How to cash in on your hobbies while at university

By University of Birmingham graduate, Michael Tefula. His first book, How to Get a First, is due to be released later this month.

When I was at university I had three major interests outside of academia: (1) music production, (2) the internet and (3) writing.

With a bit of luck and persistence, I managed to make money in all three areas and only ever worked part-time for one out of my three years of study.

In this post, I will share with you some of the key ideas that helped me earn extra cash on the side while having fun and making my CV more interesting.

1. Cultivate your skill

First things first: You need to be pretty good at whatever passion you may have. You don’t have to be the best, but just a bit better than average.

For example, I started making beats and music when I was 13 years old. By the time I got to university, I was reasonably good at it (good enough to win a few remix competitions and polished enough to have a placement on a major record release).

If you hope to cash out on your talent as a magician, writer, comedian or dancer, only attempt to do so if you are at least good enough to impress your friends with your talent. If you are not, you’d better get practicing!

2. Showcase your work

Now that you have the skill, it’s time to flaunt it. The best channel to do this, I have found, is the internet. Set up a blog, Twitter, Facebook fan page, YouTube…anything to showcase what you can do.

For my music, I used YouTube. As the views racked up into the hundreds of thousands, I started getting emails from people who wanted to pay me to create beats for them.

So, if you have a knack for story-telling, or are a bit of an actor, how about creating short films for YouTube that can showcase what you can do?

If you are then lucky enough to bump into someone who could help you get work, you could easily share with them your talents. And this brings me to my last point.

3. Connect with industry people

Let’s say you are passionate about PR and would love to do some work for big brands in your spare time. Now, do you have any phone numbers or email addresses of PR managers at such brands?

If not, get searching immediately.

Connecting with industry people is one of the quickest ways of finding work (provided you can impress them with your skills and portfolio of work).

How can you get their interest? Ask the company if they offer work experience placements or internships where you can both develop your own skills and prove your value by impressing the company with fresh ideas.

So there you have it. Three simple but highly effective tips to get you on your way.

The more creative you are in these three areas the higher the chances of making money from your hobbies. And to top it all off, once you do some proper work, you can put it on your CV!

You can follow Michael on Twitter here or visit his website.