Greg Murphy never had trouble selling his textbooks when the college semester ended.
The Wright State graduate has turned that skill into a book business that generates nearly $1 million a year.
Murphy is among a growing group of recent college graduates who have skipped getting jobs and instead have started their own business.
With a gloomy job market for recent graduates, it’s becoming more common for students to start their own businesses when they leave school. Ohio is not known for its entrepreneurship, ranking 33 in the U.S, according to a 2014 U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, but more students are attempting to be their own bosses.
“We’re seeing a lot of kids coming out and starting businesses. They’re young and creative, and have great ideas,” said Aaron Delidou, managing partner at Provest Properties in Dayton, which helps entrepreneurs interested in starting a business.
Many of these recent graduates are taking advantage of unexplored niches in the tech market. Murphy created a book business called Murfbooks, but it’s not a traditional indie bookstore.
Murphy buys used books by the truckload, sorts them at his warehouse and sells them online to Amazon and wholesalers like Half-Price Books. If the book is too beat up to be sold, he sells them to recycling companies.
“The biggest advantage to selling online is that we’re always open,” Murphy said.
Murphy has six full-time employees and 15 high school students working for him over the summer through the Montgomery County Youth Works. He said his sales were just under $1 million in 2013, and he’s hoping to break that number this year.
But it’s not just tech companies being created for the young entrepreneurs.
Emily Meyer, who graduated from the University of Dayton in May, started College Base Camp in December with her partner, Justin D’Arcy, hoping to give high school kids a better idea of what they want to do with their lives before they go into college.
“Last summer, I never would have thought I was going to be running a business,” Meyer said.
Meyer and D’Arcy, both UD School of Entrepreneurship students, thought of their business idea when creating an idea for the UD Business Plan Competition, where students create a business plan and pitch it.
At the end of the competition, Meyer and D’Arcy felt too excited to back off the idea. They started laying the plans to actually launch it in December, and they launched their new business in June.
So far they’ve run one camp with five students, but Meyer said she’s excited to see where the company will go in the next few years. She’s working a corporate job part time to pay her bills, but most of her time is devoted to her business.
Delidou said it’s better for young people to start early, rather than waiting.
“If you’re 40 years old with a family, you have responsibilities,” Delidou said. “When you’re young and single, you have more resources at your disposal and fewer responsibilities.”