You are, as a college student, probably going to look for ways to make money and stay afloat while you study. And this is one of the reasons why many college students search for part-time jobs. But there are some college students, out there, who are thinking beyond getting a part-time job. These college students want to start their own small businesses, while still in college, as that would give them financial freedom and a leg up in their careers.
If you want to start making money and also gain valuable experience, then now is the time, as a college student, to set up your business.
But before you begin, here are a few very important things to consider as you get started on building a profitable business.
Why Start A Small Business Now?
College Students already have a lot on their plate, which is something that most people can agree on. And as such, why should they look into starting their small businesses now? Why not wait until they have completed their degree and can fully concentrate on their business venture?
These are valid questions, but there are actually lots of reasons why a college student may want to start now and get ahead in life. A couple of these very important reasons are listed below:
To earn money as a safety net:
Are you sick of working regular part-time jobs? Feel you’re not being paid enough? Want to get started paying down your student debt now, before you graduate? If so, then starting your new business venture is a great idea. You can get started making money, and putting that money to good use—whether it’s paying for your living expenses, paying down your student debt, or just building a nest egg.
Workaround your schedule:
Another issue with part-time jobs is that employers often don’t understand that you won’t be available at certain times or dates, as your studies always come first. Unfortunately, in some cases, you’ll have a hard time convincing your boss about your study/work schedule. But that will not be the case if you are your own boss, though. As you’ll be able to easily plan your work around your current schedule.
Try an industry before you graduate:
Interested in working in a certain industry after you graduate? You can get a first-hand feel for how it works by starting a small business. This would enable you to determine if it’s a good fit for you or not. For example, if you want to work in the fashion industry, you can start out by selling vintage clothes online.
Gain real-world experience:
There’s nothing better than actual, real-world experience when you want to get started in a business niche. You’ll learn a lot more with an actual business than you would in the classroom, and that’s for sure. You’ll see yourself develop a lot of skills, such as customer service, delegation, stress management, and many more. And so having that real-world experience is invaluable.
Build up your network:
You will want to have a good network if you want to get ahead in your chosen field. That’s why you want to get started by creating your network now, so you can get seen and noticed by those who matter. Once you graduate, you’ll already have a network of people to help with, for example, internships, mentoring, and more.
Add professional experience to your resume:
“It is hard for most students to build upon their resume before graduating, as they have spent all that time studying,” says Jason Grant, a blogger at Academic Brits and PhD Kingdom. “If you start your own business, though, it would avail you of a lot more experience to add to your resume.” You’ll be able to talk about your achievements during interviews, and it will also show that you’re a go-getter.
What To Consider Before You Start
Ready to start your own business? That’s great. But you’ll need to do some prior planning before you can dive in . Here are some questions that you’ll need to ask yourself.
What skills do I have?
The very first thing you should ask is what skills can you bring to the table. What skills will make you money? You’d be surprised as to what you can do. For example, let’s take the idea of selling vintage clothes again. You may have a knack for walking into thrift stores and finding the very best, high-end items that the stores have in their collection. Which you can sell online for a profit.
And so, it is important to reflect on the skills you have, and what you’ll need to put your plans into motion.
What are the best business ideas for beginners?
You are most likely, as a college student, going to be a total beginner at whatever you’re doing. That’s not a bad thing, as it gives you a place to start. You’ll need to think about what kind of roles you can fit into as a beginner, and what could make you money.
Using that vintage clothes example again, you’ll be able to visit the thrift stores and find great stock quite easily. And coupled with the fact that an online store is quite easy to set up, you can get started by selling the clothes online. You may also want to get into designing, and making your own clothes. But that could be a skill that you would have to develop later on.
How do I get started?
Now that you know what you want to do, you’ll have to think about how you’ll get started. As a vintage clothes seller, you’ll need an online sales hub—so start by setting one up after doing your research to see where the best place is to sell your vintage clothes.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to start selling and making profits. Knowing where to start will help you make the right first steps.
Gain Inspiration From Other College Students Built Businesses
It’s always a good idea, as a college student, to find some good inspiration. There are lots of huge companies out there that got their start as college student-run businesses.
Here are some examples of these companies:
A) Google: Yes, Google is a massive tech corporation now, but it was started by two college students: Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They created the search engine from their dorm room and initially called it BackRub as it used a process of checking backlinks to see how important a site was.
The company caught the eye of Silicon Valley investors, who put $100,000 into the venture. The first office they had was a garage in California, but now they have offices all over the world and are worth more than $280 billion today.
B) Facebook: This is a story you may already know, thanks to the movie The Social Network. Mark Zuckerburg, a college student at Harvard University, created a ‘hot or not’ game where students could compare two students and deem who was ‘hotter’. The site was shut down when it was found Zuckerburg had hacked into the university’s security network to steal the ID images.
From this less than reputable start came TheFacebook in 2004, which allowed students to communicate with each other. The site was first used only at Harvard, but then it was spread to other universities and then the world at large.
C) FedEx: This shipping company was set up by a Yale student Frederick W. Smith in 1971. He outlined the idea for the company in his economics class, pointing out that a company that specialized in air freight would make a good business model.
