Tips For College/University Students Who Want To Venture Into Income Generating Activities

Last week, as I was watching a movie with my daughter, she received a call from one of her high school friends. I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation (I was seated right there). Apparently, the girl (let’s call her Terry), who is a 1st year student at the university was in the process of starting an income-generating activity.

Terry said she wanted to start a fish and chips business near the university. Her target market was university students. She needed to raise around $1000 to start the business. So, she was reaching out to her friends (including my daughter) to support her either by lending her money or as well-wishers.

My daughter who is also a first-year university student told Terry politely that she didn’t have money. She went on to explain that her allowance from her parents (us) was hardly enough to meet all her own needs (I smiled). My daughter then wished Terry well in her endeavors.

That conversation between my daughter and her friend Terry inspired me to write this post. I dedicate this post to all the students who want to venture into income-generating activities while in college/university.

Terry and my daughter are members of Generation Z (Gen Z). These are people born from 1997 to 2012. So, Gen Z is between 12 and 27 years old as of 2024. As you can see, many of these guys are in college/university.


According to a recent survey, Generation Z (Gen Z) has embraced entrepreneurship than any other generation in history.

Many Gen Z are entrepreneurs. They have an income-generating activity (side hustle). This includes those who are already working and those in college/university. 

So, I was not amazed that Terry wanted to start an income-generating activity (side hustle) even though she was just a first-year university student (about 19 years old).

Reasons Why Students in College/University Venture Into Income Generating Activities (Side Hustles)

The reasons why so many college/university students venture into income-generating activities (side hustles) are numerous. Below are some of the reasons:

  • You have a passion for business. You want to start small in college/university with the hope of turning your side hustle into a long-term business.
  • To supplement the allowances your parents/guardians/government give you.
  • To beat inflation – the inflation rate is so high that it makes everything expensive. You thus want to survive the tough economic times.
  • To afford the good things of life.
  • To pay for your upkeep; you might not have anyone to pay for your upkeep. 
  • To pay for your studies – you may have nobody to pay for your education.  
  • To become financially independent: you don’t want to rely on anyone financially now or in the future.
  • To apply the skills you’re learning in your degree course – e.g. IT, Interior design, writing skills, etc.
  • To build a professional network while still in college.

Tips For Students Who Want To Venture Into Income Generating Activities While in College/University

As you can see, the reasons students decide to start income-generating activities (side hustles) are numerous. 

Here are important tips for those who want to venture into income-generating activities, regardless of their reasons for doing so:

Remember That A Good Education is Your Foundation For A Better Future

Do you know that a college degree is vital to your success in life? I’m saying this as a teacher and parent. I believe that in today’s world, a good education is critical. 

Your college degree can open opportunities and doors for you in today’s workforce. It can also help you to impact the world and your family.

So, when you decide to venture into entrepreneurship as a student, avoid neglecting your studies. Your studies should come first – ensure you excel in them.

You know, a business could fail but your college degree certificate remains intact. So, even if your business fails, you can always look for opportunities using your college degree. In other words, you have something to fall back on when everything else fails.

Choose An Income Generating Activity That Aligns With Market Demands

Before you decide the income-generating activity you want to venture into, it’s important to do intensive research. Identify a service or product that is lacking in your college/university, or your area. In other words, try to be creative and innovative.

Your chances of success are high when you pick a service or products that are in demand.

Pick an Enjoyable Side Hustle

The side hustle you pick should make your life enjoyable. So, pick something you are interested in. This could be a hobby or skill you love. The side hustle you pick could be a service or sale of products.

The chances of succeeding while doing something you love are high. 

You make money and have fun at the same time. It’s a win-win for you.

Avoid Copying Other People’s Income Generating Activities

As I mentioned above, it’s best to be authentic when picking an income-generating activity. Do some due diligence to find out if people require the service or products you want to provide.

Please avoid copying other people’s income-generating activities. For instance, if your friend is doing well selling a certain product or service, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll also succeed. 

Well, you could succeed more than your friend but it’s important to do your research well. 

Also, do some soul-searching to find out if you really want to venture into that business. 

Choose An Income Generating Activity That Is Not Time-Consuming

Suppose you want to start an income-generating activity alongside your studies. In that case, go for a business that doesn’t consume a lot of your time. Your studies should consume more time than your business.

If you go for a business that requires a lot of your time, it could interfere seriously with your studies.

At the beginning of this post, I talked about Terry who wanted to start a fish and chips business outside the campus. Although this can be a good income-generating activity, I feel it may not be ideal for a student. 

It could be a time-consuming business that could distract Terry from her studies.

Go For A Side Hustle That Is Not Stressful

The last thing you need from your side hustle as a student is stress. Let’s look at the example of Terry. A fish and chips side hustle can be stressful for a student. 

For instance, she needs to source fish, potatoes, and other stuff. She needs to employ people to run the business while she is in class. 

There is also the possibility of the food going to waste, etc. 

So, this kind of business could be stressful for a student.

Avoid stressful businesses as they can affect your mental and physical health. If this happens, your studies could suffer.

