Up Your GRINDSET: Student Side Hustles

Every student reaches a point in their life where their days just feel… repetitive. Ask our very own student councillors (the seemingly busiest people) and even they will agree that after all the zest of school activities die out, student life does get boring. After all, the only true constant for students is studying, right?

Soon enough you find yourself on TikTok, listening to Sugaresque talk about her busy life. Something tells you that there has to be more than just academics. Maybe it’s time you invest in yourself. But learning new hobbies takes up energy and you don’t exactly have the bandwidth to start a business either. Well, there is a sort of ‘in-between’ to those two options, and it’s none other than a side hustle

P.S. Side hustles are a trend now. 

Do you know those classmates who have another account tagged in their Instagram bio? A little something like this: 

That’s what we call a side hustle. While the traditional definition of a side hustle is a side job, for the sake of us students, we’ll be defining a side hustle as more than a hobby, less than a job. 

That said, a student side hustle can take many forms. From small businesses to review accounts or even poetry, let us take you through some side hustles started by our fellow Eunoians!

Small Businesses, Big Bucks 🤑

While side hustles aren’t full-time jobs, that certainly hasn’t stopped these intrepid entrepreneurs from making some bank from their talents! We have interviewed a few of our budding entrepreneurs located right in the heart of Eunoia. 

1. @bracelet w****s in the house

After scouring for hours on Telegram, Chu Ting found herself sliding down the rabbit hole of small crystal businesses. She finally understood that beneath the tame and seemingly uninhabited user base of Telegram, there was a thriving community of entrepreneurs! Hear more about her experience as a self-acclaimed crystal seller below.

Q1: It’s quite interesting that you chose Telegram as a platform to sell your bracelets! May we know why Telegram instead of perhaps Instagram?

Initially, when I first started my business, my cousin was the one who pitched the idea of owning a Telegram channel to me. I didn’t think much about it, because I barely use Telegram. But in hindsight, I can totally see why Telegram is a more popular option among small business owners rather than Instagram as we don’t have the required resources to promote and advertise our products. This is why it’s very important that we have platforms for interaction, and Telegram is a much more interactive platform compared to Instagram. 

The mechanisms of Telegram are also especially helpful. Say, for example, our customers view the listing products in the main channel. Now, if you were to click on the title of the main channel, it could lead you to a sort of ‘monitor icon’, where it will direct you to a separate discussion channel that is linked to the main channel. So this built-in feature allows small business owners to interact with customers and ensure that we build a connection to secure a loyal customer base! 

Q2: Do you have any interesting stories to share? 

​​I have a very close relationship with my regular buyers and I really appreciate them for constantly returning to my channel to purchase things during my launches. I’d say that my relationship with my buyers has moved beyond buyer-seller to friends! We’ve even considered meeting up in real life to go crystal shopping as a group. If you were to use Instagram and Facebook, you’d probably be afraid to meet up with strangers due to safety reasons. But in the Telegram crystal community, at least the one I’m in, everyone is extremely open. Major telegram channels would go out in person to shop for crystals, or even just hang out! So I’d say that the crystal community is an especially close-knit space, which remains a very interesting thing to me.  

Q3: Do you think your business has changed the way you organize your life?

My business has definitely changed the way I organize my life. I think, prior to the setting up of my business, I’m a person with no work-life balance. I haven’t really considered how much I want to achieve on my own out of school, and in life in general. But I can safely say that my business got me thinking about how much importance I should place on our kids and how much it actually affected my life. 

As of now, I can safely say that I have a work-life balance because I no longer treat my academics as my only source of validation. I find that starting this business has really helped me find a sense of purpose other than being a student and just purely studying and being successful in our future and whatnot. It is fulfilling, and has also taught me better time management and how I should and when I should detach myself from unnecessary responsibilities and worries. 

2. @forthememoria (Instagram)

Making use of their handy crocheting and beading skills, this group of girls decided to handcraft a variety of fashionable products that are as functional as they are adorable! We’re glad to have been able to interview one of them to find out more about their unique handmade products.

