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Business Ideas for Students

Updated on July 26, 2011

Money is the Root of All that Spends

What are Good Business Ideas for College Students

Recently, one of our fellow hubbers asked the question you see above: What are some good business ideas for college students. The question went on to provide a number of very particular qualifiers. The person looking to start a business was in college. They still had two more years to reach a degree. They are taking a business class, but there’s a lot of those out there, so we’re not sure which one or what kind of degree they are pursuing. Let’s be honest. If everyone who took a business class in college decided they wanted to open their own business, the failure rate of new businesses would be much higher than the 80+% it is now. They were not allowed to get a job, because their parents would not let them. The college student’s parents own a school supply business, but it is unclear how involved the student has been over the years in that school supplies business and even what kind of school supplies business? Does it market to the consumer--a small, local shop perhaps? Do they manufacture pencils or something, do they distribute to commercial interests, perhaps supplying schools and/or other businesses? Has student ever worked anywhere than with the family business? How long has the business been around? How successful is the school supplies business? There’s a lot we don’t know. Nonetheless, I did come up with some relatively general suggestions for this college student looking to start a business, and I have provided them here.

Business Ideas for College Students? Good Question.

You're asking a pretty loaded question there. While owning your own business is certainly the goal of many individuals it absolutely is not ideal for most. If you can't apply for a job, because your parents won't let you, that's a concern. You must be able to be completely independent to have your own business. There is the possibility you could do this in your spare time, but the reality then is that it’s going to be much harder and less successful than if you could fully dedicate yourself to it. There will be long hours worked into the night, financial responsibilities, legal ramifications, etc. Typically, if there is something preventing you from getting a job, you're probably going to have a hard time running your own business. Running your own business is like having 3, or 4, or more jobs all at once.

Beyond that, without having any experience in business, I wouldn't be able to recommend to anyone to go into business themselves. It is unclear how much experience you have within your family school supplies business. Do you handle sales, ordering, vendor negotiations, stocking, inventory, security, insurance, and so on? While you may have the drive, intelligence, etc., there are certain skills you learn when you work for someone else's business. You get to see how they do things and how business in general is done. There is A LOT of stuff that goes into running a business, and if you're not at the top of your game, there's a much bigger chance of failure. Consider more than 80% of new business fail within the first few years. Within a few years of that, 80% of those that remained are also closed. It's a hard world, especially in this economy.

Business Ideas for College Students? What About Just Making Money?

Having said all that, you may be able to earn money--which could possibly lead into owning your own business down the line--without having to go through all of that. HubPages, for example, is a great way to earn some money by doing simple work. You get to write about what you know or what you research. There are a number of things to learn along the way, and I am still learning every day myself.

You don't have to use HubPages. You could use a blog and do affiliate marketing there. You could have your own web store. You could do a number of things along these lines. All the while, you will kind of have your own business, but it's a very competitive business with a lot more pitfalls than ways to success.

Creative Insights Worth More than Gold

Business Ideas for College Students?

You're going to school, and that's great. You'll learn some good information there, which will help you shape how you do things. At the same time, school can take a lot of time which is going to take time away from doing any type of online business. This will slow you down a bit. It takes time, experience, and mistakes to start making money online, and it takes a lot longer to make any sort of "real" money. If you can find your niche, however, you could make it.

There are several young adults and even children who have some up with some new idea and gone into business for themselves. They have typically had the support of their parents, found venture capitalists, and gone that route. The catch there is that they had a truly new idea that people were both willing to invest in and willing to pay for as a good or service. If you're been pretty active in your family school supplies business--and, still being a student yourself--perhaps you know of something that students or teachers have a definite need for but it's not out on the market yet.

I wish you luck in your endeavors, and feel free to stop by and let me know how it goes.


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  • Cameron Corniuk profile image

    Cameron Corniuk 6 years ago from Painesville, OH

    I can't say not having fear is a good idea. I was raised in a very business oriented family myself. If you have fear, then you're smart. You know there are risks. This way, you take calculated risks rather than just leap head first without knowing what's on the other side.

    If you're that involved with your family's business, I might suggest trying to build off of it as a side business, where you would be responsible and gain profits from it. If they don't do business online yet, for example, why not open an eStore for them with you owning the eStore or taking a percentage from it? That's just off the top of my head. Doing something like this would be a way perhaps to put money toward your other business ventures down the road when you're a bit more ready to take that calculated risk.

  • galegayol profile image

    galegayol 6 years ago from Davao City

    hi! thanks for this hub. i never really had a single idea about 80% of new businesses failed. my father had always taught me to be fearless about businesses. like, that's what guidelines in entrepreneurship always say, "do not have fear in starting your own business, take risks". by the way, i am majoring in entrepreneurship, and i have been helping in our family business since i was in high school, and i had managed it for about 1 year and a half because I stopped from college last semester just to focus in this business. my parents did not really required me to do so, but i really liked business so that's wat i did, tried to master and gain more knowledge about the ways in running a merchandising business :) i was always eager about opening up my own this year, but i guess i still have to think more about this to avoid failure. once again, thank you very much! :D