5 Things I wish I knew Before Starting a Business (as a student)
Hi, my name is Ryan and I’m a university student. In 2020 I started my brand card holder brand Reyt Wallet and this is my advice for people thinking of doing the same.
Growth isn’t steady
I started my business Summer 2020. After building my website, creating social media accounts and launching marketing campaigns, I saw a steady growth of followers, visitors and customers. I thought it was great and that my business would keep growing throughout 2021. Suddenly, it’s the new year and the holiday season has passed. What happened? Sales went down. At this point I could have stopped but instead I started setting up my brand for the future and laying down foundations for the long term.
When you balance business with Uni life it can be difficult to stay consistent with your workflow. One week you be overwhelmed with coursework or revision, and another week you might have all the time in the world. My advice is to seize the times when you’re free to set yourself up nicely for days you can’t work. This will help in managing your stress as well as your time. One thing that helped me a lot was scheduling posts through Facebook’s business manager.
It’s hard work
There’s a lot of small tasks that I didn’t consider when starting my business. These small tasks all add up and end up taking time. These things can be streamlined but that often costs money. Shipping products is a good example of this. Wrapping the products, putting them in packaging and writing the labels all takes time, and its mundane. Then the packages must be taken to the post office and sent. This could be streamlined by buying a label printer but that takes investment.
Networking is key
If you’re like me, you probably spend an unreasonable amount of time on social media. Why not do the same thing but actually make something from it? This thought process led to the creation of my Instagram account. This wasn’t just about getting a follow count to the highest number possible. It was about supporting other businesses. Showing appreciation to other local businesses by giving shoutouts and commenting. Instead of liking pictures of random people you went to school with, like pictures of things you actually appreciate and relate to your business. My advice: give and you shall receive
Rejection sucks but you have to deal with it
During my time running a small business I have dealt with a lot of rejection in a variety of ways. Everyone that visits your site and doesn’t buy anything has made a judgement that what you have to offer isn’t worth the money for them. I have sent countless emails to independent retailers looking to stock products with no reply, countless Instagram DMs with no reply and offered plenty of friends discounts without purchases. Are these bad things? No! Rejection is a fact of life and you have to quickly move on. Not every product is for everyone. If you receive feedback take it on board, and if you don’t receive feedback just don’t worry. It’s easy to get caught up in being a perfectionist, especially as a passionate student when you’re trying to make the best work possible. Take a deep breath, reassess and move on to the next opportunity.
Take breaks, please
In recent years, ‘hustle culture’ has taken over. People telling you to invest, make passive income and use every ounce of your precious time to make money. Please follow this with caution. If you’re a university student like me, these are supposed to be among the best years of your life. I advise anyone to make sure that they strike the perfect balance between studying, business, work and socialising. Treat your business as a side hustle, write blog posts and manage your social media in your spare time. If your friends want to go to the pub, don’t say no every time because you want to work on your business. Find the perfect balance because I can guarantee that you’ll regret not going. This doesn’t mean to say that you should say yes to everything and never make time for your business, but please bare in mind that life is worth living. Find a balance and enjoy these years of freedom.