Small Business

Businesses College Students Can Start

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 7 minute read

The worldwide recession has caused profound changes in the American job sector. This is consistent with a global movement in which more and more people are forgoing traditional employment in favor of freelance work, contracting, and starting their own businesses. 

Quartz predicts that by 2020, more than 60% of the U.S. employment, or more than 60 million people, will be independent contractors. Despite the economic downturn, Americans’ innate drive to start and run their own businesses remained strong, with 27.5 million such businesses in operation in 2009, according to the Small Business Administration.

After Reuters revealed that American banks and lenders had forgiven more than $3 billion in student debt in the first financial quarter of 2013, these tendencies are especially pertinent to the higher education sector in the United States.

Current students might greatly benefit from starting a side company while pursuing their educational aspirations, especially in light of the high unemployment and underemployment rates among recent graduates. Students may better their financial standing and future earnings potential by increasing their revenue throughout college and gaining a variety of entrepreneurial skills.

What Student Entrepreneurs Should Think About

As a student, there are a few things to think about before starting a side company or other source of income.

  1. Initial Expenses
    If you want to avoid taking on further debt, your company plan needs to be straightforward and call for little initial investment. With the amount you owe in student loans, it’s best to stick to ideas that you can finance with what you already have on hand rather than taking on any more debt.

    To that end, it might be helpful to zero down on a strategy that makes use of the knowledge and tools you already possess. A journalism major may, for instance, launch a covert student newspaper and monetize it by selling advertising space to nearby companies.
  2. Relevance of Academic Work
    As a student, you should always put your studies first. Your company concept, then, should be something that won’t require too much of your time and effort to run well. This may be evaluated in relation to the specifics of your degree program, including the degree’s focus, the difficulty of the coursework, and the time commitment required to get it.

    Launching a side business might not be the best decision, for instance, if you have a full course load. Or, during summers and winter holidays, you may start a business cleaning pools, gardening, or shoveling snow.
  3. The High Standards Set by the Goods or Services
    Your consumers expect quality service regardless of whether your firm is full-time or part-time. As a result, your ability to provide a high-quality product or service is crucial to the long-term viability of your concept. If you decide to offer tutoring services, for instance, you should stick to teaching subjects in which you are well-versed. Otherwise, your service won’t live up to your consumers’ expectations, and they may actively dissuade others from using it rather than promote it.
  4. Why Doing Market Research Is Crucial
    There should be extensive market study done before committing to any side company plan. Examine each idea separately, considering your target market and the methods you want to use to get the word out to potential buyers.

    Market saturation makes success in a particular industry much more challenging, therefore competition is another crucial factor to think about while developing a concept. It might be more beneficial to your time and money goals to focus on less competitive, less saturated areas. While DJing is a popular choice among students but may be difficult to break into without a substantial financial investment in time and gear, part-time cleaning may offer more room for growth while requiring fewer resources.

College Students’ Favorite Side Business Ideas

In light of these considerations, what kinds of extracurricular ventures do you think kids would find most successful? The following are some potential solutions:

  1. Mentoring and tutoring
    Your natural talents and abilities are highly sought after by others, and hence can be turned into a lucrative career. Offering a mentoring or tutoring service to students who are having difficulty reaching their full academic potential is a great way to put your knowledge and skills to use. In addition to the many student-run programs that put you in touch with underprivileged or international students to mentor, you may also consider tutoring on your own to attract a wider range of clients.

    If you start by providing your service to your fellow students and faculty members, you can then capitalize on your growing reputation through word-of-mouth. Once your business is up and running and generating revenue, you can begin to think about advertising it through a variety of channels, both online and off. This could involve anything from printing promotional flyers to post on bulletin boards around campus to using social media marketing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  2. I’m a Freelance Blogger and Writer
    Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular, and with it, the need for people with creative abilities. Because of this, freelancing as a writer or blogger, especially if you specialize in commercial copywriting for major corporations, may be quite profitable.

    Even if the industry is now very competitive and will only get more so in the future, you can still compete by focusing on the quality of your content. Focus on writing in your area of expertise and using platforms like Elance and oDesk to advertise your services; businesses are becoming more and more conscious of the need for high-quality content for their online marketing strategies. These platforms, along with, are ideal for beginners since they provide a wide variety of assignments appropriate for different skill sets.

    To find work that best utilizes your writing and academic abilities, you need just put up a basic CV to send out to potential employers. Consider using these platforms to investigate the prices of similar service providers, since this will help you set reasonable charges without losing customers to the competition. You may earn money by posting your essays and study guides on various online forums.

    In order to make the most of the resources at your disposal and so generate income, you may consider marketing and selling your scholarly work for applied study. Sites like post this information and let users use it as a reference while still protecting the copyright so that no one can claim the work as their own. Finished essays and revision notes are useful if they are well-written and demonstrate an authentic understanding of the material. Therefore, these documents may be sold to other students via various internet sites, generating passive cash with little to no extra work.

    Both and provide online bidding platforms where you can sell your study guides and other supplementary materials; the former will pay you up to $25 for a literary essay.
  3. The Importance of Establishing a Cleaning Service
    When you’ve had enough of the mental strain of schoolwork, you can consider pursuing a business idea that involves providing a straightforward, hands-on service. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty for pay, setting up a cleaning service on campus is a great way to make some extra cash and clear your head. Student housing has a bad name for being dirty, so this plan guarantees steady interest. The idea’s greatest strength is its scalability, which makes it possible to rapidly expand your reach beyond your current network of acquaintances.

    Starting off, you may keep costs low by only advertising to close acquaintances. If your firm takes off, though, you may decide to put part of your earnings on marketing materials like flyers and business cards. By adding landscaping and pool cleaning to your repertoire, you may compete for more jobs in the summer without changing your business’s identity.
  4. Participate in the American tradition of thrift
    As Americans have sought to cut costs and increase their disposable money since the global crisis began in 2008, the thrift shop business in the United States has experienced a substantial resurgence. Goodwill Industries, the market leader, raked in $2.69 billion in retail sales from only 2,500 locations in 2011, per the National Association of Resale Professionals, as people came to sell their old clothing, appliances, and other home goods. Students may capitalize on this situation by selling their unwanted belongings through various channels, including online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist as well as offline venues like yard sales.

    Focus on selling products like textbooks, encyclopedias, apparel, and accessories that are in high demand and have a true resale value. It’s possible to make a tidy sum by reselling thrift store finds on eBay.

Bottom Line

These concepts may be utilized to not only make substantial money and cut down on school loans, but also to learn foundational skills useful in the modern and future economies.

A graduate’s prospects of making money after graduation are boosted when he or she is able to establish a business or market an useful talent, providing financial stability throughout the transition to a full-time job. You might also start your own company after college rather than looking for work.

If you can help it, avoid letting your student loans control you. Self-taught skills can help you make some additional money today and protect your future even if your formal education has not concentrated on business or entrepreneurship.

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