by Mari Kucher
It all begins with a good idea. What will yours be?
There is no doubt that the price for being successful is on the rise. Student debt can be a daunting thing to consider, especially when many college students find it difficult to find work in their area of discipline upon graduation. Many more discover that the pay isn’t as high as they had been told to expect.
This is why more and more college students are taking matters into their own hands and becoming entrepreneurs. Of course, whenever someone uses a word like “entrepreneur” it understandably triggers the money alarm. Starting a business is expensive. You need all kinds of money to get started; need investors… and what happens if it doesn’t work? Will, you add your business debt to the pile and spend the rest of life paying it off?
What if we told you it didn’t have to be that way? What if there were businesses you could start with zero investments and zero overhead? We aren’t talking about multilevel marketing, or some get rich quick scheme. We’re talking about real, the sustainable income you can generate utilizing existing skills and interests. Here are a few examples:
For many students – both current and incoming – living on campus is simply a vital part of the quintessential college experience. No matter your reason (or reasons) for residing in an on-campus dorm, one thing is certain – doing so will teach you many life lessons, including how to earn money on campus. Are you the one person in the dorm that everyone comes to when they need writing assistant or finished term paper? If so, you are likely sitting on a goldmine. As a freelance copywriter, you work directly with clients managing all kinds of writing tasks. Blogs, web articles, website pages, press releases, emails, and more are all in-demand. There are also numerous ways to market your services without ever spending a penny.
Freelance sites like Upwork and Textbroker allow to interact and contract with clients free or cheap. Upwork takes a percentage of earnings and tells how much they collected for your work. Textbroker is less transparent but has the added benefit of an immediate selection of the pieces you want to write (Upwork uses a bidding system, as do most other freelancing sites).
Once you establish a reputation and have a surplus of clients and leads, try to start your copywriting agency and begin earning percentages of what your staff writes. Upwork also has a program that trains and hosts agency onsite.
E-commerce is another very low-cost option that can earn big with very little overhead. It will cost more to start up than a copywriting business, but there are ways to keep costs low enough for your revenues to cover. Plus, most e-commerce retailers conduct most of their business using their smartphones. You use yours multiple times a day already; why not use it to make some real money?
You might be wondering where we’re going to keep all our inventory. You can’t run a store from a dorm room… or can you? This is an excellent place to start talking about drop shipping. The actual process is straightforward. Buy a product (often one unit at a time) from an online seller. That seller ships directly to the customer and provides all the packing materials, paperwork, and other forms of overhead. Check out the above link to learn more.
We also strongly recommend taking a course in e-commerce management before diving in. Numerous online courses will teach the ins and outs and help ensure our success. College or university might even offer one.
Pet sitting, Housesitting, and dog walking
Did you know that there are even freelancing sites out there that connect clients with people who offer these types of services? If you love animals, this is an excellent option. Many housesitting jobs also revolve around pet care and have the added benefit of giving a quiet place to relax and study. Finding these gigs close to campus, it is something you can do all year long.
When working with people’s pets or property, though, it is essential to know everything about the job and what it will entail. Both pets and features can have special needs. It is up to you to assess every opportunity and only accept contracts that can be successfully managed and completed.
Marketing own services
No matter what business was decided to launch, you won’t get any clients or customers if people don’t know that business exists. Here are a few tips on marketing business without breaking the bank:
Craigslist – try to sell almost any service imaginable on Craigslist, every ad placed is free. Even better, you can narrow the scope to a small geographic area if you intend to work with clients close to campus.
Social Media – business should have its business page on Facebook. The more active the page, the more Facebook will distribute content, try to boost posts and reach more people for as little as a dollar a day on Facebook. Other social media platforms have similar advertising structures as well.
Fliers and Business Cards – cheap way to market services is to create printed marketing material and distribute it in areas where you are likely to find clients. Be aware of any restrictions imposed by businesses on how you can distribute marketing materials. This includes a college campus, as a good option for anything that is real-world based. All marketing for Internet-based businesses should be kept online.
Yes, it is possible to build even more significant, sustainable businesses from your dorm room, too. After all, Reddit, Bing Places, Merchant Circle and Facebook started as pet projects started by college students. Here are a few more inspiring tales can be used to get the creative juices flowing. Whatever you decide to do, future is in your hands. We can – and should – take hold of it starting now and begin making strides toward a stable financial future.
Photos: Zara Magumyan, Lara Odell, Saber Wang, Natalie Murrow, and Julie West
Are you a college student who has started their own business? Give us your tips in the comments below!