4 fool-proof student business ventures
Time-rich but cash-poor? Try using your spare time at uni more economically by starting your own business venture – it'll certainly pay off!
Credit: Darius Monsef – Flickr
Starting a business so you can rake in some cash and spend the proceeds on partying and designer clothes probably seems like a pretty great plan (if perhaps a bit on the idealistic side).
Without getting too far ahead of yourself, starting the right sort of venture at university can be a great way to earn decent money and spend your spare time productively. That is, as long as it's one with low startup costs and is quickly cash positive – easy, right?
We've outlined a few tried and tested student business plans below. These all rely heavily on perfect execution and a lot of hard work, so if you're looking for a quick cash injection, this is probably not the best direction to take.
However, if you are willing to make the time and utilise your skills correctly, you could be on the path to earning a lot of cash, improving your CV and most importantly – having a serious amount of fun!
4 student money-making ventures
Start a club night
For students, starting a club night is one of the oldest tricks in the book. However, starting a successful, profitable club night is a completely different matter. It takes a great idea and a lot of planning to get this one right.
The first and most important point to consider is whether you have the right (or right amount of) networks at university to get a club night going.
If you're someone who socialises with a large range of people from different groups, scenes, courses, societies and halls, this will get you off to a good start. If this is not you, you'll need to partner up with someone who does, pronto. Networking is absolutely key for getting a club night off the ground.
Secondly, it's important to think about what sort of club night is missing within these networks in terms of the type of music and the venue you choose.
These factors will be key in determining your crowd, getting people through the door and even encouraging punters to switch from an already established night they regularly go to.
Not everyone will like to hear this, but if you're a popular person amongst your networks, the chances of your night being a success are much higher. Not only will your social circles come to your night to support you, but they're also more likely to promote your night to their friends, too.
Remember: Getting people through the door to a launch party is far easier than the second and third time you run your night, so a good launch doesn't mean the hard work's over!
Start a student discount card/app
Probably the second most popular and easy-to-start student business venture is starting a discount card business.
The principles here are pretty simple: Talk to local companies like bars, sandwich shops and clubs, telling them that you'd like to feature them in a discount club for students. Push this as a great opportunity for free exposure and they're likely to offer exclusive discounts that you can offer to your members.
Make some cards with the discounts featured and get selling them on to students who are keen to save on a night out!
Instead of charging students for a card, why not set up a savings app or website listing discounts for free (similar to our discount section) and offer local businesses the chance to be featured on a free trial basis on the condition that they pay a monthly fee when the trial ends as your user base expands.
You could then also set up a premium membership with extra discounts for students who are willing to pay for a card once they've used the free service.
Again, execution and spreading the word about your discount club is key, but when done correctly the business could become a nice money earner.
Shifting your business venture from a discount card to an app will also increase your chances of success. This will of course involve a fair bit more effort, but it's certainly not impossible.
Become a student consultant
Social media is constantly changing, and brands are eager to stay in touch with how young people use it on a daily basis. If you're particularly entrepreneurial, good at marketing and knowledgable about social channels, offering your service as a sort of consultant to brands could work out well.
Put together a proposal that you can offer businesses outlining the inside scoop you have on what makes young people tick, and how you can guide businesses in getting involved. Essentially, this is all about showing how you can help brands be more in touch with a young, hard-to-reach student market.
Probably the easiest place to start is approaching local businesses. Offer a heavily discounted rate at first and in time you'll have a portfolio and will be able to increase your rates.
Whatever your interest is, there is a market in the blogosphere that will be interested in your opinions. Check out our guide on starting a website.
Once you have a blog up and running, the really key thing is to find your niche and go with it. Blogs are all about finding an online identity, as that's what attracts readers and increases the chances of brands seeking you out and wanting to be affiliated with you (which is where the green will come from!).
Putting out relevant, high quality content on a regular basis is also crucial to keep your readers interested. Once you have a big enough audience you can start accepting advertising opportunities from companies on your site. If you have a big enough following, this can bring you in a serious income.
If you think this is something you'd be interested in, learn some basic SEO and social media advertising skills to help get yourself off the ground.
Do you have any business ideas of your own? Let us know in the comments below.