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Business ideas for students

Business ideas for students

As a student, you may feel that you are strapped for cash and could do with some extra pocket money. In this case, you have two options available to you…get a job or start a business. Many highly successful enterprises were started by those who made the initial moves when they were still a student.

In this article, we’ll look at some potential business ideas for students, as well as some of the considerations and benefits involved with being both a student and a  business owner.

What are some good business ideas for students?

As a student, you may feel stuck for ideas and that the options you have available to you may be limited, but the truth is that you have many opportunities available to you, and just some ideas include the following:

Social media manager

No matter what industry they’re in, every business needs to be active on a variety of social media platforms if they want to experience success. If you are talented in the digital realm of social media, this is a service that you could definitely start offering to business owners. You could also take a few online courses to become versed in social media advertising which would allow you to offer an even more valuable service to local business owners.

Reselling textbooks

The reselling of secondhand textbooks is a great way to make a little extra money as a student. By buying secondhand textbooks from old students and selling them to new ones, you are definitely fulfilling a need that is unique to the university campus. This service could be done online or in person, and there is definitely potential for profit.

Sell clothes on Depop

While selling clothes on Depop may not seem like you’d be able to make a great profit, if you have an eye for style, you could be very successful. You could start by selling your old clothes and then approaching university students to ask if they’d like to sell anything of their own. From there, you could also go looking for fashionable pieces in thrift shops. You’ll be amazed by the profits that you can turn in doing this.


As consumers are becoming more conscious of the environment, upcycling is becoming incredibly popular. By turning ‘junk’ into useful items to sell, you could gain the attention of the ever-growing amount of conscious consumers. Creating a sustainable business through upcycling may prove to be both profitable as well as fulfilling.

Do deliveries

Do you have some sort of vehicle available to you? Why not put it to good use and start a small deliveries company for businesses and restaurants in your local area. The more reliable you are, the more likely you are to gain more clients and improve your driving and delivery skills. You could also charge students that do not have vehicles of their own to give them lifts around town.

Write an ebook

Are you a gifted wordsmith? Do you have knowledge in a particular area? As a student, you are likely to have both a talent with words and a particular knowledge sphere. If so, you have a great opportunity available to you to publish an ebook and sell it online for a profit.

Grow and sell plants

Are you a bit of a green thumb? Did you know that houseplants experienced an exponential demand over the pandemic, and their popularity is still rising? By growing and selling houseplants to students and at markets, and even online, you could enhance your plant knowledge and skills while creating a successful business model.

Pet sitting and house sitting

As a student, you probably have most weekends and evenings free. If you are the responsible type and have a passion for animals, you could start a pet and house sitting business and advertise your services to local pet and homeowners. If your business had to experience quick growth, it would be easy for you to rope in other students to handle double bookings.

Sell crafts and artwork on Etsy

Are you an artsy and crafty person? Do you enjoy creating illustrations, paintings, sculptures, etc.? Why not make money from your skills by selling your crafts on Etsy. It is very easy to do, and if you are someone who enjoys creating, this could be a very fun and exciting business opportunity for you that you could do in your own time.

Become a freelancer

Becoming a freelancer is essentially like starting your own business. Freelancing will allow you to manage your freelance work and university workload, and you should be able to work from the comfort of your home and even on campus. There are many different types of freelancers out there, including graphic designers, copywriters, transcribers, photographers, and so much more.

Run events

Students love events, and there is often a lack of exciting events to go to. By networking with local venues, you could start hosting your very own events and start an events company. You could do games nights, speed dating, entertainment, and so much. Getting involved in events at a young age could open many doors for you at a later stage, even if you start really small!

Offer transcription services for lectures

Are you good at taking notes in lectures? Your fellow students may not be, and they may be willing to pay a small fee for your lecture transcription. Even your lecturers may be interested in these services. What’s great about this is that it doesn’t cost any money or time in your part unless you start transcribing for lectures that are not part of your syllabus.

Sell essential university packages

As a university student, you know which items are absolutely essential to your success and contentedness at university. However, new university students may not be aware of this. By putting together essential university packages and selling them to new students as well as online so that you can access students at other universities, you could turn an impressive profit.

