20 Proven Business Ideas For Students

Starting a business isn’t a feat accomplished only by people of one specific age range. You can be a student, a young adult, or even a senior; the only thing that matters is having an idea and the will to make it happen.

But know that starting a business isn’t your usual part-time job. It will require dedication, commitment and hard work. Don’t get into entrepreneurship if you only want to earn a quick buck.

If you are still interested in starting your own business while studying, here are 20 business ideas for students that may help get the creative juices flowing:


Do you particularly stand out in some subject? If you answered yes, you can consider teaching it to someone else.

Choose any subject in which you excel – English, Maths, or Science and start offering tuition services. You can enrol as a tutor on platforms like Preply, tutor.com, Wyzant or an expert on websites like Chegg.

You can also look for students in your neighbourhood if you wish to teach offline. Often you will find immigrants and foreign workers who struggle to learn English and younger students who need help in their academics.

Private tutors can earn a great deal of money by tutoring for a couple of hours each week. You can charge anywhere between $10-$100 per hour depending on the subject and concepts.

Tutoring options
Pay per hour
Online based
Age – 16+
Set your own rate Pay 18%-33% commission
Online and in-private
Age – 18+
Set your own rate. Pay 25% commission
Enrolled as college sophomore or higher
$39. Pay 69% commission
Have tutoring experience Enrolled or completed degree in university

Drop Servicing

Selling services is a common approach to get started with a business. However, you do not have to execute a service in order to sell it.

Drop servicing is a method where you offer services to your clients that are not performed by you. Instead, you seek somebody to do the work for you.

You serve as an intermediary, selling a service to a client and later hiring a less costly freelancer or an agency to do the task. It’s amongst the most sought after business ideas for students.

For instance, if you charge $200 for a service where you can get it done for $150 by someone else, then the remaining $50 is your margin.

Websites like Fiverr, Upwork allow you to choose from a list of freelancers most suitable for your work.

How to get a gig?
Commission to be paid
Categories of services
Browse from available gigs
20% of what you earn
Post jobs and receive proposals

Social Media Creator

You can make a lot of money as a social media creator by using well-known platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook etc. But you must know how to market a brand effectively.

Create a page to interact with audiences and build a community of followers. Generally, meme pages, celebrity pages, influencer profiles etc, have the largest viewership.

Now, social media creators earn money through sponsored posts, brand deals, promotions, influencer marketing and more. A majority of business marketers compensate creators when they attract significant market views and following.

Not sure where to begin?

Here are a few courses to help you understand content creation:

Social Media Manager

You don’t always need to be a creator to generate income from social media. As an alternative, you can handle the social media accounts of other companies.

Many business owners seek the assistance of social media managers because they lack the necessary expertise to manage their online presence.

As a social media manager, you must engage with audiences on different platforms, respond to their queries, schedule posts, add stories and more.

There are several free scheduling tools in the market to help you.

Inbox Manage
Posts Scheduling
Posts creation
Social Bee
Not available
Scheduling option with multiple shares of the same post
Integration with Canva, Unsplash & Giphy
Social Inbox
Scheduling option with options to tag users.
Integration with Canva, Crello, Grammarly, etc.
Inbox to let you contact the audience directly
Schedule upto 350 posts at a time  
Not available
Not available
Scheduling with custom posting schedule
Not available

Photography and Videography

Love to struggle till you get that perfect click? This may be the perfect business plan for you.

You can start by a freelancing photography business where you offer all kinds of services.

Partner with marketing firms to cover events or capture content for future posts and advertisements. Photographers are also sought after by models or even certain students for professional content.

As you advance in the field, you can begin to focus intently on one niche to make yourself stand out.

The biggest issue in this business, however, is the cost of the essential equipment. You may still think of it as a one-time investment.

You can create your own website and take the help of social media and digital marketing to promote yourself. Ask your friends and relatives to be your first customers.

Another way is to work as a freelancer in initial days, gain some experience and customer reviews and then begin with your own business on a website.


Caretaking can have two major aspects:

Childcare: You can consider turning your love for spending time with children into a side business.

Simply put, you will watch children for parents who have demanding work schedules and can’t afford to send their child to daycare.

Parents often want their child to get extra attention specifically when they are not around. This won’t be feasible in a daycare. As a result, babysitters are paid significant compensation for their services.

Pet sitter/ Dog walking: Think of getting paid to interact with animals. Owners will leave their pets with you when they are on work or going on a vacation.

You’ll be responsible for feeding, walking and generally caring for the pets when their owners are gone.

If there are a lot of dogs in your neighbourhood as pets, you can offer morning or evening services as a dog walker. To get even more money, you can walk several dogs a day.

