This post is for the Group Writing Project hosted by Darren at Problogger.net. Check out the project here; it includes a chance to win $1,001! Why the extra dollar? haha. I decided to write about student entrepreneurship which has been my passion for over a year.
I’ve had a blast being a young entrepreneur at the University of Florida. Too bad I have to graduate =( . Like many of my entrepreneurial peers, I spent a lot of time contemplating what opportunity I should venture in. I scoured the internet, spoke with friends, and read books in hopes of finding a great business opportunity. The following is a list of my Top 5 Projects for Young Entrepreneurs in College with #1 being my favorite opportunity. I selected these as my Top 5 because I’ve read about the project’s success elsewhere or I’ve seen it work first hand in Gainesville, FL (home of the University of Florida). Here’s my list!
5. Provide Labor Services.
Yup, Labor Services… along the lines of a moving service or a cleaning service. What sparked this idea was the success of a Harvard startup called Dormaid. I believe there is an opportunity for students to capitalize on other student’s laziness! And, the same dorm cleaning concept can easily be extended to apartment cleaning as well. Considering the hectic schedule of students who want to focus on their studies, they can easily neglect the cleanliness of their homes. Thus, a cleaning service may be welcomed by this demographic.
Likewise, moving in and out of a dorm or apartment each year can be a hassle. Having the convenience of a few extra hands to move heavy boxes is surely convenient for students. Again, I see an opportunity for a student moving service. However, such a venture is very seasonable and may be a “get cash fast” venture rather than a sustainable business venture.
The success of this type of startup would be dependent on the price sensitivity of student consumers. How much are they willing to pay for a clean room? How much is a helping hand for moving worth to them? And, would this be profitable enough for you to create a business? Ahh, I think this is worth some research… but hey, if Dormaid can do it… a similar model can be duplicated on your campus!
4. Start a Website.
Starting a website is a classic young entrepreneurial idea. Ever since Alex Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage made history, I’ve been baffled by the immense opportunities that still exists on the internet. Indeed, there are several ways for you to make money on the internet. Perhaps the most common is the creation of a blog like mine where you focus on a niche demographic and write articles that would intrigue them. Pro Money Blog was created for recent college graduates transitioning to professional life and entrepreneurs just like me.
Other opportunities are book exchanges such as Rohail Rizvi’s Walamu.com (here’s a shout-out :P) or a general classified service such as CampusTrade.com. All of these projects rely on advertising as a source of revenue. And, to be profitable, the site must attract several thousand visitors a month, which is no easy task!
Nonetheless, there are several students that have been successful. DraftExpress.com and NetBusinessBlog.com are just two examples. So if you have some coding skills and/or a knack for writing, this may be the perfect project for you.
3. Provide a Note/Tutoring Service.
Nerds getting beat up? Pssh, how about nerds getting rich! If you were a A+ student in a particularly difficult class, then providing a paid tutoring service is a excellent opportunity. A successful venture at UF is a business called TutoringZone. I’ve seen this company pack over 200 students in a room for 6 hours, each paying $20 for a tutoring session just days for their exams. And depending on the size of the class, they can hold three to four sessions for each exam. Thats a lot of money!
Additionally, a similar concept sells notes to students, charging between $10 – $20 for a note packet before each exam. I’ve seen plenty of students in my classes use these note shells. Theres money there too!
Reasons why such a venture would be successful are pretty straight forward. There are students who skip class or take poor notes that would rely on a tutoring service to be successful. Additionally, when large institutions such as UF fail to provide one-on-one attention to students, an opportunity exist for this type of service. In fact, many of UF’s business classes are online and you have no classroom interaction whatsoever!
Indeed, students put a value on their grades. With a good all around tutoring or note service, a strong reputation will develop and help this type of venture be successful.
2. Become a Party Promoter.
This is a perfect side business for busy students with a strong social life. I actually never realized how profitable this business was until I spoke with a friend that became a promoter in Gainesville. You could literally become the Van Wilder of your institution for the time you’re there, haha.
The key to success, from what I’ve seen, is to be the person who sets up club parties for student organizations on campus. Such organizations include Fraternities, Sororities, and Cultural Organizations. For example, Social Studies Inc. works primarily with fraternities and sororities at the University of Florida. The company provides transportation services on top of organizing a club party. By targeting niche communities on campus, these promoters became the go-to people for individuals in those communities.
And just from my own experience as a student leader, most organizational leaders would rather not deal with club owners and promotions for their events. Paying a small fee (plus commission) for someone who is familiar with club owners and has a reputation for throwing some of the best parties is more than worth it. So, if your a big socialite and love to party, this is an excellent opportunity.
1. Sell Promotional Products.
Ah yes, my favorite young entrepreneur project! But alas, I must admit that I am a little bias. My own business venture revolves around this opportunity. I started One Greek Store in June of 2006 with the goal of producing fraternity and sorority apparel for multicultural organizations. Since then, the business has grown well beyond that demographic.
In addition to our original goal, my company also provides T-Shirts and promotional products, such as pens, cups, notepads, etc. to our customers. Throughout the year, we targeted student organizations with our products; this was the key to our success. I was amazed at how many shirts students purchase! There were literally shirt orders every week from different organizations. Additionally, student organizations order plenty of promotional items to advertise their group and/or events.
This business opportunity is very lucrative for those of you who have strong connections with student leaders. Plus, from personal experience, the profit margins are great!
Well there you go, these are my Top 5 Entrepreneur Projects for all of those ambitious college students out there. But be warned, not all ventures are successful. Although I’ve seen success from each venture listed here, I am sure there are many more failures.
But heck, no business project is easy. Expect to face challenges! You will stumble, you will fall, but most importantly, you will have the choice to recover. I suggest recovering from your mishaps, learn from your mistakes, and build that successful business! Good Luck!
If you need advice on how to get any of these ventures up and running, don’t hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org