Q1: Your products are incredibly cute! (not sponsored) How do you decide on item ideas for selling?

I think our team of three came together wanting to do a business but we all had different skill sets, such as knowing how to crochet or having an interest in making beaded items. I think from there we managed to craft out our business plans and decided that we should first push out some items that were easier to make to sell as many as possible and set up a strong support base. 

We then targeted special occasions like Valentine’s Day to sell our crocheted flower bouquet and our day edition necklace. We will also just come together to brainstorm ideas on what we can make next.

Q2: When and why did you start crocheting? 

I started to learn how to crochet when I was in primary school, but never really had the patience to finish a proper project. Until Covid-19 caused the circuit breaker and I was searching for new hobbies to pass time and decided to adventure into crocheting! I remember one of the first projects I finished was a bag. I then became more passionate about crochet and made gifts for my family and friends on special occasions.

Q3: How do you juggle between your side hustle and schoolwork?

I think this was the hardest part of setting up our business but we always told our customers that products could not be delivered immediately and to give us a one-week buffer period to prepare the items. We would aim to finish schoolwork first before overloading on our business and we made sure that whenever we pushed out a new product, it would be during a period where we weren’t too caught up in our studies so that we were able to squeeze out more free time to manage the business. 

Creativity and Self-Expression 🎨

Next, put on your arts appreciation sunglasses as we gaze upon the blinding creativity of these artists!

1. @breadbestcarb (Instagram)

Meet our resident food reviewer Zhi Qi, who has as much of an appetite for culinary delights as she does describing their taste in words. With over a thousand followers on Instagram, Zhi Qi has been ready to share her love for food in succinct reviews. 

Q1: Your side-hustle is considerably unique! How did you discover your love for writing food reviews? 

To be honest, I started reviewing food on Instagram because I saw someone getting sent free food for them to advertise, so yes, I started it for mercenary reasons. But after writing up some reviews, I realized the whole process is so rewarding! From adding a place to my to-eat list to getting lost trying to find the place and taking countless pictures, I love savouring the food slowly while crafting a review in my head! 

I also feel this sense of accomplishment after finally posting my review and getting all the supportive comments. I must also say that the food community is super supportive and wholesome so that encourages me a lot to improve myself as well!

Q2: We’ve noticed that you usually review food outside EJ! Is this something tough to commit to?

Nope! A lot of people think that I should ‘take a break since it’s my A-Levels year’, which puzzles me because my reviews don’t take long to write. Writing about food comes as naturally to me as eating the food, so I have never had the problem of a lack of time. 

I do experience creative slumps occasionally though, (as of right now, I am in a slump…). When that happens, I don’t force myself out of it, instead, I’ll just come back when I’m ready. This way, my reviews won’t feel forced and insincere!

Q3: Do you see yourself doing something related to food reviews in the long run?

I’ve been considering (for a year now) doing an internship at Eatbook after A-Levels! I do watch their videos frequently and the premises of their videos always seem fun and fresh.

Q4: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to anyone running a similar side hustle?

Be genuine! It is enticing to write only good remarks about a place so as not to offend anybody. However, the point of reviewing is to allow the reader to have an objective idea of the food/place (of course, don’t make extremely vicious remarks either). Also, be concise. I realized that a majority of people who aren’t diehard foodies won’t be inclined to read a lengthy review. It’s ultimately up to you to develop your style. Lastly, don’t be too obsessed with numbers! Your follower count/likes/impressions will always fluctuate due to social media’s algorithm! But your resilience (consistent posting) WILL beat the algorithm. Really.

2. @poofy.doofus (Instagram)

Presenting a contemplative photo gallery of captured memories, Tricia crystallizes nostalgia with a pristine visual flair!

Q1: What exactly goes into creating each finished photo?

