Top 4 Best Businesses To Start In College

Are you looking for a side gig to keep you financially stable while studying? Starting a business can pay tuition expenses, support your cost of living, and leave you with extra spending cash at the end of the month. If your business idea is profitable, it could lead to a long-term career in entrepreneurship. If you dream of being your own boss, diving into entrepreneurship during college will bring you closer to your financial and professional goals upon graduating. 

Freelance Writing

If you have a knack for writing, freelance work can be one of the best businesses to start in college. Popular freelancing websites are Upwork, Fiverr, Truelance, Toptal, and more. These platforms let you advertise your freelance services to businesses and professionals looking for help. As a student, freelancing is a low-cost option considering you can create an account for free! Plus, there’s no limit to the number of projects and clients you can serve. Whether it is proofreading, creating blog articles, or developing company newsletters, freelance writing can be a lucrative business to start in college.

 In addition to writing, other services like web design, data entry, coding, graphic design, dialogue editing, and voice overs are also high in demand (and can be done in your dorm!)


Web Design & Development

For businesses marketing a product or service in the 21st century, a mighty web presence is necessary for success. Many business owners are choosing to expand their brand to online platforms to reach more customers. Owning a business is a full time job, and web design and development is a unique skill set many business owners don’t have.. Being a website design and development consultant is a popular choice for creative students looking to exercise their creativity and prepare for a job in marketing, UX, and other digital industries. 

Word of advice? Begin by building a portfolio of your designs to give businesses a taste of your style and aesthetic. revamping current websites, and creating new website templates are all great examples to display in a professional portfolio. Once you have a solid foundation in your portfolio, you can begin advertising your work online and within your community!


Social Media Management

Many business owners think managing social media is easy but quickly realize the amount of strategy and planning that go into it. This is where your future business comes in. . Social media may sound like the easiest industry to join, but take a moment to consider the skill sets necessary for running multiple social media accounts (at once!) As a digital marketer on social media, you’ll need strong writing skills. Time management and organizational skills are also a must, as you’ll be managing multiple brands and content schedules. Don’t forget creativity, as you’ll be responsible for dreaming up eye-catching campaigns that attract customers. A great way to begin marketing your social media skills is to create “mock” or example content to show to local businesses in need of a digital presence. 


Flip or Refurbish Products 

In today’s world, you don't need to be an inventor to create and sell a product. Refurbishing and reselling clothing and furniture is a desirable choice for college students as thrifting grows in popularity. sustainability is also a common focus in the Millennial and Gen Z audiences. If you like to work with your hands, selling unique, handmade items is a great way to dive into your entrepreneurial journey. As an advantage, handmade, resold, or refurbished products can be easily shared and advertised through an Instagram or Facebook Business account. Etsy is a cost effective choice to ship and sell internationally as a seller's membership can be as little as a dollar a month!


Final Thoughts

With the right amount of grit and determination, you can become a successful entrepreneur no matter which business idea you choose. Before you make a decision, take a moment to consider your passions and the demand for the services you could offer.

For more information on entrepreneurship at the University of Northern Iowa, connect with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, or explore the Entrepreneurship Minor and Certificate, now available at the University of Northern Iowa. 

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs