We spoke to UEA students running businesses on the side to find out how they do it
I can barely make it to my lectures
Most of us find it hard to manage to crawl out of bed for a 9am. Some more slightly motivated, or maybe just with a bit more free time, amongst us decide to go to slog in a shop or bar for a bit of extra cash on top of all the seminars, summatives and lectures. But what about the guys that go beyond the grade and have a business of their own? Here's how they do it, and put the rest of us to shame:
Zhyar Said, Pharmacy MA year 4 : Zhyar Said – Social Media Marketing
Zhyar started out by doing promotions for events at Mercy, then set up his own business last year. Now back for his Masters, he balances it all with a thriving media marketing, photography and ticket sales business,. Not only does his clientele include many popular venues at Norwich – but he's also managed the Facebook page of Reading FC, helping them gain over 300k likes.
His reasoning for taking the plunge of running a business in uni is that "At this time in our lives we don't have major responsibilities, like a mortgage.'' and so ultimately, as risky as the move might feel, you're probably in a less vulnerable position as a student entrepreneur than later on in your career, with more scope for experimenting.
The key to his experience has been impeccable planning, which he says: ''makes what you want to achieve seem more reasonable and makes it less overwhelming.''
Martha Benedict, Art History 1st Year: DJ Decibelle
'DJ Decibelle' was drawn to the other side of the dancefloor by her sheer love of music – and the money, and top up to an impressive CV, was a tasty bonus too. Her business thrives on the community spirit fostered by gigs – including Bestival, where she played her first ever paid set. Keep an eye out for Karma Kafe too – where she's currently in talks to secure a regular set.
So how does she stay on top of it all? She says the Gap year definitely helped her build up her social media presence and contacts. ''It feeds into each other'', she told me, stressing that it's all about balance. ''Tuesdays are for work'' – and if she works as hard as she plays, she's sure to get to gold. The most important thing for her? "Don't call it a job. It's all about making it a vocation."
Daniel Kp , Computer science 1st year: Search Apparel Ltd
Daniel's buzz for business started when he was only 6, and sorted and sold blocks back to his neighbours. Carrying on with the prodigal theme, he was only 17 when he started his current business, advertising his clothing on Snapchat while still in sixth form, before taking a brief hiatus for his A level exams.
His business, search apparel, was inspired by a pair of binoculars found abandoned on a plane by his dad, that Daniel found and sold 8 years later. As well as being emblazoned on his clothing line, the binoculars are a reminder of Daniel's adventurous approach to business, and the search he'd encourage all prospective student entrepreneurs to go on.
He says the struggle with being your own boss is ''worth all the pressure on you for a great kind of independence.'' His tips are to get an industry mentor, to trust and rely on yourself and some loyal friends. He thrives under pressure and says that success = purpose. Daniel believes that purpose must come first for any student business owner, as a way of finding motivation through the inevitable rough patches.
Daniel told us: ''It's not work, because of my motivation, every day I know what I have to do, and I love what I do.''
Benjamin, 2nd year Computer science, Toby 2nd Year Pharmacy and Temi 2nd year Law (With Taps, a UEA graduate) : Illusion promotions
This is one solid student business team with all 3 student founders living as well as working together. Their dynamic has brought an all new inclusive club night in Norwich, open to ''any of your friends'' and introducing people to brand new acts and new genres. Their tagline, they say, is ''Illusion is inclusion.'' After only brainstorming ideas for their business in Campus Kitchen and the library this may, they've worked hard with their mentors and the Enterprise Centre to "become the change we wanted to see in Norwich nightlife" – starting out big with a debut on this year's fresher's wristband.
Great team work and building strong relationships is at the backbone of their business, with the founders also knowing each other from Afro Carribean soc. One of their key principles is supporting other student entrepreneurs – with their night fully run by students, from the DJ's to the photographers.
They keep on top of the work by setting a strict meeting time every month, and ensuring ''there's a time for everything.'' Organisation is also vital – but they'd tell everyone it's a ''learning process'', and you don't have to start off a master. The main motivation, though, is always the end game of creating a diverse night out where ''everyone can just enjoy the night.''
If you fancy yourself a bit of a budding entrepreneur, you can get in contact with the student enterprise team at careers central by booking an appointment, or emailing [email protected] – you never know what it might lead to!
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