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10 Tips to Starting a Successful Business during College

The cost of attending college today can range from $30,000 – $60,000 a year. Unfortunately, the expense of earning a degree is forcing more and more students to juggle a full-time student workload with working a substantial number of hours off campus. In fact, about 40 percent of full-time and 73 percent of part-time college students ages 16 to 24 were employed in 2010 (National Center for Education Statistics).

However, college students need jobs that allow them to choose their own hours with revenue-generating opportunities outside the traditional 8:00 a.m. to -5 p.m. workday. Ideally, the position would be entirely portable and offer the chance to migrate from a job to a full-time career when the student was ready.

More and more students are finding it’s possible to earn a living while still in college by starting their own business. For students interested in choosing an entrepreneurial route during college, here are 10 tips for success:

1.      Select a business opportunity that has little overhead

Keep your start-up costs down.  Try to avoid endeavors that require you to take out a loan, rent office space, spend a lot on marketing or advertising, pay franchise fees, etc. For example, some virtual call centers offer graduates the ability to establish a home-based contact center servicing Fortune 500 clients with start-up costs of less than $500.

2.      Calculate the return on your initial investment (ROI)

Research any potential partnerships to make sure they work with your goals and mission.  Determine what the return on your initial investment will be and when you’ll be cash-flow positive.  Avoid any opportunities that require more than six months to generate an income.

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3.     Find an opportunity that lets you control growth

Determine the long-term goal for your company and develop a growth plan. If you want to grow the business quickly, can you?  If you want to remain small and not employ others, is that acceptable?  Decide what your lifestyle goals are before settling into a position.

4.     Leverage what you are learning in school


Put your expertise to work and look for opportunities that hone in on your talents. You’re working hard to earn your degree, so no matter how you decide to apply your knowledge, make sure you find the opportunity that makes the most of your individual talents.

5.      Find the work-school balance you desire

Just because you’re the boss, doesn’t mean that you have freedom. It’s just as easy to be tethered to your company as it is to be tethered to your cube. Be wise about the business you start and remember to do something that provides a flexible work schedule to that fits with your school schedule.

6.       Look for flexibility

Find a business that offers the chance to generate revenue anytime of the day – not just between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Service-based businesses, like a partnership with a virtual contact center, offer the chance to assists callers 24 hours a day. Plus, as a business owner, students choose their own work hours in 30 minute increments.

7.       Continuity after college

Choose a business opportunity that is portable, meaning if you move or graduate, your career can move with you. Working in a service-based, 100% virtual environment, means that as you can go through college, your career can progress as well.

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8.       Diversity for your career

The best business opportunity is one that provides you with exposure to a wide variety of industries.  Operating a contact center services business, for example, allows students to work with Fortune 150 Clients from all sectors including retail, telecommunications, and high-tech.

9.       Access to additional resources

When selecting a business opportunity, look at the support available to help owners get started. In addition to running the business, students also may need marketing tips, information on setting-up an office or tax and health insurance resources. Also Independent Business Owners should be offered access to social media sites designs for sharing ideas and asking questions of other student entrepreneurs.

10.   Tap into your community

Students looking to grow their new business have unique access to a pool of talent interested in flexible opportunities for generating income. Selecting a business that allows you to leverage these fellow students is important for future potential income.  Also, some types of businesses offer referral incentives for connecting with new professionals or business owners.

No longer do students need to settle for a job at the coffee shop or bookstore. Instead, by following the above tips, they can own their own companies, generate real revenue and build a strong resume for success.

This guest post is courtesy of Ken Jackowitz. He is the Senior Vice President, Independent Business Owner Operations for Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.

Image courtesy of stockimages /


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