5 Tips for Starting a Business While in College

You’re in the middle of writing a 10-page essay on feminism in the digital age when it happens. An amazing idea hits you as you sit in your dorm and you know. Following in the footsteps of Gates and Zuckerberg, you’re ready to start your own business.

But where do you begin?

Here are 5 fantastic tips to help you launch your business and maintain your GPA.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Launching a business takes time, effort, time, money, time, plus more time. Client calls have to be scheduled around Econ 201, orders fulfilled the same week your essay for Russian Lit due, and work doesn’t stop for finals week. Many of us already need more hours in a day and as a college student (especially if you’re full-time) your time is at a premium. How does this fit into your life? How much funding will you need for a launch? What products or services are you offering? Do you need to a license? Does your business need to be registered with the state? You can answer all these questions by writing a business plan. This document helps you turn your idea into actionable steps. It also comes in handy when you’re securing funding, but more on that later.

Value Your Time, Build a Website

We already know your time is precious and one great place to conserve time is in building your website. Do you need a website for your business? Yes, you absolutely do. 81% of customers look online before buying products or services and you don’t want to miss out on those potential leads. It’s simple to get started but the design will take the most time. If you know CSS and HTML, this part is no problem. But don’t worry, there are options for those who can’t cascade style sheets. Web builders like Weebly, WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace all offer templates you can customize without any coding.

Can’t build your own website? Find someone else to do it for you. The internet is full of designers ready to build your site at every budget level and you can approach them directly. If that option is outside of your budget, websites like Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, and Upwork have a database of freelancers offering a their services for a range of pricing.

Looking for a free option? Find someone willing to do a skill swap. Offer a designer your product or one of your services for free in exchange for designing your website. Not only will you get a new website, you’ve also made a connection and found a future evangelist for your business.

The point is, value your time. You don’t want to spend hours, days, or months coding your own website. And you definitely don’t want to spend that much time learning how to do it yourself before you even get started building one. While it would be a nice skill to have, unless you’re already studying this in school, you should stick to what is going to get you the result you need as quickly as possible.

Find Your Free Resources

As a student entrepreneur, take advantage of all of the free resources at your fingertips. Set up an official business email address using your own domain. There are free options available which means you have more money to spend on other essential items for your business.

Check in with your school’s business center or entrepreneurship support services. Some colleges offer access to space, development resources, pitch days and training, and mentorship opportunities.

Are there any classes that could directly support your business? Think outside of the norm and focus specifically on skills for your business. Maybe textile classes, computer science, or design are just what you need to launch yourself. What does your library or college offer to support small businesses?

Finally, the Small Business Association website is full of advice, resources, and the latest federal business regulations.

Get Out and Mingle

Starting a business can feel like a solitary venture but don’t let yourself stay holed up in your dorm room hacking away at a business plan. Some of the best business breakthroughs are born from conversations with other people. So go forth and network.

Find events at your school for entrepreneurs. Are any organizations based around starting businesses? Join or just attend their events. Organize your own event by partnering with an established organization. Find out what’s happening in your community. Are there any local or national organizations having events nearby? Is there an upcoming conference you can attend in person or online? Look to social media. Join Facebook entrepreneurship groups. Follow like-minded people on Twitter and Instagram. Find companies you admire and follow them on LinkedIn. Look for a small business or entrepreneur Meetup to attend. The internet is full of people ready to share advice and even pool resources.

Find a Mentor

One important part of starting a new business is finding a mentor, someone you can look to for advice or call on in a pinch. This should be someone you trust and admire and with whom you can have candid conversations. These folks are all around you in college, all you need to do is reach out to them. Talk to teachers, guest speakers, and alumni. If you’re in a fraternity or sorority, reach out to your fellow members. Connect with people on Twitter, LinkedIn, or new apps like Shapr. Be professional, be confident, be yourself, and make the ask. You never know who will say yes.

The Bottom Line

Starting a business always takes effort, moreso when you have to go to classes every day. With the right preparation and support, a successful launch and acing your finals are absolutely possible. Set your goals, know your needs, and find your resources. You’ve got this. Good luck.

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8 Ways To Make Your Student Room Feel More Homely

Moving into student accommodation is very much a defining moment in the lives of many new students. Whether you move an hour away from your hometown, or even halfway across the globe to a new continent – the thought of settling into a new location full of unfamiliar places and faces can still be a pretty scary thought. Leaving home is never easy, and this fact is especially true if it’s your first ever time away from home for an extended period of time. The dreaded feeling of homesickness suddenly becomes a reality.

Generally, most student accommodations are pretty standard, mostly bare, and aren’t exactly the most inviting living spaces. As such, they can make even the most independent student feel a little bit on edge and long for the comforts of home. Though all hope is not lost, as thankfully there are a ton of ways you can make your brand new living space much more comfortable to live in, and you can actually transform it into your “home away from home”. Ultimately, you have the power to kick homesickness to the curb before it even has the chance to drag you down.

From giving your new room a good ol’ clean when you arrive, to altering the lighting, to adding a few personal touches here and there – here are a few (surprisingly easy) ways to make your student room feel more homely right from the get go…

1. Unpack

Although it seems like an obvious point to make, sometimes it’s just all too easy to avoid the dreaded task of unpacking when you arrive at your new student accommodation – and so many students are guilty of this. It could mean that you live out of a suitcase for months on end – which certainly isn’t a great habit to adopt.

By not unpacking your belongings and organising them where you want them to go, it becomes that much more challenging to feel settled in your new environment. Everything will always feel temporary – which, technically it is when you’re living in student accommodation – but you can make the effort to create an illusion of permanency.. Create a real sense of ownership by getting yourself organised, and you’ll instantly start to feel much more comfortable in your living space.

