by Owen Burek, Editor-in-Chief at Save the Student
Starting a business while you’re at university can be one of the best ways to earn some extra cash. After all, what could be better than working for yourself on your own terms? If you want to make a success of it though, you need to start out with a solid and viable idea.
The possibilities are almost endless, but I’ve had a good think and put together this list of ten great small business ideas that most entrepreneurial students should be able to get going. Before you know it, you could be a millionaire (no, really, bookmark this later)!
You might not realize it, but you’ll have picked up all kinds of useful knowledge throughout your education that you can put to good use by tutoring!
You might decide to tutor pupils from local schools in their own homes, or you could even offer your services to fellow students in the years below you.
Those with an eye for detail can make decent amounts of cash with a proof-reading business. Fellow academics and even businesses need to make sure that their writing is up to scratch, and are often willing to pay you to check over it.
It should go without saying, but you’ll need an excellent grasp of spelling and grammar!
3. Club nights.
If you love music and have a passion for nights out (what student doesn’t?), you might fancy starting your own club night. You’ll have responsibility for the advertising and details such as who’ll DJ, and you’ll need to come up with some agreement with the venue. In some cases you might have to pay to hire the room, but sometimes they’ll just want a cut of the door takings.
4. Social media management.
You probably already use social networks on a regular basis, so why not get paid for it? More and more companies are starting to see the potential of representing their brand on networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, and they need savvy freelancers to do it for them. Students are perfect!
Always bear in mind though that there’s much more to social media management than just chatting to your mates online!
5. Late night delivery service.
You know when you come in from a night out and wish that you had someone to deliver some goodies or more booze to your door? Delivery services are hugely popular with students, and it’s easy to see why. You’ll need a personal license to sell alcohol, which you can get from your local council.
On that note, who wouldn’t pay a few quid for a McDonald’s meal to be delivered to them on a Sunday morning after a heavy night? I would!
6. Leafleting agency.
Many companies need to distribute their promotional material, and they often employee students to do it for them. If you’re business minded though, you can take this a step further. Get together a group of leafleting staff (or skint mates) and offer a full service for businesses. It’s less hassle for them, and more cash for you.
7. Personal training.
If you enjoy keeping fit and know plenty about exercise and nutrition, you could make a business out of helping other people to achieve their goals. As well as giving practical advice, you’ll also have to inspire and motivate your clients.
8. Computer fixing.
Almost every student will have a laptop or computer, but not everyone knows how to fix them when something goes wrong. If you do, you could have a winning business idea. Like all successful new enterprises, you’ll be catering to a market that already exists and is accessible to you.
9. Article writing.
Setting up a business as a writer could be a great move if you have a passion and talent for the written word. As well as local and national magazines, there’s a multitude of businesses that are looking for people to write articles on their behalf. This is a classic remote freelancing example, where you could end up writing for clients around the world through websites such as Elance.com.
Don’t mind getting your hands dirty? Perhaps you’ve got a slight green tinge to your thumb? During the summer months, gardening can be a goldmine. You’ll need some basic equipment such as a lawnmower and a hedge trimmer, but you might be able to loan these from family members to keep your start-up costs as low as possible.
I hope these easy money making ideas will get your brain cogs turning when it comes to getting your very own venture off the ground whilst studying! It’ll always take plenty of hard work and determination to get started, but the rewards can be endless for those who are willing to put their all into it.
Have you ever thought about starting a business at university? Share with us in your comments below.
Owen Burek is Editor-in-Chief at Save the Student – an advice website helping university students and graduates with all things money. He has just released a book on the subject of student finance and frequently writes for other mainstream publications and has recently appeared as a commentator on BBC News.