Side Business Ideas For Student and Entrepreneurs

In recent years it has become more prominent just how important it is to have a diverse income stream. This could be through a side business. Do you have any side business ideas? COVID-19 is a prime example that has greatly highlighted this necessity. Nearly 200 million jobs have been lost worldwide, with hundreds of millions being put on hold. This means that, if your only income stream is from your current (recently lost) employer, there is a high-risk that unfortunately soon you will be made redundant. Therefore, starting a side business (or side hustle) in your spare time is very beneficial. Not only can it increase your number of income streams, but also it can significantly reduce the risk of being in a situation where you have bills to pay and you’re not being paid. CIU has created a list of real business propositions/ideas that you can start from today – we won’t be mentioning online surveys and other low-paying alternatives.

CIU recommends the following:

1. Online Agency

The number of agencies is significantly increasing as there is a demand for work with new businesses wanting to build an online presence or look for help online. The main type of agency is a digital agency, they generally specialize in Social Media marketing, video producing/editing, business consulting, website development & SEO, and/or graphic design. But other careers are now becoming web-based or taking on extra clients outside of their daytime work schedule, for example, doctors, teachers, psychiatrists, and personal trainers are now finding clients online and charging for their services via Zoom. Whatever your skill set, there will be a need for it by someone else in the world.

working on laptop from home business

2. Airbnb

If you research side business ideas, often Airbnb is overlooked. Do you own a property with a spare bedroom? Has your son/daughter moved away to college? Do you have a summer house that is vacant all winter? Do you have enough money to rent a second house each month / pay the mortgage on a second house? If you said yes to any of those answers then Airbnb might be a great option to earn an extra income. If you don’t know Airbnb, you can rent out a room/house on the platform, and travelers can pay you to stay during their vacations.

airbnb logo side hustle

If this causes you to feel concerned, Airbnb has a complete section on their website regarding this – here.

3. Amazon FBA

amazon fba logo side business idea

Amazon FBA is a brilliant option for you if you have a product but you don’t want to handle its storage, fulfillment, and delivery. For a percentage of your profits, you can outsource this part of your business to Amazon. You ship all of your inventory to Amazon, and they do the rest for you. Even more, with Amazon being the biggest online marketplace, your products will be seen by millions of more people. It’s considered a great method for passive income.

4. Drop Shipping

Dropshipping is a supply chain management method whereby the retailer doesn’t hold any stock of their products, and on receiving orders it transfers them over to its manufacturer or supplier who fulfills the purchase. The retailer adds a markup to the price of the product on the frontend of which is profit. It is very common that people sell products from their USA online store but their product is shipped from China, therefore costing much less than the selling cost. is the most popular e-commerce platform for Dropshipping. Shopify has created a full beginner’s guide for you to learn more, here.

5. E-Book Publishing

Writing your own book and publishing it sounds extremely scary. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fiction. It can be about business, studying, fitness, cooking, or even relationships. You don’t have to write the book yourself, there are many freelancers and copyright businesses that will write it for you. You bring the ideas and the layout of the book and they can complete it for you for a fee. The great thing about writing an e-book is that there are many outlets to publish it to, but also because once it is published you will receive royalty payments for life (as long as it continues to sell). The upfront work is difficult, but once it is finished, it’s a great passive income stream.

6. YouTuber/Blogger

A lot of YouTubers get paid reputation for their craft being easy. It definitely isn’t. Creating high-quality consistent videos is very difficult. If you’re too shy to be on camera, there are other video types that you can create, or even writing a blog instead. Normally the easiest way to begin with YouTube is to create a channel based around a hobby or your current job. For example, has built up a following of over 500k subscribers by sharing videos about his passion, nutrition.

7. Course Creator

udemy logo side business

This is similar to creating videos for YouTube (and is normally the first stage before becoming a course creator), however of course you’re creating an entire course. is one of the industry leaders for online courses with over 100,000 courses, in more or less every category thinkable, and over 50 million students. If you’re good at arts and crafts, speaking a second language, house repairs, gardening, cooking, teaching, or programming (or anything else) then you can create a course and teach others about it. Again, similar to other methods, once you have made the course, it is done – you will continue receiving passive income for as long as it sells for.

8. Afilliate Marketing

Do you have a following on social media? Do you currently have a loyal email list? Or do you have knowledge about marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Google, or YouTube? If yes, then becoming an affiliate marketer is perfect for you. An affiliate marketer advertises a product on behalf of a company and receives commission for each product/service that is bought using their URL link. Neil Patel has created a great guide for beginners who are interested to learn more. You can read it here.


9. Translator (depending)

Being an online translator or interpreter is dependent on you knowing a second language. The average online translator earns $78,000 per year. If you can’t speak a second language, then now is another great reason why you should. If you start today, in 2-5 years you could have an excellent level in which you could start charging for your services.

10. Stock Investing

Investing in stocks and shares has been extremely popular for years. It can be very lucrative. However, like anything money can be lost too. Read for a greater in-depth look into investing.

11. Matched Betting

Maybe you’re a little surprised that this is on the list, especially with the name ‘betting’ in the title. However, you are not gambling. Matched betting is a betting technique used to take advantage of incentives given by bookmakers. This is one of the side business ideas that many people are not aware of, but 1000’s worldwide have replaced their full-time income with matched betting. See here for more details.

12. Other Side Business Ideas

A new business/product idea. Have you thought of a product or service that is unique and would be better than the competition? Well, start taking small steps to make it a reality. Start by doing research. For example, if it’s a product, how can you make it? Who can make it? Where can it be made? Do you need a patent? How much will it cost? Is there a demand for it? All these questions and many more need to be answered. Open your notebook or an online document and start writing down everything you discover. You may find out that it is easier than you once thought. If you never try, you will never know.

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