Top 26 small business ideas to get started for students in 2022

Top 26 small business ideas to get started for Students in 2022

Contrary to popular belief, many ways to start a business allow you to focus less on logistics and start-up costs and more on getting your ideas off the ground. Let's overcome the first mental hurdle: "I want to start a business, but I have no ideas."

These 26 small business ideas are a great entry point for newbies, beginners, or anyone with a busy schedule, allowing you to start a side business without dropping everything else.

Top 26 small business ideas to get started for students in 2022

  1. Start a dropshipping business
  2. Design and sale of printed t-shirts on demand.
  3. Launch your own book
  4. Create digital products or online courses
  5. Sell ​​posters and prints on demand
  6. Start a charity business
  7. Sell a service
  8. Create an online fashion boutique
  9. Sale of handmade and homemade products.
  10. Build an audience you can monetize
  11. Start a pet business
  12. Create a membership program
  13. Join an affiliate marketing program
  14. Become a virtual event planner
  15. Start a landscaping business
  16. Test application development
  17. Offers daycare
  18. Start an online cafe
  19. Become a handyman
  20. Sell your photography
  21. Become a social media management consultant
  22. Start a beauty business
  23. House and pet care
  24. Phone Accessories
  25. Sell ​​subscription boxes
  26. Invest in vending machines

1. Start a dropshipping business

Buy stock, store, pick up, pack, and ship. Managing inventory is a big commitment when running a business.

Dropshipping is a low-cost and easy business idea and the first of our good business ideas. A dropshipping model involves storing and shipping inventory on your behalf by a third-party supplier. It is one of the best businesses to start with because it has low overhead, requires no intervention, and is scalable.

You don't have to handle any products yourself; you must make the sales and pass the orders on to your supplier.

You can select products from one or more suppliers in your online store under a theme that focuses on a specific niche, such as equipment for yoga enthusiasts or water bowls for dog owners. When a customer buys a product from you, the order is sent to your supplier, who completes the order on your behalf.

There are local and foreign suppliers you can work with as long as you can build a relationship with them based on trust – an unreliable supplier will reflect poorly on your brand.

Dropshipping is a great way to test the product's suitability and launch a business before investing in your original creations. Just make sure you always ask for a sample to ensure your supplier is reliable, and the quality of the products is suitable for selling to your customers.

2. Design and sell printed t-shirts on demand

Another dropshipping model, print-on-demand, puts inventory, shipping, and fulfillment in the hands of a third-party supplier. The difference between this business model and the dropshipping one above is that you create your products instead of using a dropshipping model.

You can think of clever developer slogans or references that resonate with cat owners. If there's passion and pride within a community, there's a potential t-shirt business you can start.

There are many freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Dribbble, and 99Designs where you can find a designer to work with, even if you are not a designer.

With many print-on-demand services, you pay per product, so the base price per unit will be higher than if you ordered in bulk. But the upside is that if a specific t-shirt design doesn't sell, you still need to pay for the item (only the design if you outsource it).

You can even use t-shirt mockup templates, so you don't have to spend extra money on an entire photo shoot for each new design.

You can work with various print-on-demand platforms, many of which can be integrated into your Shopify store for seamless order fulfillment. However, always ask for a sample of your product (often offered at a discount) to ensure your custom products look good.

3. Launch your own book

A book is just another kind of product when you think about it. As such, you can create one to meet specific market demands.

Cookbooks, picture books, comics, poetry books, picture books, board books, and novels – if you have the knowledge or the creativity, you can take a variety of original books to market. The options are endless, so it is one of the best business ideas.

Self-publishing using print-on-demand is a relatively safe way to get started. In addition, it allows you to control how your book looks and how it looks.

Lulu xPress and Blurb are popular platforms for creating, ordering and distributing your books as physical and digital products. You can also sell it on third-party marketplaces like Amazon or Powell's.

Consider pre-selling or crowdfunding your book idea to make sure there is demand and secure a certain amount of sales so you can feel confident placing a bulk order.

Launching your book can be a great way to monetize a blog if you have or want to start one.

4. Create digital products or online courses

Digital products like music, courses, podcasts, and templates are unique to this list of low-investment small business ideas. Unlike the others, they are not tangible. There are no recurring manufacturing or shipping costs to worry about, so your margins can stay high, making it another no-brainer for being one of the best deals.

