There are many students on campus who have found ways to take their passions and create revenue while still studying at NW. Three campus entrepreneurs, Cherish Shuka, Emily Linneweber and Matthew Shuka have started businesses in photography, makeup design and craftsmanship.
Each of them said that starting their business was based on a passion they have grown and developed to share with others. For Cherish, she started her journey in photography when she got to college and started taking photos for friends. However, she says, “I never wanted this photography thing to become a job or something that I relied on for money, so I decided to have all my funds go towards missions in Uganda (specifically trips and support for children).” She says her photography work is her creative outlet, and thus not work at all. She prioritizes a few hours a week to express her creativity through photography.
Similarly, Linneweber started doing makeup for her friends before special events and fell in love with how happy people were after she was finished with their makeup. She specializes in special effects makeup but enjoys her craft in any occasion. Even though she has a busy student schedule, Linneweber finds time to research, practice makeup on herself and design for theatre productions.
Matthew also started his business in craftsmanship from a passion to create. He says, “I began my business just by a love of creating, specifically woodworking. I began to find great enjoyment in the creativity I could have in designing, creating and building things.” Eventually friends and family saw and liked his work and began commissioning him to do replicas of past works or custom pieces. Although he does produce revenue, Matthew doesn’t see this as anything more than a hobby that he’ll schedule into his life when he has the time. It’s a fulfilling hobby, but not one he sees as becoming a job.
All three artists would love to continue their craft after graduation, and Linneweber would eventually like to use makeup as a ministry in helping transgender/genderqueer people feel more like their true selves. She also aspires to attend BBC’s Makeup Artistry Program to learn more about makeup in film.
When asked for advice for students pursuing similar creative businesses, Cherish says to “invest in yourself and seek help and advice from people you look up to. Practice. Practice. Practice.”
Linneweber says to use social media to your advantage by building a portfolio and sharing your work.
Finally,Matthew would advise students to work a little each day and not be afraid to put themselves out there. He warns, “There will always be people who are critical of your work, no matter what. Just continue to focus on perfecting your work. It can be helpful to consider constructive criticism, but don’t let it keep you from putting your work out there.”
Each of these artists contribute great work to their communities while following their passions and making a little money. They are proof that it’s possible to be a full-time student and have a side-hustle doing what you love.