Students often have to engage in small businesses for various reasons. There are those who engage in small businesses with a view to supplement the money they get from their parents or guardians. There are also those who find that they have too much time on their hands (in between classes) and opt to use that time to engage in business, rather than just idling around. Then we have those who engage in small businesses to gain real-life experience, and to have something to ‘fall back’ on once they clear their studies.
Against that background, we often encounter the question as to what sorts of businesses are ideal for students. This question is typically posed by students who are considering launching small businesses, but who are still at a loss as to which specific business lines to get into. And that is the question we will be attempting to answer in this article.
From the outset, it is important for us to point out that we are not in a position to endorse business a specific business ABC or business XYZ as the most ideal one for all students. That is because the students’ circumstances vary considerably, and what may be very ideal for student A may not at all be ideal for student B. What we can do, however, is give general principles for identifying ideal businesses for students. And that is just what we are about to do.
Without any further ado, the ideal small businesses for students would be:
Ones that are aligned with the students’ passions
Thus, for instance, if a given student has a passion for cooking, he can launch a catering business. If another student has a passion for coding, she can launch a software business. If yet another given student has a passion for fashion, she can launching a clothing business… and so on. The most important thing is to ensure that the business you get into, as a student, is one that is in a field you have a passion for. Running a business of any sort is hard work, and if the business happens to be in a field that you have zero passion for, it can turn out to be impossibly difficult work. But what if you have seen a very good business opportunity in an area that, unfortunately, you have no passion for? Well, in that case, you can try to develop a passion in the said area. But ideally, you should search for business opportunities in the areas that you are passionate about. And the reality is that there is always an abundance of business opportunities in all fields, if you look carefully.
Ones that are not too expensive to launch
Students tend to have limited access to capital. For that reason, you tend to find that the most ideal lines of business for most students are those that don’t require too much start-up capital. This ideal can of course come into conflict with the one we explored earlier on the need for students to set up businesses that are aligned with their passions. So you may find that a student has a passion in field X, but then he comes to learn that launching a business is the said field requires too much upfront capital. In such scenarios, the most important thing would be to figure out how to nonetheless use the limited available resources to launch a business in the said area. This may entail initially working using second hand or hired equipment. Or it may entail starting operations on a very small scale, then growing with time as more capital resources become available. Or it may entail partnering with other students who have similar passions… There is always a workaround, when it comes to capital requirements.
Ones that are unlikely to interfere with the students’ studies
It would be a pity for a student to be forced to drop out of their studies because of a business they launched. Yet we have seen it happen numerous times. The reality is that chances of one going back to school after having first dropped out tend to be dismally low. It can be done, but it is never easy. In any event, whereas the typical student will have just a year or two complete their studies, they have a lifetime before them to run businesses: which means that when push comes to shop, the businesses can wait.
Thankfully, there are always businesses that students can engage in within their free time without interfering with their studies. And in all cases, the most ideal business line for a student would be one that is unlikely to interfere with that student’s studies. Here, it is important to point out that there are certain lines of businesses that are very lucrative, but which then require too much time and energy. Such are not ideal for students. Even if a business doesn’t force a student to drop out of their course, it may cause their performance in the studies to plummet up to a level where they get very dismal grades. Thus, any business that is likely to cause the student’s performance in the course he or she is enrolled in to drop is not ideal. So is any business that is likely to cause the student to eventually drop off their studies: in most cases, it is simply not worthwhile.
Ones that are in line with what the students are studying
This is where, for instance, a student who is studying computer engineering can set up a computer repair business. Or where a student who is studying literature can start a freelance writing business. Or yet where a student who is studying food science can start a catering business… you get the picture. If a student sets up a business that is aligned with what he or she is studying, chances of him or her performing well in that business are higher. That is because he would be applying the knowledge he is getting in class into the business. Furthermore, the experience gained while running such a business (which is aligned with what the student is studying) can later be cited in the student’s resume as relevant work experience. And in any event, running a business that is in line with what one is studying for in college is unlikely to distract them from their studies — as it is more or less an extension of those studies.