venture as a college student is to start a photography business. This involves capturing images for various occasions and purposes, such as events, portraits, landscapes, or commercial use. Offering photography services allows you to harness your creativity and technical skills to produce visually appealing and meaningful photographs.

As there's quite a bit of competition in the field of photography, developing a unique style and building a diverse portfolio showcasing your best work will be key when you're starting out. Networking is also crucial; connecting with potential clients through social media, local events, and word-of-mouth referrals are all great ideas to help you significantly boost business.

In addition, it's beneficial to plan for a small investment in good quality equipment and continuously hone your skills through practice and learning, helping you to be able to provide people with treasured photo keepsakes to enjoy for years to come. 

9. Start an event planning business

women wearing masks at event

Event planning, a promising idea for students who wish to become a business owner, combines organizational skills with creativity. It involves conceptualizing, coordinating, and executing events such as parties, weddings, corporate functions, and social gatherings.

As this role demands lots of attention to detail, from selecting venues to arranging catering, decorations, and entertainment, ensuring each aspect contributes to a successful event, it demands a greater time investment than other kinds of student businesses. That being said, it offers an amazing opportunity to not just earn extra money but also build a diverse network and gain valuable real-world experience in project management and client relations!

Success in event planning hinges on strong organizational skills, effective communication, and the ability to manage budgets and deadlines. Building a portfolio through volunteering or planning small-scale events can demonstrate capability to potential clients. What's more, establishing relationships with vendors and venues can lead to better deals and referrals down the road.

10. Provide pet care

person walking dogs outside

Providing pet care is an excellent business idea for students, particularly those who love animals. This service includes taking care of pets while their owners are away, which could involve feeding, walking, playing with, and sometimes administering medication to the pets. If you're not able to offer full-on pet sitting, you could instead go for a less time-intensive option like dog walking, taking dogs out for regular exercise and socialization.

If this type of business appeals to you, keep in mind that you will need more than a passion for animals to succeed. Reliability and trustworthiness are crucial, as pet owners need to feel confident in leaving their beloved animals in your care. 

Aim to build a good reputation through positive client testimonials and word-of-mouth referrals. It can also be beneficial to have some knowledge of pet care and first aid and offer additional services like pet grooming or pet transportation to diversify your business and increase your income potential.

11. Create online courses

person at computer viewing an online course

In this era of digital learning, creating your own online courses is the perfect way to share your knowledge and earn money as a student yourself. Online course creation entails designing and producing educational content in a specific area of expertise or interest, which can range from academic subjects to practical skills like photography, coding, or cooking. This format allows you to package your knowledge into structured, accessible modules that can be sold on e-learning platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or Skillshare.

However, there's another way to go about selling online courses...

Did you know that with the WiziShop ecommerce solution, you can sell digital products like online courses? Yep—it's not just for physical goods!

Try WiziShop free for 3 days


One of the best things about selling digital items is that a single product can be sold over and over again. Although creating an online course does require a greater time investment than other projects, especially if you want to include high-quality videos and interactive content to enhance the learning experience, you can sell the course to an infinite number of customers once it's finished, without any additional effort on your end.

Of course, you may want to add course updates as time goes on. Be sure to gather feedback and continuously improve your course content based on user experience.

12. Start a dropshipping business

small shopping cart on laptop

Like the idea of selling products online but don't have the resources to manage stock? Give dropshipping a try!

Dropshipping is a compelling business idea for students due to its low startup costs and manageable operations. It involves setting up an online store to sell products, but unlike traditional retail, you don’t keep stock on hand. Instead, when a customer makes a purchase, the order is forwarded to a third-party supplier who ships the product directly to the customer. This model makes it a great option if you want to start a business with no money.

Just like with any other kind of ecommerce business, it's crucial to select a niche market with demand and limited competition for a dropshipping venture. You'll also need to build a user-friendly, attractive website and utilize effective digital marketing strategies, including SEO and social media advertising, to bring in customers. Note that establishing a good relationship with reliable suppliers can help ensure product quality and timely delivery.

13. Become a freelance writer

person taking notes while writing at cafe

If you've got some top-notch writing skills up your sleeve, becoming a freelance writer can be a profitable venture due to the constant demand for quality written content. Freelance writing can mean creating various types of written materials, anything from articles, blog posts, and other web content to academic papers or marketing materials, for different individuals, organizations, or businesses. 

That being said, it's important to note that the rise of AI poses challenges for freelance writers. AI can generate content quickly, potentially reducing demand for certain types of writing jobs.

To stay competitive, freelance writers should focus on developing unique, creative skills that AI cannot replicate, such as persuasive writing, in-depth research, and storytelling with a personal touch. Building a niche expertise area can also add value to your services. Embracing AI as a tool, rather than viewing it solely as competition, can enhance productivity and the quality of work.

14. Offer cleaning services

cleaning supplies

Offering cleaning services is a practical business idea for students seeking flexible work with steady demand. It involves providing cleaning services to homes, apartments, or offices, which can range from general cleaning to more specific tasks like deep cleaning, window washing, or organizing spaces. 

