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10 Low-cost Online Business Ideas for College Students to Earn Pocket Money Without Skipping Classes [Updated]

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Are you looking for some cool business ideas for college students because you want to earn your own pocket money? Great! I am not going to disappoint you!

But before you take up any of these business ideas for college students, remember to do your own research. Ask yourself if this is something you would like to pursue in the future too, maybe in a refined form, and do you have enough free time for a part-time business?

Here I have shared 10 low-cost business ideas for college students to earn pocket money without skipping classes. The tried and trusted ideas will help you kick-start your first venture with little-to-no startup money. 

1 — Self-Publish E-books – One of The Productive Online Business Ideas for College Students

self publish a book

Rapid technological advancement has made it possible to publish e-books without hunting for publishers. The process of self-publishing involves the same method as publishing a physical book, minus the printing cost. 

With an ever-increasing number of people shifting to tablets, smartphones, or dedicated devices like Amazon Kindle, to read online stuff, the sale of digital books has skyrocketed in recent times.

To sell your e-book directly, you will have to register yourself on self-publishing websites like Kindle Direct Publishing, or NOOK Press. These leading e-book publishing portals pass on a royalty of 40 percent to 65 percent to authors. Sounds, lucrative, huh!

2 —   Become A Web Designer

web design trends 2019

As small and medium businesses are rushing to make their presence felt online, the demand for web designers is rising drastically.

If you are a student of computer science, well-versed in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, then you can easily enter the web development industry, which is growing at an exponential rate.

Web designing is one of the best low-cost online business ideas for college students, as there is a lot of money to make in this field.

To start your career as a web developer, pick up freelance projects from portals like Guru, Upwork, or And of course, there are many more ways you can try to get clients for your web development business.

3 — Sell Graphic Designs: One Of The Top-trending Low-cost  Online Business Ideas For College Students To Make Instant Money

graphic design trends 2019
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This is for the talented ones, who are Photoshop wizards. If you have impeccable designing skills, then starting an online designing career will be easy-breezy for you.

From icons to logos, t-shirt designs, and album covers, there are diverse opportunities for everyone in this niche. You can hand-pick projects from freelancing websites, or put your artwork for sale on design marketplaces like 99Designs, Zazzle, and BigCartel.

There are a plethora of options to sell your designs online, but don’t forget to verify the credential of the company before uploading your files.

4 — Be Born As An Instagram Blogger

be an instagram blogger to earn online

If you are pro-active on social media and have a penchant for photography, then you should start Instagram blogging without further delay. Instagram is right now one of the best platforms for bloggers.

You can use its fluid framework to make money by showcasing your photography skills.


People are habitually attracted to stunning images. So if your clicked pictures have that extra bit of visual appeal, it won’t be a big deal for you to draw traffic.

When you develop a solid audience base, you can become an affiliate marketer.  You can offer sponsored posts for brands wanting to sell their products to your audience.

Instagram blogging is one of the hottest low-cost online business ideas for college students to mint money from the net world.

Related reading: 10+ Instagram Post Ideas for Photographers To Get More Followers and Business

5 — Sell on Etsy


If you are an art college student, then Etsy is the place for you to be in! Etsy is basically a marketplace for unique handmade items, designed and created by independent artists. Like Amazon and eBay,  Etsy is also a prominent eCommerce platform, but its prime focus is on micro-business.

Etsy features a ready-to-use interface that lets you start an eCommerce store within minutes. Once you are on board, you can immediately start selling your handmade products from any place with internet connectivity.

From paintings to sculptures, clothing to earthenware, candies, toys, and candles, you can sell infinite items on Etsy. With an active buyer count of 28.6 million, there is always someone ready to buy your products. 

Related Post: 50 Actionable Tips to Promote Your Etsy Shop for Free

6 —  Essay Writing: The Most Suitable Low-cost Online Business Ideas For College Students To Earn Pocket Money

If you love writing essays, then you can start earning cash from the comfort of your home. Freelance essay-writing is one of the top-ranking low-cost online business ideas for college students, to earn easy pocket money.

There are three ways to do this.

The first way is to write papers and get paid by online essay writing companies.

Then the other way is to bid for projects on freelancing websites like Upwork or

And finally, the third way is to promote your writing service on various social media platforms.  There are innumerable writing groups on Facebook, where you can pitch for essay writing projects.

7 — Be An Online Tutor

teach online one of the easy business ideas for college students

Share your knowledge to teach people who are struggling in areas you excel in.  Thanks to free webinars, now you can make money by teaching from home at your convenience.

Online tutoring, in recent times, is fast becoming one of the most flourishing low-cost online business ideas for college students. You can promote your services at the college campus, canteen, library, and on social media. Trust me, you will be amazed by the enormous response! 

The scope of this online business is vast, as it isn’t limited to geographical boundaries. This means, when your online tutoring career takes off, you can even teach a New Yorker while being in Bangalore! For instance, as a GCSE English tutor, you can easily make a minimum of $10 – $20 per hour, teaching at your convenient time and from anywhere in the world. 

Also, consider launching a YouTube channel to upload video tutorials on any topics which you know really well! Focus on building a significant subscriber base. Then you can monetize the channel and earn from advertising, and affiliation.w

8- Offer Services as A Virtual Assistant

be a virtual assistant - one of the low cost business ideas for college students
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Definitely one of the easiest low-cost online business ideas for college students to try from their dorm rooms!

The job involves very basic services like monitoring e-mail communication of your client, managing the client’s social media account, drafting official letters, keeping track of his business activities, and the like.

You simply need to be methodical to make handsome money as a VA.

9- Make Easy Money Online As a Social Media Influencer

If you are already hanging out and socializing on social platforms, then make the most of your time and earn as a social media influencer.

There are small businesses looking to connect with micro-influencers to improve the visibility of their brands. You can become a micro-influencer on popular platforms like Instagram and Facebook, even with a fan following of 1000+.

Once your service gets recognized, there will be no dearth of lucrative offers from SMEs and even large organizations.

10- Start an Online Tech Support Consulting Business

tech support consulting

Small business owners working with limited resources and tech knowledge, often look for tech experts who can help them out as and when needed.

As a tech-savvy college student, you can connect with these entrepreneurs and help them solve common computer/laptop problems. You can answer their tech queries online, over a phone call, or upload videos to show them exactly what to do and how to do it. 

To become a successful tech consultant, you need to acquire one or more of these tech skills:-

  • Be an expert in Python
  • Know everything about machine-learning
  • Acquire knowledge about open-source platforms like Angular, Django, and Docker
  • Learn to confidently handle Amazon AWS

For the tech services rendered, you can charge a small fee which you can gradually hike once your customer base expands.

Related Post : How to Start an Online Consulting Business And Earn More Than Your White-Collar Job?

To Sum It Up

The above-mentioned low-cost online business ideas will enable you to successfully start an online business. But, remember, you are in a world that is changing at a fast pace. So you must learn to keep up with the changes. And yes, never stop learning. You will definitely prosper as an internet entrepreneur!

If you find the post useful and informative, please respond with a “Share” and help it reach more people, looking for such information.

Can I really make money following these business ideas for college students?

Yes, sure you can! But the thing is you shouldn’t think “money” from day one itself. Surely you can draw inspiration from top entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg, who started their business venture as college students. They launched their startups because they wanted to pursue their dreams with passion and practicality.

What are the popular products a college student can sell to fellow students?

The list is interesting. Few products that a college student wants and needs are bed risers, storage under the bed, a mini fridge, a mini vacuum cleaner, an ottoman with storage, power bank, noise cancelling headphone, a mini microwave, a tea/coffee maker, and a multi-purpose keyboard.

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