What you can do to overcome your financial problem

By Nuraini Jane

Money broke is a major setback for university students and can strain your courage to go through your studies. Student loan or scholarship might not be enough for the whole four months of the semester. After paying the university and Mahallah fees, students mostly go for the daily basic shopping such as snacks, 3 in 1 drinks, laundry detergent and personal healthcare stuff.

Some students go for new clothes, accessories and ‘food hunting’ before busy weeks start. Then they need to think of notes and books for their courses. Some buy new books and some print them but still it is not cheap.

At the end of the first month, students typically don’t have anymore money to spend. As a student, I don’t blame them.

So, how do you overcome your problem other than asking extra money from your parents? By doing business could be the answer.

So you have an idea?

However, how do you know if it is good enough to turn to business? A strong business idea doesn’t have to be unique, big and profitable. Most people who are successful started with an initial idea by just wanting to offer services that solve specific problems. The money will follow if they provide good solution.

Make a business plan on the services you can provide and how to solve the problems of your customers.

Get to know your audience

It is easy to get obsessed over what your service does but it is pointless if nobody wants this amazing service you are offering. Therefore, make sure you involve yourself with the most important people, that is your customers. And your customers of course will mostly be among students.

Learning what they need is very vital. It is good to do some research to get the input. You must identify their problem that you will help solve through your business. It is important to know your audience’s needs to give you a clear direction to steer your business.

How to grow money #studenthack

There’s work you can do to earn money while being a student. Knowing where your strengths lie and what your customers want. Here’s how!

  1. Your destination, please?

For those who have a car, you can rent out your car. “I manage to pay the car loan and still have extra money for the month by renting out my car,” said Husin, 24. This final year student majoring in Electrical Engineering rent out his car for the whole day on weekend to get more profits.

If you are not willing to rent out the car, you can work as a transporter. Just like in the movie. You send people to their destination. “I much prefer to use the transporter rather than taxi service because it is much cheaper,” said Asmidah, 23, who lives in Sabah and always use the transport service to send her to KLIA.

  1. Print and photocopy service

Finishing assignments at late night is a very common situation for students. Kiosk and cyber café operate normally until 11 p.m. Here’s the service you can provide. If you have a printer in your room, it is a good opportunity for you to do business. Asma, who lives at Mahallah Asiah has been doing printing services since she’s first year in IIUM. She said that to provide this service by having more profits, buy a printer that uses the outside ink in the bottle and not the one that uses cartridge as it is more expensive.

This student has generated quite a good income per month by doing printing services. “Good networking and be nice to people are the key to success in this business as it is easier for people to knock your door and use your service,” Asma’s advice to the student who wants to start a business like her.

  1. Would you like to borrow mine?

Some students may not afford to buy certain stuff like DSLR. However, they have to use it for certain assignments or maybe for events and programmes. If you have one, you can rent it to students.

Some students need clothes to attend certain event and some also need to rent your laptop to do their assignments. Just do some simple survey on student’s needs and you might be surprise to find out what they need.

  1.  Personal shopper

Most of the students don’t have much time to go out to buy their needs. You can help them by completing various tasks given, with payment of course. “I always ask this brother to buy me stuff at Giant as I can avoid paying the taxi fees. It is very convenient for me because I also don’t have much time to go out. Sometimes I also ask him to buy me KFC at Ong Tai Kim,” said Lily, 24, as she shared her experience with the personal shopper.

One of the students who provides this service is Hakim. This ICT student said he also buys bus tickets for students who want to go back to their hometown. Bus ticket to east coast are usually sold out if you buy it at the very last minute especially on weekend and festive seasons.

  1. Food! Food! Food!

Students usually feel hungry in the middle of the night because they stay up to do their work. You can cook for them. Oh.. in a legal way of course. For example, you can steam a bunch of sausage or make a hot dog and sell them from room to room.

You can also sell mineral water in your mahallah with low investment but receive double profit. This is a good idea because many students complain about the cleanliness and safety of drinking water from water cooler.

  1. Maid of the day

This one sounds funny but it can give you extra money for your daily use. Tidy up their clothes for RM4 per basket, for example, may look unprofitable. What if ten baskets per day? By using only your energy, you can do business. There’s also a service for cleaning up fans in the room that charge RM2 per fan.

Ask the students what kind of services that they need and you can settle it for them. Be a maid for the students is not something to be shameful because it can help you increase your income.

  1. Sell your knowledge

If you don’t mind sharing your notes with other students, it’s a great way to generate a little extra cash. Izzat Zaid, a Dean’s list student in IIUM, sells her notes for Human Sciences subjects that she took with RM15 each. Her notes now are very popular among the students as it is more interesting and easy to understand especially for a difficult subject such as Introduction to Psychology.

If you are talented in creating website, or even in Adobe Photoshop, you can provide such service for those who are in need. It is very lucky for you if you have skills and can sell it out to make money.

Business lessons

Branding is important. Establish a name for your service or product so that people will recognise yours and differentiate it from the others. Stay focus on your target. It is normal in business to have an upside down situation. Prepare for the worst and do not ever give up. Believe in what you are doing and develop passion into it.

Always listen to your customers because their criticism can generate new ideas for your business. Promoting your business is a good strategy to increase your profits. Being active online is a great way to network and meet potential people who might open doors for you.

I don’t have anything to offer

If that is so, there’s still an opportunity for you to expand your ringgit. You can do a part-time job even though you are a full time student. I work as a promoter for P1 4G at Taman Melati and they pay me RM10 per hour. I work for only 4 hours from 6 p.m until 10p.m. “After that I can do assignments and study for the exam,” says Anis, Psychology-major student. She earns more or less RM1500 per month as she works extra hours during the weekend.

Many companies usually will go for students to promote their product as they are much more vibrant and capable of attracting the customers. You can also work at the kiosk in mahallah or café if you have transportation problem. Part-time job provides a pretty steady flow of income and enable you to gain valuable work experience.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing to get extra money as long as it is legal and not affecting your schedule as a student.***

Photo taken from Stella Maris

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