Run a tutoring business

So you’re a student, right? This means that you must have gotten good grades in school and that you’re on your way to becoming an expert in a particular topic. This means that you may have what it takes to become an ideal tutor to school students who may be struggling in certain areas. Furthermore, your fellow students surrounding you are also potential tutors that you could use to help grow your tutoring business and help out other students with some extra pocket money.

Handle student laundry

Not to be stereotypical, but students are often very lazy when it comes to handling their laundry. An excellent business idea would be to collect student laundry and take it down to the laundromat yourself and put a mark upon your services, of course. Better yet, you could invest in a washer and dryer of your own (if you have the means and the space) and have your very own laundry service, with which you could very easily turn a profit.

Create an app

As a student, you should be surrounded by inspiration on a daily basis. Most of your fellow students should be active on a variety of apps. By speaking to students around you, you’ll be able to perform highly effective market research and come up with an app that meets their needs. Developing an app is also something that can be done in your own time and can be a combined effort of multiple parties. Depending on the success of your app, you could make an impressive profit and later look at offering app creation services for other businesses.

Considerations for student business owners

As a student, you have slightly different factors to take into consideration than the average business owner. Some considerations that you may want to make include:

  • Time management- If you plan to run your business as well as have all of your university work in order, you’ll need fantastic time management skills, which will require diarising and efficient planning. As a student, you should be enjoying yourself and make time for socialising and making friends. If your time is solely divided between your business and university, you may want to cut back a little bit.
  • Priorities- Is your priority university or your business? You may have to make some difficult decisions along the way, such as cancelling on a client in order to study for a test or missing a lecture to make a product delivery. But knowing how to compare priorities will set you up for making the best decisions.
  • Use what you have available to you- As a student, you may not have the most diverse range of assets available to you, but learn to make the most of what you have. Assess your possessions and skill set when deciding what sort of business you would like to start.
  • Take what you are learning at university and put it into your business- Because you are currently enrolled in university, you are actually at an advantage when compared to other business owners who have no formal tertiary education. Take what you are learning at university and put it into your business in any way that you can.
  • If your business is costing you money, consider a job- If you are on a tight budget, as many university students are, ensure that your business is not costing you too much money. If money is what you are after, consider getting a part-time job where you’ll be able to budget more effectively.
  • Keeping in line with regulations- Just because you are a student, it doesn’t mean that your business will be exempt from regulations. Ensure that your business is registered with the HMRC (it’s free!) and that you abide by all relevant industry regulations.

What are some of the benefits of running a business as a student?

Businesses are risky, right? So why wouldn’t a student simply just get a part-time job if they were looking to make a few extra pounds? Well, in fact, there are many benefits to running a business as a student, some of which include:

  • Flexible hours- if you had a part-time job, your hours would usually be quite strict, and you may even have to work overtime. If you are running a business, you can create your own working hours and ensure that these are cohesive with your university timetable.
  • Opportunity for growth- As a student, it may be difficult to find a job that isn’t entry-level, and a part-time entry-level job may not provide much opportunity for growth. But you never know where a business may take you! If you fulfil a gap in the market, your business may turn a huge profit and bring you success for many years to come.
  • A massive customer base available to you- If your target market is students, you are probably surrounded by hundreds of them each day. This allows you to do effective market research and easily advertise your product or service offering.
  • Your degree doesn’t guarantee a job- Just because you are getting a degree does not mean that you’ll automatically land your dream job once you are done with university. Starting a business as a student gives you the security of something to fall back on should you struggle to find a job after you’ve completed your degree.
  • Opportunity to network- any successful business needs a network of suppliers, buyers, and associated businesses. Being in university means that you meet all types of people every day, and you get the incredible opportunity to network with other student business owners that may remain business associates for many years to come.

Being a student business owner is definitely challenging, especially when it comes to dividing your time. But if entrepreneurship is something that you are truly interested in, and if you need a bit of extra spending money, starting a business as a student will provide you with so many long-term benefits. If you have no idea where to start, consider chatting to established business owners who may be able to give you some valuable advice.


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