Best Low-Cost Business Ideas for College Students

What do Facebook, Modcloth, Kinkos, The Onion, SnapChat, and Def Jam Records have in common? The entrepreneurs who founded these popular businesses did so while they were in college. Even if you don’t create the next billion dollar company, it’s possible to start a business while you’re still in school that helps you pay for your college expenses and create a future financial cushion.
We’ve rounded up four ideas and some tips to help you successfully tap into your entrepreneurial spirit and start making your mark on the world!
IT Consulting/Support
Students in college have the benefit of the most up-to-date technical and computer skills. Some business ideas for Internet-savvy include graphic design, social media consulting. Both offer easy, inexpensive startup, but each requires its own skill set. Another important consideration is that you can start these ventures from your dorm room without any major investment.
Tutoring Services
It’s possible to use your strongest subjects as the foundation for your college business by offering tutoring services to classmates who are struggling to ace the material. As your reputation grows, your friends and classmates can begin referring more clients your way. Promoting your new business can be as simple and inexpensive as printing out some flyers to hang up around campus or posting an add on popular social media and community sites, notes
Tap Into Your Hobbies
Turning your favorite hobbies or skills into your new side job involves marketing your services to local businesses and creating your own blog or website. From photography and freelance writing services to recipes and designs, there’s likely a market for the work that you love crafting!
Start a Delivery Service
This can range from offering to run errands for your fellow students to organizing care packages that parents can order and have you deliver. A group of University of Southern California students did just that and created a startup company – EnvoyNow – in 2014. What started as a simple college delivery service has since expanded to other states, and was accepted in 500 Startups’ 2015 Accelerator Batch 13 in Mountain View, California.
Tips for Starting a Low-Cost Business from College
If you’re committed to the thought of starting a business while you’re in college, you’ll need an idea that’s actionable with minimal costs for starting up. Additional considerations also include:
  • Staying mindful of your studies: Whatever business you start, it needs to be easy enough to manage to leave ample time for studying and earning your degree.
  • Find needed capital: If you need some working capital but don’t have a credit history, consider borrowing the money, finding an angel investor or having someone like your parents co-sign a loan for you. After all, loan denial can be a real downer as you’re just starting out.
  • Doing your research: Every entrepreneur has to research the market to evaluate business concepts and create business strategies for reaching customers and navigating the competition.
  • Keeping an eye on quality: Whether you’re creating goods or providing services, customers expect value for their money. For your business idea to be sustainable, it’s important you consistently offer a quality product.
There are many valid reasons to start a business while you’re still in school, including the potential for low risk and high reward, the value of the hands-on experience, and the accessibility to co-founders such as roommates and classmates. You don’t have to wait until after graduation – the time is always right to begin laying plans for your dreams.