5 College Students Who Started Successful Businesses

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Most college students plan to get a degree and find a job.  Some dream bigger.

If you’re currently a college student, what’s YOUR dream?  Do you want to earn a degree and then find a well-paying job working for someone else (nothing wrong with that), or do you dream of starting your own business?  In college is the right place to start considering your choices.  Once you’re in the rat race, that choice becomes harder.

Here are brief stories of 5 college students who were bitten by the entrepreneur bug, and started successful businesses.

1.  Mark Zukerberg

Who hasn’t heard of Mark Zukerberg?  Only the people who live in caves way off the grid.  He’s listed as #1 for a reason.  In 2004 Mark co-founded Facebook in his dorm room at Harvard and is still the company’s CEO.  Anyone who uses a computer or has a cell phone knows about Facebook, and most of us have accounts.

Mark’s current worth is estimated at $71.8 billion dollars.  He has been listed in TIME magazine as one of the top 100 wealthiest people in the world since 2010.

2.  Have you heard of Bryan Silverman?

Brian and his brother Jordan began a business that printed ads on something everyone uses – toilet paper.  Their thinking?

“Everyone reads, creating a captive audience in the bathroom, so why not put advertising here?”  Their company, Star Toilet Paper’s slogan:  “Don’t rush, look before you flush.”

Star Toilet Paper had a 4-year run before closing down in 2014.  In 2012 Bryan was awarded Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the year award for 2012.

3.  Charlie Dolan

Charlie Dolan thought of a way to help companies reduce the amount of waste that they dispose of daily.  As a student at Villanova University Charlie founded Sequoia Waste Solutions.  His company helps businesses find more cost-effective methods for trash disposal.

Charlie continues to build his business while attending school and working on his degree.  Currently his business, based in Pennsylvania, is active in 11 other states.

4.  Ava Anderson

Ava is unique in that she began her business, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, at the age of 14 while still in high school.  By the age of 19 she was a millionaire.  Her business markets safe, non-toxic personal care products.

Ava’s business plan uses the “party method” used by other well-known companies such as Tupperware and Pampered Chef.  She believes that is the best way to inform her customers about the products and how they are produced.

In late 2016, the company had close to 3000 consultants in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Apparently Ava’s company has either changed it’s name or merged with another company. When I clicked on Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, I was directed to a website for a company called PURE Haven Essentials.

5.  Nam Ho

Sorry, no photo of Nam Ho.  Nam Ho began his clothing company, with the clever name of Oh Man! Clothing in 2009.  Why is the name clever?  Because it’s him name, Nam Ho, spelled backwards!

It was at a summer finance internship where Nam Ho began to form the idea for his own clothing line.  He used most of the money he earned from his internship to start his business.  He says he has to give up a lot of sleep and work late at night, even until sunrise sometimes, so he can focus on designing his clothing line.

My purpose in giving these brief bios isn’t to highlight the 5 students

It’s to show you that you can do the same.  Follow your dream, especially while in college.  What better time is there to learn the ups and downs of owning your own business?  All budding entrepreneurs will make mistakes and learn from them.  Make your mistakes while still in school, not when you have graduated and have “obligations.”

I recently wrote a post for college students about starting an online business, and showed one of the best places to go to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to succeed online.  You can find that post HERE.

If you have that entrepreneur spirit, and would like to start a business, my advise is to GO FOR IT!  Especially if you are still a student.  It might not work, but you will learn from it.  If it does work, then you have possibly laid the foundation for your life’s work and financial independence.

Remember, though, that you are in school to get that education.  If it reaches the point where your business is interfering with your college work, you should make a choice.  Some entrepreneurs can juggle college and business.  Some quit college to focus on their businesses full time.  Still others postpone the business until after graduation.  You’ll have to decide what is best for you.  Talk to the important people in your life, like your parents or spouse, if you are married.  The final decision is yours.

Good luck in your endeavors!

If this post was of any value to you, please leave a comment below.

Follow your Dreams!




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Some of these entrepreneurs have inspired me to set my blogging journey. I like to read these success stories as they motivate me to stay focus on my goal. These great minds inspired me to create a network of affiliate sites and blogs.

Thanks for sharing this article. I’m pretty much sure that this article helps folks like me to stay motivated and achieve their goals.

Thank you, Sethu for your comment.  I know what you mean.  Back when I was in school I should have paid more attention to such things.

Hi! Wonderful article! It is really encouraging.
We live in a world where education and information are accessible. It is not difficult for young people to achieve a college degree compare to young people back in the 1950s. However, it also means that often a college degree does not have the same value as before.
Getting a degree won’t be enough to get a job, buy a house and a car, and have 3 children. A lot of young adults are just scraping by.
So I think it is important to have a dream, just like you said, and work hard toward achieving it.

Great article! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for your comment, Kai.  You might be interested to know that there is at least one very successful young man that believes that getting a college education is a waste of time.  He believes in education, but targeted education that will help achieve life’s goals.  Interesting idea, and revolutionary!

It is with great admiration that I read this article about these successful people, especially Ava who started at 14 years old. They are true examples of entrepreneurs and I believe they inspired a lot of young people to try and do their own thing.
Thanks for this article.

Hi Grant

It is with great admiration that I read this article about these successful people, especially Ava who started at 14 years old. They are true examples of entrepreneurs and I believe they inspired a lot of young people to try and do their own thing.
Thanks for this article.


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