Five Part-time Business Ideas for College Students

October 26, 2015

Part-time jobs are the traditional route for college students to take when they need to make money. But a viable alternative might be to start your own part-time business instead.

Part-time businesses can offer a number of advantages over part-time jobs:

  • Since it’s a business and not a job, you can have more control over your schedule
  • You might have the talent to make more money in a business than on a job
  • The experience you gain could help you no matter what career you ultimately go into
  • It could be a jump start on your post-graduation career, if the business is even remotely related to your major
  • You’ll be establishing yourself as an entrepreneur while you’re young, which can be a major advantage throughout your life

With those advantages in mind, here are five part-time business ideas for you to consider.

Tutoring Service

There are probably one or two subject areas where you have above average abilities, and you can use those courses to tutor other students. Alternately, you an also tutor kids in high school or even younger. Math and writing are two subjects that are in particularly high demand. But you can tutor in any subject area where you’re strong, including anything related to computers, science, history, or reading.

You can also choose to tutor in non-academic areas. This can include basic computer operation and applications, sports, music and even English as a second language.

If you’re interested in tutoring, put together a good looking flyer, and distribute them around your campus and in the school offices. You can do the same thing at other colleges as well, or even at local high schools, and middle- and elementary-schools. Advertising in common ad sites, like Craigslist, or in school newspapers could also bring in business.

Freelance Writing

Do you see all the blogs and websites on the internet? Many of them need content writers. If you have areas of interest and where you have above average knowledge – along with above average writing skills – you may be able to pick up few gigs as a freelance writer.

You can start by getting articles published on some of your favorite sites. Make some comments on the sites, then follow up with email conversations with the site owners. Offer to write an article or two on the site for free. This will provide you with published articles that you can then use to market your work to other websites for paid work. Once you have a few clients, you’ll have a part-time business up and running – and one with little or no overhead at that.

Start Your Own Blog

You can also do your own writing by starting your own blog. This isn’t an immediate income as it will take at least months, and maybe a year or more to get it up, running and profitable. But if you can, you may have a solid side business (or something more) for the rest of your life. As a college student you have a built in advantage with a blog since much of the blog reading demographic is college students.

The idea is to build a blog with content that readers will find appealing. Not a general audience, but a niche who are interested in a specific topic area, and likely to remain loyal readers. The best blog ideas are ones where you are passionate, but also have commercial relevance. Personal finance (think Money Smart Life) is a perfect example.

Once you have the blog up and getting a few thousand visitors each month, you can take advertising and affiliate arrangements that will allow you to monetize the blog. It’s a work-at-home venture, so it will fit with just about any kind of schedule you have.

Buying and Selling Used Merchandise

If you have an eye for bargains, you could become a regular shopper at thrift stores and garage sales, buying decent merchandise on the cheap, then selling it at a profit.

This can work especially well with entertainment equipment, small household appliances, jewelry and antiques. The idea is to buy an item for, say, $5 – then sell it for say, $50. That may be one of the best case scenarios, but you get the picture.

You can sell the merchandise on websites like eBay, Craigslist or even Once you learn how those sites work, you can identify the items that sell the fastest and for the most money, and concentrate your buying efforts in those areas.

Sell Your Computer Expertise

Though you may think of your computer skills as average, they’re probably above average compared to the general population. As a young person, you’ve grown up with computers, but not everyone else has. That can be a business niche for you. You can sell your skills to help people set up their computers, set up applications, teach them how to use those application, or troubleshoot problem areas.

You can probably sell your services at a much lower rate than Geeksquad and other professional services, and that will give you a price advantage. Craigslist is a good place to market computer services, but you can also try school newspapers and even local neighborhood newspapers.

Some people, completely lacking in computer skills, may want to keep you on as a regular help source when ever they need it. That can be the beginning of a solid client base, as well as a source of referrals.

Have you considered starting a part-time business as a college student?


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Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids and can be followed on Twitter at @OutOfYourRut.

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2 Responses to Five Part-time Business Ideas for College Students

  • Yasir Khan

    Many of the businesses today are needing of freelance writer and if you have the knack for it why not try and write. It could be a good income for you as well as hone your writing and communication skills.

    • Kevin Mercadante

      Hi Yasir – As someone who is doing that myself, I couldn’t agree more. But there are all kinds of skills and services needed that you can do as a business that may not work out as a job. In that regard, these are very good times to be alive!