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How entrepreneurial students are paying off their loans early

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With the average student debt set to rise to more than £50,000 in England, increasing numbers of undergraduates are turning to entrepreneurial ways to reduce their loans and bring in extra cash.

The lucky few, like business and marketing student Brandon Taylorian, have hit the big time.

Here, he writes for The National Student on how he got there... 


Like most school leavers, I acutely aware that the cost of achieving a university education would run into the tens of thousands of pounds. It didn’t stop me from accepting a place at the University of Central Lancashire, but the thought of owing so much money once I’d graduated gave me the impetus I needed to bring a childhood ambition to fruition.

I penned my first novel, ‘Jesse Millette and the Phantom’s Curse’, a fast-paced young adult mystery, when I was 15. Within a year I’d amassed a decent social media following, with almost 250,000 Twitter followers. And by the time I finished my A-Levels, my fanbase had grown to 1.4 million internationally. Not bad for a working-class lad from Preston.

But it wasn’t until I started university - and realised the true, shocking extent of debt I faced - that I looked at turning my love of the creative arts into a solid brand with revenue potential. By the end of freshers’ term, I was applying the lessons I’d learned in the lecture room to the boardroom.

In the space of the next 12 months, I went on to launch four separate companies, trademarked the Jesse Millette books, designed and built the Brandon Taylorian website and accompanying logo, and began writing a series of philosophical works. I’ve also been featured widely in the print, digital and social media.

Today, my primary business, the Jesse Millette Company, which manages the entirety of the Jesse Millette brand, is doing well. Sales of The Phantom’s Curse remain consistently high on Amazon, too.

The mechanics of launching a company are relatively simple. The hard bit is building a brand that will be remembered and which resonates with your target audiences. To do this, I’ve continually invested in new content, in marketing, and in social media. The Jesse Millette Pinterest page, for instance, has 263 boards and over 71,000 pins. It’s worth it because the page receives 360,000 monthly visitors but posting so much content is so small feat, as you might imagine. Over on the @JesseMillette Twitter page, meanwhile, I’ve posted 3,000 tweets in addition to those I post through my own page, @BrandonTaylorian.

It’s fair to say that my life is hectic, if not rewarding. In addition to my studies and running my various companies, I’m also the part-time marketing manager at Hoghton Tower, the 16th Century stately home in Lancashire.

But despite the pressures, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m already planning the next books in The Original Jesse Millette series, and hope to launch my own series of philosophical writings at some point soon. With luck, the hard work will not only pay off my student loan but will provide me with an income long after graduation.

Brandon’s Top 5 Tips to Launch a Money-Making Business at University

 

- Develop a company based on what you know and love, whatever that happens to be

- Carry out market research. You’d be amazed how many business owners fail to enquire if the product or service they’re selling is actually needed. Test the water before diving in

- Ask for help and call in favours. You’d be amazed how many of your friends will volunteer their time. In true entrepreneurial spirit, consider offering them a percentage share of the business. Or, failing that, bribe them with their favourite tipple

- Use social media to its fullest extent. Lesser-known sites like PopJam, Flipboard, and Dailymotion, amongst others, are fantastic platforms on which to tell people about your business

- Keep your feet on the ground. Unless you’re really lucky, the hard work you’ll put in now won’t earn you a penny for at least a couple of years.

 

The first book in The Original Jesse Millette Series, ‘Jesse Millette and The Phantom’s Curse (Precursory Edition)’, is available now on Amazon.

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