Whilst you might think to start a business whilst still studying is an impossible dream, many have made it happen. The most high profile of these is probably Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. But closer to home, Informi featured two businesses last year, Custom Planet and RMP Filmmakers, that were both formed by university students.
Indeed, when you think about it, university is a fertile environment for creative thinking and problem solving – two key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. Sure, it's a challenging path to take, especially to start off with, but the rewards can be huge. With hard graft, it can lead to a ready-made career before you even pick up that diploma – and potentially something much bigger later down the line (again, think Facebook).
To get you started here's some essential advice on how to set up a budget business, and balance it with your studies.
Spare time is also free time. You should be using it wisely to focus on what you want out of a business and what you hope to achieve.
Here’s the thing. Once you graduate, you’ll probably be working the whole time. So make the most of your uni days, which can be quite leisurely by comparison!
Time management is a vital life skill and one to get a handle on ASAP. Look at how many free hours you have to work on your business and figure out a schedule for working on it a little and often.
It’s very important to get some rest though, so don’t burn yourself out by trying to do too much at once. A clear mind is better than a cluttered one.
Research is a no brainer when it comes to things like essays and general studying. And exactly the same rule applies when setting up a business.
This may not have occurred to you. It’s all well and good having bags of enthusiasm but listening to people is more important than pitching your ideas. As the saying goes 'we don't learn from talking, we learn from listening'.
Not only is it essential in helping you work out a business that plugs a gap in the market, but it also gives you a sense of the public your product or service is aimed at.
Above all, it’s cheaper in the long run and will save you a lot of money you might otherwise spend on brainwaves that go precisely nowhere.
In 2016, 342,927 new businesses were registered with Companies House between January and June. Put another way, that's 80 new companies born every hour.
You’re lucky that you live in an age where technology and communication are always expanding. There’s never been a better time to get a message out there for free.
Here’s a simple but invaluable tip. Start a website. A dedicated and well-designed webspace that shows people what you have to offer is a priceless part of your business.
It’s also a great networking opportunity if there’s a web design course happening at your uni. A fellow student might do it for free, and become a long term collaborator.
Social media has also made promoting a business simple, and a zero cost activity. Connecting with the world at large is just a matter of a few clicks.
In addition to a part-time job, making some extra income never goes amiss when looking to set up a budget business. You’ll need all the pennies you can get!
Now, all you need is a reliable internet connection and you can do things like sell unwanted items, or, even better, get paid to offer your opinions to companies.
Online surveys take the form of answering questions, or even stuff like watching videos. In return, you receive a small financial reward.
Last but by no means least is your university itself. There’s so much free stuff to use as a resource for your future, from the library to other students you might partner up with.
This is an important time. Don’t treat studies and entrepreneurial spirit as separate entities. You’re at uni to learn about life as well as your chosen subject.
The best way to set up a low-cost uni business is to appreciate the merits of both study and enterprise. Learning how they complement each other is a great first step.
Student Money Saver is an extremely popular student website, that gives out nifty tricks for staying ahead of the game while at University – save and make money while studying!
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