9 Lucrative Business Ideas for College Students

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Being a college student can be challenging. You have to study to pass courses, maintain a social life, all while trying to figure out your future career. But what if your future could begin now? What if you could use your skills and knowledge to start a business while you’re still in college?

Starting a business as early as possible has advantages. You’ll gain experience, build your resume, and make some extra money. Perhaps best of all, your business will help you find a career you enjoy after you graduate.

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started. There are plenty of businesses you can launch on a shoestring budget. You will, however, need creativity and strategy, hard work, and a can-do attitude.

Here are some lucrative business ideas that you can try out as a college student.

1. Establish an Online Clothing Store

If you’re into fashion and you always keep up with the latest trends, why not start an online clothing store?

You can source clothes from online marketplaces or thrift shops and garage sales. Once you have a decent-size collection, you can start your e-commerce business and promote your products on social media. After all, people are more likely to buy clothes online than in brick-and-mortar stores. (Online shopping is just so convenient!)

You can offer customization services to make unique pieces for your customers. With print on demand services, you can print your designs on physical products only when you receive an order. This way, you don’t need to worry about inventory or setting minimum order requirements.

By selling clothes online, you’ll learn about the fashion industry while building your entrepreneurial skills. Just know going in that this business isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It will take time, continuous effort, and patience before you’ll see results.

2. Open a Food Business

It’s no secret that the food industry is one of the most lucrative industries worldwide. If you’re passionate about cooking or baking, opening a small food business can help you monetize your skills.

You can sell home-cooked meals and baked goods, start a ghost kitchen, offer event catering services, or set up a food truck business. With a food truck, you’ll be able to move around and sell your products in different areas, allowing you to reach a wider audience and boost your sales.

Running a food business requires high standards and compliance with strict safety regulations. But don’t let this discourage you – there are plenty of resources to help. Once you get the hang of things, this business can be gratifying financially and personally.

3. Offer Tutoring Services

Many students offer tutoring services to earn extra cash while helping others achieve their academic goals.

If you’re an expert in a particular subject, you may consider giving private lessons to students who need extra help with their homework, projects, and test preparation. Not only will tutoring help you pay for college, it’s a great way to give back to your community.

If you want to reach a broader audience, the online world is open to you as well. You can create video tutorials or offer one-on-one video sessions over Google Duo or Skype.

You can even develop online courses and market them to people interested in learning new subjects. Online classes are convenient, flexible, and often very niche. You can offer online courses in cooking, gardening, software and more. Just ensure that you’re delivering valuable and informative content to your audience to keep them engaged.

4. Publish an E-Book

Self-publishing has become more accessible than ever. If you have a knack for writing, you can publish e-books.

Just write on any topic you’re passionate about. If you don’t have extensive knowledge on a topic, you can research the topic and write content to sum up what you learned. When you’re finished writing, you can format and design your e-book using software like Canva. When your e-book is ready, you can sell your e-book online.

The good thing about this business idea is that it’s fairly passive after you publish. Once you’ve published your e-book, you can continue to sell it for years and earn royalties from each sale. Plus, there are no added production or inventory costs to worry about. Just focus on creating quality and engaging content to attract buyers and get good reviews.

5. Develop an App

This business is perfect for you if you have excellent programming skills or you want to develop your programming capabilities.

The goal with an app is to create a helpful and user-friendly app that some group of people will want to use daily. You can accomplish this by tapping into tech tools and talented personnel for help. Once you have a solid product, you can market it to your target audience. You can also monetize your app by charging a reasonable fee for each download or offering in-app purchases. If your app becomes popular, you can earn revenue from ads.

Your experience building and launching an app will look fantastic on your resume should you apply for a programming job at a tech company.

6. Start a Blog

Blogging has become one of the most popular ways to share information and connect with people around the globe. If you enjoy writing and you want to entertain or help others, you might love blogging.

You can blog about anything that interests you. You can write about travel tips, personal finance, technology, business, marketing, or fashion. Once you’ve chosen your niche and set up a domain name and found the most suitable hosting platform for your needs (follow this link to learn more about your options), you can start creating helpful and informative content. Blogging is an excellent way to build your brand and establish yourself as an expert in your field. By sharing your knowledge and insights, you may eventually attract potential clients interested in what you have to say or deliver.

You can monetize your blog by advertising and selling digital products. You can also use your blog to promote other business ventures. For instance, if you have an online store, you can drive traffic to it through your blog posts. 

Keep in mind, it takes time to generate traffic and grow your subscribers. You’ll need to be patient and consistent with your content strategy if you want to succeed.

7. Become a Freelancer

Becoming a freelancer could be your best option if you want a flexible business that doesn’t compromise your studies. Whether you’re good at writing, graphic designing, or web development, you can offer your services to customers and work on your own schedule.

There are many ways to freelance. You can send proposals through online freelancing platforms like UpWork, Freelancer, or Guru. Once you’ve built a strong portfolio, you can start your own website so you can attract high-paying clients without paying platform fees.

The only resources you need to be a successful freelancer are a laptop and an internet connection. By keeping a budget, you can have a successful career freelancing should you choose to continue after college.

8. Plan Events

Event planning could be the perfect business for you if you’re a people person with an eye for detail. This industry is booming as more and more people are looking to hire planners to take charge of all the details in their special events. You can organize weddings, birthdays and corporate functions.

To get started, you’ll need to be well-versed in the ins and outs of event planning. You should learn how to budget, negotiate with suppliers, and manage your time efficiently. Additionally, you’ll want to build connections with providers in the industry, such as caterers, florists, and venues. Try partnering with other student entrepreneurs with the same business goals – working together will make things easier and help you succeed faster.

9. Sell Handmade Craft Items

If you’re good at crafting or you have an artistic side, selling homemade items could be the perfect opportunity to turn your hobby into a money-making venture. You can take advantage of the web and sell your products online on markets like Etsy or at local markets and craft fairs.

You can make jewelry, accessories, home décor, or art. It’s helpful to choose a niche and focus on creating products that appeal to a specific group of people. For example, you could specialize in items designed for people who are obsessed with a certain breed of dog. Often, the more specific your niche, the better.

When you can, invest in a professional camera and basic lighting equipment so you can take quality pictures of your products. Good pictures can do wonders for your product sales.


These are just some of the many business ideas that college students can pursue. So if you’re looking to start your own business, consider one of the options outlined here. You can turn your college business into a successful and profitable enterprise with hard work, dedication, and a sound strategy.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

Join our list for exclusive tips, content and a welcome gift – our ebook on how to engage your team and boost profits.