Dorm Room Enterprises

Dorm Room Enterprises

Brown Bag School Lunch

In an interesting 2015 survey of the uber-wealthy we saw that a lack of formal higher education credentials isn’t an obstacle to billionaire-dom. This has great application to the aspiring student in that we get a hint as to one of the approaches we can take to tackling tuition bills through work income. Turns out, mere high school graduates have the potential to generate larger-than usual incomes if they know where to look.

In order to achieve better pay for their labors, students may want to join the “results economy” instead of working by the hour. As I’ve pointed out before, nothing really stops a student from joining the ranks of the self-employed (along with the majority of millionaires) and competing directly with their would-be employers. But with everything else going on must a student run a full-fledged, traditional business in order to be paid well?

No, you don’t need to get “out there” with the rest of us to hustle a buck. There exists a host of less-regular, less-regulated, self-employment opportunities right on campus within the space and material limitations of your dorm room. Many a college student has made many a generous buck with small scale operations oriented to the unique needs of those nearby.

How to discover your angle? Listen. Every time you hear “I hate…,” or “I wish…,” or “why doesn’t somebody…” (and you will) you have the roots of a viable income in your grasp. The unmet desires, poor habits, and laziness of your fellow students are the fertile ground of a business proposition doing things others don’t, won’t, or can’t do for themselves. While every campus is unique and your opportunities will vary, here are just a few ideas to get you thinking along these lines:

  • Spend part of your evenings assembling brown bag lunches for kids who would rather eat quick bites between classes or outside on the lawn (hat tip to my Uncle Charlie who did just this in the 60s rather successfully).
  • A lawn chair and a handful of barber equipment can spur a rush from those who want nothing more than a cheap buzz cut or trim of the bangs.
  • Lug a cooler of soft drinks, snacks, and waters to the athletic fields that have no concession stands.
  • Run to the grocery store with the shopping lists of other students.
  • Edit papers for the kids in remedial English who need to get on with their chosen degrees.
  • Contract with a landlord professor or two to do top-to-bottom cleanups and maintenance checks after tenant move-outs.
  • Tutor and babysit for the professors and married students who must be at work or study when their kids’ grade schools let out.
  • Take over a section of laundromat during off hours or find a private wash machine you can use to do the laundry of those who are beginning to smell funny in class.

If you keep your eyes and ears peeled open long enough you will find any number of things to earn healthy bucks here and there without every having to set foot in the cafeteria dish pit.