It's no secret – being a student is an expensive experience, with textbooks to buy, living costs to consider, and nights out to enjoy. Maintaining a part time job while dipping in and out of lectures and, of course, having a buzzing social life makes finding a work life balance challenging.
Part time jobs are a great way to earn some extra cash while studying, but it can be hard to fit them around classes and other commitments. Many believe that creating your own business as a student isn’t a viable source of income, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
Facebook, Snapchat and Reddit are only a few companies that were created by students and have grown into international phenomenons used by millions. Mark Zuckerberg and roommate Eduardo Saverin came up with the ingenious social media platform Facebook while studying at Harvard University. Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian founded Reddit whilst studying at the University of Virginia. And Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown founded Snapchat at Stanford University.
So what is stopping you starting your own business while studying? Here are 4 fail-proof business ideas to help you start your own successful company as a student.
Tutoring is a great way to start your own business and find your entrepreneurial feet. You can prepare kids for their exams, or tutor adults if you are an expert in a certain area like foreign languages or history.
● Tutoring can fit around your studies and you don't need to be a qualified teacher, although you do need to be able to teach a subject coherently and to a high standard. Chose a topic that you know you can teach well.
● Tutoring can be relatively low cost depending on how you advertise your services and how far you travel for lessons. Advertise on free websites, like Gumtree and through social media to get the word out there. There are also tutoring sites that help you get set up a reputable tutor.
● Why not consider tutoring those in the year below you for a small fee? Many Universities and Colleges have groups on social media for students studying in the same class. Use these channels to advertise your expertise and get your business off the ground. Invest your profits back into your business venture to allow it to grow.
● You could even branch out and host knowledge groups or seminars, and sell your old textbooks or lecture notes through these channels.
Have you ever been to an event and thought, you could have done a better job? Well maybe you can….
Organising events is a fun business venture because it gives you the potential to become quite popular and influential within the student community and may even lead to brand endorsements.
● Look for local venues to host your events and use your own connections to set up a DJ or music performance. You can even add a theme to the event and get your customers involved to make your night unique. Charge a small fee for entry and use this profit to invest back into your next event. Think of creative ways to make your event stand out like fancy dress, themed events and prizes for the best dressed.
● Popular student venues are always looking for hosts and organisers to take on part of the event planning and promotion. You just have to convince them that you’ve got an event that will pull in the crowds.
● Use your classmates and friends to help promote your event and advertise on social media to create a buzz at your University.
● You could always start by becoming a brand ambassador or student community manager for an events company at first – learning everything you can about how to make money from student events.
Selling Crafts Online
If you are a creative and crafty person, then why not consider making and selling handmade goods online? You could sell anything from friendship bracelets to knitted scarves, and personalised shoes to cushion covers. Making things yourself is low cost and you can make it work around your studies.
● Start by creating your own website to sell your items from. A website coded from scratch can be very time consuming and expensive – you won’t be able to afford a custom web store with all the bells and whistles.
● Instead, you can use a simple platform like Shopify, cutting out all the complex design work and allowing you to open an online store easily and hassle free. This will free up your hectic schedule, leaving you more time to focus on your new business venture.
● You could also start by selling on a crafts-oriented marketplace like Etsy first to gauge the market for your products. Starting with Etsy means that you aren’t running headlong into an ecommerce venture you can’t manage.
● Original designs and personalised products are very popular, and creating a consistent retailer brand isn’t as hard as it looks in the days of logo generators and freelance web designers.
Use Your Course
Use the course skills you’ve already gained and offer them to people in need of these services. This can be a great way to gain experience, boost your CV and is a huge help to those you are working for.
● If you are studying Accountancy, perhaps you could offer simple bookkeeping services to small businesses in your local area? Studying Business? Maybe you could set up business workshops for entrepreneurs in the area who want to learn more about the latest developments? If you are studying History, you can work as a proofreader or archivist in your free time. Be proactive and match the skills you’ve learned at University with what you already knew from hobbies and volunteering to find a business idea that feels right.
● Again, offer your services out on free websites. Speak to your university’s newspaper or lecturer to get the word out there and see what suggestions they have.
Working hard while being a student doesn't have to just mean hitting the books. Become your own boss and join the young entrepreneurs that are breaking the student mould. All it takes is dedication and confidence in your own ability to become successful in your new business venture. This is the time to take risks, and being a student is the best time to experiment and push the boundaries.
What entrepreneurial idea do you have to become your own boss? Let me know in the comments below.
Written By: Kayleigh Alexandra, Content Marketer & Startup Specialist
Passionate about writing for the startup and entrepreneurial audience, I have recently been part of setting up an exciting project at MicroStartups.org. We donate all our website profits to charities that help people reach their full potential. Find out more on Twitter.