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11 Min. Read

Business Ideas for New Graduates: 10 Industries to Look Into

business ideas for new graduates

Business-minded college graduates have a lot of room to experiment with business ideas, but it takes a special kind of person to become a successful entrepreneur! If you’re a young person looking for a lucrative business idea then you’ve come to the right place—read on for 10 business ideas for new graduates.

1. Fashion and Clothing

According to forecasts, the global apparel market is expected to be worth $1.6 billion in 2020, up from $1.2 billion in 2015. That’s a huge increase, fueled partly by fast fashion retailers like Zara, H&M and Uniqlo that can transfer entire collections from the runway to your wardrobe in less than a week.

It’s easy to get intimidated by the fashion industry since it might be difficult to compete with all the big names out there, but current trends have shown that this isn’t the case. Even a small clothing company can gain an edge over bigger businesses, if they leverage their strong points.

There are several advantages to setting up your own fashion line that can allow you to find relative success with your small business despite the existence of bigger brands:

  • Your target market is more likely to prefer you over big brands
  • You are more flexible when it comes to design and delivery of your product
  • It’s easier to leverage social media to promote your clothes

Making your business idea a reality requires a lot of research into your target market, a good grasp of social media and putting effort into establishing a brand. Luckily, there are plenty of resources that you can use to get your fashion business off the ground, make money and enter the job market.

2. Content Creation

A content creator is someone who contributes information to a specific field, industry or media. They use digital media to speak to target audiences, with the goal of marketing to people or engaging potential consumers.

Digital content creation is estimated to be worth around $51 billion by 2027. With so much of our daily lives revolving around the digital space, creating content is an easy field to get into. You can start by creating an online portfolio of the content you can create, then building up a dedicated network of clients and other content creators to get jobs from.

Keep in mind that content creators aren’t limited by the type of media. For example, content writing is worth a lot to companies that push digital marketing strategies, and video content marketing has always been a profitable investment for brands.

The career opportunities for content creation are also flexible. You can either become a freelancer and choose clients on your own, or join a company or group of people that can provide a steady income. It’s a great general career track that almost any college graduate can get into. All you need to get started making money is a computer and internet connection.

3. Electronics Repair

According to Pew Research, around 96% of Americans now own a cellphone. Smartphones and the Internet of Things have made electronics an essential part of our lives, which means there are a lot of potential business opportunities for technical-minded college students.

It’s a well-paying profession, even if you have to take a special course to become certified as an electronics repair technician. The average yearly salary for electronics repair technicians is around $32,947, but a business owner in the industry can make far more. Combine that with all the electronic devices we use, and you have a booming business with a lot of potential to make money.

Electronics repair becomes even more profitable if you manage to acquire the skills necessary to repair essential, everyday devices like refrigerators. If you have some experience with IT, you can also branch out to repairing smart devices.

One thing that you should keep in mind when repairing electronic devices is that you’ll almost always be voiding the manufacturer’s warranty, if you’re not authorized to repair it. Some electronics companies will even sue unauthorized electronics repair businesses over safety or copyright concerns: Apple products are particularly prone to this issue.

4. Events and Entertainment

There are several career paths you can take in the events and entertainment industry. Here are a few of them and their average money-making potential:

  • Event marketing agent/manager: In charge of publicizing the event, $65K or higher
  • Event host: Welcomes and engages the audiences at the event,  $21K or higher
  • Event coordinator/planner: Organizes things between the host and production crew, $42K or higher
  • Event photographer: Documents and highlights the important parts of the event, $30K or higher 
  • Event lighting and technical operations: Handles the technological aspects of the event, $34K or higher

You’ll notice that a lot of these jobs require unique skill sets, which makes the events and entertainment industry a perfect all-around choice for many fresh graduates to start a business with.

If you choose to enter this industry, it’s important to establish a network of clients and collaborators you can work with. The field of events and entertainment benefits a lot from the gig economy, especially small businesses. You also have to learn how to network and sell your services since self-marketing is the key to success in this industry.

5. Fitness Instruction

Being a fitness instructor can be a great way to make money. Holding one-on-one fitness classes can pay up to $70 an hour, and can make you more money than most gyms. If you already go to the gym regularly, this is an easy transition for you to make into a career.

The fitness industry is worth around $100 billion worldwide. This is a business that you can take anywhere, even remotely! You can use sites like Indeed to search for potential clients to advise on home workout routines, or make your own personal profiles with sites like WordPress.

Fitness instruction isn’t just limited to physical routines: If you know about nutrition, you can also advise people on diets that are compatible with different workout routines. It’s even better if you have a diet plan that you follow yourself to show your clients. It helps you appear more legitimate, and can help you convince more clients to book with you.

6. Graphic Design

In 2020, the graphic design industry is worth $14.8 billion in revenue, with forecasts suggesting that number will rise in the next couple of years. In today’s digital-centric world, making a good first impression is heavily reliant on how you present yourself online.

