Top 12 Business Ideas for College Students in UK USA

College Business Ideas

Starting a business in college can be an excellent way to earn some extra cash, gain valuable experience, and prepare for the future. 

While in college, this can be an exciting and rewarding experience. 

With the right idea, determination, and hard work, college students can turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

In this guide, we will explore the 12 types of businesses you can start as a college student!

So let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Online tutoring

Online Tutoring

College students can offer tutoring services to high school or middle school students in subjects they excel in, such as mathematics, science, or language.


College students can earn money by tutoring students online in subjects they excel.


The average hourly rate for online tutoring is $40 in the USA. While in the UK, the average hourly rate for online tutoring is £20 to £60 per hour

Social Media Management

College students can earn money by managing social media accounts for businesses.


The national average hourly wage for a social media manager in the United States is $22 per hour, while in the UK, On average, the hourly wage for a social media manager in the UK can range from £15 to £30 per hour. 


However, this can vary depending on factors such as experience level, location, and industry.


Some social media managers may charge as low as $15 per hour, while others with more experience and expertise may charge upwards of $100 or more.

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Freelance Writer

Freelance Writing

College students with strong writing skills can provide freelance writing services to businesses or individuals. College students can earn money by writing articles, blog posts, or other content for businesses and websites.


The average hourly rate for freelance writers in the US is around $24 per hour, while in the UK, it’s around £15 to £50 per hour. 


However, this can range from as low as $10 per hour for beginners to as high as $100 or more per hour for experienced writers who specialize in high-end content such as technical or academic writing.


Freelance writers often have fluctuating incomes depending on the amount of work they have and the rates they charge, so it’s essential to factor in the possibility of variable pay.

Web Design Services 

College students can create and design websites for small businesses, non-profits, or individuals.


Median hourly rate for a web designer in the US is around $25 per hour, ranging from $15 to $49 per hour, while in the UK, it’s around £20 to £50 per hour.


Additionally, freelance web designers may charge differently than those who work for a company or agency. It’s also important to note that some web designers may charge a flat project fee instead of an hourly rate.

Before starting a business, it is essential to ask yourself the following questions to determine if the business is right for you:

1. Do you have a passion for the business idea?
2. Do you have the necessary skills and knowledge to run the business?
3. Is there a market demand for your product or service?
4. Can you commit the necessary time and resources to make the business successful?

Cleaning Services

House Cleaning Services

College students can offer house cleaning services to busy families or individuals who do not have time for household chores.


According to a survey by HomeAdvisor, house cleaners in the USA earn an average of $160 per cleaning.


In the United States, house cleaners charge between $20 and $40 per hour.


However, rates can be higher in areas with a higher cost of living or for more specialized cleaning services, such as deep cleaning or move-out cleaning.


Additionally, some house cleaners may offer flat rates for specific jobs, such as a certain amount for cleaning an entire house or specific rooms. 

Virtual Assistance

College students can earn money remotely by providing administrative support to businesses or individuals.

According to the data from ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate for a virtual assistant in the USA is around $20 per hour.

However, rates can range from $10 to $45 per hour based on factors such as the complexity of the tasks, the level of experience, and the specific industry. 

Virtual assistants with specialized skills such as social media management or bookkeeping may charge higher rates. Additionally, virtual assistants may charge a flat monthly fee for ongoing services rather than an hourly rate.

Pros and Cons:


1. Opportunity to be your own boss and make your own decisions.
2. Potential for financial freedom and flexibility.
3. Opportunity to pursue your passion and create something meaningful.


1. Risk of failure and financial loss.
2. Long hours and hard work required.
3. Potential for stress and uncertainty.

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Photography Services

College students passionate about photography can offer photography services for events such as weddings or parties.

College students can earn money by taking photos for events or businesses.

According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for a photographer in the United States is around $25 per hour. However, this can range from $10 to $75 per hour. 

Wedding photographers charge more, with an average hourly rate of $50 to $200 per hour. 

Freelance photographers may also charge a day rate, ranging from $300 to $3,000 per day, depending on their experience level and the type of photography.

Graphic Design Services

College students with creative skills can provide graphic design services, such as logo design or branding, to businesses or individuals.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for graphic designers in the United States in May 2020 was $52,110.

The average hourly rate for a freelance graphic designer in the United States is around $50-$75 per hour.

However, rates can vary depending on various factors, such as the designer’s level of experience, the complexity of the project, and the geographic location. Some graphic designers charge a flat rate per project, while others charge an hourly rate.

Clients must clearly communicate their budget and project needs with the designer to ensure a fair rate and successful project outcome.

TIP: Have the right target market for your business. It’s important to figure out your ideal customer. When you’re working towards establishing your business, makes things both easier and harder at the same time.

Event Planning Services

College students can offer event planning services for weddings, birthdays, or corporate events.

Event planning services can charge their clients differently, such as a flat fee, a percentage of the total event cost, or an hourly rate.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for meeting, convention, and event planners was $25.81 as of May 2020.

However, the hourly rate for event planners can vary depending on their experience, location, and the type and size of the event they are planning.

However, some event planners may charge a flat fee for their services, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity and size of the event.

Additionally, event planners may charge a percentage of the total cost, ranging from 10% to 20%.

