If you are a college student looking for ways to boost your earnings, you are on the right track. In a world characterized by economic issues, seeking alternative sources of income is advisable, irrespective of whether you’re a student.

Doing business while still in school is a plus. You may get to have a taste of practical financial life early enough and as such, be better equipped for life after school. 

There are great legal, affordable, and lucrative business ideas a college student can maximize, and still afford to maintain good grades. In this article, you’ll discover 10 of them. You’ll also have access to tips on how to go about them, and more.

1. Take Advantage of the Social Media

As the world is becoming increasingly digitized, the potential embedded in social media is also rising. Social media is the love child of the world wide web.

In the United States, an online user spends an average of two hours and three minutes each day on social media. However, not many have realized they can convert the long hours spent on social media into profit-making hours.

If you are addicted to the ‘gram, how about turning your addiction into a life-changing tool? You can make cool cash off social media in several ways.

Advertising and Marketing Products For Brands.

You can make money from social media platforms, especially YouTube, Tik Tok, Instagram, and blogs, by promoting brands or their products. This involves informing and trying to persuade customers to drive their decision towards purchasing a particular brand’s product or service.

The idea is to create and increase the demand for the products or services of the brand. Takumi and TRIBE Influencer are the two best apps that can help you get started.

Takumi app is specifically designed for promoting on Instagram. It enables influencers on Instagram to connect easily with brands to run ad campaigns for their products and collect payments.

Nevertheless, you’ll need a public profile, over 50 posts, and not less than 1000 followers. Then you’ll be tagged with interests that correspond with your feed; travel, sports, etc, and along with your age, location, and gender, for relevant campaigns

TRIBE Influencer is another relevant app for this function. Since 2015 when it was launched, it has made influencer marketing easy for both the influencer and the brands.

Unlike Takumi which focuses on the number of followers, TRIBE influencer focuses on the quality of content. Businesses are required to create campaign briefs, for which influencers can pitch a social media post.

Discount codes, hashtags, or any other thing the brand wants can be added to your post while creating it. Set your price, and submit for approval. The business can either accept or reject these posts. If approved, you will be paid.

Non-Fiction Resources and Digital Products.

As a college student, you can also sell non-fiction resources such as journals, textbooks, and blueprints online to make money. But first of all, you have to be an authority in a specific subject area, and gain an audience either through social media handles or websites.

Here, it is the quality of your work that will attract people to buy your products. Udemy, Selfy, helps you set up a shop online, market your products, run payment processes, and even delivery, while you concentrate on creating quality works.

However, they have a certain percentage of the profit made from any sales.

For Udemy, if you are not signed up on any of its promotional programs, a 50% share of your revenue goes to them. If you utilize any of its advertising and promotional techniques to make sales, or via affiliates or paid advertising, you gain 25% of the revenue. However, this may vary based on the cost of advertising or the partner.

2. Blogging

A blog is a website that is primarily concerned with written content. The written contents are referred to as blog posts. A blog provides you with a platform to connect to people, interact with them on different subject matters, and make money in the process.

One key to successful blogging is choosing an area that interests you the most (your niche) so that you can still have fun while earning.

Do you need to be thoroughly skilled in writing before owning a blog? Not necessarily. Blog posts are mostly the original ideas and perspectives of the writer on the topic in view. Your ideas can naturally flow, and that’s why it’s advisable to choose your niche.

You can start by:

  • Choosing a name for your Blog.
  • Register your domain; your blog name or address. Find a hosting.
  • Customize your Blog. Incorporate vital tools like your logo, brand color, right from the WordPress dashboard. You can also change the background images, use a custom header, change fonts and font sizes.
  • Write and publish captivating content. Captivating contents are blockbusters in blogging.
  • Promote your blog. Drive traffic to your blog by posting and sharing useful content on forums like quora. Building links to your site and running online giveaways are also effective ways of promoting your blog.
  • Start making money from your blog by selling products and placing ads.

