We all know the old expression that says: “time is money”. As a distance learning student, you’ll have some spare time to use to your advantage during your course, so why not use it to make some money? You can choose to take on a job such as waitering, but if you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, you can even start your own small business.

Here are 5 types of businesses you can start while studying:

1 – Product reselling

Resellers buy products from manufacturers or wholesalers at a low cost, and resell them at a higher cost, either through the internet or through more traditional, direct channels. Dozens of companies look for people to distribute their products. Once you’ve decided which products you’re interested in reselling, do some research on the manufacturer or wholesaler, find out what your overheads will be and make projections of the potential profits. If you find a desirable product and you’re able to reach good terms of agreement with the merchant, you could rake in some tidy returns.


2 – Blogging

The costs of starting a blog are minimal, and if you have some solid writing talent and an interesting subject to write about, you can start hosting ads on your blog for payment. You may also be able to write paid reviews or advertorials. Bear in mind that you probably won’t make much money at the beginning. Successful bloggers gradually build up a following, with some even managing to generate a full-time income from their website within a few years.


3 – Refuse removal

You need to be willing to get your hands dirty with this one. Most companies need to have garbage removed from their properties. If you have the money to buy some cheap equipment and a second-hand truck, you can approach local businesses and bill them hourly rates for your service. You could also go a step further by recycling the collected garbage. (Keep in mind that refuse removal and waste management are regulated by government, and that there are certain laws and regulations that you’ll have to comply with if you go with this option for your small business.)


4 – Freelancing

Freelancing gives you the opportunity to use your talents and build up a portfolio. Technology-related skills such as graphic design, web design, social media management and copywriting are in high demand, with companies often opting to outsource this work. If the work is related to your distance learning course, you’ll be able to get a head start on your career.


5 – Making your own products

If you’re the creative type, you can turn your hobby of creating things into an income. You can sell your jewellery, artwork, clothing or other creations online, and build up a network of customers who will recommend your products to others.

Use your extra time well and be dedicated to your start-up, and there’s a good chance that it will grow into a sustainable source of income.


Tips for keeping it sensible

While all of these businesses can earn you a handy buck or two, there are some things you should remember before getting too carried away.

  • Don’t neglect your studies. Even if you’re earning some good money, remember that your studies are usually what will set you up for a good career.
  • Make sure you’re aware of any tax and insurance regulations that you need to adhere to when running your business. Depending on what you decide to do, you may also need a business licence before getting things up and running.
  • Don’t do anything illegal just to make some quick cash.
  • Realise that part-time businesses probably won’t grow as fast as full-time ones. Be prepared to wait a while before you start seeing real growth. Building your business gradually will also give you time to properly recognise the risks and profit potential.
  • Be wary of scams and “get-rich-quick” schemes. There are thousands of these scams out there. When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Side businesses are a fantastic way to fund your studies and gain some skills to prepare you for your career. Choose the right business, and you’ll be able to turn your time into money.

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