With the increasing demand for entrepreneurship, everybody including students has the chance to start a business in Kenya. This article will focus on top Kenya student businesses that you start and make some income.

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Normally, students have a lot of time that they can utilize to run an income-earning hustle. It is the evident majority of students lack a huge financial muscle to get into big enterprises. Hence, this article will focus on businesses that you can undertake profitably with minimal capital.

From experience, some of the businesses that start at the student level mature to become big enterprises.

Let us look at some of the benefits and challenges that come with starting a business as a student either at the university or the college level.

Benefits of Having a Business as a Student

  • An extra source of income

Starting a profitable business at this level helps you supplement your income. Most students depend on their guardians and the Higher Education Loan (HELB) for upkeep and survival both at the university and college.

Hence, having a successful business no matter the size will help supplement your income giving you financial freedom.

  • It helps you to gain and perfect the entrepreneurship skills

The skills learned at this level are key in the future. As a student, you still have time to learn and make mistakes. The losses are also minimal as the business is small.

By the time you complete your studies, you will have an added advantage over your peers who come in late.

If you start your side hustle and end up employing some workers, you will simply be practicing managerial skills that could come in handy in your corporate career.

  • It helps in better time management

As the saying goes “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. Running a business helps keep you busy in comparison to idling and wasting time.

With a busy timeline, you also keep away from some social vices such as crime and drug abuse.

Cons of Having a Business While in University or College

  • Challenges of balancing schoolwork and running a business.

The key goal for attending a university or a college is the advance in academic knowledge. Hence, this should remain supreme.

However, sometimes it is becoming a challenge to balance both in terms of time management. To avoid this challenge, you should consider starting a business that is not as time demanding and is easy to run.

There are some cases of students getting carried away and ending up dropping out of school.

  • Capital challenges

At this stage, it is normal for students to lack the necessary financial muscle to run and sustain a business. This becomes a challenge especially when the business is facing challenges.

To mitigate this, you should focus on doing a business that fits your capital capabilities.

Top Kenya Student Businesses You Can Start

Now that we have identified the pros and cons of having a side hustle while both in university and college, let us look at the top 10 possible side hustles you can consider.

1. Blogging

Since you are reading this article on a blog, why not go ahead and start yours if you have a passion for writing? Blogging is one of the most viable Kenya student businesses that you can start.

Some blogs don’t require any startup capital. Although they could be uncompetitive, this is a good point to start if you don’t have the capital. However, you will require to have a writing device preferably a computer.

You don’t necessarily need to own it but have access to it. If you do not have any money at all, you can start a free-hosted website, as you save up to get a self-hosted blog.

Blogging takes time before you see any results, which is why it is best to start your blog while you are still a student. Starting a blog at this level gives you access to a lot of potential networks, that you should fully utilize in getting visitors to the blog.

After starting the blog, tell your friends and classmates about it, and ask them to tell their friends about it. This in itself offers you a chance to do free marketing to attract visitors to your blog site.

You should also identify the topics you are comfortable writing about depending on your interest and target market.

In case you are not a persistent and consistent person, this business model is not for you. These elements are key to becoming a successful blogger. From the statistics, 90% of all bloggers give up within the first 3 months.

Some of the ideas that help in making money for bloggers include

  • Direct marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Google Ad Sense.

If you decide to take up this business, ensure you are passionate about the blog niche you choose. With a good blog in Kenya, you can make an average of 50,000 to 200,000 shillings per month.

However, this could take up to a year before you can start earning money.

2. Freelance jobs

This is an ideal side hustle for a student. With the increase in uptake of the internet and computers, there is a growing demand for freelancers. This involves doing short-term writing jobs through various websites that connect both writers and jobs.

Some of the top freelance platforms that you can use are Fiverr and Upwork. To startup, you are only required to register with the platform then bid for work.

There are jobs available across many categories. Hence, you should bid on jobs based on your capabilities and competencies.

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Creating a freelancer account on these websites is free making it ideal for most students. Getting the first client is usually the hardest part of this business model. in some cases, it could take weeks and months to secure the first job.

When creating your profile on these websites, ensure you only list the skills that you are good at. It is not advisable to take up a job whose skills you do not possess. Doing a poor job will have the client leaving bad reviews affecting future jobs.

The money you earn from these freelancing websites depends on the budget listed by the hirer. However, you must pay a small commission to the freelancing website, hence your earnings will slightly decrease.

The success in freelancing depends on how well you create and maintain customer relations with your client’s relationships. Once you deliver good results, you increase the chances of the client selecting you for another job.

A tip to remember when freelancing is avoiding scammers. They might ask you to send a sample trial of the listed job to them, and end up not paying you. Always carry out all conversations and dealing within the website to avoid getting scammed.

3. Baking

It is hard to go wrong with the food business as long as you target the right market. There is an increasing demand for baked products both at the schools and in towns.

This business could be more capital intensive as compared to the earlier one if you don’t have the right equipment such as an oven.

However, for those students that have access to this equipment most likely at home, this is an ideal idea to pursue.

You can market yourself in school through the use of social media, word of mouth, and posters.

Alternatively, you can start a home baking business where you can sell cakes and other pastries. You can market your cakes and pastries to your classmates and friends and ask them to place an order with you for their birthday cakes.

Baking high-quality cakes and pastries will keep your customers coming back for more. Who knows, it might as well end up becoming your full-time job after school.

4. Web designing business

This side hustle is ideal for students with computer knowledge as it requires coding and programming skills.

With the increase in digital uptake, businesses are rushing to have their websites. This creates a market for website designers making it a lucrative business.

The ideal target for this business is a small business that requires to create and enhance their websites. As you grow and get the experience, then you can target businesses and individuals that require more advanced websites.