Reliability and attention to detail are crucial to success with this kind of activity. Word-of-mouth referrals are powerful in this industry, so maintaining a high standard of work and a professional demeanor can significantly boost your business.

If your budget allows, consider investing in efficient cleaning tools and supplies to improve the quality and speed of your work. Marketing your services in local communities and online platforms like social media or community boards can help draw in clients. 

15. Supply tech support 

woman typing on laptop while chatting via headset

It's no secret that technology is constantly evolving, and keeping up with it can be more difficult for some people than others! If you've got a knack for technology and problem-solving, why not start your own tech support business?

Your venture could entail offering assistance with various technology-related issues, such as installing software, troubleshooting hardware problems, setting up networks, and providing general IT advice. This kind of service generally caters to individuals and small businesses lacking in-house technical support.

Even if you already consider yourself to be a tech wiz, staying updated with the latest technology trends and solutions is essential. It's also crucial to establish a reputation for reliability, quick response times, and effective problem-solving. Offering remote support services can expand your reach beyond local clientele. 

16. Get paid to translate

different languages written in planner

Offering translation services is a valuable business idea for students proficient in two or more languages. With this kind of activity, you'll be converting written or spoken material from one language to another while maintaining the original content's tone, context, and meaning. This service is in demand across various sectors, including legal, medical, educational, and business fields.

Similar to freelance writing, AI has shaken up the field of professional translating, as there are all kinds of tools available today that make it possible to translate text in seconds. That being said, don't let this deter you if you're just starting out—these AI tools aren't perfect, and many businesses will still want a human to ensure that a translation is indeed correct!

To be successful with your translation business, you'll need to have a strong grasp of the languages involved, including cultural nuances and technical jargon specific to different fields. Building a portfolio of your work is crucial for attracting clients. Additionally, specializing in a particular type of translation, such as legal documents or medical transcripts, can make your services all the more sought after.

To find job opportunities, consider networking with translation agencies and using freelance platforms. Also be sure to prioritize maintaining professionalism, providing accurate translations, and meeting deadlines to build a good reputation.

17. Provide personal chef or catering services

person measuring flour to make pasta

If you possess excellent culinary skills and a passion for cooking, providing personal chef or catering services may be the perfect business for you as a college student. Whether you choose to prepare and sell meals tailored to clients' dietary preferences and needs for individuals, families, or events, this venture offers a flexible way to earn money. It can range from daily meal prep for busy professionals to catering for small parties or events.

Success in this field requires not only cooking skills but also creativity in menu planning, understanding of nutrition, and the ability to adapt to various dietary requirements. You will also want to be sure that you become known for your reliability, hygiene, and tasty recipes.

To set yourself apart from the competition, consider offering unique or niche services, like vegan or regional dishes. For culinary-inclined college students, this type of business offers a platform to showcase their talent while gaining practical experience in food preparation and business management.

18. Offer lawn care or gardening services

man mowing lawn

Tired of being stuck in a classroom or library and itching to get outside? Offering lawn care or gardening services is the perfect business idea for college students who enjoy outdoor work and have a talent for landscaping. This kind of work entails maintaining and beautifying outdoor spaces, which can include mowing lawns, trimming hedges, planting flowers, weeding, and general garden upkeep.

If possible, purchase high-quality equipment to boost efficiency and improve the quality of work you offer. Note that offering additional services like seasonal yard clean-up, mulching, or snow removal can provide year-round income opportunities.

As a college student, creating a business that involves lawn care or gardening services not only provides financial benefits but also the satisfaction of physical work and the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills. What's more, it allows you to work around your courses, which means primarily during weekends or summer breaks.

19. Become a virtual assistant

women working as virtual assistants

A virtual assistant (VA) performs various administrative tasks remotely, such as managing emails, scheduling appointments, data entry, social media management, and customer service. This role suits students as it can be tailored around their academic schedule and doesn't require a physical office space.

To succeed as a VA, strong organizational skills, proficiency in using digital tools, and effective communication are crucial. Specializing in a niche (like social media management for small businesses or administrative support for real estate agents) can make your services more appealing.

You can find new VA opportunities by building a professional online presence, networking on platforms like LinkedIn, and asking for referrals from happy clients. Regardless of the task or client, aim to always maintain reliability, pay attention to detail, and take a proactive approach in your work to strengthen your reputation and ensure long-term success for your small business. 

20. Give affiliate marketing a try

amazon associates affiliate program

Amazon Associates

One of the easiest online business ideas to start, affiliate marketing offers a flexible way to earn income with relatively low effort after initial setup. It involves promoting products or services for companies and earning a commission for each sale or lead generated from your referral. This can be done through a blog, social media, a YouTube channel, or other digital platforms.

