Small Business Ideas for College Students in USA

Students make money too, and in the United States, you have many opportunities to do that. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) make up 99% of the businesses owned and operated in the States. In the report, the SBA mentioned that up to 33.2 million small businesses existed in the country as of 2022.

As a college student, you can niche down and tap into this burgeoning SME market in the US. This article gives you a clear direction on the best small business ideas for college students looking to make money during their studies in the US.

Small Business Ideas for College Students in USA

Am I too Young to Start a Business in College?

You are not too young to start a small business in college. In a recent report, Statista hinted that the number of young business owners was 0.27%, which translates to about 270 new entrepreneurs per 100,000 adults in the US.

The report checked the statistics between 2000 and 2021 and discovered that young business owners between the ages of 20 and 34 had a higher chance of starting a business.

Your age range certainly falls within that category, so yes, you can start that small business idea of yours as a college student.

Top 5 Small Business Ideas for College Students

With that being said, let us now look at some of the businesses you can establish with little funds and the potential to make more money over time.

1. Start a Dorm Cleaning Service

You need to live in the dormitory for this business idea to work best, but you may also stand a chance if you live outside. Cleaning the dormitory involves taking care of rooms and tidying the surroundings of the dorms.

Since these are student-dominated areas, they tend to be dirty sometimes, and these students may not have all the time to take care of their surroundings. You can easily tap into this opportunity by getting a small business license and cleaning tools to help you kick-off.

For a start, you may want to do it alone but as the business grows, consider hiring other students to help you. It would help expand the business and get more clients, as you now have more hands to take care of the cleaning jobs.

2. Become a Gig Worker

The gig economy, aka freelancing, allows you to work from any part of the world with just your gadgets (laptops and smartphones). Provided you have a good Internet connection; you can become a freelancer while still in school.

But there are certain factors you want to consider before towing this path. Freelancing can be exhausting, especially when you have more projects to handle and little time to complete them.

Due to your studies, you may want to take fewer gigs, especially the ones that aren’t on an hourly basis. That way, you have a flexible schedule that permits you to work at your pace and earn a decent income.

Several gig-based projects exist today and can be sourced through Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Guru. You also want to become a near-professional in the specific skill to offer optimum services to your clients.

Examples of freelancing gigs or projects are:

  • Website development
  • Graphics design
  • Content writing
  • Ghostwriting
  • Website design
  • Mobile app development

Also read: Top Side Hustles That Can Make You Money Than a Full-Time Job

3. Sign up with Uber Eats

Students need food to survive. From snacks to meals, they need access to a decent dish to keep the worms in the belly happy.

It would help if you considered signing up with Uber Eats or any other food delivery service nearest you. What you would be doing is to help these delivery companies fulfill orders for their clients, in this case, students. You get to earn a specific amount of money for each delivery – and tips, too, if the customers feel like giving you some.

But this isn’t limited to food delivery. If you can run errands for people, you can pretty much fit into any of the markets. From laundry delivery to parcel delivery, you can start your niche-based delivery business in the shortest time possible.

Just find a lucrative niche, one that is in high demand. Find reputable delivery companies within your locality, partner with them, and start delivering these items to their customers on their behalf.

4. Become a Content Creator

Facebook was originally a platform for connecting with friends and family, especially the ones you haven’t seen in ages. Twitter became a hub for active discussions and real-time information across different industries.

With the evolution of the Internet over the years, these platforms have become a hub for content creators. So, who are these content creators? They are individuals that create different informational pieces of information, either in the form of written texts or videos.

Best Skills to Learn to Make Money Online

The content creation market is extensive, from skit makers to writers and YouTubers. If you are versed in a topic or niche, you can consider becoming a content creator. TikTok has even simplified the process by allowing you to make short videos where you can talk about the things you know.

You can also leverage Instagram and Facebook, and when your page is monetized, you get steady revenue when people interact with your content and the ads served through them.

5. Write for Fellow Students

Have a knack for writing? Are you good at research? You can make a decent income by becoming a researcher for your fellow students. From term papers to essays and assignments, you get to help these students with their academic work and get paid for it.

You, however, want to keep in mind that third-party academic work affiliations aren’t always excellent, as some universities and colleges frown at it. So, be sure that the students you are helping are fully authorized to seek help in that area before working for them.


Being a college student consumes time, costs money, and can be exhausting. However, if you can make out the time, you will be able to start a small business idea as a college student. The ideas in this article are only a few, but they are also one of the easiest to start and scale into a more significant business by the time you graduate.

Running any of these businesses while in school helps you get real-world industry experience, and by the time you graduate from college, you will have the zeal, money, and passion for starting something more prominent.

Chukwukadibia Abah

Chukwukadibia Abah is a passionate writer with 6 years of experience in writing SEO-optimized content. I love writing generally. I write on various niches, including but not limited to eCommerce, Finance, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Amazon Product Reviews. I am currently an active contributor at SME SCOOP, Entrepreneur Business Blog and My Top Insurance.

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