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Blog » Money Tips » From Broke to Millionaire: Top 10 Money-Making Ventures for College Students

From Broke to Millionaire: Top 10 Money-Making Ventures for College Students

Updated on July 12th, 2023

College life brings you the freedom to make new friends, the privilege of exploring new ideas, and, of course, the liberty to earn money! If you hate stereotypical tags like ‘broke students,’ it’s time to realize your million-dollar dream. Moving away from your home and making big changes, you get closer to your financial freedom. How about strategizing a few business ideas and celebrating your independence?

While most students remain content with their thriftiness, your young years silently slip by. Given that you have already started earning during college, this is the best time to hone the commercial stance. Making money as a student shouldn’t be as difficult as you think. There’s a plethora of business avenues beyond food delivery, babysitting, or tutoring.

While the average age of millionaires in the US is 57, you wouldn’t like to prolong your journey until your retirement days, right? Do you know that the top 100 wealthiest people in the world earned their first million dollars at an average age of 37? This justifies the value of starting early. Whether you invest in cryptocurrency, crowd-fund real estate, or venture into entrepreneurship, make the best of your college years!

Best business ideas for college students

Low investment, moderate to zero risk, and less time intensive: students habitually love venturing into avenues that offer such perks. Prioritizing these three parameters, we have shortlisted ten business ideas you might find appealing.

Organize trips for travel agencies

Why not put your planning skills to use and travel during your weekends? College students often work as part-time trip planners while balancing their academics.

Travel agencies are always on the hunt for energetic individuals to carry out mundane tasks like flight bookings, hotel reservations, and chalking out itineraries. Walking in the shoes of a trip planner, you would love your lifestyle, traveling with groups.

Pair up with a local travel agency and start channeling your efforts. You may also consider planning trips to different cultural festivals or events.

Bonus tip: When you remain away for trips, why not rent your apartment on AirBnB since it would remain vacant? This way, you can make hundreds of dollars every month. As a part of your financial planning, consider putting a part of this away in a high-yielding savings account or investing in mutual funds.

Launch an event-planning start-up

Do you love socializing and partying a lot? Why not think commercially and transform your administrative efforts into a venture? Event management should be your forte if you love coordinating things, managing people, and collaborating with teams.

Event management is largely human resource-oriented, so there’s no big investment in this venture! Start with organizing small group meets or running projects in nightclubs. Loop in like-minded friends, and a well-organized event management start-up will fetch you profitable returns.

With tech-savvy minds and a few social media influencers, it won’t take long to spread the word. Everyone looks out for affordable event management partners for a variety of gatherings. Start with small parties, and with the right resources, you can scale it in the coming months.

Remember, when it comes to long-term financial planning, you’ve got to save! While you’re celebrating your new-found venture, living on something better than instant noodles, don’t go on a spending spree!

It’s all about being resourceful in your college years that build your financial stature. So, put aside a part of this hot money in IRAs. Yes, you can open an IRA as a college student. Most importantly, you’d be deferring taxes on your profits.

The earlier you start investing in an IRA, the better you can capitalize on the power of compound interest.

Start small with real estate investments

Well, real estate may not be the first thing you’d consider as you hunt for profitable ventures for college students. How about going for crowd-funded real estate investments, where you can start with just $500 or so? Both commercial and residential real estate crowd-funding can bring in lucrative returns.

Real estate is no longer the domain reserved for affluent investors. With the inception of crowd-funding platforms, even college students can channel small investments to stream an alternate source of income. Look out for one of these platforms with reasonable fees to get started.

Once you start stacking up your returns in your CD or high-yielding savings account, think bigger. How about partnering with a few friends to purchase a multifamily home or a 4-room apartment? Simply rent out three rooms, keeping one for yourselves to stay. The rental returns would cover your mortgage payments and leave a sizable margin for each of you.

Do you know how crucial real estate is for your overall asset mix? Besides, long-term real estate investments can significantly grow your asset value. Robust retirement portfolios also have a substantial share of real estate investments. Considering the stability and growth prospect of real estate, it’s sensible to get started early.

Design print-on-demand goods and school stuff

One of the best privileges of being a college student is your connection to the academic circuit. From parents to students and staffers to alumni, you have a sizable customer base to craft on-demand goods. Simply track trends and maximize your creativity as you create customized hats, mugs, t-shirts, jewelry, and stationery.

As you start streaming in a consistent pay by printing on-demand goods, list your products and designs on eCommerce portals. Gradually, target on-campus events and online sites to sell your merchandise. Follow local organizations and groups and put your offerings on display.

College students make decent money selling t-shirt designs and other online products. As you consolidate your revenue, launch your own website, given that you already have a steady clientele. Now, launch a commission-earning program for your existing customers where you offer them a discount or coupon as they refer your site to others. You might also consider having affiliate networks to grow your venture.

Buy and sell textbooks

Some of you might already be salvaging a part of your semester course fees by selling your old textbooks. How about thinking a bit deeper and converting this into a profitable business?

With the basic approach, you can get back a part of your money spent on purchasing textbooks. Now, think of a strategy where you collect used textbooks from other students or your seniors. Grow your connections in the academic circuit and build a rapport so that you can source old books for free or minimum value.

