11 Business Ideas How to Make Money As a College Student or a Recent Graduate

By Kevin Nelson

Posted 4 months agoGROWTH

As a student you are the luckiest person in the world, you have more opportunities to experiment and try new things. This same thing is true when it comes to them choosing a career to pursue. You can try and see what it is like to run your own business as well as work at different companies.
business ideas

Besides, you have all the chances to apply for internships at companies you always wanted to work at. It can be an excellent way to understand the inside principles of work which can be later applied to your own business.

In this article, we will focus on different activities you can try doing for a living both while still at college or as a new graduate. If you are willing to start your own business which requires minimum funds and brings in cash, then read on what we are about to introduce you to.

What Does It Mean Thinking Like an Entrepreneur and How It Can Bring You More Many Longterm

There is a huge difference between working for someone and thinking in an entrepreneurial way, seeing the potential business profits and evolution in what you are doing, instead of mindlessly performing your tasks.

Thinking entrepreneurial requires you working for someone to keep the cash flow and get experience, but long term will ensure your financial independence.

Entrepreneurship and startup ideas are the infatuation of young people even before they graduate. Even though it’s recommended that you turn your idea into reality as soon as possible, there is no need to hurry.

Get your degree, hone your skills and then use all your free time to start a lucrative business. As enticing this plethora of time to create is, young entrepreneurs are still confused about what to do after they finish college.

The most common dichotomy is between starting a business you love and a business that sells. For recent graduates, it’s never impossible to mix the two. Turning an idea into a source of revenue is not that hard – all you have to do is figure out what your strong suits are.

To help you channel your entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve assembled a list of the 7 best business ideas for a recent graduate. Analyze, develop and execute.

7 small business ideas for students and graduates

1. Blogging

For some of you who are reading this post right now, blogging might seem a little uncertain. How can one make money by writing? If you are still thinking this way, then maybe these statistics might help you change your mind.

For instance, the Huffington Post run by Arianna Huffington brings at least 29,800 USD on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Mashable blog owned by Pete Cashmore brings him around $15,8 thousand dollars every day. Of course, it took them years to take their blog to this level and make them so wildly popular. However, now as years passed they can enjoy a well-supported life.

Students can start blogs too. Just think of a good niche to enter and what subjects are of much interest to potential readers. There are many things one must take into account if he wants to make a living by writing a blog but do not feel stressed out first. Take one little step at a time, and you will reach the goal in the end.

First, pick the niche (for instance, technology, personal development, health, or fashion) which you want to launch your blog at. Then think of a goal for your blog,  create a content plan, and start writing regularly. You will pick up knowledge about SEO and other essential techniques for your blog along the way. But this would be enough for a start. So, why not giving it a try?

2. App development

To start this business, you will need a bit more time to master one of the programming languages. However, this experience totally pays off. If you and your friends are good with coding and programming in general, then you might want to put that knowledge to good use. At first, you don’t have to think of any revolutionary idea.

The key to promoting your development agency is to market yourself as a service that brings ideas to life. For instance, a lot of people have ideas but don’t have development skills.

The thing is that app developers make great money doing what they love, and that is the luxury not everyone can afford. Finding a good place to study will not be hard too, as there are many different courses and schools which can quickly teach you programming. You can even study at home by enrolling in online courses made by trusted colleges. Thus, you will be able to live out of programming you mastered on your own.

However, we highly recommend you creating a good profile first. You should think of a project you can develop using your skills so that whenever you are asked to show examples of your work, you will have something to show. And one more thing: you can find the job as an app developer at different freelance sites if you do not feel like running your own company.

Before you start working with clients, try developing an app or two of your own to add to your portfolio. They don’t need to be heavily promoted. You just need working versions that will help you show your clients that you know your stuff.

There are also plenty of apps which can earn you money while travelling.

3. Custom writing service

If you’re more into social sciences, there’s a high chance that you’re good with words. A talent for expression is not a common thing, despite many people claiming they have it. Having skill of expression isn’t just suitable for impressing your colleagues and professors – you can make a lucrative business out of it.

This type of services is especially the case for students who have excellent writing skills and an eye for grammar and punctuation mistakes. However, even if you are no Agatha Christie when it comes to writing, you can always take a course or two to advance your level and improve your skills. In fact, there are great courses available on the course site. So, if you feel like you need to boost your knowledge in this area, then that is a great resource to learn from.

