As a college student, it can be hard to keep a steady flow of money in the bank. That part-time job at Target or that cool bar in Montrose is hardly keeping you afloat financially. Plus, working at a retail job you’re not passionate about with uncaring bosses and supervisors, can really drag you down. But in the age of the internet, millennials don’t need to rely on one avenue of income. Many major retailers, like American Apparel, have moved their operation entirely online.
The University of Houston is overflowing with an array of talent in our student body; artists, musicians and photographers. Like a flowing river, each semester has a steady ebb of artistically inclined creators coming in and exiting our place of higher learning. But while these creators are learning, it isn’t uncommon to face various points in the semester where you’ll run out of cash. There is some truth in the stereotypical image of a college student eating ramen in their dorm. However, with the internet, there are ways to use social media and your creativity to turn your creations and talent into dollars, and maybe even a lucrative business. Here are three fun ways to use your gift to make money online, which can help you become self-employed or lead the way to other job opportunities.
1. Sell your handmade items on e-commerce websites
There’s been a huge boom in peer-to-peer online shopping in the last few years, and many artisans have taken to e-commerce websites like Etsy and Storenvy to sell their wares. From handmade makeup and paintings, to jewelry and clothing, sites like Etsy have given exposure to talented creators who were otherwise invisible pre-digital age. What’s great about these two platforms is that unlike most e-commerce websites, Etsy and Storenvy take the lowest percentage of profit, allowing you to keep the majority of the profits of your sale. The trick to owning a successful Etsy or Storenvy store is to have great pictures. There is no need to get an expensive camera, as you can have professional looking photos using a point-and-shoot camera or your cellphone. Take pictures of your art or handmade products outside in a shaded area against a plain white or solid color backdrop. To get potential customers to find you, add hashtags that describe your product in the title of your listing and its description.
2. Get photography clients from social media
Houston has an abundance of cool locations for photography, and with these cool locations, an array of aspiring photographers have cropped up around the city. Many of those aspiring photographers are currently at the University of Houston learning about and improving their craft. While they learn and improve, they can take advantage of their current knowledge of photography and make some extra money on the side by shooting children, family and graduation photos; the latter is especially lucrative and easy to seek out due to being on a college campus. To gain potential clients, advertise your work on social media like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Post your work, and ask family members to reblog your images to gain more notoriety for your work. Use hashtags like #houstonphotographer and try to get your work featured on local Houston accounts like @houstonvisuals on Instagram. Potential clients will find your work through these avenues, and all you’ll need to do from that point forward is to set your prices. Be careful not to lowball yourself.
3. Sell your clothes on Depop
Everyone has an array of clothes sitting in their closet that are no longer worn and currently not your style. Instead of donating to the Goodwill or throwing them away in the trash, download the app Depop on your Apple or Android devices. Depop is a great e-commerce app to sell your used clothes and accessories to national and international users looking for a great deal. The trick to getting noticed on Depop is using natural light to present your clothes, modeling your clothes, and adding hashtags to your items with appropriate descriptions. Another crucial tip is to find out and contact Depop’s admins so they can feature your item on the explore page for a wider audience.