College students obviously have busy schedules with classes, assignments, social lives, and extracurricular activities, but many students also need to find the time to make some money.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, the cost for the average college student was $30,050 (including tuition, fees, room, and board) according to EducationData.org.
Many college students have part-time jobs in order to cover part of that cost, but starting a business is another way to make money. Starting your own business may not offer the same guaranteed income that you would get from a job with an hourly rate, but there are some significant benefits, including:
- The opportunity to pursue something that you enjoy.
- The possibility to gain valuable experience that can help you after graduation.
- The chance to grow a business that may turn into a full-time income someday.
- The potential to earn more than you could make with the average part-time job.
With those benefits in mind, college can be a great time to start a business.
Not all businesses are equally suited for college students. Ideally, the business should be free or very inexpensive to start, because the last thing college students need is more debt. All of the business ideas covered in this article could be started with very little investment, and they could also be run part-time while you’re taking classes.
Student to CEO started a social media marketing business as a 19-year-old college student. Ashley continued to grow the business throughout her time in college and after graduating in 2019. Ashley jumped into running the business full-time.
Because of the combination of high demand and excellent income potential, this is one of the best business opportunities for college students.
2. Virtual Assistant
Another service-related business that has a very strong demand right now is to work as a virtual assistant. You could become a virtual assistant by working through a website like Fancy Hands, but you’ll have much higher income potential if you start your own business.
As a virtual assistant (VA), you could offer a wide variety of services like:
- Moderating online forums or Facebook Groups
- Providing customer service
- Managing social profiles
- Managing a blog
- Setting up appointments
- And much more
You could take a general approach and offer a very wide range of services, or you could specialize in a particular aspect. Specializing may allow you to charge a higher hourly rate, but getting clients is a bit easier with a generalized approach.
If you’re looking to get started, check out 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.
One of the most flexible business opportunities is to start a blog. Not only can you work whenever and wherever you want, but you can also choose the topics that you want to cover on your blog.
Unlike the service-related businesses that were mentioned so far, blogging is a business opportunity that will require some patience, because you’re unlikely to start making money right away. If you’re in a position where you’re able to put in the work without seeing immediate results, blogging can be a great business.
Blogging offers truly unlimited income potential. Some bloggers are able to earn five or six figures per month by working on something that they enjoy.
There are many different ways to make money from a blog, with the most common methods including:
- Affiliate programs (getting paid to promote products or services from other companies)
- Publishing sponsored content
- Offering a service
- Selling a product
If your goal is to make money now, consider other options instead of blogging. But if your goal is to start a business that may be able to provide a full-time income by the time you graduate, blogging could be an excellent choice.
4. Freelance Writer
If you enjoy writing but you’d rather work for clients than try to build your own successful blog, working as a freelance writer is an option that you should consider.
As a freelance writer, you could be a generalist and cover just about any topic, or you could specialize in a particular industry or topic. Specializing could give you higher earning potential, but it may be harder to find clients when you’re just starting out.
Freelance writing is one of my favorite business opportunities for a number of reasons:
- You can get started right away and you’ll be making money as soon as you land your first client.
- It’s possible to get started with $0 in expenses.
- There are plenty of opportunities for beginners.
- There are also plenty of higher-paying gigs for more seasoned writers.
- It’s very possible to earn an excellent hourly rate (although you’ll typically be paid per word or per project).
- Demand for the work is likely to remain strong, due to the vast amount of content being published online everyday.
It’s also a totally flexible business. You can work the hours that suit your schedule and scale up or down depending on the amount of time that you’re able to dedicate to the business. It’s definitely possible to work as a freelance writer part-time in college and then transition to full-time by picking up a few more clients (or by doing more work for the clients you already have.
To get started check out Freelance Writing Success.
Another business opportunity for those who like to write is to become a self-published author. Thanks to platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), anyone can become an author.
Through KDP, you can write and sell e-books and paperbacks that are printed on demand, which means you won’t need to invest money in large runs of printed books.
Amazon obviously offers a massive platform that makes it possible to reach millions of book readers. You can write and sell books in many different genres, so the possibilities are virtually limitless.
Becoming a self-published author is similar to blogging in the fact that you’ll need to be willing to put in a lot of work before you really start to make a serious income.
So far we’ve looked at several business opportunities that involve creating written content (blogger, freelance writer, and author). A similar opportunity exists for those who want to create video content, and the demand for online video content is growing at an incredible pace.
YouTube is obviously the #1 platform for video content, and anyone can start a YouTube channel in effort to capitalize on the opportunity.
If you look at successful YouTube channels, there is a great deal of variety. They may be educational, entertaining, funny, or just straight-up weird (I’m constantly amazed by the YouTube videos that my kids find).
