College students are perpetually trying to find the financial balance. Between tuition, groceries, books, and school supplies money can disappear pretty quickly. Finding money that isn’t already tied up to use for leisure activities can seem impossible. Using hobbies that you enjoy to make some money is an all around win. Remember to keep your hobby enjoyable for yourself and don’t let it become all about the money because as the saying goes “If you enjoy what you do, you will never go to work a day in your life.” I love video editing, photography, and writing. These are the skills that I use to make money in my free time.
Taking a critical eye to your skill and your hobby will take some practice and may require some outside help. This will help when it comes to pricing and the size of the crowd you are trying to attract. If you are involved in some hobby that isn’t quick to do such as metal work, custom clothing, or video editing you need to make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself. I do media work, writing, and clothing construction and alterations as my job.
2. Streams of Revenue
Making a business plan may sound intimidating but it is definitely doable. Are you going to make products on your own time and then sell them, or are you going to exercise your hobby when customers make requests? Shipping costs can not be overlooked if you need to get your product to the customer. Make sure you remember to set those prices upfront so that you don’t end up being seen as a business with “hidden costs” or have to eat the costs because you did not make it clear beforehand.
Are you operating on campus? The methods of communication or execution will differ from a person who is running an Etsy shop. Identifying this will help you out later. I work on campus and use a website and business cards.
You’re going to want to attract customers, but you also want to make a profit. Finding ways of advertising that will cost you little to nothing is the goal. Putting a little money into your advertising can be worth it especially if you see a lot of profit possible.
Business cards, flyers, and word of mouth are going to be a college student’s business best options for advertising. Word of mouth advertising is the best in my opinion mainly because it is free. It can have its downside because word of mouth doesn’t always have to be positive. Keeping your customers satisfied is important for every business but especially for businesses that are relying on word of mouth as it’s main way of advertising. Business cards are my second favorite because they can serve as calling cards for other encounters. They also give off an air of seriousness and professionalism. They can also be tailored to represent the business extremely well. Deals and sales are always rotating on sites like Moo.com, Vistaprint, Jukebox Prints, and Zazzle, so patience can save you money. Some schools have printers that can even print on cardstock so you can make your own business cards if you need them quickly or are trying to minimize costs.
*Protip* Always get other people to review your flyers and business cards before you order or print them.
I personally always get uncomfortable when it comes to talking money with my customers. It’s something I just have to get over because I’m in this to make a profit and if they won’t pay me, there is nothing to be gained for me most times. There are times when taking an direct financial loss can have benefits. These cases are normally when the customer has something that is more valuable than money like a connection that will in turn result in an opportunity or increase in business for you. These individuals can also be your future references when it comes to attesting to your hard work and skill. Partnerships with organizations where they post things about your product or service in return for items for review or promotional codes for their members can be beneficial.
*Protip* Keep in mind your ability to produce this good or service when contacting companies. You do not want to swamp yourself with orders because the partner organization was too large for you to keep up. A way to deal with this is that if you have a site for your business, you can put up that there will be an x-week delay before your product or service is shipped/completed.