If you’re a college student with a big idea, there’s no reason to wait until graduation to start.
Starting a business in college will not only help you get a head start in your industry, but it’s also a way to earn some extra cash.
A lot of students take part-time jobs bartending or working retail near campus. But, starting your own side hustle offers flexibility, freedom, and potentially more income.
If you’ve got the time and the drive to work while you’re still in school, the side hustle approach is the way to go. Keep reading to learn five secrets to launching yours while still in college.
Find Your Niche
We all know the story of how Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook from his Harvard dorm room. But he’s not the only college student who launched a mega-successful business while they were still undergrads.
- Rick Rubin created Def Jam Records by turning his NYU dorm room into a recording studio.
- Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy created the Snapchat app as Stanford students.
- Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian created Reddit while they were studying at the University of Virginia.
The list goes on and on…
What do all of these businesses have in common?
They were founded by people with a passion.
If you’re passionate about your business, you’ll have a much better chance of building a thriving company.
So, start by looking at the areas that interest you. Maybe you love web design and coding. Perhaps you want to print and sell t-shirts.
Whatever the case, identify a need for a product or service in that space. Figure out how you can fill the void in that marketplace and pursue it. Having a love for the industry will make it easier for you to develop a strong, profitable business.
Believe in Yourself
Some people let failure get them down. But when it comes to starting your side hustle, you can’t be afraid to fail.
In fact, failing is a great way to learn about yourself. It’ll help you recognize your weaknesses so that you can get better.
Trial and error is your friend. Test out different ideas and see what works. That way, you can build your business around your successes, no matter how small they may be.
If you want to open an ecommerce store, you’ll need to test out different products to figure out what people want.
You might also have to experiment with marketing techniques (Social media? Print marketing? Radio ads?). Depending on your business, you might use any number of channels to reach your audience. It’ll take a while to find the one that brings in the most customers.
Make the Time
Starting a side hustle in college is no different than starting a business while working a full-time job. After all, college is your full-time job.
But if you’re passionate about your future, you’ll always find extra time to focus on your business endeavors.
That being said:
If you’re serious about starting a company, you might need to skip a football game or two.
I know that fulfilling eBay orders on a Saturday night isn’t every college student’s idea of a good time, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Focus on Your Goals
Don’t treat your side hustle as a part-time job (even if it is one). Instead, look at it as a ticket to your future.
When you start your company, write down your “big picture” goal. Where do you want this company to be when you graduate? What do you want it to look like ten, fifteen years down the line?
Keeping the big picture in mind will help to keep you on track. It may even give you some direction in your education.
If you’re starting a cupcake company and there’s a professor at your university who has experience in the snack industry, reach out to them. Take their course, TA for them, and utilize them as a resource to learn everything you can.
Tip: Don’t Forget About School
The more success you have, the more tempting it can be to want to focus on your business rather than on school.
Don’t make that mistake.
School can help you become a better entrepreneur, especially if you take the right courses and spend time around the right people.
Remember that you’re in college for a reason and you still need to focus on your education. Use your college years to start building your business but wait until after graduation to focus on it 100%.
If you have a great idea for a side hustle, start now. Don’t wait or put it off until tomorrow, next month, or next semester.
Whether you have to order supplies, build a website, or draw out a business plan, get it done ASAP. The sooner you start checking things off your to-do list, the sooner you’ll be on your way to building a profitable business.
Start small. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Work toward building something that you can manage in school while still focusing on your studies.
Great Side Hustles for College Students
Let’s be realistic – not everyone is going to follow in Zuckerberg’s footsteps and create the next Facebook.
But, there are a ton of side gigs you can start today!
Interested in making or selling items? You can create your own products and sell them on sites like Etsy.
Prefer to build up your professional skills in preparation for your first “real” job after college? Use Upwork to find some freelance clients in your industry. In the freelance market, you’ll be able to gain valuable experience without ever leaving your dorm.
If you want to work for yourself but aren’t ready to launch your own company, it doesn’t hurt to work for a company like Uber or Rover. These apps allow you to work on your own schedule and will teach you a lot about being your own boss.
You might not become the next Silicon Valley billionaire by delivering pizzas or walking Shih Tzus, but you’ll still gain valuable experience.
Starting a side hustle while you’re still in college isn’t easy – but nothing good ever is. If you do it right, however, you can start earning some cash and building a plan for the future.
It might you take a few weeks to figure out how to balance work and school, but it’s totally possible to do them both successfully. Have some confidence in yourself, and don’t be worried about missing a party every once in a while.
With hard work and motivation, you could see more money in your pocket by tomorrow!