You could spend literal weeks on end scouring the internet for the elusive college scholarship. You may submit thousands of applications, write hundreds of essays, and do some really stupid things to try to win a college scholarship. For the vast majority of us these efforts may win us some money, but it will be nowhere close to the amount we will need to fully fund our college education.
The best way to avoid student loans in college is to start your own small business and pay your own way!
Why Start a Business in College?
The simple fact is that you will likely have no other time in your life where you have less to lose. Starting a business takes dedication and sacrifice. If you have a mortgage, a wife, and kids these sacrifices become MUCH harder to make. The only sacrifice you might make as a college freshman is giving up your time otherwise spent sleeping, playing video games, or wandering aimlessly around campus at 3am.
These things can wait.
You also have the advantage of having your finger on the pulse of what drives college students. A successful business is built around satisfying the most critical need of potential customers. A college campus is an excellent proving ground for a business idea. One quick post on Facebook or a discussion in the dining hall would likely be all of the market research that you need to validate your business idea.
You also have access to some of the best minds in the country in your professors and administration. Professors have office hours for a reason: they are here to help their students. 99% of college professors would be more than happy to take a professional interest in a product or business idea that you have. They may even agree to act as an advisor for you. This relationship could be invaluable to your business plan moving forward.
The profits earned from your business can be directly funneled back into paying for your education. The more income you earn from your business the more you can avoid student loans, with the eventual goal of paying for your college outright from your business revenue.
Starting a business while in college also has the added benefit of teaching you real world business experience, which is something you will never get inside a classroom. You will have a very impressive credential on your resume, and I can guarantee you that you will have the experiences to impress a hiring manager during a job interview. That is of course, if you even need to apply for jobs after you graduate. Building a business while in college is the only way to guarantee that you have a job once you graduate. You may decide never to pursue a career and remain on as the CEO of your own business.
Success Stories On How To Avoid Student Loans
Bryan Silverman turned toilet paper into reading material and launched a very successful business. His company, Star Toilet Paper turns toilet paper into reading material. He sells ad space on the paper and has landed over 65 paying companies thus far. He also won the College Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in 2012.
Daniel Mishin has started a company which develops hostels in Russia that are strikingly similar to dorm rooms. His company Bear Hostels is a cross between a hotel and a college dorm and markets to American tourists, especially students studying and traveling abroad.
Gabrielle Palermo started a company turning abandoned shipping containers into mobile medical facilities. Her company G3Box, just won over $20,000 in funding to jump-start her business and has already started producing and shipping these medical containers around the world.
The Bottom Line
The opportunities are endless. You can start a business in your dorm room and conquer the world. You can start a humanitarian for-profit company or you can literally use toilet paper to pay your way through college.
Having a business while in college will not only pay your way through college but it will also keep you motivated, teach you invaluable time management skills, and give your future a much needed boost to be successful.
Oh, and you can also avoid student loan debt!
What are your thoughts on avoiding student loans and starting a business in college?
DJ works in financial services at a large public university. He lives in the Southeast with his wife and young daughter.