How Can You Balance College With a Side Business?

All this talk about starting a side business in college, and yet I haven’t addressed one important question: is it even possible to start a side business as a college student?

My answer is yes. If I could do it than I firmly believe that anyone can start some sort of business in college (I already outline why you should start a business in college).

What’s so special about me? Nothing really to be honest. I still went out every weekend, drank lots of beers, and had a blast in college. The only difference is that I was able to make more money than many of my peers in college. As a result of this I was able to graduate from college without any debt. I didn’t do anything special. I just worked long hours and started a side business to help me fund my education.

I wanted to share how it’s possible to be a busy full-time student and still get some sort of business off the ground.

Let’s look at how you can balance full-time studies in college with a side business:

Ignore the distractions.

You need to ditch all of the distractions. I do realize that this is easier said than done because we can all be guilty of getting caught up with the daily grind of college life. Instead of giving out useless tips I wanted to share a few quick tips to help you ignore the distractions:

  • Just turn off Facebook when working.
  • Remember that you don’t have to respond to every single text right away.
  • Don’t take on everyone else problems. You have your own.
Once you manage to slowly start ditching the distractions, you’ll find yourself with at least an extra 30 minutes every single day. What would you do with an extra 30 minutes?

Do your work first.

Instead of going out and then doing your work when you get home, I recommend the reverse. If you do your work first, you can reward yourself by going out after or lounging around on Facebook for a few hours chatting about nothing. The key is that you do your most important task first.

How do you balance this with your studies? I firmly believe that your studies should always come first. During exams and when working on final projects, you might not have as much free time. During the rest of the semester, you can easily find time to work on your own projects.

Set aside an hour a day.

To tie in with my previous point, you need to understand that a side business isn’t going to require some extreme 12-hour commitment on a daily basis. All you need is an hour a day to get the ball rolling. I find that we often under-estimate what we can do in a month and over-estimate what we can do in a day. You honestly can’t tell me that you don’t have an hour on most days to work on your projects.

How can you find this extra hour?

  1. Sleep a bit less.
  2. Watch less television.
  3. Do work during down-times (taking the bus, in between classes).
  4. Stop making excuses to go on Facebook.

Not all of the above ideas are going to be popular for everyone. If you are one of the few college students that are serious about starting a side business, then you’ll be likely thanking me in a few months for opening your eyes.

Imagine life after college.

How do you envision life after college? Do you want to be working a job that you hate just to pay the bills (obviously not)? Do you want something more than just a pay check?

If you’re looking to live life on your own terms, you’re going to want to start a side business because you can focus on it when you’re done with school totally. When you start to think about life after college, you’re going to realize that you want to have a back up plan just in case you don’t find that dream job. A side business is a perfect back up plan. I found that this thought alone motivated me when I was dead tired and didn’t feel like doing anything.

That’s how I managed to find the time to start a profitable blog while still being a full-time student. I by no means got rich in college. However, I was able to have enough money to cover my expenses and to travel a bit.

What’s stopping you from starting a side business in college?

Edwin C

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at Money In The 20's. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.

5 thoughts on “How Can You Balance College With a Side Business?

  • January 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Getting your work done first is a simple philosophy, but too many people do not do it. My parents drilled it into me early, so I can even enjoy other things if I do not get my work done.

  • February 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    An advantage of starting a side business while in school is also that students can usually get support from everything from creating a business plan to filing taxes! Also, I know of people who have collaborated with their professors on business ventures.
    While I was in undergrad, I picked up contracts here and there doing data entry and often that led to bigger involvement in research projects. Not as ambitious as starting a business, but a little bit of freelancing experience 🙂

  • February 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    College provides a lot of great opportunities for side businesses. It seems like it makes perfect sense to start one, and you would be foolish not to, no matter how hard you have to work at it.

  • February 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I think organization is the key. I used to plan my week in advance. I’d also schedule free time every week that could act as catch up if I got behind.

  • June 26, 2012 at 7:12 am

    I’m really loving this, i am 19, i own a cyber cafe- bussiness and m in college!
    its not easy at first there bills to takecare of, and papers to be answered….its confusing at first but somehow i’m getting the hang of it.
    a blesseing it is to have such, at one point yu can feel likke yu can walk away, trust me i feel that sometiimes, but my baby princess gives me the strenght to wake up every single day 🙂
    peace xx


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