Long gone are the days where having your own business or side hustle was just a distant pipe-dream. Social media is scaling every year, and from running your own Etsy store, through to opening up a little online bakery – we’re pretty blessed to live in a world where starting a business is easy.
But how do you actually make it successful, and actually turn it into a business you can do full time (or close to it?). Collabosaurus is a fab – you guessed it – collaboration brand, that links up businesses to collaborate on projects and have dual wins. And the Founder, Jess Rufus, had her little side hustle up and running when she was just 24 !! Goals, hunny.
So in a world where grad-jobs are super hard to come by, we sat dow with Jess and she gave us five helpful tips for all you sneaky entrepreneurs out there.
#1 Connect And Create
Jess Rufus: It’s so essential to actively put yourself out there and grow your network. LinkedIn is awesome and is currently one of the most effective platforms to be noticed on. It’s algorithms mean that your updates are seen by so many more people than other social media networks. Instagram is also an important platform to create good content on, particularly if you want to be in a creative industry.
While you’re studying, I cannot recommend internships enough. They are great for growing your network and skillset and put you in a great position to find a job when you graduate as you’ve already put in some of the hard yards and got some great experience on your resume.
#2 Run Small Side Projects
JR: Up-skill and grow your resume by working on side projects, while you’re figuring out what your passions are. I did marketing consulting and ran a small english tutoring business to help get Collabosaurus off the ground. I was able to explore partnerships more with consulting clients and tutoring was awesome for developing a great educational program – these are skill sets that still serve me today!
#3 Opportunities Are Everywhere
JR: Consume podcasts, media, online courses etc that are relevant, you’ll open yourself up to so many more opportunities. The most successful people I know, along with some of the proudest moments in my own career to date, have come from getting out there and creating opportunities. My B&T award, our Microsoft partnership, MAC or ASOS signing up to the platform – these weren’t things that just landed on my lap! All resulted from a series of efforts to put myself out there, hustle, network, build ideas and create opportunity.
#4 Don’t Compare To Others
JR: Your behind-the-scenes is naturally going to be different to another person’s/company’s highlight reel. At the very end of 2018, I nearly shut up shop for Collabosaurus after a failed funding round, returning from San Francisco totally broke, deflated, full of self-doubt and seriously low on customers. I’d given Collabosaurus three years of my life at that point, and continued to hit roadblocks that stopped us hitting success.
Want to know what our social media looked like while I had a small breakdown, spending two months agonising over a bruised ego and the probability that Collabosaurus’ doors would close? It looked amazing. It looked like we were growing at a rate beyond belief, that we had successfully launched in the US, that a successful capital raise was about to be announced – but, nope.
I’m so glad I pushed on through 2019 and clawed back customers, improved tech and hustled our own partnerships with $0 in the bank, it ended up being one of our best years in business. When I posted on social media at the beginning of 2020, reflecting on that 2018 almost-decision about closing the doors, everyone was shocked. It’s true that social media is a highlight reel, don’t get caught up in it!
#5 Do It YOUR Way
JR: I’m much more of a night owl than a morning person, so I don’t believe that ‘waking up at 5am’ every morning is the ‘secret weapon’ for successful people. Sure, it might be for some people, but you need to do things your way. The same goes for your studies! When I started Collabosaurus, the first few years was getting caught up in doing things because I thought that’s what I should be doing, not necessarily what was right for me and the business at the time.
Now, I know what hours in the day are my productive ones, where my time is best spent and how I work best with my team.