20 Business Ideas for Teens and University Students
With the rising cost of living and increasing price of tuition in schools and colleges, it is more important than ever for young people to find new ways to earn a little extra cash. The saturated job market means teenagers and college students can no longer rely on getting part-time employment, and parental support may not cover the cost of living in a city, or even on campus. However, it is still possible for teenagers and college students to generate income. Check out the list of 20 options for people with all sorts of skills and talents.
Chances are that you are good in at least one subject. You can consider being a tutor to kids who struggle with your strongest topic. Many parents prefer a younger tutor who brings an alternative approach to older teachers, and who can connect better with their children. Advertise your services in the area, list your qualifications, and charge reasonable rates.
2. Graphic art design
If you love creative design and are an artistic individual, you can offer your services as a graphic designer. Don’t limit yourself to local businesses: you can offer your talents to students and teachers who want a more personal approach, or to local non-profit organisations such as churches, charities and self-help groups who need banners for advertising or events. You can even work online, through freelancing or “gig” sites, such as Fiverr.
3. Freelance writing services
If you are good with words then this is the job for you. The Internet is based on written content and filled with organisations that need people to create their articles, newsletters, blog posts and marketing materials. You can work directly with small businesses and local clients, use online job sites to bid for work, submit articles for sale on forums or advertise your freelance services around the globe.
4. Transport services
If you have a vehicle of any size, you can use it to start an informal transport service. People will always need to move from place to place, whether it’s from their house to work, to church, to the airport or somewhere else. Perhaps there are older folks in your area who would appreciate an accompanied trip to do their weekly shop, and a hand with the grocery bags. Be aware that you may need a special license to offer official services and so may be limited to an informal approach, for donations.
If you’re a linguist or a polyglot, your knowledge of other languages can be put to valuable use. Even if you don’t have the required level to perform instant translation, you can offer your skills in document translation, or combine them with freelance writing to produce content in multiple languages.
6. Reselling used books
More of a one-off option than a business, unless you can find sources for books, this one can still be a nice earner. People often prefer buying used books as they get the same thing at a reduced rate. If you have books which you are not using any more, you can sell them to make some money. In a student environment, there is frequently a great deal of money to be made in reselling each year’s textbooks to the following year’s intake. If you act as the middle-man for such a trade, you can earn a lot.
7. Selling educational supplies
Educational supplies such as stationery and second-hand textbooks, are always in demand. You don’t need to own a shop or a stand to do this: you can carry them about in a bag or store them in your room, and simply let your fellow students know that you have them for sale.
8. Website design
A business without a website is extremely unlikely to flourish and there are millions of bloggers and entrepreneurs around the world, all of whom need a website to tout their wares. As a designer, you can earn some legitimate cash building websites to order, maintaining existing sites or coding the back-end for bespoke systems.
9. Hair styling
People always want to look good. If you are a trainee or qualified hairdresser, you can operate your own static business from your home or offer your services as a travelling hair stylist.
10. Social media management
Social media is an increasingly important tool for reaching out to the world. Politicians use it for their campaigns, celebrities use it to keep up with their fans and businesses use it for customer relations. Many of these organisations and individuals look for a youthful, streetwise approach when implementing their social media strategy, so your age can be a significant advantage.
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11. Laundry services
Nobody likes doing laundry, but everyone loves fresh, clean clothes. This is where you come in: you wash and iron clothes for people and they pay you for your time, your effort and the cost of the wash. You can even offer to pick up and deliver their laundry, to make the process even easier and more attractive for your clients.
12. Custom T-shirt printing
People love wearing custom T-shirts with anything from their name to the name of their favourite musical group, organisation or even their girl- or boyfriend. You can print these T-shirts and get paid. If you have an artistic bent, you can even hand-make tie-dyed or screen-printed T-shirts with original designs and start your own fashion label!
One of the oldest money-earners for teens and students, baby-sitting is still a viable part-time job. Modern parents frequently both have jobs and find it difficult to balance work with their responsibilities at home. You can babysit their children and get paid. Bear in mind that professional baby-sitters (or nannies) have qualifications and licenses, so you may be limited to baby-sitting for family friends until you build a reputation for reliability and verifiable references.
14. Professional blogging
With advertising programs easily accessible to private individuals, blogging has become a money-making tool. Rather than sit at your computer all day, updating your Facebook status and reading what antics your friends have been up to, you can start a blog and begin to make some extra cash. The money is unlikely to appear instantly – blogging is a long-term prospect – but as your site gets more traffic and followers, you can earn a regular income.
15. Proofreading and editing
If your written language skills are excellent and you have the personality for it, editing and proofing may be right for you. An ear for tone, an eye for errors and the willingness to use a lot of virtual red ink are absolutely essential. If you’re a university student, you are surrounded by an active market for paper and thesis correction. If not, you can freelance with website owners and local businesses, or find websites dedicated to proofreading and editing; sign up and start earning.
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If you love the camera and have an eye for the artistic, you could make some money from your photography skills, instead of just posting selfies on Instagram! Selling your own photos is notoriously difficult, but you can earn a nice wage by offering your skills to local churches, fraternities and sororities, university and school sports events, weddings and anyone else hosting a special occasion. Even if you don’t have all the equipment to develop the pictures professionally, you can take them and pay someone else to do the processing.
17. Making and selling jewellery
Sites like Etsy have made it much simpler for individuals with craft skills to hawk their wares to a global clientele. One of the biggest markets is for hand-made jewellery, especially if it is made to order or personalised. Don’t limit yourself to the online market, though – wear your own work as advertising and make sure you let people know that they can buy your wares locally.
18. Car wash
It’s a traditional fund-raiser for sororities and fraternities, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t use it as the basis for your own local business. Washing cars may not be the most glamorous of occupations, but it’s a stable earner all year, especially if your prices are reasonable and you offer extras such as waxing and interior valeting. Even better, you can start small with a couple of local clients and build up over time, expanding your business to partner with friends who share the work and the income.
19. Computer and mobile phone repair
This is a tough market, with so many companies offering low-cost or even free repair, but the sheer number of people who own and use computers, laptops and mobile phones make it viable. Many of those people are unable to repair their gadget when it is faulty. You can offer them a personal service that is better than a faceless company, with lower call-out fees if they’re on the same campus.
20. Lawn and garden care
Teenagers and students have been mowing lawns since lawn-mowers were invented. The market may be saturated by local professionals who offer landscaping and other advanced services, but many families want a simple, more personal alternative. They don’t need someone to do all the fancy stuff; they just want someone to mow the lawn, and they don’t want to pay a lot for it. You can often undercut the professionals by offering a simpler, friendlier service.
Whatever it is you choose to do, the key to success is being good at it. Remember that word of mouth is the most powerful advertising tool in the world, so the better your service, the more likely you are to succeed. Also remember that, in some cases, you may have to spend money to make money!