Working and studying can go together if you plan to make extra cash to support yourself. Many students work to pay their tuition yearly, so it is doable to build a small business while in school.
The university is a community and a vast market where businesses belonging to students and non-students make a lot of profit. There are students, lecturers, and non-academic staff members, male or female, every one a potential customer.
If you’ve made up your mind to start a business, you need to ask yourself these questions.
- What do people need or want? Think of an everyday obstacle in your school, hostel, faculty, or department and find solutions. You can check Google and make it into a commodity.
- What can you invent or sell to make life easier, better, safer, fairer, or cheaper – identify it.
- Do you have a skill? What do you love doing? You can sell that.
So, what business ideas can I do?
The first approach to starting a business whether selling a product or service, is to find if there is a demand. People must want your commodity so that you can make sales and profit. After conducting your research, pick out the best in-demand business idea(s) on campus and build a business network with that.
There are different levels of investment or barriers to entry for many businesses, and they can be divided into low, medium, and high. The following are great business ideas to start on your university campus.
1. Trainer (skills acquisition)
School is one place where teaching happens inside and outside the classroom. As a student, if you have good skills in doing anything that can make you money, then, by all means, monetize or sell it. It could be knowledge of how to use software like Excel, Canva, Photoshop, etc.
Interestingly, you can also teach skills online or at venues in your university without renting a big hall.
2. Start a business with the skill you learned
Investment: Your skill, time, capital
In these times, it is becoming necessary for people to develop essential personal skills regardless of whatever they study in school. Mastery of handiwork can help define your financial future. It is wise to learn or hone a skill during school breaks or ASUU strikes so that when you return to school, you will have a way to make extra cash or save some money. This is where that skill comes in. If it’s tailoring, for instance, you can sew stylish Ankara tops and shirts to sell or render a service by taking photos, playing an instrument, etc.
3. Sell wallpaper, carpet, and bedsheets
Investment: Capital (average N15,000)
Selling wallpapers, carpets, bedsheets, and other household items is a huge business in school because they are in high demand. School is like another home, and students want to make it as homey as they can afford. You can make your own bedsheets by cutting up the material and sewing them in the market.
4. Photography/Photo and Video editing
Investment: Photoshop, iPhone, or Camera
Everyone appreciates a good picture or a well-edited video of their personal or school project. The point is that there will always be people needing this service, especially on campus. If you have a good phone or good camera lying around at home, you should learn how to use it or learn how to edit photos or videos.
While the photographer or filmmaker finishes shooting, you can edit their creative works.
5. Start a campus reaction show
Investment: Camera and host
People’s reactions to things have been an exciting type of content that everyone wants to see. Views, ideas, and opinions about news and events can be your content for your social media account. Using your school as a hunting ground, you can quickly grow a following of students’ reactions and opinions. It can serve as both an entertainment and community activist function. Everyone will be looking forward to featuring on your episodes or seeing themselves on your social media page. With time you can become a popular personality that can collaborate with brands.
6. Sell customized clothes, shoes, or bags
Investment: Printer, Heat press, Ink, etc.
Students always want to put a part of themselves into the things they own, from shirts to shoes, to bags, etc. You can help these students customize their items. It mustn’t necessarily be ink design as long as it’s made with something that stands out. You can receive bulk orders and design for groups etc.
7. On/Off-campus delivery service
Difficulty: Medium – high
Investment: 1 car or bike
If there are no reliable delivery services in your school but an idle car then this business is for you. Businesses like restaurants, food cafes, catering services, food hampers, or pizza places around your school can become your customers. All you need to do is strike a deal with them and get working. There might be a slight problem if your class time clashes with a delivery, for this reason, you can get a partner or have a stipulated time during the day and evening for deliveries.
8. Hostel cleaning and laundry service
Investment: Iron, washing machine, nylon packaging
Hostels are bound to get dirty after a long time when people don’t leave in them. The compounds get bushy, the halls dusty and you know where I’m going with this. There is going to be a lot to clean up at the beginning, the middle, and closing of the school session. If you are interested in this, make yourself available in school early before others return so you can offer your services. Make it cheap and affordable, like N100 per cloth, N150 per curtain or bedspread, etc.
9. Start a writing career on Wattpad, Medium
If you are someone who loves writing, you can consider becoming a non-fictional writer on Medium or a fictional writer on Wattpad. The goal is to attract an audience so that you can earn or get paid. As a Wattpad writer, you can choose to take your book off the site and sell it as an ebook on Kobo, Amazon, or the likes in the future.
10. Start an independent campus radio/podcast
Difficulty: Medium – high
Investment: Time, radio license
Starting a podcast is cheaper, unlike a campus radio that may require a license. This idea can be built on the principle of free and honest reporting. Your guests can be campus celebrities, activists, etc., people who can ginger their friends and fans to listen to your show. If you succeed in gathering a large audience, local brands will seek you to promote their products and services.
11. Host school parties and movie events
Investment: Ads, venue, equipment
You can make hosting parties and events in school a business if you do it right. By parties, I don’t mean where to get crazy drunk and do stupid things. I mean fun parties like game nights, movie nights, comedy nights, etc. You can bring students together to chill and have fun while charging them for tickets. Find a public space, give a contract to someone who can deliver snacks and drinks, and provide a movie screen or games people can play. You can do this constantly, weekly, or monthly.
12. Selling courseware materials
Investment: Money on publishing
Courseware materials can be put on sale by either lecturers or students. If your lecturer is not the stingy type who expects everyone to buy his textbook before awarding a grade, this is for you.
You can help your coursemates find rare course materials and sell them as either an ebook or a printout material. It is doable if there is high demand. Let’s say you have 200 coursemates, and you sell for ₦300 each; that’s ₦60,000. Suppose at least half buys the course, which will still give a considerable amount of N30,000. Think smart, not hard!
13. Become a DJ
Investments: DJ software, Beat enhancers, Headphones, Turntable, etc.
You can sell your services as a disc jockey (DJ) for your school events such as the red carpet, theatre premiers, clubs, etc. You can learn the ropes quickly if you are really interested in music, make your own beats, create a name, and market yourself. If you start by treating yourself like a brand, people will do too.
Get started by learning the software used by DJ.
14. Make your current program into a video course and sell it on Udemy
Since you have paid a tuition fee for a 4 or 5-year course in the university, how about helping others who cannot? You can make your course work, share your knowledge as whiteboard videos, and sell it on Udemy or any other course site. You already paid for the knowledge when you paid your tuition fees, there is no reason why you cannot resell that knowledge. Who knows, you may not build a career with it in the future so why don’t you start now by profiting from it? However, be smart; don’t put it all out there.