13 Ideas For a Startup When You Are Still In College

When you are a student, you will probably find yourself with some free time. There’s not better idea than to use that time to build a startup. Here are 13 ideas!

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When  Mark  Zuckerberg developed the program for Facemash in his second year of college, he never thought that he is making history for the idea of social networks. Nor did Gates or Allen, with their billion dollar idea called Windows.

Let us not even go that far back. In the past decade, the world has seen many brilliant ideas forming shapes that were started by college students. From Coursicle to Sweetbud, there are plenty of examples of student startups that are flourishing. These ideas are inspirational for anything from fixing up a calendar schedule to finding the right support groups.

This internet is a playground and the best tool available for entrepreneurs. There is a new startup idea sprouting up every other day. What is even better is that there are many minds out there, who are ready to support the concept and provide room along with the capital to grow. So, as we said, there is no better time to be an entrepreneur.

If you don’t want to waste any time to start yours, then it doesn't matter even if you are still in college. Moreover, it could set the career path and open doors to many opportunities.

While the setting is good for starting a startup, the question is what could be the startup?

Startup or Business?

Before getting into the details of how to start a business or how to start a startup, let us clear the air. Not many people know the difference between a startup and a new business. To begin with, startups do not just blossom in a day, like opening a new shop. Here, the idea and the thought process is more valid. It is only fair to say, that a startup is an emerging company, with a core component and a high growth potential.

The most significant difference between startups and any other small business comes in the element funding. Startups usually seek financial investments via angel investors or other venture capital firms whereas a business relies on loans and grants.

Startups also require an exit strategy, if there is a plan to own the business in the future. Startups require others to invest in a vision while everyone works together to make it triumphant.

Then again, depending on the core idea and the funding required, this could vary. The idea might not even need an angel investor. Starting any venture would require commitment and time. If it is an online business, from the website design to feature a snippet, every step needs work. So as students, it is only smart to think, whether it is possible to spare time and resources for such a responsibility. Well, if there is passion, the first few lines of the article could offer enough inspiration

So let us rewind to the question, what would be the right startup idea that is best suitable for the current markets?

If you were pondering over this question for a while, let us join now. We have come up with a few of our own that could be interesting.

1) Design a Smashing Portfolio Website

There was a time when portfolios were used only by the artists of the world. Now, irrespective of the profession, a portfolio is the best way to showcase skills, services and create a killer first impression. This has resulted in portfolio websites being very much in demand now.

Today, the question of starting a business always involves a website. A portfolio website helps to build brand awareness, lead management, and reaching the audience in a multitude of ways unlike never before.

Although there are many up and coming portfolio websites already, there is a number of businesses being created every day. This makes the portfolio niche a solid place to invest in. Furthermore, there are many skills that go into developing one. The scope of UI and UX designs, graphic design, creative thinking, problem-solving are all integrated into it.

Here is one example to try. Creating a portfolio for musicians and upcoming bands, enabling them to reach out to other business and local events. More like a music industry network, this is sure to grab some attention. The website will act as a middleman for both the groups and offers a fair chance to get service fees.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take your fee of sales;
  • Earn from advertising on the site.

2) Start a Babysitting Network

There will always be demand for babysitters and nannies. With both parents working and maternity and paternity leave shrinking in length, the market for this is only widening. If you have a knack with babies and have a pleasing personality, you are already good to go.

But even better is to use the social network to add a little more benefit to this thought. Create a website or a group while adding other prospective babysitters to it. Charge a commission every time someone is hired; plus you get to do the job yourself too.

This is an advantageous startup business plan, as there is no need to set aside much time for it. The time could be fit as per the college schedule itself. And with the network, even if you are not able to do the job, it is still assured that you will make a percentage from the fellow babysitters who have signed up on the program.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take an hourly fee from customers;
  • Give orders to other people and take a small fee from them.