Food Delivery Services

College students with transportation can offer food delivery services for local restaurants or catering companies.

College students can earn money by delivering food, groceries, or packages. Popular delivery services in the USA include DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates, while Deliveroo and Uber Eats are popular in the UK.

On average, food delivery persons in the US make around $10-20 per hour, but this can vary based on location and other factors.

According to, the median annual salary for a food delivery driver in the United States is around $33,000 as of September 2021.

However, depending on various factors, this can range from around $25,000 to over $43,000.

It’s important to note that these figures are estimates and can vary based on the individual circumstances of each delivery driver.

Trends & Challenges:

Some current trends in starting a business for college students include the rise of e-commerce, the popularity of social media marketing, and the growth of the gig economy.

Dog Walker

Pet-Sitting and Dog-Walking

College students who love animals can offer pet-sitting and dog-walking services to pet owners in their community.

College students can earn money by caring for pets while their owners are away. According to a survey by, pet sitters in the USA earn an average of $14.55 per hour.

However, this can vary depending on several factors, such as location, experience, and service type.

For example, if the pet sitter offers additional services such as dog walking, administering medication, or overnight stays, they may charge a higher rate. 

Additionally, pet sitters with more experience and certifications may charge more than those just starting. Finally, it’s important to note that some pet sitters may charge a flat rate per day or visit instead of an hourly rate.

Personal Shopping

College students can earn money by helping people shop for clothes or other items.

The hourly rate can range from $25 to $100, with the average rate being around $50-$60 per hour.

Personal shoppers may also charge a flat fee per project or a percentage of the total cost of the items purchased.

Some personal shoppers also offer package deals or monthly retainer services for clients needing ongoing shopping and styling assistance.

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Website URLs that you may find helpful to start a Business:

Some resources for college students in the USA who are interested in creating a business:


Small Business Administration (SBA): 

The SBA provides various resources for small business owners, including college students. 


Their website has information on how to start and manage a business, access to funding opportunities, and a local assistance directory to find resources in your area. 





SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides accessible business mentoring and education services. 


They offer workshops, webinars, and online resources to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. 




National Association of Small Business Owners (NASBO): 

NASBO is a membership-based organization that provides resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities for small business owners.


They offer discounts on business services and products and access to educational resources and events.




Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): 

SBDCs are partnerships between the government and local universities or colleges that provide business assistance to entrepreneurs. They offer free one-on-one consulting, training programs, and access to funding opportunities. 




State and Local Economic Development Offices: 

State and local economic development offices provide resources and support to businesses in their region. They can help with business planning, access to funding, and connections to other resources in the community. 


Check with your state or local economic development office for more information.


Some resources for college students in the UK who are interested in starting a business:


Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme: 

The Prince’s Trust offers a program for young people aged 18-30 who want to start a business. They provide training, mentoring, and funding to help young entrepreneurs get their companies. 




Startup Britain: 

Startup Britain is a national campaign to encourage entrepreneurship in the UK. They offer a range of resources and support for aspiring entrepreneurs, including events, training, and networking opportunities. 




Business is Great: 

Business is Great is a UK government campaign to promote entrepreneurship and support small businesses. They offer a range of resources and support, including information on funding, training, and networking opportunities. 




National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE): 

NACUE is a membership organization for student enterprise societies in the UK. They offer a range of resources and support for students who want to start their businesses, including training, events, and networking opportunities.




These websites provide information on entrepreneurship, small businesses, and the job market. 


Starting a business as a college student can be a rewarding and beneficial experience. Not only can it provide valuable entrepreneurial skills, but it can also have social, economic, and societal benefits.

Building a supportive network of individuals, such as joining entrepreneurship clubs or attending networking events, can offer advice, feedback, and connections.

Furthermore, starting a business can contribute to the local community by creating jobs, supporting local suppliers, and addressing unmet needs.

In economics, college students who start a business can gain valuable experience and potentially create wealth if their business is booming while contributing to economic growth by creating jobs and paying taxes.

Lastly, starting a business can benefit society by creating innovative solutions to social and environmental issues and inspiring others to pursue entrepreneurship, ultimately contributing to a culture of innovation and creativity.

I hope this helps!

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

How I Started 3 Businesses In College | Day In The Life Of A University Entrepreneur – YT Channel ‘Jensen Tung’

30 Best Small Business Ideas for Students | Talent & Skills HuB – YT Channel ‘Talent and Skills HuB’

A. There are many business ideas that college students can consider, such as tutoring, freelancing, e-commerce, event planning, social media management, and more. It’s important to research and evaluate different ideas based on your skills, interests, and market demand.

A. You can research the market demand for a business idea by conducting market research, analyzing industry trends, studying competitors, talking to potential customers, and using online resources such as market research reports, industry publications, and social media listening tools.

A. Some potential risks and challenges of starting a business as a college student may include lack of experience, limited financial resources, time constraints due to academic commitments, competition, legal and regulatory requirements, and managing a work-life balance. It’s important to carefully assess and plan for these challenges when researching business ideas.

A. There are various options for financing a business as a college student, including using personal savings, seeking funding from friends and family, applying for grants or scholarships, crowdfunding, obtaining a small business loan, or partnering with other individuals or businesses. It’s important to thoroughly research and understand the financial options available to you and create a realistic budget for your business.

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