contributed by briae robillard

Briae Robillard

Contributing Writer

At the age of 21, I have a podcast on iTunes, I am the founder and president of a female empowerment nonprofit, I am running a mini self-brand social media empire, I am writing a book that will be available on three continents and — oh, I’m a full-time Keene State College student.

So, how did I get started in entrepreneurship? I discovered I needed to take action when I started writing my quarterly business plans during one of my physics lectures. I became bored during class, and I dreamt about my empire. My professors hated that about me. My ideas were filling up my brain, and I was afraid if I didn’t act, I might just explode.

I started tackling social media by mastering one platform at a time. I developed my target demographic, and then determined what platform would be the most useful. I provided value to my customers through consistent content. That content was as simple as a motivational quote, advice or even personal details about me! I made sure to convey a clear and concise message about what I stood for.

Once followers got to know and trust me, they turned into customers. I always provided value before asking for an action (following, buying, subscribing, etc.). I built my email list through freebies because I knew that I did not “own” my Instagram followers. Once I developed my brand, I started selling things I was passionate about.

If you are interested in starting a business while being a full-time student, there are a few things to know. There will be countless sacrifices. Work-life balance does not exist. There will always be work to do. This means late nights, early mornings and countless hours of solitude. I have had to get used to being different from my peers. The more I fell in love with my business, the more I fell out of love with being a student. It takes everything in me to go to class, but I also need to finish up my science degrees to please my parents. There is a weird feeling of being torn down the middle, and I know I may fail. More than 96% of businesses fail in the first ten years according to Inc. Magazine. It is a risky investment, but it is a worthwhile journey.

Remember to be self-aware, confident, have thick skin and be passionate about what you’re doing. You’ll be building your own self-brand empire in no time!