Making Money, Starting a Business

4 Profitable Business Ideas for College Students

Business Ideas for college students

College is an important time in life where young people can learn new skills and build on existing knowledge. However, college is becoming increasingly more expensive and many students take on massive amounts of student loans. 

Instead of opting for a part-time job, you might consider starting your own business. You might be surprised to learn that many businesses are started in the dorms of colleges! Facebook, Reddit, SnapChat… all were built by college students.

There are many exciting business opportunities for college students looking to make money while pursuing their studies. In this article, we’ll explore why you should consider starting a business and some easy business ideas for college students.

Table of Contents

What Are Some Good Business Ideas For College Students?

1. Social Networking Companies

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, many awesome businesses were started by college students. But did you notice that most of these companies have something in common?

Social networking sites tend to be popular because each generation has different tastes when it comes to how they interact online. It’s clear that boomers, gen X, and millennials would not be as great at building tools for gen Z as… a gen Z student would be!

Take a look at existing social media platforms and think of ways you can combine your favorite features or add a few new ones. 

You’ll definitely need some tech-savvy friends to help you with this one!

2. Small Service Based Businesses

Serviced based businesses allow you to utilize your existing skill set. As a student, you are probably used to writing a lot of papers. Many businesses run blogs and would love to have some affordable but high quality writing help.

A few other examples of service based businesses would be offering tutoring, handing out fliers for local businesses, or even helping other students move. To get more ideas, take a look at what people are doing for internships and part-time jobs in your area. If you start offering these services yourself, you can often ask for higher rates. 

Better yet, if you get a few friends involved, you can even move yourself into a manager position! 

3. Flipping Items

This is one of my favorite business ideas for college students because it is so easy to get started with. In fact, the best time to do this business is when people are moving out of the dorm rooms every semester. 

When I lived in the dorms, I was shocked to see people throwing out microwaves that had been used for only a year. From luggage to clothing… there was plenty of money opportunities!

For large physical items, particularly electronics, you can easily list them on Facebook Marketplace. For clothing, take them down to your local consignment store like Crossroads to see if you can sell it for cash or store credit.

Even if you make just $20, that is 100% profit for likely only an hour or two of your time. You can even donate the remaining items and feel good for doing a good deed. And that is priceless!

4. Renting Out ‘Rare’ Equipment

You will laugh when I tell you this story. My father bought me a printer as a Christmas present in college. This was thoughtful because he knows that students are always scrambling to print papers last minute. 

When I moved into the dorm rooms my junior year… word got out that I had a printer. It wasn’t long before after that people started knocking on my door with urgency. 

I realized I couldn’t let everyone use my printer… I had to pay for ink and paper! And as we all know, that is expensive. So I started charging people. And since I was convenient and fast, I was able to charge a premium. 

If I recall correctly, the library would charge 25 cents… I recall charging $1 a page for 10 page papers and less if you were “buying in bulk”. 

I’m sure that this could apply to lots of different dorm based items that others don’t want to invest in. Coffee machines, candy, basically anything your convenience store might carry would be a good idea!

Why Should College Students Consider Starting A Business?

College is the best time to become an entrepreneur. You have lots of free time, low expenses (aka no kids), and you are directly connected to other students who have tons of unique skills. 

There are also many benefits that come with starting your own business that can help you after college. You’ll gain extra income to help you pay for your degree, build interesting experience for your resume, and find that a business is more flexible than a part-time job.You may even have more fun if you are able to work with your friends!

Keep reading to learn more about starting a business as a college student can help you in the long term.

Extra Income

Many college students face financial challenges, such as tuition fees, living expenses, or student loans.

By starting a business, students can generate additional income to alleviate their financial burdens. Entrepreneurship offers the potential to earn more than traditional part-time jobs. It allows students to leverage their skills, talents, or hobbies to create a profitable venture.

Moreover, running a business provides an opportunity to gain real-world experience and develop practical skills in marketing, sales, customer service, and financial management. This experience not only helps them in their entrepreneurial journey but also enhances their overall professional development.

Additionally, starting a business in college can instill a sense of independence, self-reliance, and financial literacy, empowering students to become more financially responsible and proactive about their future.

Experience for Resume

Starting a business as a college student can be a valuable experience to enhance one’s resume in numerous ways.

Firstly, it demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit, highlighting the student’s ability to take initiative, think creatively, and identify opportunities. By actively managing a business, the student gains practical skills in various areas such as strategic planning, marketing, financial management, and problem-solving.

This hands-on experience showcases their ability to handle responsibilities, make informed decisions, and adapt to challenging situations. Moreover, starting a business often requires collaboration and leadership, enabling the student to cultivate teamwork and managerial abilities.

Such a venture also demonstrates ambition, perseverance, and a strong work ethic, which are highly regarded qualities in the professional world. By showcasing their entrepreneurial endeavor on their resume, the college student sets themselves apart, proving their ability to drive results and effectively manage a business, making them an appealing candidate to potential employers.


Some of your business ideas may be easy to run during certain times of the year. These are called seasonal businesses and you can often build up recurrent clientele. To use an example from above, a lot of college students move during the summer but don’t have hundreds to spend on movers.

Other business ideas can easily be done on weekends or between gaps of your class schedule. If you really want to optimize your schedule, then you may want to schedule all your classes on the same days.

I personally always did this since I hated trying to remember all the different paper due dates. My classes were always on Tues/Thurs or Mon/Weds/Fri to make it easy for myself to memorize my schedule.

This made it easier to juggle an above-average work load with sports and a part-time job. You’ll find organizing your schedule to work for you is one of the best ways to ensure you are flexible enough to juggle multiple priorities.

Final thoughts on starting a business in college

In conclusion, there are numerous business ideas for college students looking to make extra money while attending school.

From freelance writing to tutoring/teaching online – these options allow individuals to pursue interesting projects that suit their preferences while learning valuable lessons along the way.

With plenty of advantages that come with launching a small business – now is an ideal time for any student wanting to succeed both professionally and financially!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like my post on 8 Easy Side Hustles for Teens to Try!

What business would you have liked to have started? If you are in college currently, what business would you be interested in trying out?

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