Struggling to come up with ideas for businesses to start at university, college or school? Here is a list of the 10 best businesses ideas and enterprises you can start while studying as a student.
Universities should be a breeding ground for startups. Where else can you tap into resources for marketing, video, development and design and then have networks like the university radio station and social media to help get the word out… not to mention hundreds of societies/clubs? It’s not just about available resources either – the people behind this are actively seeking experience, the majority of whom would work on an exciting project for free so that they can reference it when applying for jobs after graduation.
Anyway, this post walks you through a bunch of student business ideas across online, academic, services and everything else.
1. CV/Resumé writer
One thing that people generally suck at is talking themselves up. It’s one of those things that is a lot easier to do for somebody else than for yourself. If you’re great at writing and punchy in your tone, you can build a business with CV/Resumé writing. If you do this for a client and they get a job, grab a testimonial from them and list who they were, where they now work and their testimony on your website. Before you know it, requests will be pouring in.
If you own a decent DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Camera, you have everything you need to get this venture off the ground. Partner up with venues directly or latch onto an existing promotions company and become the *official photographer* for specific venues or nights. Get that *official* locked down so that nobody else can get in on the action. Then turn up at the start of the event, slap a lanyard on and get snapping! Venues love pictures and love posting pictures up on social media after big events, so make that your business!
Amp this up another level by creating your photo booth. Photo booths cost thousands of $$$ and are quite pointless. Grab a rail, a shower curtain and head down to your local party store for a bunch of silly props. For £20 ($25), you’ve got yourself a photo booth service which you can sell, watermark and distribute through venues’ social media. Simple!
3. eBay Trader
My flatmate and I did this throughout our time at university buying laptops and computers from China and selling them on eBay and to my fellow students. A friend of mine made a fortune buying white headphones (iPhone style) in huge bulk and selling them individually.
Another friend purchased jewellery making kits, made the jewellery and sold it individually. Pick something that works, do it at scale and invest in some envelopes/parcels etc and you’re on your way.
The intro text to this guide talks about how lucky I got at university. I wouldn’t have gotten a good grade without some serious support from some knowledgeable people.
Looking back on it, the amount of time and value that my friends gave me was outrageous, and they really should have charged for it! Tutoring isn’t anything new, and it doesn’t need a big description from me, but where there are students, there are tutors. That’s a fact, so why not leverage it? My focus would be around exam time.
5. GPS tracking business
The £2.26 billion GPS tracking industry is taking off in big ways, and luckily there’s a lot of room for new entrants. It has low competition and lots of room for niching down: you have options to focus on many segments including family and pet GPS tracking, consumer vehicles, expensive equipment, business fleets, governmental/NGO, and much more.
Even better, you don’t have to develop your own hardware or even your own software. You can simply sell GPS trackers by dropshipping or buy them in bulk. Then, you can combine GPS tracking hardware with white label software, put your own branding on it, and sell it all as a package (this is one of the newer top startup business idea propositions for this year).
Yes, this is a simple extension of the above, but it can also be a lot more than that. Video opens up a new arm of business. You can make promotional videos for specific nights out, or branch out from nightlife all together and make video explainers for local companies (maybe even businesses listed in this guide). Just like photography, if you own a decent camera and have a copy of Final Cut Pro, your costs should be covered straight off the bat.
Go crazy and create a photography/videography company where you hold exclusive rights across every venue/event and license out the photography itself to other students for a cut!
Pretty much every single business idea listed here needs some form of design. If you’re studying design or just interested in it, there’s a definite market here. Design flyers, websites, banners (think how many popup banners are around at the start of the school year). Make some slick business cards and start handing them out to everyone that might be interested.
With the right time and effort, any blog in any niche can become profitable. This website is a blog, this post is an “ultimate guide”, but it’s just a very, very, very long blog post. If you’re passionate about a specific topic, buy a domain for £6 ($8), set up a WordPress site and get writing. Aim for 500+ words per article and share it on your social media. When you have real traffic going through the blog, add Google Adsense.
This can be closely aligned with a blog. An affiliate is somebody who sends traffic to an eCommerce site like Amazon and gets paid if that user buys something.
A great example of this is tech – if you’re a bit of a geek and opinionated, start a blog writing reviews for new tech with an affiliate link through to each product. If you get good traction, you can eventually get the products for yourself for free from brands in return for a review. If you wanted to, you could then sell those products or gift them through a marketing campaign.
I wouldn’t have survived starting up if I didn’t have an alternative revenue stream like freelancing. Over time, this became a full-time revenue stream, and I worked as a freelancer for six months straight. If you have an online business idea and if you’re skilled in any online discipline like the design, copywriting, A/B testing, coding etc, setup a profile on UpWork or PeoplePerHour and start bidding on jobs! These platforms are reviewed-based, so go above and beyond for your first 20 customers to get great reviews then it’ll snowball.