Look For An Income Generating Activity That Requires No Capital Or Very Little Capital To Start

Remember you are a student, my dear. If you want to start a business, you’ll most likely ask your family members and friends to chip in. 

So, look for a side hustle that requires no capital or very little capital to start. By the way, such businesses are numerous, if you do your research well.

Going back to Terry, I feel that the $1000 she required to start a side hustle was too much for a student. She would end up putting a lot of strain on her family and friends. 

Also, the chances of raising that kind of money were low, unless she has well-off contacts.

And what if the business didn’t succeed? That would be a lot of money for a student to lose.

As A Student Try To Avoid Borrowing To Start a Side Hustle

Going back to Terry’s case, she wanted to borrow money from friends to start the fish and chips side hustle. I feel that’s a terrible mistake for a student to make. 

What if the business doesn’t pick? How will you repay the loan?

Borrowing to start a side hustle as a student could eventually ruin your relationship and reputation with your family and friends. 

You could also get stressed, thus interfering with your studies. This could happen if you’re unable to repay the money or if you’re unable to repay within the stipulated time.

Go For Virtual/Online Income Generating Activities

I think virtual businesses are the best for students. This is the kind of business that you mainly operate online from the comfort of your home or hostel.  

You don’t therefore need a physical office or shop. All you need is a phone and internet connection. You therefore save on costs such as commuting and rent.

Avoid Investing In Get Rich Quick Schemes

There are numerous get-rich-quick schemes out there. Please avoid them like the plague. These schemes promise easy money. Some may promise more than double returns on your investment with very little or no risk. 

Some of them may sound legit but they’re scams.

A good example of a get-rich-quick scheme is the Ponzi Scheme. They use new investors to pay old investors. 

You can lose your money when they have no new investors. 

I know many people in my country who lost money to Ponzi Schemes, including yours truly.

If an investment sounds too good to be true, it’s most probably a scam.

Keep Off High-Risk Investment Ventures

Some investment ventures are high-risk. In fact, some of them are so risky that they ask you to invest only money you can afford to lose. The last time I checked, most students can’t afford to lose even a dime. 

Other investment ventures are so risky that they can even interfere with your health.

So, keep off risky investment ventures even when they are very enticing.

Some of the risky investment ventures include the following:



Although some celebrities endorse this kind of investment, don’t be fooled. It still remains a risky investment venture. You see, the value of a cryptocurrency can change suddenly and dramatically, making it a very risky investment.

Forex Trading


The foreign currency markets are volatile. This means they’re likely to change unpredictably and rapidly, especially for the worse.



People suspect that it can be harmful to your health, especially the eyes.



Unfortunately, some students have made betting their side hustle. Betting is a risky affair and if you’re not careful, you could end up losing all your money. In addition, betting is not a business. It’s a risky thing that could lead to addiction, mental health issues, etc. 

Avoid Venturing Into Illegal Money-Making Activities

There are numerous illegal money-making activities out there. As a student, it’s best to treat such illegal money-making activities with the contempt they deserve. 

Some of these activities are money laundering and others are outright criminal activities. 

Avoid such illegal activities as they could land you in jail or worse still, lead to your death.

Here are some illegal money-making activities you should avoid:

Wash Wash Business

This is a money laundering activity. It promises to give you mind-boggling returns on your investment. 

Some of the Wash Wash businesses include the following:

  • Fake money scam: People print fake money and recruit people to buy it cheaply. For example, you buy fake money worth $1000 at the price of $100. You then sell the fake money to unsuspecting citizens. Remember a thief has 40 days.
  • Fake gold scam: Fraudsters recruit you to buy fake gold at a cheap price and sell it to unsuspecting people as real gold. It’s a crime. Avoid it by all means.

Drug Trafficking

Some students are lured into drug trafficking by drug lords. The students act as drug mules (they transport the drugs).

Some students also buy drugs and sell them to other people. Those who do that endanger their lives and the lives of others.

Drug trafficking is not a side hustle, it's a crime! Flee from such activities. It could land you in jail or worse still, lead to premature death. 

Remember that there are usually no shortcuts to making money. Venturing into get-rich-quick schemes and other risky ways of making money could land you in trouble not to mention financial distress.

Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your Side Hustle

I have met students who are ashamed of their side hustles. They thus don’t want to tell anyone about it. The reasons for being ashamed may vary from one person to the other.

I urge you not to be ashamed of your side hustle. Own it and stand tall! By so doing, people will come to respect you and your side hustle. Furthermore, how can you grow your business if you’re ashamed of it?

So, talk about your income-generating activity to all and sundry, even if it’s not glamorous. 

Advertise it by word of mouth, WhatsApp, social media, flyers, etc.

Incoming Generating Activities Students in College/University Can Venture Into

You now have some good tips on the dos and don’ts when venturing into an income-generating activity while in college/university. 

Let me now give you ideas of income-generating activities you can venture into as a student in college/university.

Offline Businesses For Students in College/University 

Offline businesses are activities that you do face-to-face with your clients. You can sell services or products in this type of business. 

