Whereas some students settle for getting a part-time job to supplement their student loan, others take a braver path.
Setting up a business during your studies is a bold and ambitious move, but it could greatly benefit your bank balance, as well as your CV, in the long run. If this combination of effort and reward sounds appealing, this article is for you.
We’ve put together a list of 30 business ideas for students, taking into account the unique opportunities and stresses that come with being a student. Let’s see if we can help spark your first great business venture.
1. Club night promoter
Students with a love of music and nightlife have a golden opportunity to put on gigs and club nights for their like-minded peers.
2. Personal trainer
Social media marketing is a key method for marketing a small personal trainer business. Put yourself out there on Instagram, and help get local people into shape.
Tutoring clients are always on the lookout for academically successful people who can pass on their skills and knowledge.
4. Dog walker
With a bit of luck, your university schedule will allow some free time in the mornings and afternoons, when some dog owners are likely to be at work. This is one reason students often find success as dog walkers.
Above all, parents want to know their babysitter is someone they can trust. This means attracting good online reviews or enthusiastic word-of-mouth recommendations will be crucial to your ability to attract babysitting clients.
6. Brand ambassador
Students who are happy to represent a brand in their day-to-day lives and online can earn decent money as brand ambassadors. The earning potential becomes much greater for students who act as an agent for multiple friends or contacts who are also interested in this type of work.
7. Function band agent
Act as the bridge between accomplished function performers and potential clients. From solo artists to party bands, there’s demand for all sorts of musical acts at corporate events and personal celebrations.
8. Language teacher
Language tuition businesses can thrive at universities, where you’ll find people with a passion for learning, from all over the world.
9. Etsy crafter
Jewellery makers, artists, fashion designers and crafters of all sorts have a great opportunity to sell online via Etsy.
10. Greeting card illustrator
Whether you sell online or through local shops and cafes, illustrating greeting cards can be a great way to turn artistic talent into income.
11. Sustainable startup founder
Eco-friendliness is an increasingly important concern for consumers and entrepreneurs alike. Can you think of a great concept to help society work more sustainably?
As a student, your writing and editing skills should be as sharp as they’ve ever been. Those same skills could help all sorts of individuals and organisations. A good place to start would be offering your services to local SMEs.
Building a successful blog is a long-term venture, with the best financial rewards usually coming several years after launch. That said, if you are happy to make do with your student loan for the time being, with the prospect of greater rewards to follow, university could be the perfect time to start blogging.
14. E-commerce entrepreneur
E-commerce selling is becoming increasingly accessible, with service providers like Shopify and WooCommerce offering routes to market which are pretty much as easy as eBay.
15. Guided tour operator
Don’t just think ghosts and historic sites – think architecture, craft beer, alternative history, or just about any other side to your town or city that you can illuminate.
16. Cleaning business
Students with a passion for business could find setting up a commercial cleaning or home cleaning service to be a fruitful avenue to explore.
17. Pub quiz host
Since smartphones gave the average pub quizzer a tempting new way to look up answers, pub quiz hosts have had to become more creative. If you have a great idea for a cheat-proof quiz, this could be the business venture for you.
18. Nail technician
Beauticians of all kinds, including nail technicians, can earn good money getting on-campus clients party-ready.
19. Events photographer
Setting up as an events photographer requires a mix of skill, marketing nous and quality equipment. If you’re lucky enough to have all three, you could be in business.
Your student years could be a great opportunity to start a podcast, given the access to interesting people, and potentially to professional equipment, that your university may provide.
21. Social media agency
All sorts of businesses need help running their social accounts, from farm shops and florists to industrialists and business consultancies.
For centuries, many great publishers of journals, magazines and books have started out at universities.
23. Food deliveries
Food businesses that tend not to require especially large kitchens, such as takeaways specialising in desserts, could be an option for talented student chefs.
Universities are incredible resources for inventors, with ample facilities and learning opportunities to turn all sorts of bright ideas into prototypes and finished products.
25. Sports coach
Sports students (or simply sporty students) can earn money and further their careers by setting up coaching classes in their community.
26. Forum organiser
Events organisers can stand out from the crowd by putting on evenings of intellectual discussion, a la Café Scientifique, with expert panellists and plenty of audience participation.
27. Professional organiser
Spurred on by the success of home organisation queen Marie Kondo, thousands of people around the world have gone into business as professional declutterers. Do you have what it takes to help others put their home lives in order?
28. Market researcher
Ambitious students who have expertise in research and statistics could consider setting up as a market researcher. Conducting primary market research such as consumer surveys takes time and investment, but the fees attainable could make it all worthwhile.
29. Affiliate marketer
Affiliate marketers earn money by sending people to another business’s website. When the visitors they refer buy something, or perform another valuable action like signing up to a newsletter, the affiliate earns a commission. If you’re interested in this sort of opportunity, you can get started as an affiliate straightaway by joining an affiliate network.
There’s decent money to be made by helping tend local people’s gardens – especially during the summer hols.
Now you have options for new and exciting business ideas for students, making it easy to find one that can work around your lifestyle. Often when you leave university, employers want to know what you did whilst studying. Having your own side hustle while studying shows great work ethic and motivation, it could just give you the edge over another candidate when applying for your dream job.