5 Business Ideas for Ambitious Students

Date posted: February 23, 2017

students

By Kayleigh Alexandra

Big companies we know and love like Facebook and Dell started out on campus. In fact, many business moguls have started making their money young, running micro-businesses from their student dorms. If you’re ambitious, why don’t you go for it too? By running a business, you’ll be spending your free time doing things that are meaningful and will contribute towards your future career. Here are five of the best ways you can make money whilst you’re still studying.

Why being a student entrepreneur is fulfilling

  • Being a student entrepreneur and starting your business journey early will make you more qualified than your peers to launch a successful career.
  • You will gain invaluable life experience and on-the-job training that money can’t buy.
  • The relationships you build whilst being an entrepreneur, from mentors to clients, last a lifetime.
  • Running a business will work wonders for your personal brand.
  • You get to make all those painful first business mistakes now – when you’ve got nothing to lose.
  • Being a young entrepreneur will teach you strength, but also humility & maturity.

Start a tutoring business

As a student you have bags of knowledge about your specialist area, so why don’t you use it to make some money? Tutoring is a great way to earn, and it will teach you a lot of valuable skills like time management, teaching, promotion and budgeting.

  • Other than specialist knowledge, you could also offer tutoring on basic skills like English, calculus or computers. These are all very sought after and can pay extremely well.
  • You’ll have to advertise your tutoring services. Start with your local network or speak to your old school. Notes on community noticeboards work well as they tend to get the attention of worried parents doing the grocery shopping. You could also sign up with a bigger tutoring agency or website like com and start getting work that way.
  • Observe how other tutors advertise themselves and try to make your advert better. Make sure your pricing is competitive, but don’t sell yourself short (especially if you have to travel). Don’t underestimate the time that lesson preparation will take either.
  • Online tutoring via Skype is a great way to earn money without even having to leave campus. Just make sure you’ve got somewhere quiet and private to conduct your lessons. Always test the technology before the lesson is due to start so you aren’t delayed.
  • Use free online resources, games, and tools to make learning more fun.
  • Get testimonials and encourage students to keep using you.
  • If you start to grow rapidly, you could even start passing on business to fellow students.

Become an e-commerce entrepreneur

Selling products online is the perfect student business. An online store is easy to manage with e-commerce hosting platforms.

Running an e-commerce website will teach you loads of valuable business skills like budgeting, logistics, sales and promotion.

  • Set up an online store from the comfort of your home (this online store is a great option for student budgets as it has a free trial for first time users). Use themes to customize your store to make it look both professional and appealing.
  • Work on your store’s brand. You can easily get logos and branding from Fiverr if you aren’t a PhotoShop whizz yourself.
  • One fun and easy way to get started is to sell customized t-shirts, canvas bags, hats or other simple accessories. All you need is a little bit of graphic design knowledge and some imagination, and you can be on your way to setting up your own fashion emporium. Clothing design is really not as hard as it sounds and you can get your own designs printed pretty cheaply. Play around with different themes – animals and quirky prints tend to sell well. Know your target audience and design for them.
  • Use social media to sell your products. Prioritize visual channels like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, over professional ones like Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • If you don’t fancy making anything, you can always start reselling other people’s products through Amazon or eBay.

Be a social media consultant

Good at social media? Have a bit of a social following? Leverage your followers and social media know-how and offer out social media management and consultancy services to local businesses and brands.

  • Don’t sell your services too cheap – social media is a valuable business asset. Don’t agree to work for free unless you’re 100% confident it will lead to paid work (be careful).
  • When pitching to new clients, explain to them the importance of having a good social media strategy – so they don’t end up making disastrous social mistakes like these.
  • To help spread the word, create videos or share social media tips online for businesses to establish yourself as an expert.
  • If you have loads of followers, you might be able to charge brands for sponsored social posts. Create a media pack outlining what you would be comfortable sharing and outreach it to brands who you think would be a good fit.

Run a blog

Writing content online is a great way to set out on your first business journey. Whether you are already writing, or are going to start a blog at college, blogs can be monetized in a number of different ways.

Running a blog is great for students who are studying communications are are interested in PR or marketing.

  • To effectively sell your blog, you will need to have good content, a loyal following, and good online metrics to attract brands. Brands and businesses like to work with bloggers, but only if the blog is a good match for their products or services.
  • Sponsored content is one way to work with businesses which will involve working on briefs for your blog that help subtly promote their services. Make sure you make sponsored content obvious to readers, and don’t endorse services or products you don’t actually use.
  • Online advertising, whether that’s banner ads or not, is a great way to monetize your blog, but only if the adverts work with the blog’s overall style.
  • Affiliate links, earning money through the sales of products you’ve endorsed is another option, but again you have to always disclose.
  • Be careful what you endorse.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of creating loads of fresh content – blogging is only really viable as a business model if you’re into writing.

Not sure yet?

None of those seem right for you?

Have a think about something you can do well. Can you paint? Draw? Sing? Mix music? Make jams? Start making money from the stuff you can already do. You just have to have the right attitude and go out there and find the market for your skills.

  • Arts and crafts your thing? Specializing in a niche like wedding favors or corporate goodie bags can really give you a competitive edge.
  • Don’t just think about physical products – use your expertise and knowledge and host workshops or knowledge classes. People will pay for your time if it’s of value to them.
  • You can start a simple Facebook page or website to promote your new business and create business cards to help spread the word.
  • Use the local community around you to help you promote your business.

Hope this list for budding entrepreneurs helped inspire you to go and start your business journey. Have a great business idea? Share it with us!

Kayleigh Alexandra is passionate about writing for the startup and entrepreneurial audience. Recently, she has been part of setting up an exciting project at MicroStartups.org, where the company donates all website profits to charities that help people reach their full potential. Find out more on Twitter.

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