3. YouTube

Earning from YouTube videos is another viable option for a college student. However, because you might not have all the time needed, as a student, it is best practice to choose your niche and focus on it.

The idea is, you do what you love to do, video and monetize it. There are many kinds of contents you can upload on Youtube and make money. They include:

  • Prank Videos
  • Cooking channels
  • How-to videos
  • Product reviews
  • Lifestyle
  • Life hacks
  • Science experiments
  • Celebrity guests

Now, here’s how you begin after you have chosen a niche:

  • Sign up to YouTube, then set up your channel. Fulfill the requirements, which may include uploading your profile picture etc. Create your watermark.
  • Create a YouTube video.
  • Develop a content creation strategy. Good content is necessary for marketing your videos.
  • Working hard towards meeting the requirements; having 1000 people subscribe to your channels, and 4000 hours of watch time on your videos.
  • Once the requirements are met, you can now start earning from your channel.

Other ways through which you can make money on YouTube channel include:

  • Authorizing your content to companies that want to use your videos.
  • Launching your products online.
  • Sell products on behalf of others as an affiliate.
  • Sell digital products like ebooks, or even physical products.
  • Brand deals and direct sponsorship.

You can refer to How To Make Money With YouTube to have a better idea of how to maximize your YouTube channel to make money.

4. Tutorials

This is one of the best and profitable businesses for college students, especially those with a natural flair for teaching. For a student, teaching others what you know is one of the fastest ways to internalize and get better at it. It also exposes you to challenges that spur you to learn and push for more.

The following steps will guide you on how to get started.

  • Decide your niche. What’s your area of specialty?
  • Analyze the business environment and competitors. This will help you figure out how to be distinct from others.
  • Check your pocket and plan your budget accordingly.

You don’t necessarily need to go through the rigours of creating your teaching platform from scratch. You can leverage already existing popular platforms such as YouTube or Udemy.

These platforms provide you with great options to enable you to monetize your contents. You can upload pre-recorded contents or hold live sessions if the platform provides such a feature. YouTube and Zoom are examples of good platforms for live sessions.

You can also put your knowledge in writing and sell them via digital products such as ebooks and PDFs. Alternatively, you can organize your teachings in a series and sell them via reader subscriptions.

5. Sell Stock Content 

App creators, websites, publishers, advertisers need secondary content like videos, images, and music. You can take advantage of this need as a college student.

Take some photoshoots, film short clips, record songs, and upload on different stock library sites for users to browse, select and pay for. Royalties are usually small though, so you may need consistency and patience before it starts paying off.

Be creative with the content you create and always follow trends so you can attract big brands, help them sell their products, and get paid. Some online libraries for  stock content are:

  • Envato: all that has to do with graphics, web design, and music.
  • Pattern bank: fabric designs.
  • LINE: emoji, stickers.
  • Getty Images: videos, illustration, photos, audio.
  • Shutter stock: music, photos, illustration, audio.

You can also sell music and sound FX on iTunes and SoundCloud.

6. Affiliate Marketing

This is an advertising model in which third-party publishers are compensated for generating traffic to a company’s products or services. It involves marketing other retailers or advertisers’ products or services for a “commission” when a sale is made.

The commission fee serves as an incentive to the affiliates to find ways of promoting the company and its products.

So this is how it works.  You show a link or an ad for a store or a product on your social networks, website, blog. A customer clicks on your unique link, and through it purchases the product from the store.

The affiliate network takes a record of the transaction, and the store confirms the purchase. You get paid a commission.

Becoming an Affiliate Marketer 

  • Locate and join an affiliate program. You can check ClickBank or Awin.
  • Select which offers you wish to promote. However, make a thorough research on which offers to promote because sales depend largely on it.
  • For each offer, obtain a unique affiliate link.
  • Share those links on your social media platforms, blog, or website.
  • Receive a commission anytime your link is used to make a purchase.