The answers range from original instrumental beats to stock photos that can be licensed to other creators, information products, and templates that help people hone their skills in a specific field.

If you have a talent that can be turned into a digital product, consider packaging it into a new revenue stream.

Shopify has a free digital downloads app that allows you to offer digital products in your store just as quickly as physical products.

5. Sell posters, greeting cards, and prints on demand

If you are artistically inclined or know a camera, you can dropship using a print-on-demand business model to allow others to own a piece of your work physically. Just make sure you have the rights to the content you want to print or use public domain assets that can be freely monetized.

If you already have an engaged online following, say you're a cartoonist or urban photographer, you can try this small business idea.

Depending on your printer, you can turn your work into products like posters, framed wall art, or even greeting cards. There are many inexpensive digital templates and mockup generators like Placeit that you can use to showcase your products without printing each item and doing your own photo shoots.

6. Start a charity business

Starting a nonprofit organization isn't the only path you can take to help fund a better world.

Being on a mission to support a business and reserve some profits for a cause gives social entrepreneurs a unique way to position their businesses in the marketplace while addressing the issues that matter most.

While many social businesses offer their original products, you can also take any of the low-cost small business ideas above and partner with a nonprofit or take this social good into your own hands, as long as you're transparent about how you do it.

As part of your marketing, you can share your customers' impact by supporting your business, such as a blog post covering your work in the community or a real-time impact calculator on your website.

The Give & Grow Shopify app makes it easy to partner with charities and integrate your mission into your business. You can set it up to donate a specific amount or percentage of sales or ask your customers to add a donation at checkout.

7. Sell a service

Offering services is not passive but can be a lucrative way to get a job. With service-based small business ideas, "time" is your inventory and your most significant investment. However, that makes it easier to get going if you have skills in demand.

Writers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, SEO professionals, cleaning service providers, dog walkers, real estate professionals, and more can build a business around their skills. You can offer these skills as an ongoing service or start a consulting company that advises on projects.

A photographer, for example, might attend a local event while selling prints online through their Instagram account. A freelance writer can sell a high-converting sales copywriting copy file. Combining your service-based business with physical products can give you another source of income that is separate from your time.

You can use BookThatApp or Acerill Appointment Booking for Shopify so customers can easily schedule a session or consultation or buy tickets to a class with you through your store.

8. Create an online fashion boutique

If you love fashion and share your style online, consider creating your fashion boutique. You don't have to become a fashion designer; you can select items from other vendors in your online store (using the drop-shipping model we discussed earlier).

Dresses, shoes, swimwear, accessories, and more: You can create your fashion brand using one of several product sourcing apps, model them yourself with product photos and social media posts, and build an online following like a trendsetter. Apps like MyOnlineFashionStore allow you to import various styles to your Shopify store.

9. Sell handmade and homemade products

If you're a manufacturer, whether you make soap, candles, sauces, or pottery, you're in a unique position to find a small business idea because product development and procurement are literally in your hands.

Unlike many other ideas, you must consider shipping and inventory management. Still, you can start simply by ordering or with a small batch until you generate consistent sales.

Many creators on Shopify started with a home business idea, selling on Etsy or eBay or to friends and family through word of mouth. They became full-time small business owners after establishing a business demand—for their products.

Just be aware of the regulations in your product category, especially for anything customers will eat, inhale, or put on their skin.

10. Create an audience you can monetize

In today's connected world, the ability to capture and hold the attention of others is an advantage. It's one that many businesses are willing to pay for and one that many creators can turn into a multi-income business.

Whether you choose to grow your following on YouTube, Instagram, or a blog (ideally a combination of different channels), you have many avenues to monetize your audience:

  • Sponsored posts on behalf of brands
  • Become an influencer
  • Sell ​​physical or digital products
  • Patreon
  • A combination of the above

Taking an audience-first approach to your small business idea means you're playing the long game (it may be months before you figure it out). But you don't need millions of followers to do it: Instagrammer Kat Gaskin, for example, pulled off a $10,000 product launch with just 3,000 followers for her brand, The Content Planner.

11. Start a pet business

The pet industry is full of opportunities for small business ideas. And it's an industry worth over $100 billion, so there's a lot of demand for it. Your pet business could be product- or service-based: selling accessories, food, and toys or offering grooming, walking, or training expertise.

Perkie Prints manufactures custom-printed pet products, from clothing to framed prints, plus fun projects.