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3) Be a Reliable Local Reviewer

Anytime we need to know about a product, the first thing we do is to look online for the review. Sure enough, all big cities have their own dedicated websites for such reviews from multiple sources. But what about small places or even the campuses?

That's a golden opportunity right there. Start a website that reviews the local accommodation. You can make this exclusive for the campus itself or other accommodations in the area that students could rent out.

The website could be a reliable place for students to review, as they know their needs, schedules, and accessibility to the campus better. This would work as a credible source rather than just word of mouth. There could also be options added to include listings and discussion forums.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Earn from advertising on the site;
  • Sell advertising reviews.

4) Swap Sites

Swap sites are becoming a sought after platform. Not many are even aware of such kind of websites and used wisely for a market, it could rise up quickly enough. Swap websites are used to swap, sell, and borrow goods and service.

For example, if a person needs something but only for a single use, it is best to rent it out rather than buying one. In a campus, there is more than one person who is willing to do that, but what is lacking would be how to find that person. Such a website would simplify this while enabling people to save a few bucks as rent money, it is even better.

Call it a new age barter system; especially on campus, there would be a lot of demand for this. Start this locally and then expand it later. There are loads to borrow and exchange from academic services, bikes, books, and even clothes.

And imagine, not to have to lend your pen drive to someone and not lose it? Ok, they might, but you would still get some dollars for it.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take your fee of swapes;
  • Earn from advertising on the site.

5) Writing Services

If you have to pick on one thing that is most dreadful about academia, we can vouch that the most common answer would be the deadlines. Writing is a wearying business, especially when there is something to do repeatedly.

But then there are a few, who loves to do this. Such super talents and patience have to be recognized. Start a website that offers all kinds of writing services to students. It could be anything from essay writing, dissertation, academic papers or even simple proofreading. The website could also invite other fellow students to offer such services for a fee.

There are already many trustworthy services online and before starting out your own writing service it is a good idea to work as a professional essay writer for a top website. Then after you have gained some valuable experience you can begin to create your own essay writing service.

While building this kind of website, you can optimize it to get feature snippets that attracts students in particular. You wouldn’t have to look elsewhere to get clients. With one or two good reviews, the website will soon be a favorite among students trying to get last minute assignments done.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take an hourly fee from customers;
  • Earn from advertising on the site;
  • Give orders to other people and take a small fee from them.

6) Artisanal Food Delivery Services

Before there was food delivery, what did people actually do on lazy days with sudden food cravings? We all know how well these delivery services work. So, add a little twist to it and make it exclusive.

Create a platform to deliver quick eatables like sandwiches and smoothies to local businesses. Start by targeting firms with employees in younger age groups, who often go out to grab a meal during lunch breaks. This is a gold mine, with food deliveries for simple items that don't break their wallet, the business would be exponential. With options to schedule deliveries made earlier to arrive on lunchtime, this could actually be a problem solver for the firms.

Take a step further and make these homemade too. This way, it is not necessary to rely on multiple third-party services. The food will be authentic, tasty and have a personal touch to the service.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take your shipping fee.

7) Play Cupid

Before you think Tinder is doing well enough, there are always possibilities to do things better. You definitely know and have single friends or at the least acquaintances. And on the campus, there would be many more.

It is not always possible to make time to make interactions. Why not set up a website or an app exclusively for the campus or the local area, to let the singles meet. This would be much appreciated, and with a small fee, the app could kick off and be the tinder of the college campus.

Another idea for the app is to encourage more networking and use it as an option for people to meet and make new friends. The third choice to develop such an app is to boost professional networking. In all these varieties, the radius could be widened and determined based on the performances in the future.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Earn from advertising on the app.

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8) Motivational Apps

Motivational apps have a broad scope range. They could be for anything from academics to mental health. Because, to be honest, students do need them.