This is another business opportunity that offers high income potential but requires some time and patience to build. The YouTube Partner Program, YouTube’s advertising program, requires you to have at 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 watch hours in order to make money from advertising.
Podcasting is another type of content-related business, focusing on audio content (although some podcasts are also available in video format). Although podcasting has been popular for several years, it’s still a much more wide-open market as compared to blogging.
You could start a podcast on a topic of your choice and make money through:
- Sponsorships and advertisements
- Affiliate programs
- Creating and selling your own products
Just like blogging or starting a YouTube channel, starting a podcast would require you to put in the time to build your audience before you’re able to earn a significant income from it.
One of the interesting benefits of podcasting is that you may be able to build a very strong network. Podcasts often rely on guest interviews for content, and there are thousands of people who are actively looking for spots to appear on podcasts as a guest. Podcasters are able to meet a lot of people and make a lot of connections. As a college student, this could be extremely valuable to you if your podcast is related to the field that you plan to work in after graduation.
One of the most practical ways to make money as a college student is to become a tutor. If you’re strong in a particular subject, you can tutor other students in your class that may be struggling, or students who are a year or so behind you. You could also tutor high school (or younger) students.
As a tutor, you can earn a nice hourly rate for sharing the knowledge that you already have. There are no costs to start the business, and you can start making money as soon as you have your first client.
If you have some photography skills, starting a photography business is a natural choice, and there are several different ways that you could make money as a photographer, including:
- Taking portraits or family photos for clients in your local area
- Selling your photos at stock photography sites like Shutterstock
- Becoming a contributor at Vecteezy and giving away free photos (you get paid based on number of downloads)
- Writing for online publications like photography blogs
- Creating and selling digital products for photographers (like Lightroom Presets)
- Becoming an Instagram influencer (and selling sponsorships)
A photography business would be ideal for students who are studying something creative like art, design, or photography. It’s also the type of business that you could start part-time in college and grow to full-time after graduation.
10. Graphic Designer
Starting a business as a graphic designer is a great opportunity for those that have the right skillset. There is plenty of work available and sites like Fiverr make it possible to get started relatively quickly.
Of course, this would be an ideal business for students who are studying design, but anyone with some design skills could make it work. There are plenty of small projects for clients like designing images and graphics to be used with blog posts or social media posts.
Like several of the other opportunities mentioned already, a graphic design business is something that you could do part-time through college and then turn into a full-time business later.
11. Web Designer
Much like graphic design, web design is a skill that’s needed by many businesses, and you can make good money if you’re able to deliver for your clients.
Web design has changed a lot over the past decade. Today, many web designers are using platforms that require little-to-no coding to create custom websites for clients. You could use pre-made WordPress themes or plugins that give you customization options without the need to code.
Of course, if you’re able to code a website, that’s great. But if you’re not able to code, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work as a web designer.
Take some time to get familiar with a particular WordPress theme or drag-and-drop builder plugin and you’ll be able to meet the needs of most small businesses.
12. App Developer
If you have some coding skills, becoming an app developer is an excellent option. You could either develop mobile apps for clients, or start your own app in attempt to grow it as your business.
Coding skills are highly valuable, and the demand is likely to remain strong for the foreseeable future.
13. Dog Walker
Like many other service-related businesses, becoming a dog walker allows you to start making money right away. You can either create a profile on Rover or find clients in your local area on your own.
In many ways, becoming a dog walker is an ideal opportunity for college students:
- You can start making money quickly
- Decent average hourly rate
- Flexible schedule since appointments can be scheduled around your classes
- Lots of potential clients
- Doesn’t require any experience or specific skills
14. T-Shirt Designer
For those who are creative, starting a t-shirt business may be an ideal opportunity. You could use a platform like Merch by Amazon or Printify to sell your t-shirt designs with a print-on-demand business.
A Print-on-demand business allows you to get started without the need to purchase inventory. You’ll upload your designs and the shirts will be printed as they are ordered.
This is a business model that will require some time and patience to build. You might not start making money right away, but the income potential is there if you have a long-term approach.
A college campus with thousands of students can be an ideal place to start and grow your own t-shirt business. Get some friends to wear your shirts and start to build some brand recognition and you may find that sales start coming quickly.
If you’re interested in starting and growing an online business, e-commerce is an excellent option. E-commerce has never been more popular than it is today with millions of people not wanting to risk getting sick by shopping in stores.
You can sell just about anything through your e-commerce store, and you can also take advantage of existing platforms that allow you to launch a business very quickly. Amazon’s FBA program is an excellent option because Amazon will handle all of the order fulfillment for you, which means you won’t need to pack boxes or run to the post office every day.
Aside from selling on Amazon, you could use a platform like Shopify to create your own e-commerce website without the need to hire a designer or developer.
