“Dude, I got this sick idea but I don’t want to tell anyone and have them Zuckerberg me, you know?”

Settle down there, Winklevoss. Your idea is incredibly precious (dare I say, “your baby”) but there’s no need to keep it closeted forever. In fact, there’s immense value in sharing it with others, building, and adapting as soon as possible.

But I have to ask, how unique is your idea anyways?

In college, most students dream up an extremely predictable set of “big ideas” — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Actually, many of these common college startup ideas can still make it big if executed properly.

Let’s take a closer look — how many of these ideas have ever crossed your mind?

1. I want to start the “Facebook for _____”

How novel! You want to create a Facebook for a niche group of people? Such as, college kids? Sweet. Yeah, I totally get it — having my mom and high school teachers on Facebook totally makes me want to open up and maintain a whole new cyber identity.

Chances of Success: Low
Success Story: Ironically, Facebook made it work. Friendster and MySpace were around before Zuck started this network for college students. By the same token, LinkedIn did it for professionals while FamilyLeaf and Lore are trying to do the same for relatives and students, respectively.

2. I want to start the “Groupon for _____”

Sensational! Line me up so I can invest. What an amazing concept. Electronic coupons for a specific demographic that GrouponLivingSocial or another coupon giant can’t reach. Rock on.

My family and friends are from Long Island, does that mean I should start Jewpon?

Personally, this one makes me smile because I co-founded CrowdQuest, a deal site specific for the University of Pennsylvania. After six months of tech development and pitching to restaurant owners, we launched and got unexpected traction. Over 1,100 students bought coupons. In the next year, we expanded to Yale and Cornell, won a spot in Wharton’s entrepreneurial incubator, and even earned some solid press in The Daily Pennsylvanianand Yale Daily News.

Revenue started rolling in, but profits? Roughly zilch. Still, it was an amazing learning experience and it taught me the value of executing on an idea. In the past year alone, these startups all jumped into the college deals space: CampusFlockCampusSpecial, and CampusDealin. Good luck, dudes.

Chances of Success: Medium
Success Story: Snapdeal and Ticket Monster achieved tremendous success by leveraging their knowledge of emerging markets in India and South Korea, respectively. Moreover, Crowd Seats took an interesting spin on the daily deals model by adapting it to sporting events. Bringing big discounts to an industry with high fixed costs and perishable goods could be the perfect adaptation. Plus, Crowd Seats is banking on vendors making more money off customers through beer, hot dogs, and fan apparel once they’re in the stands. Seems smart.

3. I want to start a moveout company

College Hunks Hauling Junk. No really. That’s the name of one of the most successful moveout companies in America. After starting in 2003, CHHJ has moved boxes for over 70,000 households. And they apparently look good doing it. Ladies, I think that means it’s time to start College Foxes Packing Boxes. Wait what, that already exists?

CHHJ proves that even the most obvious of ideas can still gain traction. While hardly unique, a moveout service almost always fills a need wherever you go.

Chances of Success: Medium
Success Story: In addition to CHHJ, Northwestern University’s Campus Solutions and Penn Move Out are great examples of student startups that dominated a niche market. With respect to the latter, Penn students Kristen Santerian and Niyoshi Patel founded their company when they were just freshmen. By senior year, they expanded their business to serve hundreds of students and successfully exited by merging with Mad Travelers.

4. I want to start a textbook platform

Now wait just a minute. You’re telling me that your college bookstore charges you way too much for your textbooks too? And you want to fix that problem? Like, finally! I’ve been waiting my entire life for a hero like you to come along.

Just about everybody and their grandmother has tried to tackle the $10 billion college textbook industry and cut costs for students only to realize that companies like Amazon and eBay already make it easy.

Chances of Success: Low
Success Story: Osman Rashid knew exactly how it felt to pay too much for college textbooks. During his time at University of Minnesota, Osman would clean toilets and give blood to make ends meet. It’s no surprise that he ultimately founded Chegg, the world’s leading textbook rental company, in 2005. Initially dubbed the “Netflix for Textbooks,” Chegg’s business model consisted of renting out college textbooks and saving students 50-70 percent off the cost of buying used or new. With over 100 employees, 6,400 campuses covered, and $195 million in funding (including capital from the likes of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers), Osman shows that you can take an unconventional approach to solving an age-old problem.

5. I want to start a t-shirt company

Starting a t-shirt company is not the most revolutionary idea ever, far from it. Nonetheless, with t-shirt giants like CustomInk taking ridiculous margins and providing mediocre customer service, there’s always room to add value. Not to mention college campuses provide the perfect market with all the t-shirts needed for rush events, performing arts shows, and concerts.

Chances of Success: Medium
Success Story: Look no further than ooShirts, started by UC Berkeley student Raymond Lei. The company is continually growing, capturing approximately $2 million thus far in revenues. Fresh Prints is another company that’s rapidly expanding. After starting at Penn, they’ve done business on over 60 campuses. I once ordered over 3,000 shirts through Fresh Prints for a massive Harry Potter event and I was just so impressed with the experience that I had to write about it. They did an incredible job mocking up the design we envisioned, handling the logistics, and shipping in a timely manner. Again, they’ve implemented an idea that has been done so many times before, but it’s their execution that sets them apart.

So does it really matter if thousands of people have dreamed up the same idea before you? Or is that all the more reason to share, launch, and iterate your startup as soon as possible? Either way, it’s never too early to bring your idea to life.

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