If you are a college student or have recently graduated, then maybe this article is for you. Top 20 Business Ideas for College Students
We all want to start our own business in college but very few of us actually do it because we don’t know where to start. We don’t even have the money to get started. For me personally, I just didn’t have the courage. Now that I am out of college, I regret not starting my business while I was still in school because it would have been much more manageable to work on the business part-time while studying.
So if you are thinking about starting your own online business but don’t know where to start, here are some of the most profitable business ideas that you can start in College.
Top 20 Business Ideas for College Students
#1 SEO consulting service
SEO or Search Engine Optimization has been a great money maker for me personally and for thousands of other people online. The reason why it’s so popular is that businesses are constantly trying to get their website ranked higher on the Google search results page.
SEO is like an advertisement. If you can get your website in front of thousands and thousands of people then it’s going to make you a lot of money.
Requirements: Free Google Adwords credit card, knowledge on how SEO works and what search engines want from your website, if not then learn it (it’s very easy)
#2 Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money online. Once you learn all about affiliate marketing, you can basically sell anything using your blog or website and earn a commission for every sale that you make. For example, I promote Clickbank products like e-books on my website and whenever someone buys those e-books from my website, I get a commission. It’s as simple as that.
What you want to do is choose a niche and promote products in your niche to your visitors. That is the simplest way to make money with affiliate marketing.
Requirements: Domain name ($10/year), Hosting ($5 per month).
#3 Affiliate Marketing with CPA ( Cost Per Action )
This is a type of affiliate marketing where you will get paid for every action that your visitors take. This includes filling out forms, clicking on links, and buying products. Basically, it’s like getting paid to surf the internet because we will be getting paid for every ad that someone clicks on our website. It is by far the best because you can get paid multiple times for one visitor who signs up for something, makes a purchase, or clicks your ads. The good news is that it’s very easy to set up once you get everything set up correctly.
Requirements: Domain name ($10/year), Hosting ($5 per month).
#4 Paid To Click (PTC) Website
Another very simple and easy way to start making money online. All you will need is a PayPal account and you can literally sit at home and make $5 per hour or more while working on your laptop. The only thing that I really like about these websites is that they are very simple and easy to use. Most of these websites will pay you $0.01-$1.00 for each website that you visit so it’s almost like getting paid to surf the internet…
Requirements: A PayPal account, register with as many PTC websites as possible (they are all free), leave the tab open on your laptop while working at home, most of them will pay you $0.01-$1.00 per website that you visit
#5 Create Your Own iPhone App
I know this is not exactly a business idea but it is one way to make money out of your passion for technology. If you are familiar with iOS development then I am sure you have heard about iPhone App development.
iPhone Apps are becoming the most profitable applications in the history of mobile apps because people are willing to pay for them. If you have a great idea for an application, you can easily create it using Xcode and sell it on iTunes. I have already created 3 different applications so far and each one made me around $2,500 in the first month.
Requirements: A Mac computer, iPhone SDK (learn how to develop for iPhones), creativity and time.
#6 Create an Online Course
Another great business idea that you can start while still in college is creating online courses very similar to Udemy. Believe it or not, but I receive hundreds of emails every day from students who are looking for better ways to learn something about their field of study.
I have helped many students create their own Udemy courses and it’s honestly one of the easiest business ideas that you can find online. All you need is a great idea, some content, and presentation skills in order to get started. If you want to know more about this business idea, please read my article on How To Create an Udemy Course and Make $2,000 in One Month.
Requirements: An attractive online course (need some design skills), content, and presentation skills.
#7 Write and Publish a Book
This is one of the most common business ideas that I get from students who are looking for ways to make money online. I know that it’s not as easy as creating an online course but you can still make a good income if you learn how to write and publish your own books.
If you have already decided what you want to write about, then why not write about it and sell it on Amazon? Believe me, there are thousands of people who would buy your book if it’s good enough. Remember, the key to success is not in selling as many books as you can but instead creating a long-term passive income from sales that will continue for years.
Requirements: A great idea for a book, basic writing skills, and a laptop or computer.
#8 Become a Professional Photographer
Believe it or not, but there are so many people who earn money from taking pictures. If you have a passion for photography and a good camera to take high-quality images, then why not sell your services online?
The great thing about getting started with this business idea is that you can literally work from anywhere in the world and still get paid. You can create a website, start your own blog and sell your services there. I personally know many people who are making $2,000+ per month just by taking pictures of beautiful landscapes and selling them to stock photography companies.
Requirements: A great camera (Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D810 will work just fine), photography skills, and a laptop or computer.
#9 Create and Sell an iPhone/iPad App
This is one of the best business ideas that I have come across so far for college students. A few years ago I created 3 different applications using Xcode and they made me more than $5,000 in total. Not bad for a college student isn’t it?
