Building your own side project: Top tips on developing a student side hustle

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Going to university should be the best years of your life: exploring a new city, making new friends, and studying something you’re passionate about.

But, in reality, university stress can catch up with you quickly. So, it is essential that you have other hobbies and interests to help manage that stress.

This blog will explore the importance of setting up your own passion project, the different stages of starting a side hustle, and the professional and personal benefits that come with it.

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Is university stressful?

University can often feel like a huge weight on your shoulders – you are studying a course that will potentially shape your future and, along the way, you will come across modules that you may find hard to enjoy or understand.

However, the opportunities at university are endless, and exist beyond your course. Finding an extra hobby or side hustle can help you relax, stimulate your creativity, and move your mind away from university stress.

Going to university can expand your interests and passions, creating a good mix of hobbies that you may even be able to incorporate into your studies.

This will help manage stress and lead to a much more positive mindset, and can help overcome any creative blocks you face during your course studies.

So, yes: university can be stressful. However, exploring new avenues and opportunities can help to open your mind, which can relieve university stress and offer you fresh perspectives on how to manage your time.

Why set up your own side project?

Starting a side venture takes a lot of self-motivation, but there are many reasons why it’s worth it:

  • The main purpose of a side project is to create an outlet via which you can express a personal passion.

    You may have real a passion for something, but feel limited in the ways you can express it within the confines of the generic university structure.

    Pursuing your passion as a side project coinciding with your university studies will allow you to channel your energy in a productive way, creating that right balance between the thing you love and your studies.

  • As a graduate and future potential employee, you need to be able to stand out from other candidates.

    A personal project can be the best option for this, as it shows an employer that you have a serious passion for a certain field, and can demonstrate the type of creative or informative pieces you can come up with.

    You can make inroads within the industry through social engagements, and you can develop your own personal professionalism.

    It is a chance to improve your confidence, encouraging you to promote your personal brand and express yourself on a professional level.

    In short, a side hustle can provide an alternative way to show an employer what you’re capable of, and what you could potentially bring to their company.

  • Connecting with brands and industry experts can seem like a daunting prospect for any university student, however, running a side project is a great opportunity to connect and network with an array of people.

    This is clearly advantageous for employability and career progress, as it can help develop contacts you may later return to. But it is also a great way to develop yourself personally.

    It’s another opportunity to meet like-minded, approachable people, and another way to help yourself escape from the university stress or any university anxiety you may be battling!


How do you go about starting a side hustle?

You might be wondering: what kind of side project could I actually create? Or, how do I even go about starting one?


  • Choosing your business idea:

To know how to start a side project, you firstly need to identify what the venture will consist of.

If you are interested in textiles and fashion, for example, an online shop on eBay or Depop would be a great way to explore this avenue.

If you are a lover of language, a great idea could be to provide certified translation services.

This way, not only would you help others with translation, but you would also have an alternative channel to deal with words and their meanings.

If you’re more verbally inclined, then a podcast or YouTube account could be a great opportunity to express your opinions and potentially chat to people you never would have expected to speak to before.

Side projects do not have to be entirely online ventures – side hustles can take various forms. Fashion embroidery and a mobile haircut business are two great examples of hands-on side businesses you can pursue.

If you end up with a lot on, you might want to use a Kanban board to track your progress or jump between ideas.

No matter what your passion is, there is always a platform, activity, or avenue for you to pursue.


  • What platform(s) should you use to market your side project?

There are now so many tools that make it easier than ever to start building branding, marketing, and social media content around your project – and the best part about it is that it is often free!

Producing marketing content is one of most enjoyable aspects of managing your own side project. It is a chance to develop or flaunt your creative side, and to easily stand out in front of all the other accounts out there.

It is free to set yourself up with a branded website via tools such as WordPress, as well as social media accounts on platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

With such a huge database of possible connections and prospective customers, it is particularly important that you boost your business’ social media presence, as online exposure can work as both a form of free advertising and network building.

Social media monitoring is beneficial for your website. By posting to the right social network at just the right time, you can increase traffic and get more eyes on what it’s all about.

However, it is important to remember that creating a following will likely not be instantaneous. The foremost reason for pursuing a venture like this is to give yourself the space to alleviate university stress.

What are the advantages of running a side project?

1. Professional benefits:

There are a plethora of long and short term benefits that can come from committing yourself to a personal passion project.

You can find a global community of people with the same interests, which will help grow both your career and your sense of self.

The knowledge, creativity, and counsel of others can play a huge role in inspiring and motivating yourself. And it can also be instrumental in the rapid growth of your personal business.

Although it seems initially unlikely, brand engagement can develop quickly through the network of individuals that you develop.

Tagging different brands into your post can immediately boost your engagement and your network, and you can soon find yourself involved in early releases or campaigns.

Getting into contact with brands and influencers off your own back is seriously impressive, and will help you to stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate jobs.

But, you’ll also be more equipped to interview and settle in to a professional environment.

You can quickly develop social and professional skills, and find yourself in a much better position to deal with the stress of university life.


2. Personal benefits:

As university stress does tend to build up, a new side project can help manage this by giving your mind different outlets to focus on.

It offers ample opportunity to create healthy relationships with a whole variety of people, which may be a particularly welcome respite for anyone who is struggling socially at university.

You can expect a much better balance between your social life and university life.

It’s vital to afford yourself plenty of free time around your studies, and you must also make sure your side hustle doesn’t hinder opportunities to truly relax.

But, if you are a driven and dedicated individual with a passion you’re truly determined to pursue, there is so much to gain from filling some of your free time with a side project.

Ultimately, it can be a path to a much clearer and healthy mind.

Affording yourself opportunities to look outward – beyond both your studies and your immediate surroundings – can be invaluable in readjusting your general mood.

Mental health can be improved by building healthy patterns in your daily routine, as well as by naturally nurturing your own self-worth.

A well-structured personal project deals with both of these, setting yourself up with the tools to explore your strengths, become self-assured in your talents, and ultimately see your confidence grow in the process.

Ultimately, a side project is a great way to remind yourself that university is not the centre of your world. It is a process, and one that will progress differently for different people.

Having the motivation in the morning to get up and approach both your university work and your hobbies with passion and vigour is precisely the sort of mindset that a successful side project is aiming to cultivate.


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