  • Writing and editing are excellent career paths for students majoring in English and Journalism, as it is a logical continuation of the things they’ve been doing for the duration of their program.
  • It costs almost no money to start an editorial/writing agency. All you need is to make a plan of execution and to have space where you can work without interruptions or distractions.
  • At first, you can start on your own, but if you see your business expanding, it will be easy to attract other aspiring editors, writers and proofreaders to your venture.

Don’t be afraid if you feel there is too much work. Save up some of the money you’ve earned and outsourced the projects you cannot complete in time. You can use the services of any custom essay writing service. Determine the details, the topic and send it over to a writer for completely original content.

But if you already feel ready to launch your business and deliver high-quality custom writing service, then start with offering your help to peers who either have no time or desire to deal with individual assignments in their busy schedule. Meanwhile, you can also offer your services to some companies.

Start with writing them an email in which you will introduce them to a “teaser” of what you think can be a perfect ad or a post for their business blog. This can be a brilliant start to your career.

4. Cleaning

Do not roll your eyes: this is a business you can start the fastest among the other mentioned in this article. You do not need any particular skills or experience. We all know how to clean. All you need is the energy and connections.

You do not even have to clean yourself, but rather have a team of peers who will work on you. Maybe at first, it will be a good idea to clean a few houses yourself before you get enough money to hire other people.
Make sure you have the energy to deal with such tasks, as cleaning is not only physically exhausting but also morally depending on the hosts whose house or office you clean.


You might need some savings to start with, as you will need to purchase a car (if you do not have one) as well as cleaning substances, to begin with. And also do not forget that you can also wash the windows, as some say it is even more profitable. Other than that, you are good to go!

5. Babysitting

This is another great business idea. It is not for everyone though. The one who is going to enter this niche must be extremely responsible and patient, creative and enthusiastic, flexible and open-minded. The responsibilities might differ from taking a baby home from school to teaching him Chinese and walking his dog with him.

Thus, it helps if you have a versatile personality and have one or two hobbies you can pass on.
Besides, parents prefer caregivers who have either children of their own or at least siblings they helped raise. But even if you just helped your neighbours with their offspring this can go on your resume. Ask them to craft good recommendation letters for you – and send them out!

This job can be very well-paid, so you should consider it as one of your best choices if you are good with children and find yourself full of great ideas of how to entertain them.

6. Design

Have your studied graphic design or multimedia arts? If yes, excellent. If not – you have no need to worry. All you need is a couple of months of hard work with Photoshop and you just might be able to start a graphic design agency.

Even though 20% of all startups and new businesses fail after one year, they still have a distinct need for branding elements. This is where you come in.

  • If you’ve studied digital arts, you certainly have all the tools to make clients happy. Even a few tutorials or help from a friend can guide you through this venture.
  • There is no need for any kind of fancy office or renting a space. All you need is a computer, a stable internet connection and good old social media marketing. Businesses do scour social media for agencies that can do the branding for them.
  • You don’t have to do it full-time. If you don’t feel like it, you can reject projects and work on those that you want. Therefore, graphic design is one of the absolute easiest business ventures in terms of time you need to invest.

Make sure you don’t forget your branding, too. Differentiate your brand from others and you will be able to score gigs and contracts as often as you want. Just be persistent.

There are plenty of variations what kind of design you might get involved in, starting with web design and finishing with clothing designs and prints. The only thing which is common for all these positions is that you should have an excellent taste and desire to work with details and different styles.

Besides, if you are thinking of web design, you will need to obtain certain technical knowledge which is essential if you want to create websites for various businesses. This includes landings pages designs as well as main page outlay. One can obtain such knowledge at college, at some courses or online by enrolling in different classes. It is up to the one who is going to start such a business.

Also, if talking about the design of clothes, one should focus on mastering the skills of creating high-quality clothes which not only have an original look but also are sewn well.

Finally, there is also a chance to become a party decorator which can also be a good thing to do for a student. You can start by decorating your friends’ parties, and after crafting a good portfolio of images taken at those parties, you can move on to creating a profile on social networks, printing business cards, and seeking connections to help you get into the market.
Pick whatever one option sounds better to you and enjoy your own business!

