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Being a Girl Boss in University

I am many things: I am an employee, I am a student, I am a friend, a daughter, a sister, but I am also a “girl boss.” Not many people know this, but before starting out on a new career path, I graduated with a degree Visual Communications and Social Media. I owned my own graphic design and social media company for a few years, and I hve done contracted work with a few businesses around the city. I adore having my own business, especially in university.  I get to make my own hours, work with clients I choose and relate to, be creative as possible, and learn the tips of the trade. In owning your own business, you’re always learning to hustle, to be productive and to make the most out of small pockets of time. If you’re a girl boss in university, or you are thinking about getting another degree after your first one, but still want to use the skills your learned from your first degree, here is my advice on how to handle university while being a girl boss.

Have realistic expectations

You’re not going tobe able to commit 40 hrs a week to work while you’re in school. That’s insanity and unrealistic. You will have exams, assignments, projects, research etc… You will never get it all done while maintaining your sanity. Plus, you won’t have any time to focus on your clients. Dedicate a realistic number of hours to working on your side hustle. There should be a fair amount of time for both client-meetups, and the responsibilities of your degree. School should be your priority since you’re paying the money to be there, and you chose to dedicate your time to pursue another degree. Use your time efficiently, give yourself realistic expectations, and realise that not everything will go as planned (and that is okay!)

Time is money, and money is time

Get yourself an agenda. You are not only needing to remember all your appointments, school work, exams and deadlines, but also client deadlines. The worst thing you can do is to double-book yourself because you did not keep track of your deadlines. Missing deadlines and meetings would create a very unprofessional image of you as both a student and an entrepreneur. Know your schedule inisde and out, keep your planner on you and updated, and give yourself some wiggle room just in case something comes up. Using a digital calendar that you can access on your phone at all times is a great option to keep you on track!

Location, location, location

Use your location to your advantage. Your client wants to meet up with you to discuss new ideas or changes? – If you’re on the university campus, there has to be a coffee shop near by that you can meet at between classes. Keep meetings as efficient and concise as possible. This also goes the other way around, as you can use time and space after a meeting to study or work on a project.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

You don’t want to give your client sub-par work, but you can’t neglect your classes. If you have an exam, take some time off from your side-hustle and don’t try to cram clients in. Your school time is your school time, and exams are important. Your clients should be able to understand and accept that school has to be a priority for you, otherwise it may not be the best partnership for either of you. Don’t let school suffer for your business. You need to be firm with yourself, your schedule, and your clients. If clients want changes or have other ideas, let them know to contact you once your exams are done, and then give them your utmost attention. With all of that being said, don’t spring schedule changes on your clients at the last minute. Make your schedule, make reasonable deadlines, make your clients aware of your availaibility, and keep everyone in the loop.

Hustle, hustle, hustle

If you don’t have homework or exams, you need to be getting yourself out there and promoting yourself. Attend social networking events, go on Indeed and LinkedIn, look into volunteer work for the slow months, and find those people who need what you have to offer. People aren’t always going to find you, you need to be present in the field you’re working in, and you need to find them.

Have Fun!

You’re in charge, you’re the boss! Feel empowered. You’re hustling and gaining more skills and knowledge. You aren’t working that 9-5 job sitting in a cubicle. You’re out there networking and doing work for clients who need and want to work with you. You are picking up another qualifications and experiences along the way. Be a go-getter and enjoy the ride!

Being a girl boss in university can be stressful and it takes commitment and time. It’s empowering to pursue both of your passions and to make it all work. As long as there’s a healthy balance, and you set realistic goals and expectations, there’s no telling what you could do. 

Kate Puim

U Alberta '24

Visual Communications graduate turned psychology student. I'm a master at finding affordable beauty products and stylish outfits. I dig coffee, chocolate, bold lipstick and pandas. Mental health advocate and your new best friend.
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