When it comes to running your own business as a student, it’s a very exciting time. Suddenly, all the expenses that have been stressing you out–from textbook costs to going out with your friends and paying rent–will be affordable. Not to mention the fact that, once you’ve graduated, you’ll have some great work experience and the ability to pay off your student loans. With a few business classes under your belt, and creative, entrepreneurial bent, you’re sure you can do it. But it’s not like you have a ton of time, or a ton of money to invest, either.
Luckily, there are some great low-investment business ideas that you can still balance with your studies and your social life:
Okay, so maybe it’s not the coolest business ever to start, being a tutor, especially when you’re already in college and the library is packed with TAs working for the math department and writing center assistants. But the fact that you’re getting a college degree is worth a lot to a lot of people. Businesses such as KAPLAN are always on the lookout for students who scored high on the SATs, for example.
Additionally, you can set up a tutoring business online. Whether your skills are in biology, photography, or knowing how to hack Instagram, there are going to be 1 billion digital nomads in the world by 2035, which means that if you get your online business up and running now, you could have some great success in the future.
Blogging is yet another Internet-based business that can end up being quite lucrative. There’s a reason why the number of bloggers is estimated to reach 31.7 million by 2020–and that’s because it’s one of the most creative, low-cost ways of making money that can lead to fame and fortune.
Not all of us can be as witty as Carrie Bradshaw of Sex & The City, but if you’ve got a niche–something very specific you’re interested in writing about, or you’re an expert in, such as health records blockchain applications–then it’s time to start blogging about it. Start using affiliate ads and sharing on social media, and you’ll make more and more money as you get more followers.
3 Creative services
If you’re a creative person–whether it’s as a musician, writer, or designer–then you can start making a living out of your talent. For example, if you’re a writer, you can start by helping fellow students by revising and editing their papers. You can also start freelancing with websites such as Upwork, or even volunteering as a writer for a non-profit organization.
Once you’ve built up enough of a portfolio (and this goes for any skill, not just writing), you can build a beautiful website on wix.com and post all your work there. Then, you can start advertising your services online. For example, if you’re a musician writing jingles and personalized songs, the more clients you get, the more people will come to you for your services. But remember: 75 percent of people searching for anything on a search engine don’t scroll past the first page of results–so you’ll want to study up on SEO so that your website comes up first.
If you live online, love spending time on Instagram and Facebook, getting as many likes as you can, then another great choice is vlogging. Is there something you’re great at? Applying makeup just like celebrities you love? Or commenting on sports games with your funny friends? Considering that 5 billion videos are being watched on Youtube every day, it’s a great way to gain a following (on and off campus) and make money from ads–and eventually from products, too, if you get popular enough.
To get inspired, check out this list of the most popular Youtube stars of 2018, and find a style that works for you and your niche.
5 Mine cryptocurrencies
Finally, this is one of the most exciting business ventures out there–after all, who doesn’t want to be part of the cryptocurrency boom? Obviously, mining cryptocurrencies takes a lot of technology and power, so it’s only worth doing if you know how to work computers and can sell old parts for the ones you need.
But think about this student’s story, a sophomore at MIT: “By March 2017, he was running seven computers, mining ether around the clock from his dorm room. By September his profits totaled one bitcoin—worth roughly $4,500 at the time.” Not only is it a great way to make some cash, but it’ll be impressive to business and computer science grad schools alike.
These are some of the best low-investment business ideas for college students, and they’ll get you some experience and cash in your pocket, too. What other ideas do you think would be successful?