7. Freelance photography

Do you like photography and have a camera? What are you waiting for? Freelance photography is one of the most lucrative niches where everyone can succeed. You don’t need a photography degree, nor a fancy course. It’s all about the feel for the profession and the willingness to put in work.

  • Firstly, you can put ads on social media for people to contact you if they need a photographer.
  • Offer premium services, not just mere photography. Expand your ideas. Give people the opportunity to get custom-made photos, with additional retouching, promotion and everything.
  • Start with shooting people, scenery and simple objects. Once you build up a portfolio, companies will notice your skills and ask you to work for them. There are a million options to find work as a photographer. You can shoot products, marketing campaigns or create content for blogs and other things.
  • If you need extra money, you can sell stock photos on various sites and gain recognition. Even here, people might notice your work and give you additional opportunities.

8. Tutoring

This might be one of the most common businesses students opt for. Every one of us has at least one subject he was particularly good at. So, if you think about it, you can help other students who are not as good at this same subject and assist them in improving your knowledge.

It might take time at first, as every student you have will be on a different level. So, at first, you will need to craft different study plans and develop a certain system which will help you achieve the best results in the shortest time possible.

A good idea here is to use the world’s best practices in teaching. Search the web to see what techniques leading schools to use when tutoring, and apply some of those principles to your own teaching. It is not as hard, as you might think, but it does take patience and discipline to organize and structure everything in a transparent manner.

The price of an hour of your work might vary depending on what subject you are helping with as well as the level of a student. Do not set too high prices at first and make them reasonable to attract clients. Later, as you gain more influence on the market, you will be able to establish higher prices.

These are fantastic business ideas students and graduates can use when looking for ideas. Everything from custom writing service to web design can turn into an excellent business with time. So, why not try it all out right now? Seize the opportunity!

9. Event organization

Have you ever felt like you loved organizing things and doing all the hard work? There is no reason why you shouldn’t take this capability to the next level. Organizing events isn’t a competitive niche because there aren’t a lot of skilled individuals.

All you need is a will to orchestrate big things and the ability to establish connections with people that you might need at a certain point.

Event organization includes knowledge of venues, marketing and a little bit of everything. Even this niche has niches within itself. If you like weddings and more formal events, you can be a wedding planner.

For those of you that are more of the party type – there is always organizing graduation parties, birthday parties and for every other occasion that warrants celebration. If you have a team of people to join you, that’s even better.

10. Fitness instruction

If you loved sports and know everything about exercise and nutrition, fitness instruction is the easiest and best solution for you. Even though there are countless sites dedicated to fitness and health, people still don’t know how to get in shape. Why not earn money while doing a good deed and helping people prolong their lives?

At first, you don’t need a certification. Put ads on social media stating that you are willing to provide instruction and motivation at the gym. You and your first clients can join the same gym and you can guide them through workouts.

If you’re willing to get paid more, you’re going to have to get certified by organizations like the AAFA. This will look great on your resume and attract even more clients. Don’t forget to record testimonial videos, alongside before-and-after photos, to show people that your program actually works.

11. Food and catering

In college, everyone learns to cook one way or another. If you’ve developed a particular love for this niche, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make money off of it. Now, for a catering business idea, you’re going to need a team of people. There is only a limited number of things that you can do by yourself before messing things up and missing deadlines.

Allocate roles effectively and choose your target group. To kickstart the business, you can do catering for your friends and family. There is always a wedding or a funeral which can net you a great amount of money.

Believe it or not, catering businesses have one of the best ROI rates in all industries. This is because ingredients are cheap, tools are durable and there is no complex thinking to be done. The hours are also flexible, which is suitable if you have other ventures in mind.

Concluding thoughts

Graduation is no small event in your life, but you shouldn’t be afraid of what comes after. You don’t need a large investment, a unique idea nor a lot of time to start your first business. The only things that you might require are persistence and the ability to provide excellent customer service.

With the business ideas we’ve just presented, you have the opportunity to prove yourself in a market that’s popular, but with no classic competitiveness. Everyone needs writing services or logo design and it’s up to you to give the people what they want. Good luck!

About the author Kevin Nelson

Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. Currently, Kevin works as a part-time writer for Professional Resume Solutions. During his off time, Kevin enjoys travelling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.

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