Student side hustles


When creativity, new ideas, and a want to make money come together, an entrepreneur is born. A phenomenon that is happening in increasing numbers this year with students having access to opportunities that allows them to build a business. Universalizing social media sites like Instagram, Etsy, Depop and more allow students to show off and sell the works that they created, whether it be jewelry like rings and necklaces or screen-printed shirts. Students Bethany Mahurin, Ethan Issac and Riley Cassidy are some of the few students who wanted the freedom to be their own boss and took the initiative to start a businesses.

Bethany Mahurin (11) [email protected]

Junior Bethany Mahurin launched her bohemian-inspired boutique in July of 2020, then relaunching later in the year in December.

Mahurin’s inspiration started over quarantine, where she picked up the hobby of hand-making jewelry while stuck at home. This then bloomed into a love of creating unique wares, which she then decided would be cool to sell.

“I thought that other people would enjoy it as much as I did, and I wanted it to be bigger than just my family and close friends. And I’ve always been interested in being a business owner or entrepreneur, so I thought that this would be a cool start to that,” said Mahurin.

Starting a shop is a lot of work, and Mahurin began planning weeks in advance, gathering inventory and setting prices for everything. Mahurin had to make sure that she had enough jewelry in stock that she would have enough inventory for prospective customers. She also started advertising on social media in order to gain a following before her launch. This way people would know about her shop in advance and want to buy from it

Of course, this is a lot of time to spend on a business, and Mahurin also balances school and another job on top of it, which is a lot of work.

“It’s definitely been a lot, but I like kind of keeping a super tight schedule like ‘today I’ll work on my shop for this many hours and school for this many hours,’ and if I almost look at it like I’m doing shifts at a job, even though it’s at my own house, it helps me mentally kind of separate it, and separate the workload that I have. So I’ll work on it for maybe two hours a day and then I’ll work on homework or I’ll do homework and then work on my shop.”

The jewelry Mahurin makes was inspired by just beads and charms that she saw at Michael’s that she thought she could make into something unique.

“I feel like it’s an earthy-hippie vibe a little bit. A lot of peace signs and crystals and stuff… That’s the stuff I like to wear, and I guess that’s the style that I go for normally so I kind of wanted that to match the jewelry I’m making because the jewelry I make is stuff that I would wear and not just what other people would want.”

If you are interested in buying any of Mahurin’s wares, you can find her on both Etsy and Instagram at bethanysboutiqueshop, and for aspiring entrepreneurs she says:

“Go for it, if you are passionate about it, it’s definitely so important to be able to put your creative energy into something if it’s something you love. It’s just a really cool experience.”

Ethan Isaac (11) – @explore.941

Junior Ethan Issac just started his own screen printing shop called EXPLORE where he makes screen printed shirts that give off island surf vibes. His shop launched in November 2020 and Isaac stated that the money is going to fund his gap year that he wants to take in the future.

“I sell T-shirts. I chose this because it has been done many times before me and therefore there is plenty of people to look to for guidance. Also we live close to a major tourist attraction and I wanted to do everything I could to capitalize on that.”

In order to start shop, Isaac said that he needed a lot of preparation and organization. He has been reading business books with his father since he was young, so it is due to this that he had the inspiration for business and sound financial literacy to back it up.

Organization also comes into play, as it is hard to balance school work, sports and a start-up business.

“It is shockingly orderly. I’ve made a conservative effort to be more organized in every aspect of my life. It’s impossible to play a sport, manage school, and a business if you aren’t organized. I have a leather notebook that keeps me sane. Every night I write the next days to-do list and the next day I get it done. A lot of these Youtube gurus will claim to have a magic organizer but the reality is you have to do what works for your brain and stick with it.”

While he may have started his own business for the opportunity to be his own boss, Isaac feels that it is still important to be an employee once in life to learn essential life skills such as showing up to work on time and learning to follow directions. To build off this, he also thinks that if people are fast learners, that starting a business is “100% better” due to the freedom it provides.

As for where EXPLORE is going in the future, Isaac states it best himself:

“I want to knock on the door of every clothing store within 80 miles of AMI [Anna Maria Island] and eventually sell my brand to a bigger company to fund my next venture in life.”

If students want to learn more about EXPLORE or buy a t-shirt, they can visit the instagram at explore.941.

Issac suggests to students looking to start their own business that they, “Learn the difference between a liability and an asset and just start, don’t get caught up in research, make mistakes you will learn much better that way.”

Isaac also said if anyone reaches out to him about starting a business, he would be happy to help.

Riley Cassidy (11) – @shoprileysboutique

Junior Riley Cassidy launched her boutique shop in October 2020, selling wares that range from beachy seed bead necklaces to minimalist gold earrings and everything in between.

“It all started because I made this necklace over the summer and all my friends liked it so I decided I could make money off of this. So I started making more and I expanded, but I also didn’t really want to work a lot of hours in the summer so I just decided to start a small business,” said Cassidy.

Before launching her business, Cassidy said the main thing she did was research, looking at trends that she thought people would like, as well as the less fun stuff like the legalities of starting a small business.

While Cassidy’s main product is jewelry, she just recently started coming out with larger items like cups, tote bags and shirts to reach a larger audience.

“I recently expanded to things like bags, and I’m coming out with shirts soon, and I just thought, ‘it’s going well, so why don’t I expand to make more things to reach more people?'”

Cassidy describes her shop as having a boho-minimalistic vibe for young adults and teens, which she went with because it was cute and her style.

“I’m always changing up my style, so I feel like it ranges a little bit, but it’s primarily based on what I like, and my style and that’s what I like to put out there.”

Her shop took about two months to get fully set up, and most of that time, Cassidy said, was deciding whether or not to go through with the idea of starting a business. After this period, though, she threw caution to the wind and decided to just go for it and now, business is booming, with social media playing a huge role in getting Cassidy where she is today.

“It’s more successful than I thought it would be at this point, I thought it would take me a lot longer to get as far as I have but the power of social media has really helped me… It’s played a lot of parts just through sites like TikTok and Instagram they’ve really gotten my business out there, like I’ve reached almost all fifty states at this point and I’ve shipped internationally.”

Like other entrepreneurs, balance is key to running her business and keeping up with school, although Cassidy said she does do a lot of her business work at school, both working on an English assignment and then researching something off to the side.

“I always keep myself busy, and usually when I get home I’m just doing business work because I try to get all my school work done at school so then when I get home it’s fully focused on the business.”

In the future, Cassidy hopes to have a fully developed business with warehouse, office and employees while also keeping her small business vibe.

To other students who want to start their own business Cassidy suggests to go for it.

“Personally I was pretty intimidated at first since I didn’t know how people would react to a student stepping into this position of leadership, but I would say just do it because I’ve gotten so much support from people I didn’t even know prior to this. I would really just say to do it.”

If you want to check out Cassidy’s shop, you can visit her instagram, Etsy or basically any other social platform at shoprileysboutique.