by Ashley Zarcone
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK-Entering Marist College in 2018, Katie Anderson needed to find a way to make money as well as pay off her tuition. Anderson, at a loss of ideas, took it upon herself to find a new way to make money — learning what it means to have her own business.
Katie Anderson, a junior at Marist College, has been making YouTube videos for thousands to enjoy all while earning some extra cash.
“I’ve been watching YouTube since elementary school and I always wanted to make videos of my own. I really started putting effort into consistently making videos when I realized I could make money for doing something I loved to do on my free time,” Anderson said
Anderson’s YouTube channel, Katie Marielle, is a mixture of daily vlogs, music suggestions, and beauty videos — targeting her audience with real, funny, and useful content.
“Certain videos I make are “for others,” such as my college-related videos that are uploaded as a resource for people. But overall, what I make is because I find it interesting and fun… and so do others,” Anderson said.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anderson’s YouTube channel became her main source of income for her extra spending money.
“The pandemic is the perfect time for a YouTube channel to thrive. My views have gone up a lot during the pandemic since everyone has plenty of time to stay home and watch videos,” said Anderson.
Anderson’s passion for YouTube became a contributor to her future endeavors and career path, as she is currently pursuing a career in social media marketing and specialization.
“There are so many opportunities to be creative nowadays that I think everyone can find a creative outlet that not only helps them earn money, but also inspires them to do and learn more. Even though nothing is guaranteed, it is a learning opportunity for sure…it makes you understand different areas of business and work,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s YouTube not only benefits her but her subscribers as well.
“The greatest impact I have comes with my college-related videos that help so many other people. Those videos have become a resource for so many prospective students to learn about what to expect from college. I provide real insight into student life and answer any questions my viewers may have — so it’s crazy that this can be considered a job just for helping others by answering a few simple questions,” Anderson said.
When thinking of most businesses, customers are encouraged to purchase a physical product — whether that be a new device, a piece of clothing, or even an essential item — to support the owner. Following Anderson’s lead, Bee Webb, a junior at SUNY Brockport, established her business around her love for producing unique, original artwork.
Webb, opened her own art business at the age of 17, selling custom prints and designs on Redbubble. Since her first sale almost a week after uploading her first design, Webb has distributed her art to many over the years.
“I never intended to have so many people purchase my art — I mean, I’m no Picasso, but to have someone I don’t even know purchase a piece of me — that blows my mind,” Webb says.
Webb, although having a part-time job elsewhere, finds that selling her art is a boost of confidence as well as an emotional outlet within her busy everyday life.
“It’s pretty inspiring. I always wanted to do something with art when I was younger but never was motivated enough to do it — so to have a place to share and produce my art is really important for me,” Webb says.
Webb has found that having a business during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed her to make money as well as learn many valuable lessons.
“I would highly recommend anyone to try to start their own business just because there’re so many options to share your talents with others. It could be tutoring, music lessons, making an actual product, whatever — it’s a great hobby to have. Plus, you get to think about what others are going through during this hard time — I personally have been using the extra cash that I’ve made from my art to donate to multiple different foundations and donation centers — It makes me feel like I’m making a difference,” Webb said.
Creating a business of her own has opened Webb’s eyes to the importance of small businesses during this time of COVID-19.
“So many small business owners are working extra hard during this pandemic to produce a product or provide their services to others, and we don’t think about that very often. As a consumer, we don’t think much about how the product ends up in our hands…and often we underestimate the work that goes into that process — so having a business myself, it makes me much more appreciative of what I have and the small businesses that I support,” Webb said.
For students like Anderson and Webb, maintaining a job, schoolwork, and an increasing tuition, can be no less than overwhelming, especially during a global pandemic. Whether it is watching a ten-minute video or getting a custom print in the mail, there’s one thing these student entrepreneurs have in common — determination.