Meet the Liverpool students running side hustles alongside their studies

Move over banana bread, these are the real bread-winners

It’s lockdown, and gone are the days when you could just pick up some extra shifts in the pub to help make ends meet. Many students have taken matters into their own hands, and have set up side hustles alongside their uni studies.

Looking on the bright side, with struggle comes creativity. When the going gets tough and your loan no longer covers your snazzy studio flat in town or weekly acrylics, you find other ways to get those claws back.

To salute those with innovative ideas in this pandemic, we’ve found a selection of Liverpool students running side-hustles you can support during these dark times:

Homemade jewellery

Whether you’re searching for a pair of dangling earrings to complete that Tuesday afternoon Zoom look or a statement bracelet to compliment your post-lockdown outfit, 19-year-old Seona has you covered.

The second-year vet student opened her Esty shop last June after Miss Rona cancelled her work experience placements: “I had nothing to do. My mum asked me to make some keyrings as a thank you gift for some people and I discovered I really enjoyed that sort of craft.”

Seona’s jewellery is mostly made with polymer clay, beads and charms and draws inspiration from the large, impractical earring trend. Describing her designs, she told The Tab Liverpool: “I would say that my shop is full of colourful and fun statement pieces. I don’t want to take myself too seriously and I think that is reflected in my jewellery – there is always a whimsical element to everything I make.”

Only ever having an online shop, Seona hopes to have a craft stall in the markets post-Covid.

You can follow her @with_an_s_jewellery

Student-friendly cookbooks

We’ve all been there; there are two ingredients left in your fridge, one is out of date and the other belongs to your flatmate. Believe me, no-one knows this struggle more than I do, but with the University Munchies cookbook, I manage to scramble up dinner for the evening.

Second-year politics and international business student, Daire, developed his love of food into a business when his parents didn’t want him getting a job with the risk of catching Covid. He told us: “I started the side hustle because I wasn’t actually allowed to get a job… My parents are great cooks so I took it upon myself to show that I could be a better cook than them, by finding recipes and recreating them myself.”

Now he runs an Instagram food account (@culinarywithdaz) and sells cookbooks aimed at students: “The reason my service is unique is that it is tailored to university students, with the use of text talk for easy recipes that students can follow quickly. It also provides info which barely any cookbooks have done, such as with the price of each meal, in comparison to specifics supermarkets.”

Having a better reaction than initially expected the 19-year-old donated 20 per cent of his profits to Stop Hate UK, a charity that aims to tackle inequality and discrimination of all forms in the UK.

He added: “Being of Nigerian descent, I have seen and experienced a great deal of discrimination growing up in London just because of my skin colour.

“I had often felt this was personal to me, but in recent weeks I have seen that nearly every other Black person I had spoken to had felt the same in their lives. For that, the reason I wanted to support a charity that would hopefully have an impact on stopping prejudice and discrimination of all forms.”

If you’re a first-timer, Daire recommends the vegan chickpea curry.

Proofreading and editing

My favourite type of side-hustlers. If you could be anyone be a lifesaver, be a Morgan (if my lecturer is reading this, I promise all my work is my own).

Vowing never to work in hospitality again, 20-year-old, Morgan decided that working in the comfort of her own home was more suited for her. Now the English Language student makes the most of her degree by proofreading and editing documents for others.

She told The Tab Liverpool: “This includes checking spelling and grammar, rewriting where a more suitable word or phrase is necessary and ‘waffle’ needs to be cut down. I usually just highlight any changes I make and provide a document containing a list of the main changes I have made.”

Despite balancing between her own work and others, Morgan has a five-star rating on Fiverr, an online website for freelance services. Since setting her account up last August, Morgan has proofread over 50 documents ranging from blog posts, web pages and academic essays.

When asked what her weirdest piece was, Morgan said: “One was from a Russian games designer who wanted me to check over all his game commands to make sure they made sense in English. However, because it was set in a sort of fantasy land, I kept mistaking words that he’d just made up for typos, so that was awkward. He also asked me to work from a very confusing spreadsheet he’d made that was full of Russian, so it wasn’t ideal given that I don’t speak Russian!

She added: “Another was from a customer who sent me a lengthy letter of recommendation which I had a suspicion he had written himself so that was kind of weird.”

With deadline week fast approaching you can find Morgan here

Custom-designed shoes

Forget Lelli Kelly’s or Heelys, anyone who is anyone, has a pair of Emma Customs.

The second-year student combined her love of art and fashion with her marketing degree to take advantage of her free time during the first lockdown: “I’ve always been really creative and I’ve also wanted to have my own business for a long time it seemed silly to not give something a go!

“As much as I love my marketing degree, it doesn’t have that practical ‘arty’ aspect to it and so this was the perfect opportunity to start a business that could act as a creative outlet, as well as putting all my marketing knowledge to use in a real-life situation and gaining more experience to help attract employees in the future,” she said.

Emma’s typical workday involves designing custom shoes from client briefs, concept-based designs or working directly from photos.

Her favourite design is Astroworld, but it doesn’t stop there, other bespoke customs include butterflies, sunflowers or LV and Dior inspired shoes that would make Miranda Priestly jealous.

Describing other services, she provides the 19-year-old added: “I do have computer-aided design services, so if a customer has a rough idea/concept in their head but wants to get a better idea of what it would look like in real life before placing their order, this can also be done. I also offer digital illustrations, both of people or their pets.”

You can shop with Emma here.

Bike repairs

It’s no surprise Vimal’s side hustle is in high demand. You can’t turn a corner these days without a group of scousers’ charging towards you head to toe in Under Armour.

The dentistry student began repairing bikes during the first lockdown and has continued since: “I started going on bike rides during the first lockdown. Loads of things went wrong with my bike so I decided to fill my free time with learning how to fix the problems myself. I found I was quite good at it and so started servicing other people’s bikes and then doing up bikes and selling them on” he told The Tab Liverpool.

Experiencing first-hand how expensive services and parts are, at the likes of Halfords, the 23-year-old is committed to helping students: “I decided to help out people who need things fixing, by keeping my prices low. I also try to provide a quick service. Students have commitments and jobs so I make sure that everyone who drops off their bike is back riding it by the time they need to be.”

As the days get longer for summer, make sure your bike is ready for wheelies along the docks. You can contact Vimal on his Facebook.

Homemade gemstone jewellery

Lockdown is dark, our moods are dark, everything is just so bloody dull right now, and we need all we can get to add a bit of colour to our lives. The answer? Colourful, unique, hand-made jewellery made by final-year languages student Alicia Leigh.

Alicia told The Tab Liverpool: “I recently started a small business making and selling unique gemstone jewellery.

“I started teaching myself to make jewellery during lockdown and now I’m selling earrings, necklaces and custom-made rings via Depop and Instagram. If you’re interested in cute and affordable jewellery made with semi-precious stones then check out my page!”

You can find Alicia’s jewellery on Instagram @byaliciazena or on Depop under the same name.

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Freshers: It’s not too late to sort out your second-year housing