I got the inspiration to write this post after reading an article on The Star Online.
The title of the article was More student entrepreneurs by 2020.
Back in 2017, the Malaysia Higher Education Ministry had a target to get 15% of the university students to venture into entrepreneurship while they are still pursuing studies at institutions of higher education.
That got me thinking, what are some practical ideas that a university students can use to start their own business while still studying in university or college?
In this post, I will share some of my experience running my own online business from home.
Is there a demand?
If you are currently a university student and you want to start your own part time business, firstly you have to decide if you want to be in a business to sell services or to sell product.
If you are currently studying full time, my advice is to focus on selling product.
Selling a type of service will require you to put in your personal time which will take you away from your studies.
If you are going to sell product through your part time business, the questions you should be asking are:
- What product are you going to sell?
- Where to source for the product?
- Is there a market for your product?
- Where are you going to sell your product? Are you going to be selling your product online or offline?
- Who are your competitors for your product?
- What marketing channel are you going to use? Are you going to use print advertising or social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogging etc?
- What is your expected profit margin?
- How are you going to deliver the product you are selling?
- How do you handle after sales service for you product?
As a university student planning to start a part time business, the main question that you should consider is capital.
How much money do you have as a start up capital for your business?
If you don’t have the capital, sorry to say, you have to find it.
How much do you need as a start up capital?
For my own personal business, I’ve started it with a capital of less than RM1,000.
When you have your business start up funds, the next step is to source for product.
Sourcing for product to sell can be quite challenging for someone who has never done any business before.
My advise it, do not source for cheap and low quality product from China.
Reason being, cheap products from China would not be able to give you big enough profit margin for your business.
Since it is cheap, anyone can buy the same goods from China and become your competitor.
You want to avoid this situation especially if you want to sell your product through online channels.
Next, lets talk about gauging the demand for the product you want to sell.
Preferably, you want to sell a product which can be used by both men and women, young and old and by every ethnicity in Malaysia.
You want your product to have a big potential market as much as possible.
Here’s my other advice, for a student, try not to run every aspect of your future business by yourself.
You should get a partner in your business.
For your part time business, you can actually partner with a local company.
Many people do not know this, there are many companies in Malaysia which provide the platform required to start a business from home or from your university dorm room.
What’s important is to partner with a good company that can help you to promote a very unique product in the market with very little competition.
If you are a student and you want to be successful in starting an online business, make sure you choose the right platform with the right company.
As for my personal business, I’ve partnered with a local company which handles all my product fulfillment and delivery.
My focus is on online marketing via my blog and Facebook.
The main product for my business is a type of Wearable Technology.
Above is a picture of the selling far infrared ray (FIR) athleisure garment imported from Japan.
The FIR athleisure garment is promoted using a multi level marketing (MLM) / network marketing business model.
Challenges as a student
In this section, I will be truthful to you if you are planning to start a part time business as a student.
You have to keep it mind that you are starting a real business, not another university assignment or hobby project.
You’re going to be greeted with a great deal of skepticism from your friends and especially from your family members.
Why you may ask?
Well, their intentions are good…they just want to protect you from disappointment.
Most new businesses fail and we can’t blame them if they don’t believe that you will succeed.
Let me share with you a story.
It is about the humble mouthwash that probably you’ve used before.
An unlikely case study, I know.
But hear me out.
Introduced all the way back in 1879, Listerine was a runaway success.
Nearly a century later though, in the year 1966, Proctor and Gamble introduced Scope, the “good tasting” mouthwash.
It was immediately popular.
For the first time ever, Listerine was in a tough spot, losing market share fast.
They knew that competing with Scope’s Unique Selling Point (taste) would be a disaster.
So Listerine did something clever.
They counter-attacked with brutal honesty, launching an ad campaign with slogans such as…
“The taste you hate, twice a day.”
“I hate it, but I love it.”
Above is an old ad by Listerine to counter Scope.
Above is an old Listerine magazine advertisement.
Think about it.
Anything that tastes that bad must be REALLY good at killing germs, right?
You can’t touch that logic.
Needless to say, the campaign was a success, and Listerine remains the leading brand all these years later.
So what does this mean for you and your new business?
Well, instead of trying to argue or convince your family members…
Just be authentic with them.
Tell them that you understand what it really takes, not what you think they want to hear.
Slowly but surely, you will gain the confidence and you will have their blessing.
Thank you for reading this article and I hope it was helpful for you.
If you are interested to know more about starting your own business using the network marketing business model, please click the link below to contact me on WhatsApp.