While attending college, I attempted to start my own side project to make some extra income to pay for books, food, a little extra fun money, etc. It was more challenging than I thought to think of the right idea. It did not have to be a fancy or complicated business model, just something simple that could bring in consistent pocket change. I thought about the idea of selling merchandise to students and staff around campus. I was not sure exactly what I wanted to sell, but it needed to be something that does not require a lot of overhead and takes up little space when in storage. After asking around campus for about a week, I decided that selling ties was the way to go. It was a convenient item of merchandise to sell since it was easy to store in my apartment and I could carry some with me throughout the day for promotion.
The next step was to design different style ties, order the first batch of inventory online, and find my target audience when looking for customers. I created five tie designs to get my side project off the ground. Three ties were business themed and two ties were casual themed. I ordered a quantity of five for each of my original designs from the website I used to create my designs. I was pumped and ready to receive my first batch of ties so I could start making a profit. After they came in the mail, I hit the campus to scope out my first customers. The first few days I had no bites, just lots of students who were unsure if they would ever wear a tie. I was beginning to think that ties may not have been the best form of merchandise to sell. After I continued striking out with students on campus, I turned my attention solely to the staff on campus. The interest seemed much higher since I was targeting an older and more mature audience. After ten days of trying to sell one measly tie, I finally had my first sell with one of the undergraduate history professors. I wanted to climb on the professor’s desk and do a dance to celebrate. I was thrilled after finally convincing someone to buy one of my ties. Once I stopped imagining my dance, I came back down to Earth and realized that I still was not even close to earning a profit. I still had 24 ties in my inventory storage.
I decided to focus all my attention on staff members of the school as opposed to students when trying to sell the remainder of my first batch. One of my own professors even recommended that I expand on my audience and target staff members of other colleges and high schools in the area. My professor’s advice paid off as the increased audience did allow me to sell some more ties throughout the area. It was a challenge selling my first batch of ties to say the least. Starting a business is no easy endeavor, no matter how small the endeavor may seem.