If you are a Nigerian student and you are reading this article, the truth is that you can start a side business as a full-time student and still keep up your good grades. How? I will show you 20 lucrative small business ideas that are guaranteed to earn you regular income as a student. This is a rather long article so I suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.
There are three excuses students usually give when the issue of running a side business in school is raised: “I don’t have time”, “I don’t have money” and “what’s the point? I don’t lack anything.” Before we go ahead to the 20 lucrative small business ideas, I feel it’s important that I address these excuses and rid your mind of them.
Time: The ideas discussed in this article are all side businesses. You only need a few hours every day to effectively execute them. Most of them you can work on during the weekends. These are times you normally spend on trivial stuff. Why not invest that time and create a beautiful and profitable future for yourself?
Money: You don’t need a lot of money to start any of these lucrative small business ideas; for some of them, you don’t need money at all. They are small business ideas – at the most, N10,000 to N15,000 should be enough to get you started.
Why? What’s the point: Here are 4 important reasons to consider starting a side business while in school.
- You prepare yourself for life after school. The labor market is usually not pretty; nothing is guaranteed. The only way to make sure you don’t go through the painful process of job search is to start your own business and the school is the perfect place to prepare yourself for that.
- You set up contacts, client base and networks that you can draw from when you need them.
- You gain vital experience: this is usually the time you harness your skills and gather experience that takes you further after school.
- With each success you increase in confidence and with each failure you increase in learning.
- Related article: How to develop small business ideas
- Related article: How to turn your hobby into your goldmine
While most of the business ideas discussed in this article need little or no capital to start, they require a certain level of mastery in some skills such as speed-typing, writing, graphics design etc. The slogan for your success is simple: whatever you do, do it very well! If you don’t possess the necessary skills to start any of these businesses, I urge you to invest the time and money to acquire them. Consider any of these lucrative small business ideas to start. Let’s get to it then!
Top 20 lucrative small business ideas for students:
1. Local Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third-party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product. The biggest difference between dropshipping and the standard retail model is that the selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory. Instead, the merchant purchases inventory as needed from a third-party – usually a wholesaler or manufacturer – to fulfill orders (Source: Understanding droshipping)
To start this business, you need a personal computer, internet access and a Facebook account or a website. This article explains in detail how to start dropshipping in Nigeria.
2. Typing and Editing Business
Most students have need to type their assignments, projects and thesis. If you have a personal computer, you can start up a typing business. You collect the handwritten assignments and type in the evening, after school. If you lack speed-typing skills, install a typing tutorial software like Mavis Beacon and start practicing. After typing, you take it to a computer center to print out at N20 per page. You can charge between N50 to N100 per page for each typing job. This gives you a profit margin of between N30 to N80 per page. If you can type 20 pages per day, that gives you 800 – 1,600 daily and 4,800 – 9,600 weekly in extra income.
3. Recharge Card Selling Business
There are 2 ways to run the recharge voucher business. Either you deal in bulk recharge card printing, which is still very lucrative although costlier to start, or you sell as a retailer. You can buy bulk units of N100 and N200 recharge cards and sell at a higher prize. Most wholesalers sell at the 10 units of N100 recharge card for N920, this gives you an N80 profit after sales. You can easily start up this business with as low as N5,000. Here is a detailed article on how to start the recharge card business in Nigeria
4. Tutorial Classes
You can organize tutorial classes for students in lower classes in your department. There are courses that are usually tough and difficult to understand, and students taking that course will not mind paying someone to teach them the course. I organized web design lectures for my course mates during those days in school and they paid me N1,000 each for the duration of the course. Another way is to charge say N100 for each tutorial you organize and if 50 persons turn up, that gives you N5,000 for the day. To organize a tutorial, you need to find a place inside the school, and then inform the course representative to tell the class of an upcoming tutorial session.
5. Selling of Compiled Past Questions
Nothing sells fast in school like past question papers, especially as exam date approaches. You can get past questions from your department and other departments, solve the questions with the help of your text books, then convert it to short handout and sell to students during exams. You can sell the handouts for N200 or less depending on your production cost.
6. Used Clothe Business
This is usually known as the Okirika clothe business. it involves buying used clothes and reselling to students. N10,000 can get you started on a small scale okirika clothe business. You should focus on Jeans, shirts, shoes and tops. It is important to meet people who are already in the business for guidance before you make your purchase. This is to avoid burning your fingers in bad business.
