Get your entrepreneurial head on27 March 2012
HEY Campus Cashy, it’s your faithful Gradlady again, and in between photocopying, making tea runs and learning to walk in heels, I’ve been examining the price of grated cheese.
Sound ridiculous? Trust me, grated cheese being almost three times the price of a block (I know, right?) will be the least of the extortions you face when times are hard and money is tight.
It’s no secret that we’re not earning six-figure salaries as graduates; some of us aren’t even earning at all.
So how do you make ends meet when you find yourself broke and not wanting to get further into debt? You get resourceful. You get entrepreneurial! You get money.
Tweet for your supper
Let’s not beat around the bush: we are a generation that spends most of our time online. And why not? It’s cheap to get a connection, it’s readily available in most places and it connects us to a whole wide world of people.
But instead of using this remarkable marketing tool to tweet and update your Facebook status about how you can’t buy that pretty dress you wanted from Topshop or the latest season of Family Guy, use your voice!
Your presence online isn’t just about your party antics or being able to Facestalk your ex; it’s possibly the best promotion you’re going to get for free.
Take inventory of your skills. Are you an animal lover? Put word out that you’re offering your services as a dog-walker or pet-sitter. A whizz kid on Photoshop? Look into designing websites.
Once you’ve got that magic money maker (and we’re talking anything – a good friend of mine cleaned apartments during her degree days for extra cash), get your tweetin’ fingers at the ready!
Status updates, tweets, posting an announcement on LinkedIn – all GREAT ways to market yourself for free. And if you’re so inclined, you could even set up a business-specific Facebook group or Twitter page, which will give you a more professional online presence.
Too often people underestimate the power of online presence, but it’s how some of the biggest new businesses – think Pinterest, Spotify and even apps like Instagram – gave their brand an edge over the competition.
Stage an eBay edit
One thing I’ve learned from living with half of my life in storage for six months is that I actually don’t use most of what I have. The bulk of it has stayed with me through a) guilt about waste, b) sentimental value (read: more guilt), or c) I’ve forgotten I have it.
There’s perhaps 20% necessity and 80% excess and miscellany that I really don’t need. Chances are you suffer the same.
Well, it’s time to take off the rose-tinted glasses and get real: when times are hard anything of monetary value that you don’t use on a regular basis and that your mum/ boyfriend/ later-in-life self won’t KILL you for selling, you sell.
eBay is an incredible tool for opening you up to buyers you wouldn’t normally reach through your average car-boot or table-top sale, plus you get all the control. You can choose your ‘buy it now’ price, how much postage you charge, how long you want your auction to last and live-answer any questions from potential buyers.
Best of all? There is only something like a 5% surcharge that eBay takes from your profit as a listing fee. I recently had some tickets to a show that I can’t make because I’m busy being a Gradlady, auctioned them with a hold price which made me a £40 profit (around AED 250). That’s the kind of business I like to do!
These are just some ideas to kick-start your entrepreneurial side. It’s about getting into a new headspace and taking responsibility for yourself and your funding (or lack of it).
Stay tuned for my second instalment of tips on how to fill your coffers! Until next time.
Pic credit: imagerymajestic/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net