Small Business IDEAS for College Students
You don't have to be rich to start a business in college.
When you're struggling to study for finals, navigate the complexities of college relationships and gather enough money for rent and textbooks, starting a business might be the last thing on your mind. But many business giants began their careers in college, and you don't have to have a small fortune - or even lots of free time - to start a business. While building a start-up is work, starting in college can help you get the experience you need to enter the business world and can enable you to build a strong base of loyal customers.
If you're artsy, a handmade business could be an ideal creative outlet and a money-making opportunity. Whether it's handmade jewelry, ceramics, clothing or furniture, the market for handmade items is rapidly expanding. Websites focusing on handcrafted items such as Etsy and Artfire provide ready access to customers who are already interested in buying these items, and setting up a storefront is free. You'll still need to market yourself and use search-engine friendly terms in your item descriptions, but with talent and some luck, you can quickly begin making money.
Reselling is the practice of purchasing, then selling any item for a markup. For college students, used textbooks, vintage clothing and antique store finds can be excellent items to resell. You can set up shop on an online marketplace such as eBay, advertise in local newspapers or - if your school or apartment allows it- sell directly out of your apartment or dorm. You'll need to choose items that people want to buy, and add a markup that's sufficient to cover your costs of doing business.
Teaching and Coaching
If you're a strong student, play an instrument or are good at a sport, a tutoring or coaching business could be ideal. College students sometimes need writing coaches to help them write essays, tutors to help them through challenging classes, music teachers, or coaches to help them practice their sport in between team practices. You can set up an independent business and advertise to fellow students or see if your school is looking to contract with tutors or coaches.
Cleaning and lawn services, baby-sitting and errand-running might not seem particularly glamorous, but many people need these services, which means there's a huge market. Particularly if you can get a group of friends together to share the work, you might be able to quickly gain a loyal following. Advertise on Internet bulleting boards, social networking sites and on church and organizational bulletin boards.