The easiest student businesses to start for less than a tenner

Starting a business is nowhere near as daunting as it sounds. You can do it for less than a tenner. The ideas below are some of the quickest, simplest ways to make a bit of extra cash.

1.    Flyering agency

Clubs want to advertise with flyers. Your friends want to get paid. You have a business. Call all clubs in your city, and find out when and where they want promoters. Say you'll find them someone for a £3 placement fee. That's much cheaper than them putting out an advert, and it's such a nominal amount to them they'll almost certainly take you up on your offer to save themselves work. Then hand the jobs out to friends, friends of friends and mates of friends of friends. If you get five clubs wanting even just three flyering slots each per week, you'll be earning £45 a week for the sum total effort of a couple of phone calls.

2.    Late night delivery

There will always come a time (normally between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am) when for some students going to the shop becomes an impossible mission - but food and/or liquid nourishment is desperately needed. This is your opportunity. You will borrow your mate's bike (or car) and bring the house-bound masses what they desire. And they will pay you up to double normal prices for products because they are in urgent need. Stash up on the most popular snacks and alcohol-stuffs during the day so you don't get caught out by shop closing times and make sure you have a map of the city. And check they've got the cash ready before you trek over to their house.

Technically you need a Personal License to sell booze, which covers you wherever you sell (as in, you don't need premises). You can get one easily online from your local council's website for £37. We're not sure how risky it is to chance it, but it's probably okay in the short-term until you earn enough profit to get one. Ahem.

3.    Student discounts magazine

There are two ways to do this. If you want to get a magazine going and get a bit of journalism or management experience under your belt, pull together a team, promise them bylines and produce a magazine or website with editorial content. Find out how to set up a website - you can usually do it for free.

Or, take the short cut.

The easier path here is to produce a pamphlet or even just printed off bits of black and white A4 (even cheaper) featuring discounts and offers from local businesses. All you need to do is call around restaurants, bars and shops and find out what kind of discounts they are willing to provide for students. Give them a bit of chat - you need to sell the advantages of offering deals to them to entice them (read up on sales techniques to get you started). Then print off the pamphlets or coupons and pass them out to everyone. Charge a 1% commission on every sale made thanks to your coupon scheme.

Make sure you've allocated a different discount code to each offer and ask the businesses you're dealing with to track how many people take up the offer. Keep a basic spreadsheet tracking results and use them to sell your services to other businesses.

This idea has real potential to expand into a longer-term and more formal business. If you want to grow it, you can set up a website and create proper discount cards.

4.    Club nights

There are at least a few of you reading this who are prone to a spot of DJ-ing, or with mates who are. Don't wait for clubs to call offering you hundreds of pounds a night - make it happen yourself. Offer to organise the whole night on a day of the week a venue is usually quiet, promote it like crazy to everyone you know (so the more of you working on this the better), stick up posters and charge a not-too-high entry fee. You can easily make upwards of £100 a night if you really get stuck into the promoting (though it may take a few trial and error attempts first).

5.    Ice creams

People sitting around on the common all summer want ice cream, and they don't want to have to walk anywhere to get it. Get a cool box, get some ice out the freezer and spread the dairy love by distributing to the sitting- huddles for inflated prices. Start with bulk-bought ice-pops as you'll only have to invest a couple of quid to have dozens of products to sell. Ice cream can be substituted or complemented by drinks, crisps and other packaged snacks.

6.    Brand consultant and focus groups

Big brands want to sell to people like you. You know what people like you like. That means you can offer your services to a big-name company as a 'freelance youth marketing consultant'.

You're going to need to make yourself look professional. Start a blog giving your real opinions on brands you like and hate - and be bold in your writing. If you think an advert is patronising and old-fashioned and just a bit crap, say so. Once you've got a good few posts to your name, send a letter to big brands offering your services. The more Twitter followers and Facebook friends you have, the more interested they'll be in you. So be mates with everyone you can. To see how it's really done, check out this profile of 24-year-old Blaise Bellville, a master of the art.

You can also hold focus groups with other people your age. This will really get the attention of companies and be another string to your brand consultant bow.

7.    Sell your art skills

Prone to a creative doodle? Then sell your skills to clubs and promoters who need posters produced on the cheap, customise clothes for friends, and offer local businesses basic graphic design work. Sell fine art on sites like To make yourself professional, create a portfolio that showcases your best work, and a blog that is regularly updated with work you produce (this will also function as an online portfolio you can link to in speculative emails to prospective clients).

And finally...

To make any of these dabblings CV-worthy, register as self-employed, read up on business advice on Smarta to achieve growth and keep track of your accounts. You can then boast about your entrepreneurialism and organisation in job interviews and prove you have a lot more to give than other candidates.

It might take a bit of extra work to formalise things, but it's a sure-fire way to get yourself noticed by employers.

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