13 Online Businesses You Can Start in College: The Ultimate Guide to Student Entrepreneurship

In this age of digital innovation, the campus has transformed into a hotbed for entrepreneurial creativity and studentpreneurship. Gone are the days of the broken student stereotype. Today, you can be both a scholar and a CEO, all from the comfort of your dorm room. Think of Facebook, Microsoft, Reddit, Time magazine and countless other businesses started in college by students.

This article will explore 13 online businesses you can start as a college student, fast, and grow to a couple of million dollars within years. Sounds like fun? Let’s dive in. 

Dropshipping: Run your own online store

Imagine having your online store without the inventory hassle. That’s dropshipping, folks! You can source and find products and their suppliers online, set up an e-commerce store to sell these products and pocket the difference without holding inventories!

You team up with local or overseas suppliers to showcase their products on your online store, and when customers shop, the suppliers do the shipping straight to their door, and you pocket the profits.

Dropshipping is dipping your toes into e-commerce with minimal risks, perfect for studentpreneurship. When you succeed in this business, you can grow to own your inventory and scale to selling in multiple countries. This is how the British fitness apparel, Gymshark, started.

Online Tutoring: Teach people online

Are you the undisputed champ of your college courses, making complex subjects look like a piece of cake? That’s your chance to transform your academic brilliance into a profitable venture. 

Take the plunge into the exciting world of online tutoring, where platforms like Chegg Tutors and Educationist Tutoring wait to connect you with eager students hungry for your wisdom.

If you’re skilled in other non-academic professional fields, Udemy, Skillshare, and Teachable are other platforms for teaching non-academic students.

Not only will you be raking in extra cash with tutoring, but you’ll also be sharpening your teaching skills and ascending to legendary status in the academic realm. This business can be scaled to owning your online academy after school. 

Content Creation: Make content for the internet

Make content for YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Whether you’re passionate about cooking, gaming, fashion, or anything else, launching a content business in this era can translate into huge profits. You need patience and perseverance to build your audience until you can monetise.

Some ways to make money from your content business are through brand sponsorships, ad revenue sharing, merchandise sales and audience gifts or payments to watch your content. But it’s not all about monetising your hobbies; it’s crafting your epic story in the digital universe.

Don your entrepreneurial cape, wield your smartphone like a magic wand, and let the world marvel at your content creation skills. The stage is set, the audience global, and the rewards? Well, they’re as limitless as your imagination!

Freelancing: Join the gig economy

Alternatively, you can step into freelancing, and use your talents to make money. Whether you’re a wordsmith, a creative designer, a coding genius, or a digital marketing pro, your freelancing journey awaits.

Upwork and Fiverr are some of the best freelance platforms. You start by creating an account with these platforms and then bidding on jobs listed by clients worldwide.

The best part is that you can fit this flexible side hustle with your study schedule.

App Development

For tech-savvy studentpreneurs, app development has no bounds. The biggest college-to-big-business ventures are mostly software or app-based businesses. Facebook and Microsoft are prime examples. 

Whether you’re cooking up games, handy utilities, or productivity miracles, the digital realm is your oyster. Join forces with your brilliant classmates and turn those app dreams into reality. Who’s to say you won’t unleash the next big sensation? It’s not just coding; it’s your epic quest for entrepreneurial glory. 

So, buckle up, break out the keyboards, and embark on an odyssey where innovation reigns supreme. Your future as a student entrepreneur could be one app away from brilliance!

Write and Sell e-books

If you’re passionate or knowledgeable about a subject, why not write an e-book, publish it on Amazon Kindle or Apple Books, and sell it to the public?

You don’t have to be a New York bestselling author or have a powerful online following to start a successful ebook business. If the content of your book is valuable and the marketing is right, people will buy from you.

Consider your wisdom and knowledge in digital pages, generating income while you study or sip your coffee. Your expertise guides a global audience through the sea of information. So, embark on this E-book Expedition, where passion meets profit, and your words impact lives worldwide.

Start a Social Media Management Agency (SMMA)

The phrase “SMMA” is almost everywhere online, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate money machine business you can start, especially if you know your way around social media. 

Instead of spending hours scrolling through social media, you can start an agency to help small businesses, artists, professionals and others needing social media following to boost their online presence for a profit. 

SMMA business is one of those businesses you can start with zero dollars and grow into a multimedia company. Many marketing agencies began this way. 

The best part is that you already have a market needing your services  — that mom-and-pop shop close to your dorm room, for example. You can start with local outreach and steadily grow until you’re the next Neil Patel.

Virtual Assistant Voyage

College students are known for their exceptional organisational skills (of course! You have to keep up with a tight study schedule). Now, you can put them to good use as a virtual assistant.

You can set up a VA agency managing the calendars and schedules of business professionals or business owners. The business also handles administrative tasks like emails, payrolls, interviews, etc. 

The more services you can get your team to offer, the more money you can make.


Do you have an artistic flair? It’s time to rock the Print-on-Demand world! 

Print-on-Demand is about making designs for merch and having them printed on t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and much more when sold.

When the orders start rolling in, your trusty printing sidekick swoops in like a superhero, handling all the hard stuff – production and shipping. And guess what? You can kick back, relax, and watch those sweet profits flow in! 

Affiliate Marketing 

Start your journey as an affiliate marketer, and watch the commissions roll in as you sell other individuals’ products and services. As a beginner, it can be hard to start a business, but as you grow your online following and affiliate business, you start to make bigger profits.

Handpick a niche close to your heart, craft an engaging website or blog, and let your creativity flow into content that captivates your audience. The more you succeed, the more your earnings soar. This is the perfect recipe to transform your passions into a lucrative income stream.

Stock Photography 

If you’re handy with a camera and have an eye for aesthetics, try your hand at stock photography. 

With this business, you capture high-quality images and sell them on platforms like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock for profits. You can also sell your pictures to brands for advertisements, websites or even textbooks.

Start a Podcast

If you’re into radio or audio content making, try starting a podcast.

Unleash your unique voice through podcasts about college life, niche hobbies, or industry insights. You can monetise the venture via sponsorships and listener support when your podcast goes viral.

Affiliate Blogging

You could make money by joining an affiliate network if you’re a blogger with decent traffic. Affiliates (that’s you) get paid when someone clicks through from the website to the partner site and buys something there. 

Some bloggers make a lot of money this way, particularly those who do affiliate marketing full-time. Read more about affiliate marketing and other ways bloggers can make money.

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