Creatives can pursue two career tracks in graphic design:

  • Establishing yourself as a personal brand via your art
  • Joining a company or a group as part of a team of artists

Each track has its advantages and disadvantages.

Going solo can allow you more artistic freedom to develop and pursue your own projects. Artists like Stanley “Artgerm” Lau are outstanding models for graphic artists that have followed this route.

If you join a company or group, you get a steady supply of work—and therefore a steady income stream. You don’t have to promote yourself since the company or group will do that for you. It’s a safe option that sacrifices a little bit of artistic agency for consistent work.

This option is great for graphic designers who are just starting out, or veterans who have an artistic goal they want to pursue. Studios like SIXMOREVODKA are an outstanding example of graphic designers working in groups.

7. Handmade Crafts

Handmade goods are making a comeback as more consumers move away from mass-produced products to something with a little more personality. Sites like Etsy have become a booming platform for handmade artisans as a marketplace for almost any kind of product.

The great thing about setting up a handmade craft business is that you have a better chance of gaining a loyal following than a big brand. Handmade crafts have become synonymous with high-quality, sustainability and personalized products. As a result, they’ve become a favorite trend among consumers in recent years.

If you’re looking to get into handmade crafts, it’s important to ensure that you’re actually offering something that’s worth selling. While the platforms do an excellent job of showcasing your work, being skilled at self-marketing your own products goes a long way in making you stand out among the rest.

8. Social Media Consultation

A lot of brands use social media to grow their businesses since it’s one of the easiest ways to interact with their customers. That means curating, growing and changing their brand identities to fit the online space, which can change day-by-day.

Social media consultation can be very profitable for new graduates because it’s an industry that favors younger people. One of the biggest hurdles that a lot of businesses often run into is connecting with their audience through social media. Connecting with their target markets (which can vary depending on the brand) can be extremely tricky.

But if you’re an active presence on social media and have an innate understanding of what makes the internet tick, you can market your services as a social media consultant. This can span a wide range of services like:

  • Managing brand pages
  • Answering customer messages
  • Providing strategic insight into marketing campaigns
  • Compiling reports on social media performance

It may sound like a lot of work, but it pays well. The average salary of a social media manager is around $63K a year, with the possibility of raising their rate depending on the results of their contributions. It’s an industry that’s tailor-made to fresh graduates, and one that won’t be going out of business anytime soon.

9. Pet Care and Other Services

People love pets. Around 900 million cats and dogs are being kept as pets worldwide, with 85 million families in the U.S. alone owning a pet. As long as people love animals, there will be pets to take care of, which means that this is a market that is here to stay.

Pet care has a lot of services associated with it: grooming, dog walking, boarding and pet sitting are just some examples. And while the highest-earning jobs require pet care certification, there are plenty of other services that you can provide with far less effort—like being a professional dog walker.

Keep in mind that getting into the pet care business is a lot of hard work. You need the temperament to take care of all kinds of animals, especially if you want to handle niche or exotic pets. Upfront costs to set up this kind of business can be steep. But for an industry that’s projected to be worth $269 billion by 2025, that’s a small price to pay for a financially-secure business.

10. Teaching Your Own Skills

For every skill that exists, there are people willing to pay to learn it. Teaching your skills to others has become a $2 billion market, as many consumers look for coaches and similar services to improve their lives, research for work, or simply to pick up a new skill.

Admittedly, this is a career that can be difficult to get into since you need a thorough understanding of what you do, and how you can best convey it to others. Here’s a list of questions that you might find handy:

  • What are the things you do well outside of work?
  • Do people regularly ask you to teach them something?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What activity/profession/subject are you confident that you’re well-versed in?
  • What are your strongest points that you can pass on to others?

Once you’ve figured that out, then you can focus on actually generating income from teaching. There are several ways you can do this, ranging from creating courses online using platforms like Udemy or Skillshare, to posting video tutorials on YouTube

These platforms already have an income-generating system implemented, so all you need to do is to refine your course and upload it. You can also hold workshops or offer in-person consultation services.

Managing Your Own Business As a Fresh College Graduate

The most important thing to keep in mind as a college graduate is that good business doesn’t have to conform to the business ideas of the past. A lot of college graduates have seen success with small businesses, novel ideas or even their hobbies!

Setting up a business today is also less restrictive than it was in the past. College students can set up a small business in the comfort of their own room or manage a family-owned business online with clever marketing skills. While striking out on your own might seem scary, it’s also one of the best ways to craft and hone your entrepreneurial skills!

That’s also where bookkeeping and accounting software like FreshBooks can help. By automating the administrative tasks that you’d typically assign to an employee, it gives you the freedom to oversee and run your own business. Not only does this help you focus on the services or products that you provide, but it’s a great way to manage your money if you’re running a business for profit!

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