blog post

9 Side Businesses For Students To Start in 2023

Gerrard + Bizway Assistant
Last updated: 
August 21, 2023
5 min read

Starting a side business during your college years offers an invaluable experience that goes beyond the classroom. With today's technological advancements, students can access a plethora of tools and platforms that make launching a business more straightforward than ever before. Here’s a detailed breakdown of nine promising side businesses for students:

1. Niche Resources Website (e.g. Notion templates and tutorials)

Identify your niche

Determine a topic or tool you're well-versed in, like Notion. These platforms often lack extensive, user-friendly resources, making it an ideal niche.

Build the website

Utilize platforms like WordPress or Wix to set up your site. Make sure it’s user-friendly and mobile-optimized.

Provide value

Rather than just offering templates, include detailed tutorials, use-case scenarios, and tips. This will set your site apart as an authority in the niche.


  • Regularly update with new content or templates.
  • Engage with the community through forums or social media for feedback.

2. Print-on-Demand Shop

Design original products

Use graphic design software like Canva or Adobe Illustrator to create unique designs based on trending topics or evergreen subjects.

Choose a platform

Platforms such as Teespring or Redbubble allow you to upload your designs, and they handle printing and shipping.

Market your shop

Engage potential customers on social media platforms. You can also collaborate with influencers in related niches for promotion.


  • Monitor sales to identify best-selling designs and iterate.
  • Offer seasonal designs for holidays or events.

3. Freelance Automation or GPT-related Services

Acquire skills

Educate yourself on automation tools like Zapier or learn about GPT-related platforms.

Offer tailored solutions

Instead of generic services, offer solutions targeting specific industry problems.

Network and advertise

Join related forums, Facebook groups, or platforms like Upwork to showcase your expertise.


  • Stay updated on the latest in automation and GPT trends.
  • Consider package deals for businesses.

4. Faceless YouTube Channel

Decide on content

This could range from animations, compilations, tutorials, or voice-over led videos.

Consistency is key

A regular uploading schedule increases your channel's visibility.

Monetize your channel

Apart from YouTube's partner program, consider sponsorships or affiliate marketing.


  • Engage with subscribers in the comments.
  • Analyze performance metrics to guide content creation.

5. Directory Website (e.g. AI tools directory)

Identify a gap

Select a rapidly-growing industry lacking a comprehensive tools directory.

Build the directory

Prioritize user experience. Ensure easy navigation and clear categorization.

Update and curate

Regularly add new tools and update existing entries to remain relevant.


  • Solicit feedback for continuous improvement.
  • Consider premium listings for revenue.

6. Industry, Tech or Niche Newsletter (sponsored placements)

Choose your niche

Focus on industries or technologies you’re passionate about.

Curate content

Provide insightful summaries, latest news, or upcoming trends.

Gain subscribers

Promote your newsletter through social media and collaborations. Over time, consider sponsored placements as a revenue stream.


  • Engage subscribers with polls or feedback forms.
  • Stay consistent in your posting schedule.

7. Online Course

Identify a topic

Select a subject you’re proficient in, ensuring there's an audience for it.

Design the course

Break down the material into digestible modules. Use platforms like Udemy or Teachable.

Market and refine

Promote your course through webinars, social media, or blog posts. Take feedback seriously and continuously improve.


  • Offer free mini-courses or content to attract potential buyers.
  • Engage with students in forums or Q&A sessions.

8. Event Photographer or Videographer

Build a portfolio

Capture diverse events to showcase your versatility.


Connect with event planners or offer services at college events.

Invest in equipment and software

Quality is crucial. Ensure you have reliable equipment and editing software.


  • Collaborate with other photographers or videographers for larger events.
  • Offer packages catering to different event sizes.

9. Social Media Manager

Master platforms

Understand the nuances of major social media platforms and their algorithms.

Offer packages

Design service packages, from content creation to full account management.

Market your services

Reach out directly to businesses or use platforms like LinkedIn to find clients.


  • Stay updated on social media trends.
  • Consider specialization, like Instagram growth or Facebook ad campaigns.

To sum it up, while college life can be busy, the digital age offers students numerous opportunities to embark on profitable side ventures. The key is identifying your passion and leveraging the available tools to transform it into a thriving business.

Getting Started: Basic Essentials

Starting a side business as a student can be both exciting and overwhelming. Here are some essentials to help you establish a strong foundation:

1. Business Plan: Every side venture needs direction. While you might not need a detailed, 50-page document, a concise and clear business plan can guide your efforts. It should outline your business goals, target market, competition, marketing strategy, and financial projections.

2. Professional Workspace: Even if your "office" is a corner of your dorm room, having a dedicated space for your business helps foster focus and productivity. Make sure it's organized, well-lit, and free from unnecessary distractions.

3. Professional Email and Domain: Your business should have a separate email from your personal or academic one. If you're serious about branding, consider investing in a domain name. It not only adds credibility but also gives you the potential to build a business website in the future.

4. Bizway – Your AI Business Companion: Planning and research can be daunting, especially when juggling academic commitments. Enter Bizway, an AI business planning platform tailored to streamline these processes. Bizway serves as a hub for all your research, planning, and strategic thinking, assisting in crystallizing your vision into actionable steps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How much time should I dedicate to my side business while studying?Answer: The amount of time varies based on the nature of the business and your academic workload. Start by allocating specific hours each week and adjust as needed. Remember, your studies should remain a priority.

2. Do I need a substantial initial investment to start a side business?Answer: Not necessarily. Many side businesses, especially those listed in this article, require minimal to moderate investment. Platforms like Bizway can also help optimize costs with its insights.

3. How do I manage the legal aspects of my side business?Answer: Depending on the nature of your business, you might need permits or licenses. Research local business regulations or consult with a mentor or legal expert. Some platforms, including Bizway, offer general guidance on these aspects.

4. What if my side business fails?Answer: Like any venture, there's always a risk. However, as a student, this is a valuable learning experience. Assess what went wrong, gather insights, and use them as a foundation for future endeavors.

5. Can I partner with fellow students in my side business?Answer: Absolutely! Collaborating with peers can combine skills, share workloads, and even make the venture more enjoyable. Ensure clear communication and consider drafting a basic partnership agreement to avoid misunderstandings.

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