Startup Students

How to Start a Business When You’re Studying

young student entrepreneur
Written by MicroStartups

Being a student can be a huge financial strain. Tuition and living costs, not to mention textbooks, can be a lot to handle all at once. Starting your own company at college or university may seem like an impossible task, but remember, Microsoft, Facebook and Dell were all created by students. Starting your own business is a great way to earn some extra cash and it doesn’t have to cost you anything (except time). Being a young entrepreneur means you can shape your future by making valuable business connections for life, not waste your time slogging it out at Subway. With free resources and a little dedication, you can easily become a successful entrepreneur whilst still keeping up with your studies. 

Monetise Your Growing Skills 

If you are studying on an industry specific course, like Creative Writing or Design, why not put your budding skills to good use and start freelancing already? There are lots of freelance websites where you can advertise your services, and many companies are looking for creative talent to collaborate with.  

  • Balance freelancing with studying by scaling back during busy times like exam periods.
  • Even if your course isn’t practical, you can still offer out your research or writing skills.

Become a Brand Ambassador

Working as a brand or campus ambassador for a brand is often as simple as posting about them on social media, using their products, and dropping off flyers. Many brands are looking to grow their student market share and will be recruiting on campus in the first semester.

  • Ambassador roles are very entrepreneurial and can lead to bigger gigs for ambitious promoters.
  • Work with a brand that you would be happy talking about anyway. Being an ambassador means being fully on board with the brand.
  • If you’re interested in marketing, communications or PR, this is brilliant on-the-job training.

Get Involved in Online Advertising

For more passive income, there’s always online advertising. You can set up a website using a few simple tools and sell advertising space or advertorial posts on there once you’ve picked up some traffic.

  • Affiliate marketing (earning money through clicks and sales) is another viable option for a hungry web-entrepreneur. 
  • Experiment with different types of advertising and see what works for you.

Ecommerce & Dropshipping

Ecommerce and dropshipping are great ways to make money as a student. You could go down the traditional ecommerce route and sell products directly through a website, or you can sell through other ecommerce platforms like Amazon or eBay. Dropshipping means sourcing the products you sell from another supplier, taking a cut yourself. This can be a brilliant way to make money, but only if you have good supplier relationships and can fulfil orders fast enough.

  • Even if you have your own website, it might be an idea to be a seller on a platform as well in order to bring in some cash immediately.
  • Ecommerce is very customer-service heavy. Make sure you can handle it before you set off.

Start Your Own Blog

Blogging is a great way to make some extra cash and be your own boss. Write about your student experience, or focus on one of your favourite hobbies if you fancy running  niche blog instead. Soon you’ll be able to grow your following and begin earning money from your writing. Most blogging platforms are free so you don’t even need to worry about spending a penny if you don’t want to.

  • Just make sure you produce plenty of fresh content to keep things ticking over. An empty blog isn’t going to attract readers or brands. 
  • Use imagery to make your blog stand out and include videos if you can.

Social Media Consultancy 

Use your knowledge of social media to become a social media consultant. If you are already a social media power user, offering out the occasional posting services to local businesses and brands shouldn’t take up too much time.

  • If you have got enough of a social following then you might even be able to monetise your social media channels by posting about brands or products.

Photography and Videography

If you are interested in photography or making videos, you can put this skill to good use at college. Whether it’s for web, social media or brochures, everyone needs some help with imagery from time to time.

  • Sell your original images to stock imagery websites.
  • Offer your services to local businesses.
  • Photograph or film events like weddings.
  • See if you can take photos or videos for big student events like Freshers. Universities are always looking for people to partner with for content.

University is a great place to become an entrepreneur. You have nothing to lose and you could win big. Think of all the experience you will gain from starting your own company. There is only so much that can be taught in a classroom so becoming an entrepreneur is a great way to learn crucial life and business skills. Even if the business idea doesn’t work out, it’s still an amazing thing to put on to your résumé because it shows you’re a proactive person.  Do you think you would ever give it a go? Let me know in the comments below.

About the author


A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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