To start, choose products or services that align with your interests and are relevant to the people in your target market. Then, be sure to create high-quality, engaging content that genuinely adds value for your audience. Building trust with your audience is crucial; always disclose affiliate relationships and focus on promoting products you genuinely believe in.

Want to make your affiliate marketing adventure even simpler and save loads of time? Try Evolup, the AI-powered solution for creating affiliate online stores!

Compatible with all affiliate programs, including Amazon Associates, the Evolup platform offers maximum freedom, allowing you to add the programs and products that best suit your needs. Easily build your affiliate website and import your products in just a few clicks. Use the solution's AI to help you write blog articles, generate lists of pros and cons, translate text, and more.

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21. Provide web development services 

person coding

Have a passion for technology and coding? Thinking about turning it into a paying venture that involves providing web development services, where you will create and maintain websites, encompassing aspects like website design, front-end and back-end development, and ensuring functionality across various devices and browsers. 

With this type of business, you'll want to be sure that you stay current with the latest technologies, coding languages, and design trends. In addition, having a robust portfolio showcasing diverse projects ready to go is essential for helping attract potential clients.

Focus on providing clear communication with clients, understanding their needs, and delivering projects within deadlines are key to ensure that you build a good reputation. Offering ongoing support and maintenance services can also lead to long-term client relationships. 

22. Start a delivery service

woman with bicycle delivering food

With a growing number of people wanting convenient delivery options to deliver items to their homes or businesses, starting your own delivery service as a college student can prove to be advantageous. This venture involves transporting goods, such as food, groceries, or parcels, from businesses to customers. 

In order to be successful with your delivery service, you'll of course need to have reliable transportation, e.g., a bike, scooter, car, etc. It also helps to have a good knowledge of the local area in which you'll be doing your deliveries.

Establishing partnerships with local businesses can provide a steady stream of delivery tasks. You may also wish to think about investing in technology, like a reliable GPS and an efficient scheduling system, to enhance your delivery service efficiency. Offering excellent customer service, being punctual, and maintaining a professional attitude are crucial for gaining repeat customers and positive reviews. 

23. Offer SEO services

seo services

Offering search engine optimization (SEO) services is a smart business idea for today's college students, particularly in this digital age where online visibility is crucial for businesses. Consider that less than 1% of internet users click through to the second page of results on search engines like Google, according to Forbes, which means getting your site to appear on that first page is a must. Even better if you can rank in the Top 10! 

SEO entails optimizing websites to improve their ranking on search engine results pages, increasing organic traffic, and enhancing online presence. This field requires skills in keyword research, content creation, link building, and understanding search engine algorithms.

Keep in mind that SEO is an ever-evolving beast... To be successful in SEO, you'll need to stay updated with the latest trends and algorithm changes in search engines. Building a strong understanding of various SEO tools and analytics is also necessary.

A great way to showcase your skills is through your own website. Demonstrating how you've improved your site's rankings over time can help show potential clients that you know what you're talking about. Providing clear, measurable results and maintaining transparent communication with clients are critical for building trust and long-term relationships. 

24. Launch your own podcast

man recording a podcast

Launching your own podcast gives you a platform for creative expression and potential income through a medium that's growing in popularity. Podcasting involves planning, recording, editing, and publishing audio content on various topics, ranging from entertainment and education to niche interests. It's an opportunity to delve into subjects you're passionate about and share your perspectives with a wider audience.

With relatively low startup costs and the flexibility to record episodes around academic schedules, podcasting is an attractive business option for many college students. Before you start recording, however, you'll want to be sure to pick a unique and engaging topic to stand out in a crowded market. Remember that consistent, high-quality content is key to retaining and growing an audience.

It's also important to keep in mind that this kind of business will likely take more time to start generating income compared to others. Monetization can come from sponsorships, advertisements, or listener donations as the audience grows. Utilizing social media and networking to promote the podcast can enhance visibility and speed up the process of earning money with this type of venture.

25. Resell vintage goods

women at thrift store

Reselling vintage goods allows college students to tap into the growing trend of eco-conscious and unique fashion. With this sort of business, you'd be sourcing vintage clothing, accessories, or even furniture, and reselling them for a profit. It requires an eye for style, knowledge of current trends, and an understanding of the value of vintage items.

Starting a reselling business doesn't require significant investment, as you'll get your items from thrift stores, garage sales, or online marketplaces. To do well with this entrepreneurial endeavor, you should be adept at spotting high-quality, in-demand vintage pieces. Understanding your target market and pricing items competitively yet profitably is also crucial.

Creating a strong online presence through social networks and online selling platforms like Etsy, Vinted, or Depop can attract customers. However, to take your business to the next level, it's a good idea to launch your own ecommerce site, giving you more control over how you sell your vintage finds.

Begin selling your vintage goods today with WiziShop!

Try WiziShop free for 3 days


Regardless of where you opt to promote your offerings, note that good photography skills and storytelling can enhance the appeal of your items. Staying engaged with the vintage community and continuously learning about vintage eras and styles can also help in growing your business! 

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