Side Hustles for College Students

If you are an avid consumer of Tik Tok, Instagram, or any top social media channel, you are most likely no stranger to content creators, individuals committed to making a living off of influencing (did I hear Addison Rae?). From dancers to lifestyle influencers to career and financial coaches, these creators inhabit many different niches that educate and impact all generations.

Did you know that a career like this is open to anyone (including yourself)? Did you also know that there are fellow USC students who are “Tik Tok-” or “Instagram-famous” and have had success pursuing content creation as a side hustle?

Check out the stories of Kristin Shim ‘22 and Anna Fujii ‘22 who are both full-time students and part-time content creators. Whether you are interested in pursuing content creation as a side hustle or full time, dive into their insight on how you can get started!

Kristin Shim ‘22

What is your niche and/or the theme of your content?

“I wouldn’t say I have a particular “niche.” I love all things health, fitness, wellness, fashion, and lifestyle, and I try to capture all the moments I can get. “

What is your advice for students on partnerships?

“When it comes to partnerships, you must always negotiate and never take a “yes” for an answer from them the start. Challenge the brand you want to work with, show them why you’re worth the investment, and after you both align in an agreement, ensure that you do the best job you can. There are times you’ll have to go through rounds of edits before the final approval for your deliverables to be published on your accounts, so I recommend to go in with a very open mind and put yourself in the client’s shoes. Being a content creator can be challenging because you always want to “one up” yourself, but make sure you don’t say yes to every opportunity you receive and kindly decline when the offers don’t align with your values.”

Keep up with Kristin as she heads back to USC for the Fall:

Instagram: @kristinshim

YouTube: “hojoo” youtube.com/kristinshim

Tik Tok: @kristinshim

Twitter: @kristinshim_

 

Anna Fujii ‘22

How did you become a content creator?

“I began my social media career when I was cast on a famous YouTube series Teens React at 15. That launched me into the public eye. For the first few years, I didn’t have a clear vision for what I wanted to do with my following. It wasn’t until I started college and joined the student organization Reach in my freshman year that I started regularly taking deals on Instagram and honing my brand. Since then I have expanded into many different avenue. I do Instagram influencing, TikTok and Twitter content creation, and Twitch streaming

What is your niche and/or the theme of your content?

My posts are a combination of lifestyle posts and content surrounding my hobbies such as cooking and baking, nature, fashion, beauty, and crafting and my social media brand is authentically myself. And opening myself to social media has helped me open the door to acting, something I have been passionate about since I was young. I don’t define myself by any labels. My social media presence is ever-changing and growing like myself.

Any advice for students who want to start a social media career?

“My tip for those who want to begin content creation is to do your research. The markets are very saturated so you have to make an effort to stand out. The best way to grow organically is to set up a content calendar and post regularly. Make your username something universal cross platform. Make friends with other micro-influencers. Make time for schoolwork, sleep, social life, and DOWN TIME, but also know when it’s worth it to take the deal. 

And be ready to expose yourself and have thick skin! Create a clear vision for your brand and future and beware of burnout and be mindful. Negotiate EVERY deal because you are worth more than you think and there will be bargaining. Know that you are marketing for brands who have advertising budgets specifically for social media and leverage your insights as your worth. Fake it til you make it and be professional in emailing! You can also cold email attached with a media kit. Most of all have fun though, in the end it is entertainment. Good luck!”

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There are a variety of career paths beyond the acclaimed 9-5. We hope the stories of these students motivate you to think creatively on how to approach building your professional brand and career!

The USC Career Center is open – in person and online – and all of our services and resources are available to you, including advising, job and internship opportunities, programs, workshops, career fairs, and more. Contact us with any questions.