5 Side Businesses College Students Can Start With No Money

side-business-for-studentsTonight we’re doing something a little different with our college budgeting workshop. Most young people coast through high school and college without an ounce of personal finance training, and that’s honestly a travesty. Even business students spend more time on corporate finance than they do about learning how to manage their own money, and it’s not their fault.

High schools and colleges totally overlook personal finance as an important subject. But it’s not the fault of the schools either. If schools aren’t going to teach out, then parents need to take the initiative to teach their children the important of managing their money properly, minimizing debt, and saving for the future. One great lesson you can teach your child before they go off to school is that they can make money without having a job at a fast-food restaurant. They can make money as entrepreneurs without spending a dime on start-up costs. Here are only five of many example of side businesses college students can start to help pay for college expenses and minimize student loan debt.

Tutoring. If you’re REALLY good in a certain subject, chances are that a lot of other people WON’T be good at it. Charge $20 an hour and do personal tutoring. All you need to do is put ads on Craigslist, your schools intranet wherever appropriate, and make some business cards for less than $10. if you’re web savvy, you could start a website with a blog and start writing articles that include free information about the subject you tutor. This’ll help build credibility with those who are thinking about getting help.

Freelance web work. If you’re tech savvy, you can build websites, write programs, write mobile apps, do graphic design, or even set up a Facebook or Twitter page for a small business. This is all stuff that just takes a little bit of word-of-mouth and guerilla marketing to get your name out there and start getting some clients.

eBay and Craigslist. When I was in college, it was still pretty easy to sell just about anything on eBay and still make a profit. Now, it’s been so oversaturated with large corporations pumping out auction listings that it’s much tougher for the amateurs to make money doing it. If you want to go the eBay and/or Craigslist route, you have to find a niche product that you can easily obtain large quantities of and has a decent demand on eBay. Do that and you can easily make $500 to $1000 a month selling on eBay.

Baby/House Sitting – Watching other people’s kids doesn’t have to stop when you leave high school. In fact, many people trust college students more, so they’ll love hiring you for babysitting or even pet and/or housesitting for the weekend.

Window Washing – You’d be surprised how many small businesses around town will pay decent money to have their windows washed. Businesses with prominent road frontage can’t look dingy, it’s bad for business, and their windows get the dirtiest, the quickest. I had a friend in college who made decent money doing this with just 4 or 5 business accounts. One of them was Chipotle and they paid him in free burrito coupons, which isn’t a bad deal for a poor college student.

There are plenty of other ideas, can you think of any? If you’re going into college or in college right now, just know that you have PLENTY of opportunities to make money and you don’t have to buy groceries and rent with student loans.

Ansley