You might assume that an e-commerce business would require you to store your own inventory, which would not be ideal if you’re living in a college dorm room. But there are many warehousing businesses that receive and store your inventory for a relative low cost.
16. Book Reseller
Every college student knows that textbooks can be very costly. The best way to reduce the amount that you spend on textbooks is to buy used books from other students.
Most students are eager to sell their old textbooks because once the class is over, they’ll probably never use the textbook again.
You could start a business buying and reselling textbooks. There are probably some bookstores on or near campus that already do this, but you’ll be able to offer better prices thanks to lower overhead costs.
This business does require some investment in order to buy the books, but it’s possible to get started for a minimal amount and then grow the business slowly by reinvesting all of the money that you’re making. Having some money to invest when you get started will allow you to grow faster.
College students who have musical abilities may choose to turn those skills into a money-making opportunity. You could make money by performing, by offering lessons, or even by creating music and selling it online.
Some of the other opportunities on this list are likely to offer better income potential, but this could be a good choice for someone who plans to pursue a career in music after college.
18. Personal Trainer
Are you in the gym every day taking care of your own body? If so, you could probably make some money by using your knowledge and experience to help others as a personal trainer.
It’s possible to make some money by working as a model in your spare time. You could be working for a photographer who is taking stock photos to sell online, for photos that will be used in advertising, or any number of other things.
To get started, you could use a site like Model Mayhem or advertise your services on Craigslist. You can also build up your profile on Instagram or other platforms that can provide some exposure.
If you’re looking for a business that you can start quickly with no particular skills or experience, flipping could be a good option. It involves going to yard sales, flea markets, auctions, or other places where you can buy things for very low prices, and then reselling them for a profit. You might sell on eBay or the Facebook Marketplace to get higher prices than what you’d be able to get at a yard sale.
This is a relatively easy business that anyone can learn. As you get more experience, you’ll have a better idea of the types of items that are likely to make a profit, as well as how much you should expect to make from an item. To get started, you can refer to this list of the easiest things to flip for profit.
This free workshop will show you how to get started in 14-days or less: Flea Market Flipper
21. House Cleaner
Another business that can be started with no particular skills or experience is cleaning houses. You can schedule clients around your other commitments, so it’s a very flexible opportunity that can be done part-time.
As is the case with other service-related businesses, you can start making money as soon as you land your first client. Finding a client is usually not that difficult. Talk to everyone in your network to let them know that you’re looking for clients, post an ad on Craigslist, put your contact info on bulletin boards in your local area, or use a website like Care.com to create a profile.
22. Child Care Provider
Child care or babysitting is an ideal part-time opportunity. You can find some regular clients that need help on a consistent basis and work to grow your business by word-of-mouth. It’s not the highest-paying opportunity covered in this article, but there is a lot of work available.
Build Your Own Business As A College Student To Earn Extra Income
If you’re a college student and you’re looking to make some money, consider starting a business from home rather than settling for a low-paying part-time job.
Starting a business may not be the right fit in every situation, but consider the options covered in this article and see if one of them might be the right fit for you.
When someone tells you theyâre about to behave terribly, listen. I donât care if your sister has been more responsible for three months. She obviously doesnât plan to be responsible moving forward. Sheâs also made it clear that sheâs up for a fight. Please donât co-sign for her and let her take down your credit in the process.
Their relationship has deteriorated. I donât think they can continue living together. My auntÂ co-signed for my father’s apartment and says my father can stay in her spare bedroom if he works with her to fix his finances. My aunt has been trying to help me, as she knows I am overwhelmed mediating their arguments and finances.
Your financial goals are completely unrelated to your familyâs struggles. The sooner you can separate the two, the better off youâll be. Please donât feel guilty for using your money to make good decisions for yourself instead of enabling your familyâs bad ones.
If I were your aunt, Iâd talk to an attorney who specializes in tenant law ASAP. You can suggest she do so. You also need to tell your sister youâre no longer in a position to co-sign. Sheâs going to cry and scream about how youâre ruining her life. Tell her by phone so you can hang up if things get out of hand.
But hereâs the trade-off: You donât get to have an opinion even if youâre âvery againstâ whatever living situation your sister comes up with. The second you weigh in, youâre throwing your sister a lasso. Donât allow her to drag you back in.
How should I proceed with my sister? Am I being too supportive, or not supportive enough? I feel guilty even having my own financial goals when my family is struggling.Â
I told my sister we will need to find another place for her to live after April, and that I would co-sign if she sat down with me to go over her finances. She cried and said it would be impossible to find a place being unemployed, and that no one cares about her ending up homeless.Â
She said she will refuse to leave the apartment if management doesn’t let her take over the lease. She believes that since she is a single mother with a child, they wonât be able to evict her. Iâve explained there could be negative consequences on her tenant record and for my aunt since sheâs the co-signer,Â but my sister says everything will be fine.Â
This is a problem between your sister, your dad and your aunt. I certainly feel for your aunt. I get that youâre both trying to help each other work through this mess. But youâre both ascribing magical thinking to your fix-it powers for your dadâs and sisterâs financial messes. Nothing in your letter suggests that either one is interested in help.