Hmm… step one is taking the picture itself. My photos usually involve me venturing out to places in SG that I don’t commonly visit or places I find more scenic (like Tiong Bahru)! Afterward comes the editing, which is simpler than it looks. I didn’t want to turn editing into a chore, so I’ve never really bothered investing in proper equipment or software like Adobe. I use an app called ‘RNI films’! It helps me create the film aesthetic in just a few minutes. Finally, I use the app ‘White border’ to literally… create a white border. I guess I do this because I want my feed to appear in a gallery format, like photos sitting on a wall ready for viewing!

Q2: From urban environments and art pieces to cats, what influences the choice of subject matter in your photos? 

I don’t have a sophisticated answer to that, unfortunately. It’s just going with my gut feel I’d say. I realize that when I take pictures, I don’t exactly have an audience in mind so I’m just trying to showcase what I find more memorable! So, the TLDR answer would be : my sporadic desire to preserve a certain memory.

Q3: When curating photographs, what is your aim for your audience and how do you achieve it?

I think that taking a picture on its own isn’t enough to convey how I felt then? (i.e. taking a picture of the sakuras doesn’t convey how deeply in love I felt when I set my eyes on them) 

So that’s where the editing comes in. I might add more warm hues, or blur the background a bit more, all to get my audience to understand exactly how I felt through a series of edited pictures. 

3. @ashleykohyuxi (Instagram). www.onyourbehalf.me/recent

As a confident poet, Ashley infuses vivid emotions into the page (screen), crafting words that sear, heal and chuckle.

Q1: It is quite interesting how you combine visual elements with your writing! How do you merge the two, creatively and practically speaking?

Practically speaking, I literally just go to Canva and find some nice aesthetic drawings and just put them there. It’s just design, there’s nothing much to it. 

As for visual imagery, I think it’s just a writer’s craft honestly. I feel like I tend to do it because it makes the poetry more accessible if people can kind of visualise what they’re reading as opposed to everything being so abstract.

Q2: Based on your experiences, what would be your advice to other aspiring writers trying to put their work out there?

The first thing would be that you need to have a very clear vision of what you’re writing. For example, if it’s something supposed to be very emotional, you need to try and make sure that you bring that across in your writing, you need to make sure that you touch people’s hearts, and you make it something that everyone can relate to.

You need to be realistic about how far the reach of your writing is going to be. Maybe it’s only going to be one or two people at the start, maybe there isn’t even going to be anybody. And if you’re trying to get published, maybe your work isn’t going to get picked up by publishers for a very long while. But I think it’s almost necessary that you have to realize all that, and you need to make sure that it doesn’t degrade your self-worth. Maybe you just haven’t met the right partner to work with, or you haven’t met the right audience yet. It’ll come. Because writing is always going to be in demand. It just depends on, from who?

Q3: Why did you decide to share your poetry?

Okay, if I’m being a hundred percent honest, it’s because of my mom. I have to admit that this whole journey, a lot of it is me being propelled by her. My drive is admittedly not as strong as hers. 

Also, it does feel good to get recognition for works you have written that are acknowledged by people. It kind of reinforces your self-perception; that you’re not too bad of a writer, that your work will get appreciated by people and that people will recognize what you’re writing for. I guess because of that I decided to keep posting. 

Another reason why I wanted to share my poetry is also that I feel like, for some of the stuff I write, some people actually can relate to it. My poetry can help people to express what they can’t feel.

Conclusion

If this article fires up your entrepreneurial and creative spirit (and if you desire an escape from the hustle and bustle of student life), then it’s time to start a side hustle and start bustling! Happen to possess a skill or talent? You can brainstorm ways to turn it into a fruitful side hustle! With that said, you don’t need any pre-existing skills, either—most of the people we’ve featured in this article aren’t pros, yet they’ve taken their projects far simply through interest and perseverance.

Of course, a side hustle isn’t the only way to brighten up your student life, but it sure is extremely meaningful and rewarding for those who want to invest themselves in it. To all side hustlers and aspiring side hustlers out there, we support your efforts!