💸 How these college students made $130k with their startup
and how you can too
GM. This is Work "After" Work, the newsletter that wraps up side hustles in little bite-size treats. Like Reese's Pieces, the best kind of Reese's.
Here’s how we’re starting the week:
🎓 The college app marketplace
😂 Meme of the day
This past weekend I was listening to My First Million, as one does, and came across a really cool business idea I have to share with you guys.
The podcast was a competition between Stanford students. Whoever gave the best pitch and woahed Shaan and Sam (the hosts) got $3,500!
And you wouldn’t believe the business this 19 year old has built.
It’s called AdmitYogi. It helps top high schoolers get into elite colleges like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford without having to pay $6,000 for college consultants. Something only the wealthy can afford.
You see, to get into these elite colleges you need insider intel. Things like:
What type of applications get accepted
What they’re looking for in essay applications
What extracurriculars and clubs they want to see
For the longest time these have all been gatekept by “college consultants”, which on average cost $6,000. For a kid who grows up in a rural community, these resources aren’t available or affordable. Their only option is to reach out to a friend who got in and look at their application… until now.
AdmitYogi solves this by being a marketplace for elite university applications.
How it works is simple. College students get paid to put their applications into AdmitYogi’s database, and high schoolers pay to unlock applications - usually $5 - $10 per app.
Want the kicker? This business has done $130,000 in one year run by 3 Stanford students working on it part-time. Impressive! And I think you can do it too.
Why do I think that?
Because the market is huge. 1.7 million high schoolers enrolled in college in 2021.
Only a certain percentage of those students are going to be the go-getter, ultra-competitive ones gunning for those elite schools, say 1 - 10% or 17k - 153k, and those are the students you’re targeting… every single year.
Now I wouldn’t come here just to tell you to copy the business (although it would probably work). Shaan (the host) brought up a great point about how the students are running this with the old business model. He wants to bring it to the modern era, using AI.
Today how the site works is it matches your profile to others like you and lets you choose from applications you’d like to unlock.
Shaan said ‘nah’, let’s do it this way. Since you’re already growing a private dataset of successful and unsuccessful applications, use generative AI to do your application for you.
Instead of you having to pick the application you’d like to unlock, analyze their essay, and try to make it more like yours, have AI do this for you.
It should feel like ChatGPT. You go to a bot and say “I need help getting into college”. It asks what you’re interested in and where you’d like to be located.
Once it's helped you find your dream school, using its database of successful and unsuccessful essays, it edits or writes yours entirely. Giving you the best shot at getting into your dream school.
So instead of charging $5 - $10 to unlock applications, you charge $99 for the ultimate AI college consultant. 60 times cheaper than the $6,000 version.
There’s the idea, now it’s time to execute.
The value of this business is in the dataset.
From the wise words of Chamath Palihapitiya (ex-Facebook exec and billionaire), every LLM will be the same because they’ll all be learning from the same dataset. The ones tapping into a proprietary dataset are the ones that will be able to charge an extraordinary amount of money because no other AI will be able to provide the same value.
This is why the most important thing is getting a robust database to teach your AI what applications are successful and what aren’t when users submit their own.
AdmitYogi has direct access to the common application platform through API access - do the same thing. This allows college students to transfer all their application info over in a few clicks.
Then it’s time to get customers
Wanna take a guess at how AdmitYogi gets high schoolers to their site??
Hmm, I wonder where high schoolers spend a ton of their time? Oh yeah, TikTok.
Their page has over 60,000 followers by posting tips and interesting facts on how to get into elite universities that are on many high schoolers’ dream lists.
I say do the same TikTok strategy but also run ads on Facebook. You’re not going to target kids though. We all know high schoolers aren’t on Facebook… but parents are!
An ad giving your kid a 2x shot of getting into their dream school.. Now that’s something I’d click on as a parent.
$99 is nothing for an elite university that can set you up for life.
And there ya have it. A really interesting business that has clear traction and makes money from month one.
If these kids can do it, so can you 👊
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MEME OF THE DAY
😂😂 proven to work
— non aesthetic things (@PicturesFoIder)
May 7, 2023
That's all I got for ya today folks!!
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DISCLAIMER: None of this is financial advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. Please be careful and do your own research.