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You will be turned down by several businesses when pitching your idea, but do not give up. This whole process will also help you improve your sales and marketing skills which will be beneficial in the long run.

Once you land a big client, you can earn from 50,000 to 200,000 shillings depending on the type of website. If you keep delivering high-quality services, you will establish a steady supply of customers.

Alternatively, you can choose to work as a freelance web designer. With good reviews and a 5-star rating, clients will also come looking for you.

5. Starting a YouTube channel

We are living at a time when most people prefer watching videos instead of reading books and articles. With this increasing demand for YouTube videos, how about starting a YouTube channel as a side hustle?

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Since the YouTube algorithm favors those with many subscribers and many views, you should strive to ensure you are creating quality and relevant content. Just like in all other business models, ensure to pick a niche of interest when starting your YouTube channel.

Making money from YouTube requires the channels to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch time hours. It might take time before you achieve this, but the returns will be worth it.

Consistency is key when starting your channel. By posting regularly, you help the YouTube algorithm to recommend your video to the relevant viewers

You can also make money by use of affiliate marketing on your YouTube channel. Just leave your affiliate link in your videos’ description and make some passive money whenever someone buys from your affiliate link.

The hardest part of running a YouTube channel is making and editing the videos. This is usually hard at the beginning but gets easier over time.

6. Photography

Nobody loves taking pictures more than the millennials. Even though mobile phones nowadays come with front and back cameras, some people still prefer the traditional photo shoot.

For a student who loves photography, you can turn this hobby into a profitable venture. To get started, you only need a good camera. However, in case you don’t have one, you can borrow or hire one.

This business also requires consistent marketing at the starting stage. However, it gets better after getting a steady supply of customers.

You also need to establish the photoshoot charges for your clients by factoring in the costs and profit margin. An example of this is charging 200 shillings for 10 photos.

The best thing about this skill is that you can end up commercializing it once you are done with school. Once you have the right equipment and experience, you can then expand into social events such as weddings.

7. Start a movie shop.

With the available time for students, they spend much of it watching movies. This presents a good business idea if you have a passion for movies. This side hustle only requires a laptop and a good selection of movies and preferably songs and DJ mixes. If you do not have money to rent out a room within the school premises, you can go ahead and operate from your hostel room.

Once you save up enough money, you can rent a room to increase visibility and customer base.

The key requirement is being updated on the developments in the movie industry, competitive pricing, and great customer service. You will also need to invest in gadgets with a huge storage amount to store your movie collection.

You can make between 500 to 1000 shillings daily with this business model.

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8. Running a Cyber Cafe

Students will always require to print out notes or photocopies. This is where you come in with your cyber café business.

When starting this business, you will need to rent a room on campus, own a computer or laptop, a printer, photocopier, and scanner.

The good thing is that you can find a printer that also works as a photocopier and scanner. This business will require you to save some money before you start operating.

You can also purchase a camera and use it to take passport photos when need be.

If done correctly, this could become a profitable business. However, it requires an initial huge capital investment through acquiring the equipment and renting.

It has the potential to make an average of 1,000 shillings as your daily profits.

9. Selling of beauty products and services.

The beauty business is suitable for all genders. However, the majority of it will focus on ladies as they require more.

Some of the items you could sell include

  • Hair products
  • Body oils and sprays

Just like the cupcake business, this business requires a lot of marketing at the initial stages. This you can do in form of marketing door to door in the hostels and residencies.

Some of the items you should target to sell include; eye pencils, lipsticks, hairbands, and foundation

Another idea that targets female students is nail polish services. The nail business is very lucrative depending on the type of polish. For ordinary nail polish, you can charge 100 shillings while for gel nail polish, you can charge up to 500 shillings.

For the nail polish business, you require some equipment such as nail files, cotton wool, nail polish remover, nail clipper, nail polish, and a UV dryer for gel polish. 5,000 shillings is enough to get you started in the nail polish business. If you deal in the nail polish business, you can easily make 1,000 shillings per day.

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Hair braiding is another business that you can do targeting students. According to statistics, female students in Kenya go to the salon at least once a month.

This is an indicator there is a big market if you have the right skills.

As a market strategy, you should charge slightly lower than the salon to attract more customers. Charges in this business depend on the hairstyle that the customer wants, and the number of braid packets that they will use.

You can make an average of 200 to 2,000 shillings per customer depending on the complexity of the hairstyle.

Excellent work will ensure you have a big pool of customers.

10. Social media manager

Finally, why not try becoming a social media account manager? We live in an era where almost everyone has a social media page. Social platforms have become one of the most common means of advertisements for most businesses in Kenya and across the globe.

For this type of job, you should target individuals and businesses that have a huge social media following and require helps in managing their accounts.

As a social media manager, your work will be to schedule posts on different social media accounts, reply to messages and be responsible for all the social media dealings on behalf of your client.

Since businesses are likely to pay more, you need to create a convincing proposal and perform very intensive research about the impact of social media on a business’s success.

Once you secure a huge client, you can make an average of 30,000 shillings per month. Success in this business could lead you to expand to areas such as the media agency business.

Conclusion on Kenya Student Businesses

From the above, it is clear there is an option for students who want to venture into business while still in school.

If done right, the benefits are immense and could lead to financial freedom early in life. Before, starting the business, ensure you understand the market and the risks involved. This helps in increasing the chances of success.

To recap, the top 10 Kenya student businesses you can start in college and university include:

  1. Blogging
  2. Freelance jobs
  3. Baking
  4. Web design
  5. Starting a YouTube channel
  6. Photography
  7. Start a movie shop
  8. Start a cyber café
  9. Sell beauty products and services.
  10. Social media manager


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