I donât want to hold my sister’s past mistakes against her, and COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted single mothers. She has been better with her money the last three months, but she has been very irresponsible in the past. (Example: paying for breast implants.) She canât stay with me because Iâm a head of house in my alma mater’s dorm, which grants me and my partner a free apartment.Â
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
I am a 30-year-old who has built a stable and happy life after growing up in a family that was often unstable emotionally and financially. I love them, but as I become more successful, my family needs more and more of my support.Â
The beauty here is that your living situation legitimately gives you a reason your sister and nephew canât move in. Iâd urge you to hang onto this arrangement as long as you can so you can develop firm boundaries. Itâs OK to use dorm rules as an excuse while you get comfortable making it clear that youâre done bailing out your family.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.
My sister and her son moved into my father’s one-bedroom apartment in July, which is against the lease. I was very against this living situation because itâs way too small for two adults and a rambunctious child. My sister said she had no other options because she has terrible credit, little savings and an eviction. She was laid off for not having child care and is collecting unemployment. My father was struggling to pay for his apartment, as well.Â
Your signature probably isnât the only thing standing between your sister and homelessness. Maybe sheâs eligible for public housing, or she has friends who will let her couch surf. Iâm not going to waste any energy exploring these options, though, because this is not your problem.
This may seem like a money problem, but deep down it isnât. Yes, life would be easier if you could buy your dad and your sister separate homes on opposite sides of town. But I suspect theyâd still leave you emotionally drained. Emotional vampires always do.
When I first connected with Julia and John, the Queens, NY couple was expecting their first child and grappling with some debt, a lack of savings and income prior to the baby’s arrival. The couple was basically living paycheck to paycheck and in need of some advice to break through that cycle.
We reconnected this month to see how they’ve been doing. Julia is now nearing the end of her third trimester. The baby is due to arrive in two months.
I was hoping that with a baby on the way the couple would have found some ways to chisel away their debt or bulk up savings. Unfortunately, fie months later, they’re more or less still in the same money boat.
But they did act upon a couple of my tips and are benefiting from the goodness of New York and their parents, which has their futures looking brighter.
First, John, who lacks a college degree and was struggling to find full-time work, is going back to school. Not to a college or university, but to a 9-month software boot camp in New York that’s going to give him the skills and network to become a software developer. His potential earnings in the first year in the market could be as much as $75,000 (based on some people I know who’ve gone through similar programs in New York.)
The program will be about $15,000, a fraction of what it would cost to earn a bachelor’s degree. John’s parents have agreed to loan him the money. The couple’s decided to place that $15,000 family loan in savings and, instead, take out a small student loan to pay for John’s school. I agree with that strategy, given that their family is about to increase in size and having some cash on hand will be very important.
Once John completes school and finds work, I’d recommend the couple prioritize the credit card debt by paying at least double the minimums each month. Be most aggressive with the highest interest credit card debt first. Their student loan will likely have a smaller interest rate and can be paid over a 10-year period, making the monthly minimums relatively manageable. Automate those payments as soon as possible and benefit from a 0.25% interest rate reduction when they do.
While they’re taking on more debt, I’m okay with it. Investing in John’s education is one of the best ways this couple can get ahead and better secure their finances in the future – so long as they commit to earning more and paying it down.
Ahead of that program starting, John’s also taken on a side hustle (per my advice). He’s been working a few shifts here and there at Julia’s company, working with special needs patients as a social aide, taking them to community and outdoor events.
Some other good news that’s developed since we last spoke is that New York State has enhanced its Family and Medical Leave Act by implementing Paid Family Leave. In the past, certain employers were only required to provide workers with their jobs back after taking a leave of absence for up to 12 weeks. Now, qualifying private employers must provide paid time off and a continuation of health insurance for 8 weeks in 2018.
This came as a surprise bonus for Julia, who was preparing for zero paid time off from her employer.
It would be my recommendation to use part or all of that extra money to pay down their high-interest credit card debt.
Once Julia returns to work after her maternity leave, her mother-in-law will be the go-to caretaker during the day, another huge help.
They’re fortunate to have free childcare from a trusted, loved one. With that very big expense covered and John’s schooling about to start, I feel confident that the couple’s future is a financially bright one.
The post Check-In: Expecting Couple Struggling with Debt, But Future Looks Bright appeared first on MintLife Blog.