You can do a thousand and one things to make money. Most of the time, people just don’t know how to start out. They’ll just “come up with an idea” and run with it. And they have no clue if their business idea will actually work.

Of course, there is always some uncertainty when starting a new business. This is why a majority of startups fail. But you can mitigate that risk by doing a few wise things.

Pulling a business idea out of your derriere is the last thing you want to do. It takes observation and research.

I’m going to tell you about a student I recently met who plans to do just that.

1. Find a Niche Nobody Has Filled

This can backfire, of course. You could have found a niche nobody has filled and no customer would ever respond to. Then you really are wasting your time.

But if others have thought about it and customers have asked about it. It’s time to jump on it before anybody else does.

This is what my friend is doing. The Student owned and operated cafe only sells coffee and tea. Students have to go a block and half away to the local bakery for baked goods.

Others have asked the cafe about doing this, and they were willing to sell baked goods, but nobody followed through.

My friend is more than willing to follow through. He also has the baking skills to back up his interest.

2. Do the Preliminary Research

In the State of Washington, you can get a cottage license to sell home-baked goods out of your own home. You can sell them directly to consumers. And since the university cafe is student owned and operated, my friend might be able to secure some shelf space to sell his baked goods directly to customers.

He still has some research to do. For example, he doesn’t know if running sales through the cafe register will invalidate his cottage license. He still needs to survey what kinds of pastries and baked goods students will buy. And he needs to learn tax laws.

But he’s already done the requisite preliminary research. There is a demand and he is willing to meet it.

3. Freedom From an Ordinary College Job

Most of the students I mentor applied for your typical ten-twenty hour drudgery. They’re doing stewardship work on the grounds or working at the local grocery.

They’re slaves to their employer’s schedules. But when a student decides to build their own small business, their schedule is their own. Of course, to make money, they’ll have to put a certain amount of time in each week.

For a while, that time might be more than a typical part-time college job. But soon, once they master whatever processes are involved, they’ll be able to make their own schedule and carve out time for their homework and social life.

If you’re a college student, you should consider starting a small business even if it’s selling a small product line or drop shipping. You’ll have to understand things like data tracking and logistics for some, but once you know an understand your niche, it’s easier than you think to continue making money.


By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.