The term “the college experience” is often used, but what exactly does it mean? For senior Erica Murray, the college experience is simply four years of freedom while learning the necessary aspects of a future career.
Some students, like senior and previous Push the Envelope PR intern, Kara Hunt, consider the college experience an opportunity to gain real world exposure in their perspective field.
Some students, however, think outside the box.
If you type the word “college” into the search bar of urbandictionary.com, an online website in which users can submit their own definition of any word, you receive some clever results. Urbandictionary.com defines college as “an alternative to buying a Ferrari (they cost about the same).”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost for a four-year private institution, such as Monmouth, between the years 2009 and 2010 was $32,475. Keep in mind that number is per year. When all is said and done, four years at a private institution costs well over $100,000.
During that four-year period, if you need to pay off loans after graduation, the smart and most obvious thing to do would be to save money. However, college students and the idea of saving money go together like water and oil. Most part-time jobs don’t pay enough to grocery shop, let alone allow you to have extra spending money to enjoy yourself. A high-paying profession doesn’t happen usually until after graduation, so really, what is a college student to do?
Instead of waiting to graduate to join a business or company that someone else started years before, students have begun starting their own businesses while still in college to benefit financially and experientially.
Jamey Flaccavento, senior, created her own small business to satisfy a high customer demand. “I took a popular trend and made it into my own small business,” said Flaccavento. “I was always good with doing hair, and when the feather trend came to Monmouth, I ordered a box of hair feathers, and my friends became my clients.” Flaccavento went on to explain that her hair feather business spread throughout the University and the surrounding towns.
According to Professor John Buzza, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, “Starting a business while in college, even with a group of friends, gives you a perspective of the business world that you may not learn in a classroom. It also gets you out into the business arena where you can network and learn the valuable skills of communication and leadership,” said Buzza.
Chris Spirito, senior, and founder and CEO of All Shore Entertainment has been DJing since the age of 13, but took his business to the next level when he began college. “I registered with the state as an official business, created a website, and invested in equipment to develop the company even further,” said Spirito.
“Having my own business has taught me to be more organized, maintain client relations, and develop confidence with my customers so that they know I will provide them with the best service every time,” said Spirito.
In addition, Spirito said that his business helped him get involved in the University’s WMCX radio station where he now DJ’s live every Friday night from 6 pm to 8 pm. His custom mixes won him the title of October’s “DJ of the Month.”
Allied Entertainment is one of the new buzzes on campus regarding night life. Allied, a clever acronym for “All In Every Day” is a company Keith McPhearson, University senior, started this September by recruiting a small group of young entertainers.
“What we do is set up events providing DJs/MCs, promoters, and bartenders if needed for any kind of event. We plan to expand and become a lot bigger over the next year. The majority of the members right now are University students,” said McPhearson. “I came up with the idea after working for a few different companies and seeing how things were done in the DJ entertainment business. I know how hard it is to get gigs in a bar or book private parties alone as an independent DJ.”
McPhearson went on to explain that he has dealt with many different companies that do not always treat their employees right. “I wanted to start my own thing, do it my way and do it right. I graduate in December and will have time to really take the next steps in furthering Allied Entertainment,” said McPhearson.
Flaccavento had business cards made with all of her contact information. “Selling yourself is everything,” said Flaccavento. “I give them out on campus, and leave them at places where I know girls will see them. Last semester I booked an entire day at Beach Bum Tanning Salon in Eatontown to do feather extensions because people were asking about them so often.” Flaccavento agrees that managing her own business has provided a wealth of insight into the professional world, highlighting the many benefits and challenges.
Starting your own business, of course, isn’t for everyone. “As a matter of fact, it’s only for a select few,” said Buzza. “That should not be a reason to at least explore the possibilities. Risk and reward are not for the faint of heart, but a prerequisite for any entrepreneur.”
Spirito agrees that time management is an essential factor for having your own business as a college student and can certainly be a challenge. “Keeping up with music genres can be overwhelming because everyone has different preferences,” said Spirito. Spirito manages tens of thousands of songs which he said alone takes up a significant amount of organization and dedication aside from school work.
Flaccavento, McPhearson, Spirito, and Buzza all agree that a solid business plan is most important part of creating your own company. “Gather as much information as you can about your business idea, and ask for help from faculty and industry professionals, said Buzza. “Starting out on the right foot is critical to your long-term success.”
Ruwix is the best place to learn about the Worlds best selling puzzle toys. Check it out on this link.
PHOTO COURTESY of Chris Spirito