For students, doing homework and meeting deadlines can already be a difficult task, and having to support themselves and pay loans only adds to that stress.
A side hustle is a great way to earn some extra cash, while prioritizing your college career. According to Grow Acorns, nearly half (46%) of Gen Zers already have a side business.
So how do you start? According to Alyssia Leach, a senior business marketing student at the University of Louisville and a content creator with over 140,000 subscribers, it’s all about finding your niche and leveraging your strengths.
The Importance of Focus
For someone who happens to have multiple strengths or interests, finding a niche can be difficult. But trying to do it all at once can make you seem unreliable and unfocused.
“I’ve done videos about the niche and gotten a lot of negative feedback, actually. People say, ‘I like it all, I wanna do it all.’ And you end up like the neighborhood man who has 50 different business cards because he can do 50 different things. But people don’t think of him first when they need to do something, they think of him last.”
Instead of aiming for a wide net, focus on being excellent at whatever you plan to pursue and building on that.
“The doghouse is important because it’s durable,” says Leach. “You can change, change and grow, and your supporters will grow with you.”
Find your niche
According to Leach, another trick to finding restlessness on the right side is to combine your “natural gifts, learned skills, and passions.”
Leach tried many side businesses before finally getting into content creation. In high school, she earned a side income selling homemade snacks and treats. She then discovered her talent for make-up, and became a freelance make-up artist for about 4 years, under the name of Black Rose Beauty.
Although she later found out that it wasn’t her passion, makeup helped her discover what she really loved.
“I realized I didn’t want to work with clients, and started creating TikToks to educate people about business from what I was learning with Black Rose Beauty.”
Leach says she grew her TikTok by nearly 50,000 followers in 2 weeks by finding her niche, and ultimately her passion for creating social media content led to brand deals, and even followers leaving monetary advice on his videos.
Leach also advises students to pursue service-based side businesses over products, as this begins to blur the lines between a business and a side business.
“We kind of get more into a business when it comes to products. They naturally take more time. You have to consider product design, manufacturing, website setup, and shipping. “
It may not be practical as a student to invest money in creating a product in addition to other obligations such as student loans, housing, textbooks, etc.
Instead, Leach recommends side hustles like car cleaning/detailing, graphic design, or even social media influence for students in need of extra money.
Balancing school with financial responsibilities can be difficult, but Leach reassures that with passion and drive, anything is possible.
“Because I love what I do, it’s easier for me to do it. In the past, I tried to do side work and pursue these ideas that weren’t really for me. I saw other people making money and I thought ‘I can make money too’, because they did. And it was hard. But once I got into things that I’m naturally good at and really enjoy, it just got easier.
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