Imagine having your own business while in college? You will be walking in the footsteps of some of the founders of the most iconic brands in history like Microsoft, Facebook, and Dell, among others.
History has proven that college is an excellent time to start a business. A lot of students have taken the cue, though not all of them have succeeded. Reasons for their failure range from poor choice of ideas to lack of capital to scale the businesses and inadequate experience.
Before looking at the best ideas, it could help to ask what makes an idea good for a student startup. Here are some insights to consider.
Business viability - any business, whether by a college student or an ordinary entrepreneur must be viable. The idea will not just work because other startups by students have worked. Think through the idea to ascertain that it can deliver profit to investors. You should have the capacity to test it before inviting investors or injecting more capital.
Startup capital requirement - the capital or resources available to a student are minimal. For this reason alone, you should consider an idea that requires minimal capital requirement. See if it will be possible to raise such capital from your savings or you can convince investors to trust you with such resources despite your experience. Before setting up your business, it is worth creating a business budget. You can use a business budget template to outline the costs and expenses you might run into.
Time required to manage - while you are allowed to start a business while in college, you do not abandon your studies. Most businesses will take time to grow and become profitable enough to support you. In some cases, students start businesses for sustenance while in college. You should, therefore, consider the time required to manage a business successfully. If it takes more time than you can afford while still pursuing your academic goals, maybe it is better to bench for the time being.
Networking capability - can you convince partners and investors to buy your idea? Work and focus on the ideas that do not require too much time and capital. If you can’t raise the capital you need through your own network then maybe it’s better to shift focus elsewhere.
The principles highlighted above are only points of concern. Each idea is viable and should be tested before abandonment.
[Related Article - How to Create a Successful Startup Partnership]
Find a way of overcoming the aforementioned challenges and you can run any business you imagine. Below, are the top startup business ideas for college students.
Start an amateur blog and you will soon be running a business. The internet offers numerous free blogging platforms that will anchor your website at the beginning as you establish and grow the brand. The free templates are enough before the blog begins to generate money because they offer all the features you would require, like engagements and sharing. You can also start the blog with just a phone or a laptop. It means that the cost of starting a blogging business is nil.
Choose a niche for your blog. It should be a subject that can attract enough traffic to allow you to monetize your online presence or set up an affiliate program. Choose an area you are passionate about so that your content is insightful and engaging to read. As traffic grows, you can allow adverts on the page or upload sponsored content.
Cross platform app development
Apps are the product of the future. As the world embraces mobile phones and web services, more products and brands will see the advantages of apps across all platforms. Start an app development business to serve this ever growing need.
Web App development requires some IT skills. However, the internet has made it even easier to develop apps today. There are numerous learning materials that will teach you app coding from the comfort of your room, and if you are not into coding, you can also use a no-code app builder. You also have numerous templates that only require a bit of customization to create an app. These resources give you a head start in your app development venture.
Social media management services
Billions of people around the world log onto social media platforms each day. Brands and professionals are looking for experts to help them utilize the potential of social media. You have an opportunity to become that professional.
You can perform your services over the phone and during your free time. It means that this does not require a lot of resources to set up a social media service business. The idea also gives you a chance to serve clients from all-over the world.
There are useful tools you can use to make managing easier and avoid conflict with your school schedule. For instance, scheduling tools allow you to prepare content for posting while you are in class. Auto-response tools will also help you to engage visitors making enquiries while you are away. Social media marketing proposal templates guide your prospect through the solution you’re proposing and save you the time and effort of typing it whenever you want to send your proposal. Social media management services is one of the most thriving startup ideas for college students.
Virtual assistant services
CEOs and business executives are extremely busy handling other tasks. Those with startups are in particular need of assistance, yet they cannot employ personnel because the business has not grown to that extent. They are turning to virtual assistant services to maintain schedules, respond to emails, and book appointments, among other tasks ordinarily performed by office assistants.
You will answer phones, draft emails, and manage appointments for a CEO or an executive halfway across the world. The work requires minimal hours and can be performed during your free time. You only require a laptop, a phone, and headphones to help you manage calls. The client ordering your services will provide any software you may require for the work.
Influencers are known on social media but their presence has spread to other platforms like blogs and personal websites. An influencer is a content specialist in a particular space like comedy, product reviews, or business, among other areas.
Your work is to influence the buying decisions of your followers using your content. Brands ride on your popularity and the content you produce to market their products.
An influencer must first create a substantial following. The following may take time as people warm up to your content idea and begin to return to your social media page for more content.
For college students looking into how to become an influencer, the most noticeable aspects are that of time and consistency in order to rise to the level of an influencer on social media. You will make money through sponsored advertisements and the traffic landing on your website if you are a reviewer. Influencers work with content in the form of images, video, and/or text.
Do you have a skill that you can teach the world? The internet is waiting for you to start an online training business. It could be language, programming, painting, singing, piano, and such skills. Set up a website or social media platform to train interested persons.
The beauty of the internet is that you draw your clientele from all over the world. You require very simple tools like a phone or a laptop to start.
An ordinary phone will serve the purpose at the beginning before you invest in sophisticated cameras and stage sets. You earn from subscription or by monetizing the traffic coming to your website and social media pages like YouTube.
Offline training is another alternative. There are still plenty of local businesses which are not aware of the benefits digital and social media marketing can provide and are not up-to-date on the latest marketing trends.But support and training in these areas are where money is to be made. For example, by just generating a QR code and placing it in the store, a business can take a huge step towards bridging the digital and retail location gap.
There will always be a person ordering goods online. Since online stores do not have outlets everywhere, they need a delivery person for the last mile. Be that person.
Begin in college by talking to delivery companies to become their agent. You may also set up in the neighbourhood where such businesses are not yet operational. The good thing about delivery is that you do not require any capital.
You can also schedule your deliveries to be taking place collectively to reduce the trips and resources required to deliver the goods. The business is very easy to scale through in-depth planning and route management.
Consumers value a second opinion about a product or service a lot. By the time you buy, you want to be sure that the information given by the manufacturer or the seller is verifiable. Start the business of product review.
A product reviewer works as an influencer, though your content is specific to the product you are selling. For instance, a product reviewer will sell a phone directly as opposed to an influencer who uses comedy. Successful products reviewers know their products. They are very objective to avoid misleading potential buyers.
You have to create a website or a blog and choose a product niche that will attract enough traffic. It takes time before people believe in your wisdom enough to be persuaded to buy. You will earn from product endorsements on your website and monetizing the traffic flowing to your site.
What's the takeaway for students looking for startup ideas?
Ideas for college startups are endless. You only need to know what works for you and how to navigate the challenges you will encounter, especially balancing your academic work. Use the startup as a stepping stone to becoming an entrepreneurial titan.
As easy as the above startup ideas may sound, they require a lot of persistence and devotion. History has shown that student entrepreneurs are responsible for some of the most successful and lucrative companies.
And it is these disruptive businesses that are so important when it comes to driving innovation. But, identifying the right startups and spotting new market trends is when things can get a bit tricky.
This is where the Valuer data-driven platform can help. If you're curious about innovative business or disruptive market, our AI platform will comb over the vast Valuer database of over 650,000 companies and startups to generate the insights into any industry, technology, or business. This will allow you to discover and explore startups, new markets, and industries to drive your journey into innovation.
Author Bio: Adrian Lomezzo is a freelance writer and content manager dealing with a variety of websites like Thesisgeek.com. As Adrian is fond of traveling, he enjoys sharing his experience from the various corners of the world.