Some companies don’t just reward you for sales, but also clicks to a website, free-trial users, download of an app, and leads. The good news is, you don’t need start-up capital to start as an affiliate marketer, it is free to join. It also gives you all the time you need as a student.

7. Social Media Manager

Social media has over the years grown to become an efficient and strategic means through which businesses get more clients. Some companies that have several business accounts often need the services of a social media expert to manage their accounts.

This makes this business idea a promising option. Secondly, it does not require a huge startup, rather your phone or laptop, with an active data connection can get you started. You can also do it from the comfort of your home, or wherever you are.

So what exactly is the work of a social media manager? As a student social media manager you can:

  • Create marketing strategies for brands based on their customer’s expectations.
  • Post and share content on behalf of your clients to promote their businesses.
  • Evaluate the market. Study and make possible postulations about the market which might be helpful to the business
  • Provide customer service for the brand.
  • Create social media accounts for brands.

To get started, you need to first understand the significance of social media as a marketing tool. Then study the different social media platforms to understand their dynamic patterns of operation.

Learn and understand also the marketing strategies that suit and can make your client’s goals a reality. Then you are good to go.

8. Delivery and Errand Services 

Since people are willing to pay for everything these days, people might just be willing to do anything as well. Running errands for busy people, the elderly ones, or even delivering a box of chocolate can fetch you extra cash, but be ready to work.

It’s even better with apps like Airtasker and TaskRabbit in the UK or Favor Delivery for the US. You can pick jobs that you are comfortable doing; the ones that suit your lifestyle and schedule.

You just go onto any of the websites, register as a tasker, and choose which task you want to do. You get paid after completing your tasks. It’s free to register, so no need to worry about startup costs.

You can also decide to start up your service by setting up a website where people can place orders. Market your services through social media pages, flyers, and word of mouth.

9. Photography

A fun business idea. However, to make a fortune from this idea, you need powerful planning. Plan on the strategies to market your business, your services, and prices for them.

An average commercial photographer can make between $17,000 to $60,000 in a year. It might not be possible for you though, seeing you are a student and may only work on weekends.

Here’s how to go about it:

Do concrete and thorough planning for your photography business. Create your photography portfolio. Check online photography services to get an idea, in case you don’t know how to do that.

Go ahead to create your website. Do an SEO on your content, you can hire the services of an SEO expert for that.

Secure your photography tools. As a student, you can start with the very basic ones; a camera, SD card, lens, extra batteries. Then, go take some shots. 

Creativity is one thing you need to excel in this business. So you can surf the net, get and watch online videos on how to take quality photos, and improve your skill.

Also, learn how to edit your photos. You can use Adobe Photoshop, it’s the best photo editing tool, amongst others.

Constant advertisement of your business is another key, invest in it. Follow up your business, as well as your clients squarely.

10. Dropshipping

This business idea is very apt for a college student. It’s an e-commerce business that requires little or no startup and doesn’t eat into your class or study time.

In dropshipping, you act as a middleman between the suppliers of products and the prospective customers. You choose any product you want to sell from a supplier and list it on your website at a price of your choice.

If a customer shows interest in the product and orders it, then you order it at a reduced price from the supplier. The supplier is responsible for shipping the product to the customer. That’s how you make your profit.

Hints on How to Generate a Profitable Business Idea

  • Research: What are the needs around you? Are there any difficulties you can create a solution for? Do proper research on the net, you might find gaps you can fill.
  • Is there anything you think will make life better, cheaper, and easier?
  • What are you good at, what do you love doing?
  • What business can contribute to your career or education?

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this article has exposed you to 10 of the low budget, yet most fancied and viable business ideas for students. You can choose from the list today and start earning some money. But remember, it is better to go for what you love. If not, you may feel like an extra burden was added to you, and may not give it your best.

Be creative. Think of how you can spice up your business so that it can earn a strong reputation. Strategic marketing plans are also of paramount importance, they can turn business ideas into actual profitable businesses.

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