12. Create a membership program

Online memberships are more than just an excellent new business idea that materialized from people having to stay home during the COVID-19 crisis. They work like a subscription-based business: customers make recurring payments in exchange for a virtual product or service.

Memberships are great for managing members-only access to content on a website and even for brick-and-mortar businesses that offer guided sessions online. Yoga studios, gyms, clubs, and art schools are examples of companies that can easily take advantage of this business model.

Since this content is behind a gate only paying subscribers can access, you can host exclusive live streams in addition to (or instead of) downloadable content.

Regardless of your route, record in a quiet space so the audio is clear and distraction-free.

And it's easy to start your membership-based business on Shopify. Set up a new product just like a physical effect, but create a name and description that tells people about your membership services.

13. Join an affiliate marketing program

Affiliate marketing refers to a performance-based marketing tactic where a business pays people, also known as affiliates, to promote and sell products for them. Every time an affiliate brings in a new customer, they receive a commission from the business.

Affiliates can promote products on blogs, social media accounts, websites, or communities. For many, affiliate marketing is a low-cost sideline that becomes profitable over time.

To join an affiliate program, follow these steps:

  • Find an affiliate program on sites like ShareASale, CJ, or LinkShare.
  • Choose the offers you want to promote.
  • Get an affiliate link.
  • Promote that link through your assets.

Commission rates vary by company and offer. You can earn as little as 5% on each sale, while some commissions can go as high as 50% if you're promoting a class or event. Some affiliate programs also offer a flat fee instead of a percentage.

14. Become a virtual event planner

You can start a virtual event planning business if you enjoy organizing and connecting people. With a growth of 23% per year, the significant increase in business events and the adoption of virtual tools to conduct meetings will keep the development of this market high. As a virtual event planner, you create virtual conferences, networking opportunities, and educational sessions for companies worldwide.

As Facebook moves into the metaverse, event planners will have new opportunities. Space, for example, has raised capital to expand its metaverse-themed virtual events business. It is a good idea to enter the virtual event planning industry if you want job security in the future.

15. Start a landscaping business

Do you have a love for nature and outdoor design? Landscaping, also known as lawn care, means modifying and maintaining the visible features of an area of ​​land. You are responsible for creating beauty from natural and living elements such as flowers, grass, and trees.

The US landscaping market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% through 2025. There is a growing demand for residential exterior yard maintenance in younger households nationwide. Competition in the market is moderate. You'll be up against leading landscaping companies like TruGreen and smaller local service providers.

16. Test Application Development

Building a million-dollar app takes work—99.5% of consumer apps crash. Most applications do not fit the product market. They need a ton of marketing. And they are expensive to create.

Why bother including this on our list of ideas for small projects? What companies? Because the development of applications for the consumer is one of many paths for entrepreneurs. New apps are popping up daily for the Shopify App Store, with a marketplace of motivated businesses eager to find the necessary tools. Sounds interesting? See How to Build a Shopify App: The Complete Guide on our partner blog for more information.

17. Offer daycare

There is a childcare crisis right now. Exposure to the coronavirus, closing daycare centers, and rising costs have left parents with no choice but to care for their children at home.

The growing demand for childcare services with decreasing supply is a perfect match for starting a new business. President Joe Biden's infrastructure project has pledged federal spending to help fix the childcare market. If you like babysitting and can get the proper licenses, a new babysitting business might be a good business idea for you.

18. Start an online cafe

The right marketing plan and a strong brand can make selling coffee profitable. Of course, coffee has a lot of competition. But that shouldn't keep you away from this multibillion-dollar industry. Selling a high-quality product like coffee has many benefits:

  • There are a lot of customers.
  • Customers tend to associate small brands with superior quality with corporate brands.
  • There are many niche opportunities.
  • Because coffee is so widely available, it is easier to sell. People already want coffee, you just have to make them want your coffee.

19. Become a handyman

Always fixing things around the house: a plumbing problem, laying tile, cleaning gutters, laying the fence. He was always the guy friends and family called for odd jobs around the house. If the Internet had been popular back then, you could have created a website and offered your services locally!

The home repair and improvement industry has a market value of around $500 billion. Whether you're fixing a boiler or building a patio deck, if you're a handyman who likes to fix things, this could be a lucrative business for you.