Save these books for the next semester, and then approach students who would like to purchase them at a discounted price!

Or, think a level higher. How about renting out textbooks to students and retrieving them at the end of the semester? This way, you can earn several times more than the cost of the book.

Launch a jewelry business

Launching a jewelry business would be a great start-up idea for college students. If you are into making handicrafts, why not try out your hands on jewelry? After all, it’s simple and involves a low investment. Check out a few YouTube courses, and you will be all set! All you need is practice and precision to come up with low-cost jewelry.

Considering that you can list them up on Amazon or other popular eCommerce websites, profit margins are pretty high. Try partnering with social media influencers for a commission on sales they make.

Remember, regardless of the kind of side hustle you indulge in, you need to start saving early. When you graduate and find full-time employment, start saving for your future to boost your financial resilience.

Venture into dropshipping

College students with an entrepreneurial mindset habitually venture into dropshipping. This is a relatively new business model in the eCommerce space.

Through dropshipping, you can sell online merchandise to customers even without paying upfront for the products or managing your inventory. So, if you think your marketing skills are decent enough, try your hands at this business. Rather than how you source the product, prioritize how you market, curate, and position them.

In this business model, the product is manufactured, shipped, and even stored by third-party dropshippers. You simply have to own your online store to sell these products. The best advantage of dropshipping is that you never run the risk of overstocking or blocking your funds.

Start a baking business

Do you admire the chef in yourself? Maybe you can try and come up with a few ground-breaking recipes that you can turn into a million-dollar business.

Selling baked food, cookies, and cakes isn’t new, but how about pairing up with eCommerce brands to sell your stuff? Maybe, you can also loop in a few food bloggers and influencers to market your recipes for a commission.

The best thing about the food business is the power of words. Satisfy a few customers, and they will go around spreading your word! There’s nothing as novel as exciting their taste buds.

Also, you will have on-demand orders coming in from your existing customers. How about taking your bike to go around the campus and selling your goodies to students?

Digital marketing business

Comfortable with writing gigs and blogs? Many of you may already earn a handsome income by contributing to freelancing platforms. Why not cultivate the creative strengths in you to launch a full-fledged digital marketing business?

Mastering SEO techniques wouldn’t take more than a few weeks. The best part is you need almost no investment in terms of equipment to get started.

To stream consistent and recurring income, go for affiliate marketing. This is one of the best avenues within the ambit of digital marketing. Try out niches like selling monthly newsletter subscriptions or other digital products. This warrants a long-term income since you would earn a commission each time your buyer renews the scheme! Digital marketing businesses can consolidate your finances over the years as you continue to earn passive income.

Sell your class notes

Look out for dozens of lazy students around the campus, who are reluctant enough not to take their class notes. We all have peers who’d spend time roaming around the campus or devise innovative excuses to ditch lectures. So, it’s time to hunt them out and sell them instant notes you had taken!

Being innovative with this business idea would help you carve out your niche market. You might be exceptionally good at taking notes and summarizing information to develop easily-readable study materials. Simply re-sell your notes or create instant study materials for your peers.

You may also come up with packages of notes based on semesters or modules. Start by selling individual notes before coming up with bundles.

Start now

With tons of side hustles available for college students, picking the productive ones turn out to be a challenge. Now you know how to engage in lucrative ventures while striving towards a financially resilient career.

While most of you might already be engaged with on-campus activities like newsletter distribution, tutoring, or taking video classes, none can translate to a long-term business venture. As you visualize your long-term millionaire goals, you need strategic planning and firm footing into investments.

Ultimately, being prudent about where you venture or invest defines your millionaire goals. 

FAQ

Can college students start investing in the money market?

Yes, it would be a good idea for college students to start investing in shares and mutual funds. However, an educated decision would help them yield long-term returns. Rather than indulging in speculation, it’s wise to invest in quality stocks of established companies. Alternatively, investing in REITs can fetch you decent returns.

Should I do a part-time job or business as a college student?

As a student, you must learn to use your time best. Although most students indulge in some part-time job, consider whether this contributes to your experience or job profile. Venturing into business would be a better decision if you can stream in recurring income or create an additional source of income for the long term.

What is the fastest way to earn money as a student?

Investing in cryptocurrencies, starting a digital marketing business, investing in real estate, or designing on-demand goods can earn you quick hard cash. Simply scrutinize your preferences and risk profile before choosing where to invest.

How can a college student start a business?

In the first place, brainstorm probable business ideas and shortlist profitable ventures. Next, think about the market you would be catering to and the investments required in the process. Once done, choose your business’s name, and design your website’s logo if needed. Start marketing your business as you continue to cater to your customers.

How can I use my business profits to make long-term savings?

Consider stacking some funds into your CD or high-yielding savings account for long-term financial growth. Educate yourself on developing a well-balanced asset portfolio. When you have saved enough, diversify your investments into real estate, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, retirement savings accounts, and various annuities.

Image Credit: Pexels; Photo by cottonbro studio: Thank You!

Angela Ruth

Angela Ruth

Angela Ruth is a financial writer at Due. She has a passion for helping people get out of debt and live a better life.

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