Delivery service

It is a way of making money by walking, biking or with a car.

You can enroll as delivery partners with food joints or app based services like Uber Eats, DoorDash among others.

Businesses typically charge significant fees for delivery to a customer’s door.

On the contrary, you can develop your own business by collaborating with local vendors to ensure quick delivery at inexpensive prices.

Younger workers tend to eat out frequently during their lunchtimes. Target them with quick eatables like sandwiches, fries, burgers etc made locally. You may introduce pre order service to deliver at lunchtime.

Another option is to list yourself as a carrier for Amazon which would pay you to carry items to customer’s houses.

Uber Eats
At least 19 years old One year experience
$15-$20 per hour
Cash out earnings quickly Can deliver on cars, scooters, bike or even on foot
At least 18 years old
$20-$25 per hour $10.50 base pay + tips and promotions
Can schedule hours in advance Largest delivery market share
At least 21 years old
$18-$25 per hour
In built GPS to guide you to location Time flexibility

Web Designing And Development

Think about web development as a business venture if you are passionate about learning programming languages and designing websites.

You can use your hard skills to assist businesses in improving their presence online. Reach out to local firms who fail to recognise the benefits of having a website.

Along with this, you might find online businesses with inefficient websites.

Explain to them how a website would improve their visibility online and help in generating customer leads.

Offer them your services as a web developer and deliver them your best work. If you perform well in the first few projects, word will get out and you will wind up with a lot of business.


Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model that doesn’t require you to store inventory. Instead, you partner with a dropshipping supplier who holds the inventory and ships orders directly to customers. You manage the online store, process payments, and handle customer service issues but don’t have to worry about stocking products or shipping orders.

In simple terms, customers can view products offered by you on your website; but you don’t have those products stocked on your shelves.

Instead, you purchase the same item from the seller at a discounted price and ask them to ship it to the customer’s address when they place an order.

Your commission covers the total difference between the two.

You make money by reselling other people’s products.

Since, as a student, you may lack a warehouse facility to store these items, hence this business model is perfectly suitable for you.

Record Audiobooks

If you could get paid for reading aloud, would you?

You can make money by narrating audiobooks on a variety of platforms who pay you well for reading aloud.

For example, on Audible, you can narrate an audiobook and get a share of its sales.

Becoming a narrator is simple. You go to their website and read about their requirements before creating an account and a portfolio.

After signing up, you must build a strong profile by uploading relevant samples and auditioning for reading out excerpts of books.

You get to record a whole book only when you clear the audition. As a result, building a reputation becomes important.

ACX is a platform that allows you to narrate a book only after the book’s rights holder approves it.

Audience reach
Audible ACX
$300 per hour on average
Amazon, Audible Make up 43% of the audiobook market
Findaway Voices
20% of royalties to narrators
Libraries Distributors

Start Freelancing

If you excel in certain areas like content writing, graphic designing, illustrating, logo designing, editing, copywriting etc. Freelancing might be a terrific option for you to earn money while continuing your studies.

Many businesses often look for temporary assistance in particular areas where hiring employees is not the best option.

You, a freelancer, would come in on a contract basis and will get paid after the delivery of the project.

As a freelancer, you work with several clients rather than just one. One of the most significant advantages of becoming a freelancer is the experience you gain that will help you later in your profession.

When you become a freelancer, sites like Fiverr and Upwork are great places to market your skills. But you can also use your network to provide services to clients directly.

How to get a gig?
Payment method
Service fees
Receive proposals and invitations on basis of your post
Direct deposit PayPal
20% on all earnings
Use connects or respond to an invitation
Direct Deposit Bank transfer PayPal
20% upto $500   10% from $500.01- $10,000   5% above $10,000

Make Money Reselling

Similar to dropshipping, reselling is a business model where you buy goods from manufacturers and retailers at lower prices from the market and list them on your website at a higher price.

When a buyer evaluates the items, makes a choice, and places an order, the price difference becomes the reseller’s commission.

Unlike dropshipping, there is no third party involvement in the process of reselling.

If you ultimately narrow your attention to a certain area, this may quickly turn into a very lucrative company strategy.

One popular way of reselling among students is to resell old notes and books at lower prices to classmates or the upcoming batch of juniors.

You may create your own website or sign up for an account with a website like Shopify or Amazon.

Starting price
Website builder and host
Online web builder and templates
$29 per month
Third party marketplace
Controls your design
$39.99 per month

Provide Transcription Services

You can put your typing skills and understanding of the English grammar rules to great use by starting a transcribing business. It is a service where you convert speech into written form

In addition, it doesn’t require you to do professional training or put in long hours. As a result, it becomes an ideal business idea for a student.