Consider academics; the app has to do something that does not add more pressure to the University system. So make it about the extra activities. Show events, seminars or lectures and that lets the user log the attendance that awards points at the end. Such apps encourage to improve productivity among students in a positive and fun way. These rewards could be in the form of vouchers, coupons or deals of any local services. For the sponsors, this would be a worthwhile advertisement option among the clientele too.

Similar apps could be designed for fitness, gym attendance, and other activities too. Another way to go about this is to create motivations and support apps for mental health. Students can come together in the fight against depression, social anxiety and even the problems that might seem silly to outsiders.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Earn from advertising on the app.

9) Deliver Food Hampers

How often have you thought about that mac and cheese your mom makes so deliciously. Or even wondered when you are finally going to eat something healthy?

Well, the lack of time or will to go to a grocery store and cook something is in the least probable category. And the parents are well aware of this too. So design an app where parents can make such orders for kids that would be delivered to them. This will have the personal touch and love of a package coming from home itself.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take your shipping fee.

10) Photography Portfolios

Good photography skills need to be appreciated before it gets lost in that Instagram page. Any campus will have a few fellows with exceptional skills in photography and videography. It would be easy to make a database of students who are interested in and create a platform to sell their work to others.

This would avoid the cases of people not paying for quality work for just being college mates or roommates. Such a professional platform could even be the starting point of a future award winner. The app could charge a fee from either party or work it on the basis of commission.

The app or website could also work hand in hand with a photography club giving more chances and connections to both sellers and buyers by offering more exposure.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Earn from advertising on the profile;
  • Give orders to other people and take a small fee from them.

11) Transcription Services

Visual media often makes things easier. That is precisely the reason why we are all so hooked up on Youtube, without having a clue why we are watching a cat playing piano at 3 am. The thought is simple, won’t lecture be so easy to understand with such visuals? With a creative mind and some graphic design skills, it could be put to use for this.

The idea is to offer transcription services that make such visual representation of any lectures to tutors and students. It would make studying so much better and more straightforward.

On the other hand, the service could also provide transcripts to be typed up and offered as notes. For all who missed a class or were too lazy to actually take notes, this would be the savior.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take an hourly fee from customers.

12) Organize Trips

It is a known fact that most of the group plans for a trip never happens. The WhatsApp groups have seen hundreds or even thousands of failed plans. It is time, someone takes responsibility and get things done. So be the hero.

Organize trips to various destinations it could be for events, festivals, or even just a weekend trip. As a group, it is almost impossible to happen. Take advantage of this weakness. Group bookings always get a good deal on coaches and many entry tickets. You can charge a commission or a whole amount for an all-inclusive deal. Sounds pretty good right?

How to monetize this idea:

  • Take your fee from each participant of the trip.

13) Campus Newsletters

If the campus doesn't have a newsletter already, it is time to start one. The source of money from this could come from advertisements from local businesses or even other students.

The newsletter could be sent as emails rather than printed versions, or both. As a third party, a student can even make a deal with the college to create brand awareness among future students using the letter. It could be used for promotional purposes, branding and lead generations outside the campus too.

Instead of the newsletter, one could also follow the trend to do podcasts about the campus. The same elements would apply to this too but with a different medium to present.

How to monetize this idea:

  • Agree on advertising in the newsletters and make a profit.

There is no direct and simple answer to the question, how to start a startup in college? As smooth as the idea of startups sound, it would inevitably require a lot of dedication and perseverance. At the same time, it might seem impossible to work around the college calendar and find time for anything else. But if an idea is worth it, it is only deserving of developing it.

There is an abundance of resources at your fingertips. From the valuable classes, school technologies to accessibility to the expertise of professors and above all, to probably some of the best networking opportunities of your life. So make use of them in the best way possible, and the idea still doesn’t seem feasible, lay the groundwork for it.

You would be getting practical knowledge and work experience before finishing the course. Find the balance between both and give one hundred percent dedication to both. Even if it fails, remember that college is the time to blossom and experiment and it is only the beginning of your life journey.

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