9 Businesses You Can Start Right Now

start a business in college

Summer is definitely the time for relaxing and having a good time. I even wrote about 200 things to do over the summer break.

However, have you considered founding a business this summer?

Starting a business as a college student is virtually a win-win with little to no downside.

If your business takes off and finds success, now you have a solid income stream that increases your net worth, pays for tuition, and eases your food or alcohol costs. More importantly, this business also becomes a serious option to pursue for your career.

Or if your startup struggles to take off and eventually fails, this isn’t close to the end of the world. You gained an incredible learning experience and developed skills that you’ll carry with you the rest of your life. Lessons like that can’t be replicated in a college classroom.

So here are seven businesses you can start right now that require no office space, no employees, and no expensive budget.

1. Social media consulting

Many companies are beginning to realize the advantage of building their customer base and influence through social media. A lot of them already have Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

But you bet they could use a social media consultant like yourself to grow a bigger following, gain more business leads, and get a larger number of impressions with their content. These companies could also use advice on expanding to Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or Snapchat for better results.

The convenience is you probably already know what makes a quality social media profile. Or you can easily check out the top players on a social media platform and mimic what they do.

Obviously it makes for an easier sell when you have a large following on your personal accounts. For example, I parlayed my 36,000 Instagram followers to get hired as a social media consultant for a few small businesses.

2. IT consulting

You don’t have be a computer whiz who can take down and repair a computer to start your own IT consulting practice. You already have the advantage of being in college and up-to-date on the newest technology. And you can learn the rest if a client needs it.

Consider people your parents or grandparents age who would pay you to help them with their computer issues. Or think of the small businesses that could use your tech-savvy skills to improve their organization and efficiency.

Don’t underestimate your ability to create value and get paid for it is the lesson here. As long as you know more than your client then you’ll do well.

3. Landscaping

This is a classic business for a reason—it pays well and there is plenty of opportunity for work. Depending on the season and climate, lawns need to be mowed in the summer or driveways need to be plowed in the winter.

If you think like a true entrepreneur and go next-level, you’d be wise to stop landscaping yourself. Instead, hire a squad of local teenagers to do the work for you. Then you’re free to focus on growing the business and improving the total profit. It pays to be the boss.

Although landscaping isn’t a glorious job, writing on your resume or giving a good interview answer explaining how you employed eight people is impressive.

4. Personal trainer

The reality of people wanting to get healthier and more fit is never going to go away. Why not make money off of this while having flexible work hours as a personal trainer?

Besides potentially needing to pass some kind of certification, which can take as little as a few days I read, the barrier to entry is extremely low.

You can also create your own workouts and even sell those to clients or the public if that intrigues you. Then when your personal training company makes it big, you can advance to buying your own gym, selling t-shirts, and marketing supplements.

5. Photography

If you’re interested in photography and have a decent camera, that’s all you need to get started because there’s always demand for photography work.

How many weddings are there each year? I don’t know the answer, but I do know every wedding requires a photographer for engagement pictures and the wedding event.

What do newborn parents and parents in general do almost every year? Use a local photographer to capture their beautiful children and family.

Then there are thousands of high school students near you who need senior pictures. So that’s also reliable business each year that needs your service while you gain more experience.

And I’ve hired two photographers in the past six months for my two books. That shows other people need photographers for various reasons besides weddings and senior pictures.

6. Author

With the right amount of passion and hard work, anything is possible. You too can become an author and make royalties from writing a book, even if you’re not the next Stephen King or JK Rowling.

I practiced writing before I became an author by writing 10,000 words at the minimum, every week, for a few years. Then, with all that practice and research into my niche, I wrote a book and continue to get paid for it month after month.

My books are non-ficition. Though more creative types, like author Todd Calgi Gallicano excel in fiction where they create worlds from thin air and have their characters navigate the ups and downs of the hero’s journey.

Whatever you choose, know that with the prevalence of self-publishing, you don’t even need a book deal to start the business of being a professional author.

7. Website design

All you need is your laptop to run a successful website design business. And there’s no worry about running out of potential customers because everyone could use a website.

College students benefit from a personal website that acts as their digital resume. Your friend’s “genius” startup idea needs an online presence. Authors need a website to showcase their books. Small businesses will want to reach customers on a global scale. And this list could go on until my hair is gray.

If you’ve read this site often, you know that I’m a huge believer in starting a blog. And one of the best ways to make your blog stand out is through a unique design, which is where the website design specialist comes in.

My advertising agency got started after completing a successful Cincinnati web design project for a local dentist.

8. Graphic design

A graphic design student will certainly have enough skills to make money off of people who need their services.

You can use what you learned in your major to offer logo design, marketing design, stationery design, and other related offerings to get your business rolling.

If you’re fortunate, your graphic design professors will let your outside work count as a class assignment so you can kill two birds with one stone.

9. Catering company

Can you make magic happen in the kitchen? Or you’re the person who watches all the cooking shows and dreams of having your own?

Well you can get started with a catering company. Whether you’re a catering company for individuals or a corporate catering company that delivers to large offices, there’s a six figure business waiting to happen.

That’s assuming, of course, you make good food, with fresh ingredients, and have figured out a way to spread the word about your business. But the point is, good catering companies can be made from scratch just as much as scratch cooking can be delicious.

After you decide on one of these options, the next step is to find your first customer! Best of luck.

Related: What I Learned After Year 1 As An Entrepreneur

Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit: brianrobben.com

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mark

    This summer I’ve started my own residential window washing business, and I’m making so much money compared to my old hourly summer jobs. Working for yourself and being your own boss is great! I get to set my own hours and decide when to go door to door to get business. It’s so rewarding.

    1. Brian Robben

      You’re crushing it! Keep hustling and congrats.

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