The secrets to being a student entrepreneur

Gone are the days of endless money hunting, as more Lasallians are considering the art of money making through businesses of their own.

Some students have actually thought of starting their own business – be it a simple tutoring gig or an online retail shop – the ideas are infinite. Though one question remains: What does it take to actually start one?

We interview two up-and-coming student entrepreneurs, namely chemistry major Marvin Marqueta and marketing major Jaymie Co, to understand better what it really means to become a student entrepreneur.

Turning passion into action

Both business ventures were inspired by the idea of pursuing their interests.

For Marvin, his pastry shop, The Chemist’s Bakeshop, was inspired by his passion for trying new things and challenging himself more as a baker. His first accomplishment was when he baked some cupcakes for his significant other. For him, nothing could beat the thrill of being recognized for your craft and perfecting something you loved. “I really love doing my cakes because I love the art and attention to detail that are needed to do them,” he says.  Currently, Marvin offers more “classic” treats like chocolate truffles, cinnamon rolls, and yema cakes, in addition to his cupcakes and fondant cakes.

Jaymie, on the other hand, lets her eye for design inspire her to create her online shop, Etc. She says she just loved the way her imagination ran wild while looking at her collection of old photos and different art works. It was this sense of wonder that led her to starting up her own online shop, centered on making her customer’s designs a reality. She says, “For every design my customer chooses, it actually tells [me] something about them, which I find amazing.”

Marvin and Jaymie fostered their passions and turned them into something greater than just a mere hobby.

Balancing both worlds

As a student entrepreneur, it seems inevitable that you’ll encounter some difficulties of your own, at least with regard to your academics and business. Therefore, balancing both can be a great achievement on your part, though it will definitely not be easy. Marvin had to learn this lesson the hard way.

Within the first year of operations, he recalls the frustration he experienced after failing some subjects in school because he got carried away with pursuing his business. Being a scholar himself, he feels great dissatisfaction in being unable to maintain his grades. Wholeheartedly, he says that if he were given a chance to change the past, he would’ve prioritized his studies more. “Though having a business is exciting because it is a new thing, you should always remember that your studies come first, and should also be the first [in your priorities],” he further explains. However, for Marvin, this business venture isn’t just a hobby; it’s an aid for his studies. Most of his profit is spent on his tuition; and because of it, he is able to continue his studies in the university.

So, you might ask, how can these two priorities be balanced?

According to Jaymie, the key to achieving this balance is to have a great amount of discipline and self-control. She says that it is all about “weighing what’s more important and doing that first.” Moreover, she mentions that it also helps to set a specific time for business and school. It is through these ways that Jaymie was able to keep her business afloat, especially with the stress of having her thesis term.

On getting approval

Convincing your parents that your business venture is a good idea is tricky for almost any student entrepreneur. For Marvin, it wasn’t an easy task convincing his parents to support his idea. He said that at first, his mother did not believe his cakes would sell, though after seeing his fondant cake creations, his mother was convinced otherwise. Now, Marvin says she is the one who buys the ingredients for his upcoming orders.

For Jaymie, though, it was a different reaction. Her parents were supportive of it from the beginning, so long as it was for good purpose.

Truly, this is a great feat most young entrepreneurs have to conquer; and it is one that can either motivate you to excel in your business or lower your morale in ever succeeding.

Tokens of experience

Through all of this, both Marvin and Jaymie share some of the lessons they’ve learned through their experiences for other future student entrepreneurs to learn from and possibly apply in their next business ventures.

First, time management is vital. Both Jaymie and Marvin agree on the importance of this when managing both one’s business and school work. A good amount of time must be allotted for both and setting up these priorities is important. Sure, this may be difficult, but in the end, both of them say it’s worth it.

Second, no business starts out easy and failure is inescapable. Marvin shares how he’s fallen many times during the course of his business operations; but despite that, he’s learned to become a better baker and businessman. He says that “…it doesn’t matter how many or how big your mistakes are. Its how you get up and recover.”  So don’t give up easily when your idea doesn’t take off as quickly as you’d like it to. Remember that good things take time.

Third, your goal must be to make your customer happy. For Jaymie, nothing could beat the satisfaction of making your customer smile when they receive their product. Also, it allows you to work better knowing that you have to satisfy your customer.

Last and most important of all, love your craft. You should love what you’re doing and make that the driving force of your whole business. In turn, you will end up more fulfilled than you’ve ever imagined. Who knows? You could end up being the next big entrepreneur of our generation.


Francesca Militar

By Francesca Militar

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