It is incredibly common for college students to be looking for a way to make a quick buck. Students often deliver food for DoorDash, take online surveys and even sell their own blood for a few extra dollars. Then there are some students that put their creative abilities to work and build their own small piece of the American Dream — running their own business.
Of course, running a business is not without its challenges, especially for those doing so in college. Senior Abbie Cormier, owner of Adorned Lettering Co., said that time management is a definite challenge in managing her business. Specifically, juggling her responsibilities and prioritizing them accordingly. Cormier said that creating new projects can be difficult as well.
“It definitely is hard coming up with creative projects because you don't want to be just like every other small business,” Cormier said. “There's lots of people with the same things that I sell, so coming up with things to put a creative twist on them, where it gives people a reason to want your items is also hard.”
Sophomore Clara Elffers, owner of Clara Grace Illustrates, said that while it requires time and effort, it is ultimately worth it and a lot of fun.
She said it creates great opportunities to get together with people and gain support.
“It's just really fun seeing my products all around campus and that people are enjoying my artwork and that it's bringing them joy. It makes me really happy. I think it’s my favorite part,” Elffers said. “The process is fun too, especially since I know it can be mindless sometimes. So I get to watch a movie with my friends and have my iPad to do whatever product I'm working on and have that be part of the process.”
Elffers said that being able to know many people in the community makes it easier to reach people and gather support for her business.
Junior Jessica Cochrane, owner of Rings ‘N Things, said that connecting with people at events like Shop the Loop is a great benefit to running a small business at Taylor, being able to build relationships and later have more familiar faces around campus.
Cochrane said that even though, throughout the year, sales might get slow at times, opportunities like Shop the Loop are a great way of finding new customers and business owners have to take those opportunities.
“If it wasn't for me putting myself out there at Shop the Loop, then I wouldn't have the base that I have now,” Cochrane said. “It’s also the people around you that also are such a huge encouragement, and it's something that when I look back at my Taylor years, I can be say, ‘Oh, that's when this started and I was able to learn a lot and do something with it.’”
The learning curve from running a small business often can work well with what one is learning in their classes. Cochrane said that, being an education major, she is often required to think outside the box for solutions that are very similar to running a business.
Likewise, Cormier’s small business is why she decided to major in business management, as the classes have real-life applications that are beneficial to her business, even the ones she is not particularly interested in.
Cochrane said that a small business is not only a good experience, but one that can bring benefits from the creative work that she already loves to do.
“It's a good experience,” Cochrane said. “I'm doing something that I love, which is like doing crafts, but also getting to benefit from it and learn a little bit of running a business.”