Creating and selling iOS apps is definitely one of the most profitable ways to make money online because you can literally create an app in less than 1 day and sell it for $5-$20. From personal experience, I know that it takes more than just following tutorials and reading books in order to make a profitable app, but it’s definitely not impossible either.
Requirements: A Mac computer, an iPhone or iPad to test apps on, some creativity and time.
#10 Publish a magazine or blog
This is another great business idea that you can start with little to no investment at all. There are many websites out there, such as HubPages, which allow you to publish your own articles about anything and make some money from it.
Believe it or not, but I know several bloggers who are making more than $3,000 per month publishing articles online. If you have a passion for writing and want to make money from it, then this might be the perfect business idea for you.
Requirements: Passion for writing or a particular topic, basic knowledge of SEO, and good grammar skills.
#11 Be a Poker Pro
Believe it or not, but I know several professional poker players (who make more than $30,000 per month) who started at college. Even though there are many websites out there that can teach you how to play poker, if you want to become a real professional then it’s definitely going to take a lot of time and practice.
I do know some people who just started playing poker in college and made more than $1,000 in just a few weeks. You can play online or join your local poker club for better chances of success.
Requirements: Some money to start with ($200-$500), passion for poker, and time to learn how to play well.
#12 Film screening club
If you enjoy movies and having movie nights with your friends, then this might be the perfect business idea for you. Believe it or not, but there are several websites out there that allow you to rent and buy new and old films and even create a movie screening club.
Requirements: A laptop/computer, some creativity, and money (to create a website and buy films).
#13 Become a Professional Artist
Believe it or not, but there are many websites out there that allow you to sell your drawings, paintings, and sketches online. There is definitely a lot of competition when it comes to this business idea, so in order to become successful and make money from it, you need to be really talented.
Having said that, if you are passionate about art and have the skills to create great pieces of work, then this is probably one of the best business ideas for people who love arts. You can sell your paintings online or even start painting murals on the streets.
Requirements: Passion for art, good drawing/painting skills, and a laptop/computer.
#14 Create and Sell Online Courses
I have done this in the past and it worked pretty well for me. Creating online courses such as Udemy or Skillshare is becoming one of the best business ideas nowadays because you can create an entire course about almost anything (from learning to use Photoshop to cooking).
Believe it or not, but websites like Udemy allow you to create courses online and upload them for free. There are also other websites like Teachable which charge a fee every time someone signs up for your course (you can make up to $100 per student).
Of course, this business idea takes a bit more work than the rest, but it’s definitely a great way to make money from your passion.
Requirements: Passion, knowledge, and time to create a course online.
These were just some of the best business ideas for college students with low investments that you can start right now if you don’t have any better plans. Even though I was able to start this blog in just a few hours with zero investment, I do know some people who made thousands of dollars in just a few months by publishing their own books online.
If you are passionate about writing, then this might be the best business idea for you because there are plenty of websites out there that allow anyone to publish an ebook without any effort.
When it comes to selling physical products, you will need a lot of money and lots of time. However, if you’re just looking for some small side hustles while in college then these ideas might come in handy.
You can also try to find a part-time job or monetize your blog with Google Adsense and other affiliate programs (you could try Amazon Associates).
What are your favorite low-cost business ideas that you can start in college?
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#15 Create food hampers with your friends
I know several people who are doing this in college and they are making thousands of dollars each month. All you have to do is design some nice gift baskets, fill them with food items and sell them to your family members or colleagues. This business idea can be done by just about anyone because all you have to need is some creativity.
Requirements: Some creativity and food items.
More Business Ideas Click Here
Golden rules for starting a business
As you can see, there are millions of business ideas for college students and millennials because this generation has the right mindset and knowledge to start a business. If you know how to use social media and create great content then you should definitely give it a shot!
However, let’s now take a look at some golden rules that I followed when starting this blog in just a few hours.
It’s easier to work on something that you love
I know this sounds really cheesy, but it’s definitely one of the best business ideas for college students who are passionate about writing and blogging. There are thousands of websites out there where people create successful blogs about their passions (traveling, fashion, sports, technology, etc.).
If you want to create a blog about your passion and turn it into a business, then you’ll need to pick up some SEO skills along the way. You can also check out my ultimate guide for picking the right keywords here.
It’s easier to work when you love what you’re doing and when it doesn’t feel like a burden. That’s why I started this blog with passion and excitement because blogging has always been something that I wanted to do in my spare time.
Even though you can make money by selling products on eBay, Amazon, or Etsy, there are thousands of similar sellers who are trying to do the same thing. That’s why you should always come up with a new business idea that hasn’t been done before if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Today, there are millions of college students around the world who are starting their own businesses while studying in college. If you have any great ideas or business skills then all you have to do is follow your dreams!