After seeing the success of Groupon, I decided that bringing this business model to the student market would be an excellent idea. But with little to no budget to promote such a website I had to find a way to advertise cheaply. I decided that I would produce a newspaper that had discount vouchers in for places around Nottingham, giving myself the front page premium advert space.
I managed to sell enough voucher spaces to fill four pages. I had 10,000 copies printed and distributed to students - and I even managed to make a small profit. This was when I realised that companies targeting students were much more trusting of traditional forms of marketing. After some research into student publications I decided to start a new company by myself that produced a monthly publication to target Nottingham students at both universities and colleges.
This was when I approached Nottingham Trent University's centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise, The Hive. I put my idea forward to a business mentor who was very supportive of my idea and had already started coming up with ways I could improve on existing publications. By this time I was coming to my third year industrial placement on my business marketing management degree. Instead of opting for a work placement at a national organisation I decided to work on my own business instead. With proper mentoring and funding from The Hive I was able to turn my idea into a reality.
Now, after almost two years of trading, we have managed to achieve a circulation of 30,000 across both universities in the city. Our large circulation, in comparison to other student publications, allows us to see some excellent results for our advertisers. We now have a team of 31 journalists and marketing students including two part-time editors and a marketing manager. We've recently moved into a new office, at The Hive, and are surrounded by like-minded people.
There are many reasons why I chose to take this path and many more why I am able to stay motivated and focused on my end goals. I have always been surrounded by entrepreneurial people including my father and family friends growing up. This gave me great support and a certain mind set at an early age. This support has been continued by Nottingham Trent University which I am very grateful for.
The most enjoyable bit about being an entrepreneur and working on the paper is being able to liaise closely with very respectable local and national companies. This allows me to think creatively and work on some amazing brands. Being an entrepreneur is very fulfilling and challenging for me. Being able to set myself goals on a daily basis is great and even better when I am able to achieve them. The feeling of knowing you have created something from nothing is something I enjoy.