7. Hair Plaiting/Styling Business
I had a friend who used hair plaiting business to offset all her school bills. What she did was, during weekends, she would visit student hostels and ask for students that wanted to make their hairs. She plaited and fixed weave-on. You can learn to plait hairs and fix weave-on, and offer the services for a fee in school. You can charge as much as N500 to fix a weave-on and N1,500 for plaiting of hair depending on the going rate in your location.
8. Manicure and Pedicure Services
A lot of female students fix their nails especially during weekends. You can offer a home nail fixing service business. You can purchase the basic equipment needed for fixing nails with N3,000 and charge as low as N300 for each service rendered.
9. Barbing Salon Business
This is one of the most lucrative small business ideas in school. It takes a lot to start of money to start on your own, though. If you have the skill, you can look for barbing salons close to you and introduce yourself. Once any of them accepts you, you can attach yourself there and make your money in your spare time. Naturally, you pay a stipend to your host for accommodating you.
You must have heard that people make 5 figure income online through blogging. Well, let me officially tell you that this is 100% true. It costs nothing to start a free .blogspot or .wordpress blog and if you understand how blogging works, you will be making your money in no time. I will be introducing a whole new course on blogging in later articles so keep an eye out for it.
11. Freelance Writing
If you have good writing skills, you are missing out on a lot of money. Apart from writing for bloggers who may not have the time to write, you can make a fortune from freelance sites like ODesk or Fiverr. Forums like nairaland.com are good places to offer your writing skills for a fee. As a starter, you can offer free writing services as a way of introducing yourself and getting positive feedback. This review will be important when you create your advertising pages.
12. Graphics Design
Graphics design is another money spinner for those who have the skills. There seems to be a shortage of competent graphics designers so the few of them are always very much in demand. Again, you can create a portfolio for yourself on odesk, fiverr, nairaland etc. Don’t hesitate to offer free services for people to test your work and give you feedback.
13. Become a Jumia Agent
Jumia agents help people to place orders and buy whatever they need on Jumia.com, Africa’s largest online shopping platform. As an agent, you get commissions on every sale made through your account. All you need to do is let people know you are a Jumia agent. You can also promote their offers on your Facebook, bbm or Whatsapp channels. You don’t need any money to do this and it takes very little of your time. To get started as a Jumia agent, click here to sign up.
14. Outdoor Catering Services
You can start this business yourself with nothing or join a team that offers the service to increase your confidence in cooking for events and occasions.
Catering is very lucrative, but you need passion to sustain your drive. It’s not about the money, it’s about the passion. Catering funds itself. You want me to cook for you, you give me money and I cook. You don’t need millions to start. (Source: How to start a lucrative catering service)
15. Professional Cleaning Services
Before people move into a new house, they usually require the services of a cleaner to tidy the place up. This is money waiting to be made. To start, you will need a way of letting people know you are in the business. Facebook has made it very easy to spread the word about any service you offer. So you create an enticing Facebook page for your cleaning services, promote it for a little fee and you are in business. You can do this in your spare time and you need no money to start because when people call you for a job, they pay you a deposit fee which you use to buy the materials you need.
There are lots of open doors to be self-reliant in digital photography. The market is not saturated yet. I wanted to work in a big multinational corporations like every Nigerian graduate naturally would, but I looked inwards, took out time to learn the technology, and I have no regrets today. In fact, when I started, I was gate-crashing for almost one year, in other words, I would attend events in places as far as Abuja uninvited. (Source: business opportunities in digital photography)
17. Real Estate Agent
This never goes out of fashion and is always in demand. You help people find a house to live in and you get paid. You probably know a lot of people who do this. Reliability and access to genuine information should be your watchword if you are to succeed in this business. You will need a business card which you can always get for less than 4k. Word of mouth does the rest.
18. Sports/Physical Trainer
A lot of people struggle with weight loss and physical fitness. If you are a good athlete, think about starting a personal sports training service for helping fellow students. You can use either an on-campus facility or a local fitness facility off campus. You can also develop training manuals and videos and sell them at sports centers and gyms.
19. Pastries and Cake Making
Students need cakes for birthday celebrations and other occasions. If you have the skills, you can tap into this opportunity and make your money in your spare time. Once they know you are good, you will never run out of money. Word of mouth is a powerful advertising tool especially in school and out of it.
20. Kerosene retail
You can set yourself up as a retailer to make your quickly. Kerosene is used by most students in school due to insufficient supply of electricity and cost of cooking gas. This is one of the most lucrative small business ideas for Nigerian students. Dealers have been known to receive 100% returns on their first investment
There are other lucrative small business ideas out there but these should get you started. Remember the most wonderful idea that remains in your head is basically useless. The time to start doing something is now!