By the SMU Social Media Team
Why wait till graduation to start on your career path? And who says a legit business needs to follow the stuffy, corporate mould?
Channel your inner entrepreneur with cool gigs that can all be started right in your very own bedroom. Better yet, these gig economy start-ups are flexible enough to leave you with time to ace your modules if you’re a student or even take up a new part-time postgraduate programme.
1. Social media marketing
Already hyperactive on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook? Put skills like writing witty captions, shooting instaworthy photos, and creating snappy viral videos, to lucrative use. First, arm yourself with tools and apps of the trade (Photoshop, Premier, Lightroom, DSLR camera, etc.), trend reports, and studies on social media marketing. Also, subscribe to industry newsletters, join related LinkedIn groups, and follow relevant blogs to advance your knowledge in marketing, monitoring and crafting a digital campaign for future clients.
Next, market a friend’s new start-up pro bono to build your portfolio, and learn essential skills on the job like strategic content curation, writing copy for social advertisements, or handling negative feedback online. Or approach small businesses to help market their brands on social media for a token fee to build experience, before launching your own social media marketing biz. Don’t forget to form real relationships with friends and uni mates who are social media whizzes and influencers in their own right to collaborate on future digital seeding campaigns!
While you’re at it, think about signing up for relevant professional courses that you can apply in your business. SMU offers a host of such as Social Media Analytics for Business Intelligence and Data Visualisation for Business Intelligence. Better yet, take on that can be ‘stacked up’ towards a graduate certificate or master’s degree. SMU Academy is the first in Singapore to offer such modules, so don’t miss out!
2. Web design firm
Have a great eye for branding, a knack for programming, and plenty of patience? Enrol yourself in an online programme to pick up some essential skills on designing a website or even online store! Better, yet, if you’re a current SMU student, enrol in at SMU’s School of Information Systems (SIS) to learn how to create a value-driven, aesthetically on-point website (and nope, it’s not only for SMU SIS students!).
You can start building your own brand by creating a snazzy website promoting your services and portfolio of work. Then, advertise what you do on freelance portals like and to gain clients fast.
Crafty sorts – of the DIY variety – can tap on their mad skills to create unique, hand-made products. Apart from getting your creative juices flowing, building your own cottage industry can also earn you some decent cash. Whether it’s designing and creating your own feather-trimmed jewellery or friendship bands, or making your own T-shirts, you’re only limited by your imagination.
, for example, retails startup kits for those who’ve dreamed of making their own line of phone cases. You can then design gorgeous gadget accessories from scratch or customise branded cases for companies as unique corporate gifts.
4. Stock photographer
Maximise that DSLR that you got for Christmas. Apart from shooting #OOTDs, take some amazing photographs and sell them online! With the popularity of blogs and online stores, the demand for stock photography has grown. And stock photo libraries like , , , and can hook you up with tons of customers online. Be sure to research thoroughly on the royalty rates that you can earn, which differ vastly across these stock photo sites. And remember to get your model releases signed if your shots require it.
Also, bear in mind the kinds of photos that sell well. Those artsy, soft-focused shots of pretty clouds or grass patches might garner lots of likes on your Instagram, but a good stock photo should have a distinct subject. Smart keywords and descriptions can also increase the probability of your photo coming up during a search.
5. Presentation design consultancy
Does the name Hrithie Menon ring a bell? It should because even the during the 2016 US Presidential Elections.
So, if you’re a whiz at Powerpoint, don’t let that skill go to waste. Help clients around the world design a presentation that increases sales, credibility and communicates their brand ethos.
Think of it as telling a story through visuals. Begin by designing your own themes (not the run-of-the-mill ones that come with a presentation software) or invest in a few paid themes that have been designed by a professional. Next, build a library of free or budget-friendly stock photos that can complement the slides. Based on this foundation of visuals, begin tailoring presentations for friends or start-ups to gain experience. Remember, it’s not a one-size-fits-all attitude that will draw the customers. Instead, customise your slides to the objectives of your client for success!