He used the $4 million from his inheritance from his father to get started. And at first, the company lost money. In fact, the company lost $29 million in its first 26 months. However, by 1977 they had made $8 million in profit and are one of the biggest names in freight today.
Business Ideas For Students
Feeling inspired? Okay, now it’s time to think about what kind of business idea you can set up as a college student. There are lots of ideas, so let’s see what’s out there for you.
A) Content Creation
Do you have a way with words, and love to write? Then congratulations, you have everything you need to start as a content creator for marketing. Businesses are always in need of good, useful, and relatable content, and you can help them create it. They have to keep up with all the competition online, and with great content, they can do that.
The best thing about this is that you don’t need much, if anything, to get started. You’ll need the skills you already have, as well as a PC or laptop, a writing program, and an internet connection. As a student, you’re already going to have access to those things. You can write ad hoc for businesses online, make money, and not even get out of your pajamas to do so.
Here’s something that’s a really good idea if you’re looking at getting into teaching. You’re already developing the skills you need while at college, so you can use them to earn you some money now.
There are a few different ways you can get into tutoring. There are parents out there who want to tutor their children in specific subjects, to help them get ahead at school. You can also look into tutoring people who are learning English as a second language. You can even tutor college students who are a year below you, to help them nail that exam that you did last year.
If you’re a college student who has skills in design and marketing, then you’ll want to look into dropshipping. Essentially, you’re selling goods without ever handling them yourself. The best part is that you don’t have to pick a product according to your skillset either. It’s less about the product and all about how you market it.
You’ll see a lot of people do this on sites like eBay and Amazon. They have the item up for sale, write a good description, and use the best pictures to show the item off. Once the sale has been made, you send the information to the warehouse where the item is being kept, and they send it off to the customer. You keep a cut of the profits, and so you can make money without having to have a warehouse full of goods yourself.
D) Sell Handmade Or Designed Goods
Are you a college student that’s good with your hands? Maybe you knit gorgeous sweaters, or you create artwork that people want to put on their walls. That’s something that you can make money from. You can create your own online store, or use a site like Etsy to list and sell your work.
“You can take it one step further and sell your items in the real world too,” says Andrea Parker, a writer at Next Coursework and Brit Student. “You’ll be able to find markets and events all over your college town, so you can book a table and start meeting customers face to face.” Pick events that match up to the work that you do, and you’ll have a following in no time.
E) Resell Items
As mentioned earlier, you can easily get into reselling in your free time. It’s a great career to get into if you’re good at finding hidden gems at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets. Bring them home, and list the items online to make a profit.
You can make even more if you’re quite handy and can fix up items that are broken or damaged but still in decent condition. If you can sew up a hem or repaint a faded toy, that will help you find some dedicated customers online.
F) Start A Non Profit
Not everyone will want to start a business to make money. If you have a cause you believe in and want to start building new skills, then creating a non-profit is the way to go. There are lots of ways you could do this, from working with existing charities to setting up your own initiatives that meet a need in the community.
This is great for college students as they can start making a difference even before they graduate. As you’ll be creating not just a non-profit, you’ll also be learning so many skills that can go on your resume. That’s really helpful when you go to apply for jobs at other nonprofits.
G) Web Design
Much like content creation, this is something that can be done from the comfort of your dorm room. If you have skills in web design, then you can start putting them to use right away, by creating web design and other elements for businesses.
It’s a skill that’s in demand, as businesses need to have a brand that’s eye-catching and different from everything that’s out there. You can help create everything from logos to full websites, and you can do it all as a freelance agent. You can find customers online, or even start offering your services around campus.
H) Social Media Management
As a college student, you’re uniquely placed to be able to manage social media for a company. Most companies out there know they need a strong social media presence, but they don’t know how to go about it. They may know, but they don’t have the time to do it themselves. That’s where you can step in.
As a college student, you’ll have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t online. You’ll be able to manage their accounts while keeping an active social media presence and staying in touch with customers. This is a good role for those with an eye for sales too, as you’ll be able to come up with strategies to help boost sales too.
I) Child Caretaking
This role is ideal for anyone looking to get into child care once they complete college or anyone who’s good with kids. With more and more parents both working and needing someone to care for their kids, you can be that person who steps in.
You’ll want to be a trustworthy person to take care of children, so taking some babysitting training classes, as well as first aid classes, can go a long way. You’ll also need to be patient to be able to handle children, but if that sounds like you, you can make good money this way.
J) Graphic Design
This is yet another option that you can take that won’t require much capital to start up. If you’re good at digital art and design, then you can sell your work online. Again, it’s very easy to do, and you won’t even have to hold onto the stock.
You can sell art digitally, sending the files to customers online. You also have the option to sell your art on sites like Red Bubble, where they print it on anything from mugs to t-shirts and send it to customers on your behalf.
These are just a few ideas to help you start a business as a college student. You have more skills than you know, so get started now and get a jump start in life.Tags: Business business idea Business ideas for college students Business ideas in college college college student college students