University is more expensive than it’s ever been before, and a student loan doesn’t get you as far as it used to. 

It’s not just tuition fees, either. When you factor in rent, food, books, and other “academic activities”, one thing becomes quite clear; students need money. 

So whether you’re starting a side hustle to help pay those mounting expenses, looking for something to do during the summer break, or you’re just getting an early start on starting your future business, here are some business ideas for students:

  • Tutoring
  • Craft and design
  • Upcycling
  • Reselling
  • Start your own social media channel
  • Freelancing
  • Courier service


Tutoring is a great way to make some extra cash that can turn into a career later. If not, it’s still great for your CV, and it’ll improve your own expertise in the subject. 

You can offer your services to other students at your university, or you can register online with tutoring sites that will connect you with students all over the country. 

Some popular tutoring sites to look into are:

Most services will pay you around £20 – £30 per hour, but some sites take substantial amounts of commission so check that out first. 

The beauty of tutoring is really its flexibility. You can do as much or little as you like, and you can fit it around your schedule. 

For more detailed information about becoming a tutor, check out our article, “How to be a freelance tutor”.

Craft and design

Selling your craft and design work is a great idea if it’s related to your course, or if it’s just a hobby you do in your spare time.

You can sell your products online through sites like Etsy, approach local businesses to sell your products, or rent a stall at some craft fairs. 

For a more detailed guide on starting a craft business, check out our article, “How to start a craft business”.


Upcycling is the business of taking old, unwanted, or discarded materials and turning them into something new to sell for profit. 

It’s environmentally friendly and has low start-up costs because you’ll likely get your materials for next to nothing. Ask your friends, classmates, and family to keep you in mind whenever they’re doing a big clearout and see if there are any hidden gems you can use.

You could even double up as a removal service for other students. Offer to remove old furniture and unwanted decor for a fee, then upcycle it into something new and sell it for a tidy profit.


This one is similar to upcycling but without having to alter the product in any way. You’ll just be looking for good quality products, like vintage clothes, at bargain prices, then selling them online for a profit. 

Again, you can ask your friends and family for donations, but you should also browse charity shops and online marketplaces. 

Once you’ve found a bargain, just sell it online on sites like:

Start your own social media channel

If you have a large following on Instagram, you might consider becoming an online influencer. You could base your channel around anything really, but the big ones are usually fashion, food, travel, beauty products, and venues. 

As you build your following, you should be able to get free tickets or products in exchange for a spot on your channel. Channels with large enough followings will actually be paid for reviews and sponsorship deals. 

Alternatively, if video content is more your thing, you could consider starting a YouTube channel. With a YouTube channel, you can monetise your videos after a certain number of viewers and find independent sponsors too. 

YouTube is also the second largest search engine, after Google, so you could appear in search engine results if you gear your content toward highly searched terms. 


Freelancing in your chosen field is a great option. It will allow you to build up your network, gain experience, and make some money in a job that you could easily continue as a full-time career after you’ve graduated. 

Some common freelancing gigs you could find are:

There are loads of great freelancing sites you can register with to find work and advertise yourself on. Alternatively, you could find a freelance agency and work for them on a contract basis. 

Courier service  

Delivery services are always looking for freelance couriers, making it a great way for students to make some money.  

You can sign up for delivery agencies like Deliveroo or Amazon. They’ll provide you with a steady flow of work that you can do whenever you have the time. 

Alternatively, you could set up your own courier service from scratch. Advertise your business on freelance sites, around your campus, or on social media. Your best bet is probably to start small with shorter deliveries. Then, once you’ve gained some trust and reputation for your service, start reaching out to different areas and customers. 

With enough orders you could recruit other couriers and, before you know it, you’ll have started your own small business. 

Manage your side hustle with a simple app

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. When you’re starting your own business, it’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate from day one – to save yourself from time-consuming admin headaches further down the line. 

When you sign up for a Countingup business current account, you’ll receive free accounting software with a range of time-saving tools. 

Simply log into the app to create and send invoices, get financial insights, and confidently manage your new business finances Find out more here.