Starting a Business after College: Ideas and Tips for Students

Trisha Miller  | 

Finishing college usually means that it’s time to start looking for a job. Although, the traditional employment route isn’t always the best fit for all of us. Many of us have an entrepreneurial spirit that just simply cannot be tamed. If you have the vision and tenacity to create your own career path, we’re here to help you along. Now is a wonderful time for new grads to get started on a business of your own (or even a little side hustle). Here’s what you need to know in order to start a new business after college.

Why Home Business is Great for College Students

Starting a home business is a great idea after you’ve just finished up your degree. It’s the perfect time because you’ve most likely got some clever ideas that you’ve compiled after spending years in an academic setting. Your thoughts are focused on fresh ideas and innovation. You’re ready to launch yourself into a successful business, whether that’s with a traditional employer or otherwise.

If you should choose to go the home business route, you know that you’ve got the dedication to get it started. If you can put the time, effort, and prioritization it takes into getting a degree, then you have what it takes to put a home business plan together. All you have to do is start with an idea. From there you can start drawing up plans and aspirations for how you’d like to see your home business develop in the future.

How to Start a Lucrative Home Based Business After College

After you have some ideas down on paper, you’ll need to figure out some more technical aspects of a home business. What are you selling? Why should people buy it? How is your product different from others? Ask yourself these questions and once you have answers to them, you can start constructing the real meat and potatoes of your home business.

How to Make Your Home Office a Productive Place

According to the questions above, you can begin to formulate what you will need out of your home office. You can start compiling the elements that you’ll need in your home for your business to be successful. Of course, you’ll need a reliable computer with access to the internet, but more than that you might need certain programs, if your goods or services are virtual. For example, designers, coders, and artists may require specific programs in order to successfully create their unique product.

If you’re thinking about selling something a bit more concrete, you may need other physical tools in your home in order to create your product. With the availability of online stores, like Etsy, anyone can mark their handmade goods for sale in the blink of an eye. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you’ll have to ensure that you’ve got everything you need to produce at any given time.

How to Get Your Home Business Up and Running

No matter what you’re selling, you’re going to need a place to sell it. That means that you’re going to need to figure out which e-commerce site best suits your business and your needs. Depending on how you choose to run your business and what you choose to sell, certain platforms will undoubtedly work better than others.

What Do You Need Out of an E-Commerce Site?

For example, if you’re selling a physical product a retail e-commerce site (like Etsy) that allows you to list your entire catalog of products will likely make the most sense for you. However, if an established site like that doesn’t have what you want, you can always create your own website that includes a marketplace (it always a good idea to set up a website anyway). For freelancers, it may be as simple as setting up an instant payment system, like PayPal. This is a quick and easy way for your customers to pay you for the services that you provide.

How to Get Started on a Marketing Plan

Just as we talked about above, setting up a website for your new business is a great idea. Having a home base that explains who you are, what you sell, and why your product is outstanding will help familiarize clients with you and your product. Not to mention, it’s an easy thing to share with others who might also be interested in what you’re offering.

Speaking of, you should also think about drawing up some marketing tactics in order to get the word about your business out there. Social media is a great place to start. Ads are a simple and effective way to start to spread the word. In addition, you should do some market research and understand competitors within your niche. Connect with other individuals and companies within your specific community. Networking is a smart way to slowly become an authority in your field.

How to Get Started on Your Bookkeeping

Lastly, you should start doing some financial planning as soon as possible. You’ll want to keep records of everything you spend on your business as well as income that is created from the business. You’ll need this documentation, not only for your own records, but for taxes as well. It’s crucial to understand your business budget and financial projections and it’s equally as important to make sure you’re taking advantage of all taxable deductions related to your business. Tracking everything now will help keep you from spending too much on taxes as well as going over on your monthly budget.

10 Best Entrepreneurial Ideas for College Students

Becoming a business owner and working from home doesn’t have to be boxed into one category. The possibilities for home based businesses are endless. If you can think it, you can create your own business around it. However, if you’re liking the idea of a home based business, but you’re struggling to think of an idea that suits your skills and interests, here are ten areas that lend themselves very well to entrepreneurs.

  1. Caretaking
  2. Tutoring
  3. Event Managing
  4. Writing
  5. Marketing
  6. Design
  7. Coding & IT
  8. Financial Planning
  9. Videography & Photography
  10. Product Creation (jewelry, art, clothing, woodworking, beauty products etc.)

Each of these areas can be tailored to your own unique ideas for your business. You can be your own boss and can take your business in a completely unparallelled direction. Your own imagination and willingness to innovate will dictate the boundaries of your new business. You now have the tools that you need in order to get started on a business plan. Take what you’ve learned here about home business and get out there and get started!


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Trisha is a writer and blogger from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan, an avid gamer, cat lover, and amateur SFX artist.

This post was updated December 26, 2017. It was originally published December 27, 2017.