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How to Get Into & Pay for College

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Launch Your Dorm Room Empire

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By: Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Founders of SuperCollege and authors of 13 books on college planning.

Gen and Kelly Tanabe can answer your question in Expert Advice.




Throw a party.

If you are a real party animal, why not put your talent to work? To do this cheaply and safely, you will need to partner with a local club or bar. Speak with the owner and make the following proposal: you want to use the establishment for a private party and will guarantee that a certain number of people will attend. The club or bar keeps the profits from the liquor sales. Plus it will be an excellent marketing opportunity since you'll bring a lot of new customers. You sell tickets to the party and keep the profits from ticket sales. (Depending on the owner you may have to help them defer some costs for security, DJ and other expenses.) The advantage of working with a club or bar is that they already have the licenses, staff and insurance to cover an event. What you need to do is sell the tickets.

Get a buzz started about the event. The party should have an interesting theme and you might recruit the help of some popular partiers on campus who will encourage others to attend. The first event will be the most difficult; but if you pull it off, you will earn a reputation as a great party host and getting people to come to your next event will be much easier.




Become a Ph.D. in house-sitting.

Professors do a lot of traveling, often taking entire semesters and summers off to do research. There is a great need for pet watching and house sitting while they are away. Most professors would rather have a student they know and trust watch their house instead of a stranger. Plus, your cut-rate student prices represent a huge advantage over commercial services.

Make sure all of your professors know that you are available for such jobs and give them a way to contact you. If you have done similar services before, include a list of references.




Step 10: Change diapers and entertain the young.

If you are good with kids, babysitting is a great way to make money. With rates at $8 to $18 an hour, this has become a big money maker for many students. Of course, you have to deal with some brats. Besides the obvious places to look for work (such as with professors who have kids and people in the community), make sure you hit the graduate students. Quite a few have young children; and if they live on campus, you won't have far to go to work!




Final Thoughts ...

Being a college student is a great opportunity to stretch your entrepreneurial legs and start a small business. Working on your own gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility and your earning potential is limited only by your time. The one danger is that small businesses sometimes take time to get off the ground and become profitable... and time is something you really don't have. So pick a business with minimal investment that you can start quickly. All the ideas mentioned in this guide have been successfully launched by students. And if you have a great business idea, please add it to this guide by making a comment below!




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