Today, more students are finding it necessary to work at either a full- or part-time job in order to make ends meet. Because of the ubiquity of the internet, many people are not only starting up their own business in order to make ends meet, but they are also utilizing social media and social networking to a far greater extent than they did before. This is partly due to social networking becoming so important in many people’s live, but also because there are so many different avenues into it.
Consider the story of Rebecca Smith, who started a social media job when she was still in college: after seeing the huge variety of jobs which existed online for managers, online PAs, and other types of jobs, she thought up the idea of advertising people who would do the hard work of online media for them. While the internet makes it a necessity for people to engage with their online audiences, not everyone is equally good at it. Smith saw a business opportunity lying in the possibility of offering to handle the online affairs of these businesses, and the rest is history.
Where to start
When it comes to starting your own business, particularly in college, it is vitally important that you have a plan in place before you do anything. Make sure that you know what it is that you want to offer as a product or service, what your skills are, how much time you can afford to give to the business, and so on. Remember that you are still in college – your primary goal is to learn, so keep your business expectations in check.
Identify your Goals
What are your goals when it comes to starting up a business? What do you want to come out of the business, and what do you want to put into it? The easiest way to find this out is to clearly identify what you are going to give to the people you are marketing your business towards, and what you hope to get out of things yourself.
Make sure that you are very clear on what it is that your business exists to do. If you don’t have any such idea, it will be easier for people to convince you into doing work for them that you otherwise would turn down. The same goes for how much time you are willing to invest in your venture – if you are not strict about putting your foot down when a job is too much, then you might find yourself struggling to get all your work done over the course of your college career.
Know your Audience
CustomEssayOrder advises anybody who is starting a business (whether they are still in college or not) to know their audience. Since there has recently been such a focus on social media, you should make sure that you know what types of business you are targeting. Different businesses have different needs for their online worlds, and you should take this into account. As well as this, you should consider the details of who you want to work with – is it only small companies you want to take on, or will you be taking on all types of work, or will it be on a case by case basis? You need to make sure that you are clear on these ideas, and on how you will address them.
Knowing your audience is also important from the point of view that it will affect your advertising policies – smaller companies will advertise in different spaces than larger ones, newer ones will advertise different to older ones, and of course, the actual product\service which you are advertising will define how you advertise, to a greater or lesser extent.
Create your Brand
A brand is, initially, simply a picture or symbol which is associated with your business, but it is so much more than that at the same time. A brand is how people perceive your business, and it brings to the table everything about you, such as the way you conduct business, the way you see customer relations, you way you approach your work, and so much more. A brand is really about your business, and how it will react to others. Choose a good brand, and it will resonate with people, who will then use your business for their purposes, or at the very least reach out as prospects, which you can then turn into clients.
Choose your Social Networks
This is vitally important – which social media networks will you use? The big three are still LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but there are a number of other sites which are growing in popularity, such as Instagram.
The choice of social network depends on a number of factors: the type of business you are trying to attract (professional companies versus individuals would be the difference between LinkedIn and Facebook, for example), the type of business you are running (one which depends on visuals might find its strength lies in Instagram rather than Twitter), and other factors. You should also take into account the fact that Facebook and LinkedIn can represent more of a time sink than either of the other two social networking sites, with the end result that you might be better off using either Twitter or Instagram.
Again, audience matters: if you are going for a younger audience, your safest bet would most likely be to aim for the younger social networks like Instagram. If you are looking for older people, then use Facebook. If you intend to focus purely on professionals and companies, then you should focus mainly on LinkedIn, as that will give you the most access to businesspeople and their concerns.
Choosing your social networks is possibly the most important part of setting up a business when in college, as it is the key to your success in getting customers and getting noticed. Using social networking is, however, a very useful strategy, as it allows for both advertising and customer finding in one swoop.
Starting a business can be as simple or complicated as you can make it, especially when in college. This article has only covered the basics, including how to differentiate between the different types of social networking and what they can mean, but hopefully it will prove useful to anybody who wants to start their own business and start bringing in money to provide or supplement an income while they are studying. Anybody who wants to start a business in this case should take care that they don’t forget their studying, which is why they are in college in the first place.