Starting your own business as a student


A graphic from one of Smith’s podcast episodes. Smith balances life as both a SLU student and a podcaster on a daily basis.

Many students throughout their college career have to find a balance between working at a job and keeping up with schoolwork. Some students take work for themselves as a task when they start their own online business. 

Here at SLU, there are some students on campus who are running small businesses and hustles in order to make extra money on the side while also showing their creative side.

One of these small business owners is Mia Goad, a junior history major. She makes and sells rosaries with her online business. 

I started my business in October of 2017 after I joined a women’s rosary club through my church. I was inspired by the opportunity to create beautiful prayer beads that could help benefit my community,” Goad said. 

She typically sells her rosaries for around $15 to $25 a piece. The more complex the design or material, the higher the price will be. 

When she first started out, she remembered that it took a lot of time, energy and networking. Goad had to learn how to navigate the process of creating an online store and shipping to her customers.

Goad explained, “I taught myself to budget using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Google spreadsheets. With these two, I am able to accurately keep track of my supply costs, my monthly profits and shipping costs.” 

Another student, junior management major Isaiah Smith, runs his own podcast titled “The Zaya Show.” Smith started his podcast in December 2020 and currently has four seasons. He is in the top 30 for Personal Journals Charts on GoodPods. 

While Goad relies on Michaels or Hobby Lobby for her business supplies, Smith already had most of the equipment he needed at his fingertips. 

“Honestly, I used my phone for the first few seasons. Recently I upgraded to the Jtalk microphone and headset to use with my laptop,” Smith said when discussing his setup. 

Both Goad and Smith found a way to balance their lives as creators and students. Goad realized  she could multi-task by studying and making rosaries simultaneously. 

Goad said she finds it challenging to open a booth at a festival or farmers market because she has to make enough to sell to cover the price of the booth. 

Smith created a personal schedule that he sticks to make sure he gets his school work and entrepreneur work done. 

“I normally wake up at 5 a.m. to work on my entrepreneur projects. For the rest of the day I focus on school and finish as much as I can and at night I spend two hours editing videos, meeting with collaborations and even taking photos for social media,” Smith said. 

With advice to other students who think about pursuing entrepreneurship, Goad suggested making sure whatever you are creating is a passion you care about. 

“I love that I get to sell my creations to people near and far, and I love that people are willing to pay me for my ‘hobby.’ Make sure that you take your budgeting seriously, and realistically when you are first starting out. Keep your costs low, and while the goal is to sell your products, do not make them outrageously high,” Goad noted. 

Smith went on to say that if anyone is thinking about starting a podcast like him, to tell a story and to do research on podcasting host sites and build your ideal listener. If interested, Smith is holding interviews for students to create and launch a podcast under his podcast network “Z Productions.”

To find Goad’s rosaires, search rosaries by Mia on Etsy. Smith’s “The Zaya Show” is on all streaming platforms and his Instagram is @the_zaya_show.