The demand for transcription services exists almost everywhere – sometimes as minutes of a meeting while other times as summary or notes of a speech .

You can even consider transcribing lecture notes and selling them to your classmates.

Organise Trips

If building itineraries and organising trips is something you can relate to greatly, this might be just the business idea for you.

Its not easy to look for places worth exploring, handling bookings and building a whole itinerary around it. However, if you are passionate about it, this may become your reality.

You can plan student outings for weekends, festivals, and events in exchange for a commission.

Schools often have departments which can give you the opportunity to propose a travel plan for student trips.

When you gain relevant experience over the years, you may end up opening a travel agency of your own.


Do you know that podcasts have earned as high as $50,000 per episode?

Much like starting a YouTube channel or website, podcasting is a highly lucrative business for someone who is good at speaking and debating.

A podcast usually features a guest and a host discussing on a particular event or topic.

Becoming a professional requires time and work but you can start with with popular topics and short clips who are capable of going viral on the internet.

You can record your podcasts as YouTube videos generate income through another stream.

Beginning with you can invite family members, friends or someone in your network who inspired you to join you on a podcast and have a discussion with you.

Further, this recording can be aired on Spotify or YouTube.

User share
Type of content
Audio and video based
Video based
Apple Podcasts
Audio and video based

Affiliate Marketing

Marketing is not just an expense, but it can also generate revenue.

Affiliate marketing is a strategy where you make money by promoting products of others. With each sale you make, you receive a small commission.

You should start by creating a YouTube channel or a website with considerable traffic. After that you can sign up for affiliate programs with companies looking for marketers through sites like Amazon Associates, Clickbank, Shareasale, LinkShare.

You must include a link to the businesses’ product on your website or channel. You will now be paid each time a buyer clicks on the link to purchase the item or subscribe to their services.

As a student, you can cover your course fee by selling items such as books and other related products.

Associated websites
Amazon Associates
Rakuten LinkShare

Sell Your Photos/Artwork

Are you an art enthusiast who finds solace in drawing and creating art?

If you are a digital artist who uses apps like Procreate and Adobe Illustrator to create artwork; this might be the perfect business idea for you.

Have you considered selling your artwork?

NFTs or Non fungible tokens are a way to demonstrate ownership of an artwork. You can sell your artwork as NFTs on a blockchain in exchange of cryptocurrency (mainly Ethereum).

Sounds complicated?

Read on here to learn about NFTs in full.

If you want to sketch directly on a paper or a canvas; you can put up your art for sale at galleries, exhibitions or even your campus grounds.

Most college students are looking for posters/ artwork or photographs to decorate their dorm rooms. You can make money by selling your best artwork to these students.

Offer Online Courses

Offering online courses is a way of sharing your expertise in a particular area with the rest of the world, much like tutoring.

In place of books and notes, students choose video material for their educational needs. As a student, you may create make educational content in your field of study and post it on platforms like Coursera, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning.

Alternatively, you can develop your own app to give other students access to your material.

However, you must first select a platform and your desired subject. After this, You may create courses and charge students a fee to enroll in them.

No. of users
Individuals and organisations
113 million
Anyone can create a course on any topic
People or teams who want to acquire new skills
50 million +
Anyone can create or offer courses on any topic
Linkedin Learning
Individuals or teams
27 million +
All course fall under business/ technology or creative

Start Live Streaming

Why play a video game by yourself, when you can play it for an audience and earn money off it.

Live streaming involves broadcasting the footage of your game as you play it.

Twitch and Youtube Gaming are well-known streaming platforms in the gaming domain.

Once you reach the required threshold of followers, you get paid for the traffic you bring in with your stream.

However, you may also turn to other niches such as live streaming baking, cooking lessons or educational content online.

Who is it for?
Primarily for video game and pop culture streamers
Viewers can interact with any streamer
YouTube Gaming
Live broadcasts of video games, e-sports etc
Better monetisation options

Local Reviewer

Becoming a local reviewer is probably one of the easiest business ideas for students as it doesn’t require much investment.

You can start your own review website and post your own opinions on products, services, locations etc.

Every time someone buys a new product, they look for reviews online. As a result, review websites are in charge for educating consumers so they make informed decisions.

You can easily start and manage a website with little or no investment.

Sure enough there are a ton of review websites on the internet for big cities. But small town establishments like accommodations near universities lack adequate web ratings.

Once you advance in the field of reviewing, you can diversify by adding more areas like reviews of food chain, books, places and businesses among others.

Your audience grows as you post more. Later you might work with companies to become an affiliate marketer or influencer.

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