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Young Entrepreneur: The Top 5 Businesses To Start While Still In School

Aug 17, 2007
If you are still in school, there has never been a better time to become a young entrepreneur.

Some people drop out of college to start their own business. But that is a risk that you don't need to take. Even Bill Gates, who famously dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, has publicly stated that he wouldn't recommend it to others. They don't hire college dropouts at Microsoft!

Instead, why not start a business while you are still a full time student? There is no reason you can't do both, and this is a perfect way to try out entrepreneurship on a small scale. More students then ever before are starting businesses while still in school, and becoming young entrepreneurs.

Here are five excellent business ideas you can use to become a young entrepreneur:

1. Provide tutoring services

One of the best wages a college student can earn is working as a tutor. While most on campus jobs pay about $10 per hour, tutoring rates regularly go as high as $20-$40 per hour.

You could start by doing some tutoring yourself, but why not hire your friends to do the tutoring, and match them with kids who need help? Take your percentage off the top, or a flat fee each time you make a match, and you've created your own tutoring business!

To get some clients, meet with counselors at local high schools, drive some traffic to a web page with Google Adwords, or ask for referrals from friends, family, and happy customers. Before you know it, you'll have a scalable business that provides tremendous value to the community.

2. Build a blog around a particular interest

Blogs are becoming more popular than ever, but instead of writing about what you had for lunch today, why not create a blog around a particular topic that holds interest to your fellow students. Most students are concerned about a few big things: finding housing, the opposite sex, fun parties, the inside scoop on which classes or professors to avoid, and campus sports just to name a few.

Pick one that you love, start writing tips and useful advice, and your fans will spread the word about your site quickly. Once you have website traffic, several options become available for earning money, such as Google Adsense and recommending other products and events for affiliate commissions.

3. Help other companies market to students

The student demographic is a highly sought after market that many big brands will pay to reach. As a young entrepreneur, you can help them out. Companies like Red Bull and CampusFood.com regularly hire "brand ambassadors" on college campuses, but even if a job doesn't exist, you can create your own.

Find a product or local restaurant that you love and think other students would like to hear about. Then approach the company with a proposal. Request an incentive, such as a special discount only for students at your school, and offer to work on commission so they only have to pay you when you produce real results.

Get the right person on the phone by asking for five minutes of their time, and if they don't bite at first be politely persistent. Pitch it as a "no brainer" (if it works you make money, if it doesn't you lose nothing) and you might just land a profitable partnership.

4. Sell used textbooks

Most college campuses feature a book store with highly inflated prices, and smart students have caught on, fueling a large market for used textbooks. Once you have a used textbook, it is drop dead simple to sell it on half.com (just type in the ISBN, and it will load the picture, description, and even price for you). Once someone buys it, you can place it in a USPS flat rate envelope and ship it for a few dollars (no packaging, bubble wrap, or tape required).

Every used textbook you see is like finding a $20 bill on the ground (or more), so as a young entrepreneur you'll have to get creative in finding as many as possible. When it comes time to move at the end of the semester, some students will gladly let you get rid of the dead weight for free (or for a few dollars). Often times, items (like books) that are left in storage over the summer are auctioned off or given away. And if all else fails, offer to sell your friends textbooks and split the profit with them. You'll be doing them a favor, and helping yourself out in the process.

5. Become a party/club promoter

Most young people are interested in parties, dancing, the opposite sex, and generally having a great time, so why not offer them exactly that as a young entrepreneur. Approach an owner of a local club near your school, and see if they would allow you to host a regular party on an off-night. Most clubs are busy Friday and Saturday, but as an unknown promoter they might just test you out on a Wednesday or Thursday night.

Allowing an 18 and up crowd (with wristbands or some other method to discourage underage drinking) will increase your attendance. Charge the going rate at the door to enter the party, and negotiate a deal with the club owner or manager (receiving 100% of the door charge and 10% of alcohol sales is fairly common). Create some type of incentive (such as drink specials only for your fellow students) and spread the word using every means at your disposal.

There are plenty of ways to start a business as a young entrepreneur (I'm sure with a little brainstorming you can come up with many more), and they sure beat dropping out of school to start a business. Even if your first business doesn't make you a millionaire, I guarantee that you will learn more about starting and running a business than you can possibly imagine. It will make your next business that much more successful!
About the Author
Brian Armstrong makes it easy to learn the secrets of todays top business owners. To discover the "7 Essential Steps to Starting a Business" in his Free Online Course, visit this site now: Young Entrepreneur
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