2. Get rearranging

Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on the room by rearranging the furniture in a way that feels best for you. Many student accommodations will come ready-made with a bed, a desk, and other basic, essential items of furniture – and many will be laid out in the same way. Even if you simply want to move your bed so that it faces a different direction – don’t hesitate to rearrange the furniture in whatever way makes the room feel most inviting to you.

3. Adjust the lighting

Adjusting the lighting is one of the most effective ways to completely transform the feeling of a room. When you play around with lighting, it becomes super easy to create a warm and inviting space – somewhere that you’ll feel comfortable to both study and relax in. Fairy lights are the perfect, traditional choice to give your room a warm, charming glow. You could even mix it up by adding a string of paper lanterns, or find other ways to get creative with your mood lighting. There are a ton possibilities.

4. Add personal touches

When considering what to take to university, don’t forget to include some personal items that can truly tailor your new room to you. Your room will likely be a blank canvas when you arrive, so you have the freedom to add anything from snaps of you and your loved ones, to posters, to sentimental items – adding things that are much more ‘you’ will make you room that much more enticing, and will stop you from dwelling on your longings for the comforts of home.

5. Add some homely aromas

Your sense of smell is a pretty powerful thing, and is often a direct link to memories. So, consider the aromas that remind you of home and add them to your new room for that sense of comfort – be it with candles, room sprays or reed diffusers.

6. Add warmth

Adding the feeling of warmth to your room gives it that cosy feeling, and as such you’ll find it much easier to relax. There are a ton of ways you can add warmth to a room, such as laying down a soft rug, adding warm blankets and throws, layering cushions, and so much more.

7. Never underestimate the power of plants

Believe it or not, plants can really help to spruce up a space. Adding some greenery instantly gives life to a room – it adds subtle pops of colour as well as texture. They also play a part in providing a calmer environment – which is a huge yes for any student. You might opt for a beautiful house-plant (just don’t forget to water it!) as it’ll do its job in purifying the air. Or, you could always choose something that requires a little less maintenance, such as a small cactus or succulent.

8. Invest in comfortable duvets and bedding

One of the greatest luxuries of living at home is sinking into your own comfortable bed at night. Although bedding might be provided for you upon arrival at your student accommodation, oftentimes these can feel a little lifeless. By investing in some comfortable bedding, as well as bed linen, you can make your bed feel just as comfortable as yours back home – you may not even miss it.

Written by Katy Mairs, blog editor for UniBaggage.com – The No.1 Student Shipping Company.

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Packing For University – 5 Things You Don’t Need To Bring

Going to university for the first time is a pretty exciting prospect. After 18 years of living with your parents and going to school every day, you finally get your first true taste of total independence – living on your own with the freedom to do whatever you want.

The practical side of preparing for university isn’t quite as much fun. Packing in particular can be a bit of a nightmare – what on earth do you need to bring to survive an entire year on your own?!

There are of course many “what to take to university” checklists out there, and while these are extremely helpful, they often don’t solve the whole problem. As every student has a vastly different experience, the items that are essential for some, may well be luxuries or unimportant to others.

For that reason it can often be much more useful to know what you absolutely DON’T need to pack…

1. Every Item In Your Wardrobe

For most new students, clothing forms the bulk of their luggage, as you’ll need enough pieces to get through every season and for the multitude of events and nights out.

It is therefore tempting to just dump your entire wardrobe into your suitcase and hope for the best, but this should be avoided if possible.

Not only is wardrobe space fairly limited in university halls, but you probably won’t end up wearing even half the items you bring. Most students will tell you that the majority of time is spent in comfortable clothes and loungewear. So as long as you have plenty of these garments along with a few more formal pieces and ‘going out clothes’, you’ll make it through.

2. Too Many Toiletries

A great rule when packing for university is to leave behind any item which you can easily and inexpensively replace when you get there. Toiletries are a good example of this.

Huge bottles of shampoo, shower gel and beauty products can take up quite a bit of weight, which can be especially crucial if you’re traveling to university by plane, where weight allowances are pretty strict.

3. Books

Although you might have hopes of being the most prepared and conscientious student, but try not to bring your entire collection of books, folders and old school notes with you.

University is somewhat of a fresh slate, meaning that your old school books won’t be of much use or relevance. And if it turns out that there is an old school textbook that you do absolutely need, you can use a student shipping service or a low cost courier to send it to you from home.

In addition, try not to purchase and pack your entire university recommended reading list ahead of your studies. Buying and packing all of these books before you leave is not only expensive, but also impractical. Books will weigh your luggage down and despite being recommended by your lecturers, most students often do not need to purchase every single title – some can be borrowed from the library or swapped between classmates.

4. Luxury Kitchen Appliances

In university halls and student accommodation, kitchen items such as kettles, microwaves and toasters will be provided for you.

Additional ‘luxury’ appliances such as rice cookers, panini makers and blenders etc should be left behind. Although it would be nice to have all the comforts of your kitchen at home, your kitchen at university will be shared and therefore the risk of damage or even theft is increased.

When it comes to kitchenware, simply bring the basics such as cutlery, bowls, plates and saucepans. If there’s anything else you need, you can usually purchase these things easily from a nearby department store or supermarket.

5. A Printer

Having your own printer seems convenient, in theory, but unless your course requires a significant amount of printing, it will be unnecessary unnecessary. Not only are printers difficult to transport, but the printers in your university and library will be just as handy.

Plus, when others hear that you have your own printer, you’ll soon be inundated with requests from friends to just print ‘one little page’ for them. These requests soon add up and the cost of replacing ink cartridges can be more expensive that the cost of university printing credits.

Written by Lana Richardson, blog editor for UniBaggage.com – The No.1 Student Shipping Company.

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