20. Sell your photography

Do you have a passion for taking pictures? Become a full-time photographer by turning your hobby into a business. Today, you don't just need to sell wedding services and corporate advertising campaigns. Or you can sell your photos on photography websites while taking pictures.

21. Become a Social Media Management Consultant

As of April 2022, there are over 4.65 billion active users worldwide. That's almost 60% of the world's population. Between YouTube, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, TikTok, and all the other social networks⁠, brands need help managing their accounts.

A social media manager creates and analyzes content for brands' social accounts. Customers will pay you to create compelling content, write explicit videos, respond to comments, post ads, and more. You can charge by the hour or by the project fee.

22. Start a beauty business

The beauty industry really came out on top during the pandemic. Our research shows that 55% of health and beauty business founders reported being satisfied with the performance of their businesses in 2020. Companies that sell online and offer a variety of delivery services will continue to win.

Some product ideas in high demand are:

  • Personal hygiene products such as soap and disinfectant.
  • Home spa rituals like masks
  • Beauty technology like massage guns, smart mirrors, and makeup fridges.

23. Housesitting and petsitting

People are increasingly traveling, so there is a growing need for home and pet care while away. And with the rise of remote work, long-term vacations are becoming more common – so while you can leave your home unoccupied for a weekend, a month-long trip may require more care.

Housesitting and petsitting are good business ideas if you feel comfortable caring for and staying with a stranger, potentially with their pets.

You can create your website on Shopify to market and sell your services, and there are also websites and apps dedicated to home care and pets that you can use. Here are some examples: This site is for both housesitting and petsitting. You can create a profile and subscribe to posts. People needing in-home babysitting/pets can also look for babysitters and contact them.

Rover: Rover is a website and app made explicitly for petsitting. In it, you can create a profile and sign up for shows. These arrangements include spot visits but not night visits or home visits. is a listing site where petsitters can create a profile and list their experience. You can also apply for jobs posted by people looking for babysitters. is also excellent if you offer elder care, tutoring, cleaning, and child care services.

TrustedHousesitters: TrustedHousesitters is a great place to start if you need experience. The platform prohibits explicitly paid gigs, so these deals are seen as an exchange - you get a free place to stay, and they wait for free.

Please note that some petsitters offer on-site services, while others care for pets in their homes. Regardless of your choice, it is essential to communicate this in advance.

If you want to try out these successful business ideas, investing time in creating a great profile is essential. Choose photos that show you happy and smiling – preferably with animals (make sure you get permission from the pet owners first). 

Please fill in all sections of your profile so that it is complete. Be specific about your home and pet care history, and remember to include any particular qualifications or certifications that might give you an edge against another potential nanny.

Ultimately, the best plan of attack for these new business ideas is to use a combination of your own Shopify website and third-party platforms.

24. Phone Accessories

As many people own cell phones now, there is a huge market for phone accessories. And there are many different ways to use these accessories - print-on-demand, handmade, niche by product type, drop shipping, and more.

Some phone accessory ideas to sell include:

  • Phone cases
  • Car and table stands
  • Tripods
  • Spells
  • Headphones
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Portable chargers
  • Wireless chargers

When listing your phone accessories for sale, remember to include the devices they are compatible with. You don't want to create a negative but avoidable experience for customers who receive an item they can't even use.

25. Sell subscription boxes

If you are not interested in creating your own products to sell, you can select them. One of the best ideas for small businesses is to sell subscription boxes with select products that follow a certain theme.

One of the great parts about subscription boxes is that you can create them for just about every niche out there. For example, highlighting merchants and manufacturers in your community is one of the best local business ideas for subscription boxes. You can also opt for themes like yoga, brewing, or pets - the possibilities are virtually limitless.

Just like subscriptions, subscriptions are good business ideas to start with because they create a recurring revenue stream. People need to proactively cancel their subscriptions if they don't want to continue paying for them.

Subscriptions also lend themselves to collaboration. By selecting products from different merchants, you can stay in front of their audience – a whole bunch of potential new subscribers.

26. Invest in vending machines

Here's a unique business idea: vending machines. Yes, there is money to be made with vending machines. Although the industry was hit in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, projections say that vending machines will recover, as will the economy.

Some of the reasons for the decline include decreased foot traffic – fewer people shopping, traveling, and commuting to work – and hygiene-related hesitations when touching surfaces. So if you choose to go this route, you may want to take a forward-thinking approach and look for vending machines that offer no-touch options.

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