Offline services you can offer as a college/university student

  • Photography: If you love photography and are good at it, you can do photo shoots for your friends. Young people are nowadays crazy about nice photos to put in their social media accounts such as Instagram.
  • Mobile hairdresser: If you’re good at plaiting or doing hair, this is a great business to venture into. You go to your client’s homes or hostels to offer your services.
  • Mobile makeup artist: Another great offline business for those with the necessary skills.
  • Mobile nail artist: If you have the necessary skills, this is a great business. Young people today are crazy about well-maintained nails.
  • Teach people a skill: Are you good at a certain skill? You could teach it to others at a fee. Such skills include swimming, playing an instrument, baking, etc.
  • Become a fitness trainer: If you like keeping fit, you could start a keep-fit business. You help people keep fit at a fee.

Offline Products You Can Sell As a College/University Student

  • Baked goods: If you are good at baking, you can bake all kinds of things and sell them in your neighborhood and to your fellow students. Some things you can bake include simple cakes, cupcakes, doughnuts, biscuits, etc.
  • Confectionery: Students usually have a few coins to spare. They can buy confectionery to make their day exciting. You can sell to them all sorts of confectionery including sweets, chocolate bars, candy, gum, lollipops, etc.
  • Art: Are you a good artist? Then you can draw things, frame them, and sell them to others. For instance, you can make cards, motivational quotes, inspirational quotes, etc.
  • Makeup: You can buy makeup from a wholesaler and sell it to fellow students and other people. Such makeup may include lip gloss, lip balm, nail polish, etc.
  • Hair Items: College/university students love hair items. You can sell them things like hair ties, scrunches, shower caps, hair bonnets, etc.
  • Socks: College/university students need lots of socks. You can sell socks to both women and men.

Online Income-Generating Activities You Could Venture Into As A College/University Student

There are numerous online income-generating activities you can venture into as a college/university student. It all depends on your interests and skills. 

Here are some income-generating activities you could venture into as a college/university student:

  • Freelance writing: If you are a good writer you could start a side hustle as a freelance writer. People can hire you to write articles for them. If you perform well, you could end up with multiple clients. You could later hire other writers to help you grow your business.
  • Photography: Suppose you’re a good photographer. In that case, you can take photos offline and also take photos to sell online. There are numerous places where you can sell your photos online such as Shutterstock.
  • Teach a language online: If you are good at a particular language, you can look for clients online. You can teach the language via Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet.
  • Become a content creator: Many university students are becoming content creators. You can make vlogs, videos, podcasts, etc for YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. You get paid when people view your content. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme but it can pay if you post great content and if you’re consistent.
  • Start a blog: If you like writing or poetry, you can start your own blog. If you consistently post valuable content to your blog, you can gradually earn from Google Adsense (adverts displayed on your blog). You can also earn from affiliate marketing (selling other people’s products). You can start your blog at – it’s a free platform by Google.

Legitimate Places College/University Students Can Get Online Money-Making Opportunities

There are many legitimate places where you can get online money-making opportunities. The best news is that you only need a smartphone, laptop, and internet to venture into some of these sites. 

After joining these sites, you can browse for money-making activities you’re interested in or opportunities that match your skills.

Here are some legitimate places you can find money-making opportunities online without paying a dime:

  • This site has thousands of money-making opportunities. If you’re good at what you do, you could acquire several clients.
  • Here, you can tell clients what you can do for them. If you’re lucky, several clients can hire your services. It’s a great place to start your income-generating activities.
  • This is a genuine survey site that pays you to do online surveys. 
  • It’s a free website hosting platform by Google. It’s a great place to start your own website/blog. After growing your site, you can earn money from adverts, affiliate marketing, selling your own products, etc.
  • Post videos or start a vlog. You can make money from Google Adsense Ads when your channel grows.

How You Get Paid For Online Income-Generating Activities

When signing up on some of the above sites, they require you to choose a payment method. In other words, the way your clients will pay you for your services. The payment method may depend on the country where you live. 

Below are some payment methods you could choose:

  • PayPal
  • Payoneer
  • Skrill
  • Mpesa: Upwork now accepts this payment method
  • Bank transfers

What To Do With Your Hard Earned Cash As A Student in College/University

I feel this article would be incomplete if I didn’t touch on what to do with your hard-earned cash. You have been working hard in school and doing a side hustle. Congrats!

It’s important to use your money wisely when you finally start generating income from your side hustle. Here is what happens when you spend your money wisely:

  • You can comfortably cover your essential needs.
  • You enjoy your college/university life.
  • You have money to grow your business.
  • You can save money for a rainy day.


I hope the insights from this article will be useful for any college/university student who would like to venture into income-generating activities. 

I wish you all the best as you venture into income-generating activities as a student in college/university. Cheers!


Also read: 11 Money Mistakes We Make In Our Lives; Make Wise Financial Decisions From Today Onward


I'm a life coach, teacher, mother, wife, writer, and blogger. I love writing about well-being, relationships, and family.

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