Students from the University of Reading have a wide variety of options and modules available to them. Many choose to take Henley modules to branch outside of their course and broaden their horizons. For one student, this led to the creation of her own business as a blogger and influencer.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Eltoria, who graduated from the University of Reading 3 years ago with a Law degree! But how did Henley play a role in Eltoria’s success…
Were you always passionate about becoming a blogger?
‘I worked part-time at Lush Cosmetics and found that I had a strong passion for beauty, and I was always interested in starting my own blog, so in the summer before my final year, I decided I would start a blog and run it through my final year, as well as selling handbags. One thing I found was that selling products in the beginning wasn’t viable as I didn’t have the influencer status, so it wasn’t until later that the platform would allow me to sell products.
‘It was when I took the entrepreneurship project as a module during my final year where the idea became much more serious. This really served as a vehicle for me to critique, learn and really explore how I could make this successful.’
Have you had to make any sacrifices?
‘One thing I sacrificed was the traditional path a law graduate would usually take. When I first graduated I found work experience at Siemens to further my training to become a solicitor and I got a job as a paralegal to help me reach this goal.
‘I found it challenging to manage my time, running my channels on top of a 40-hour week in the legal industry kept me so busy!
‘One top tip for anyone thinking about starting their own business is to take a sabbatical, so you can spend around 3-6 months off your employment to test the waters. In my case, I took 3 months off and then saw a huge growth in my online presence, this helped me make the decision to leave Siemens and become self-employed.’
What were your main motives/inspiration?
‘One of my biggest motivations was wanting to do something I enjoyed as I knew a long term career in law wasn’t for me. My passions for fashion and beauty were also a huge motivator.’
What did you do after university?
‘I carried on my blog by working evenings and weekends on top of my full-time employment, which left me with little time for anything else. I moved into another job at Siemens which I enjoyed, however I just couldn’t see myself working behind a desk for the rest of my life.’
Did the University help support your business plans?
‘The Programme Director at Henley Business School gave me a lot of support at the start of Eltoria. The Henley entrepreneurship project module was very flexible and this really helped me start my business idea as it encouraged blue sky thinking. The structure of the module also really aided my creativity.
‘My boyfriend Joe, a professional photographer and videographer, also supported me and helped improve the quality of my content. All the images and videos have been done professionally over the past year which has really helped.’
Do you have a piece of advice for current students?
‘One top tip I would suggest to everyone is to network! Some of the biggest clients I have made were through networking. Going to free events and getting out there is what it takes in the beginning. It can be slow, but you see the benefits later.’
When creating your content, you film everything from reaction videos to makeup videos, are these ideas led by your audience?
‘I think one of the main reasons I took Eltoria on full time was because I wanted to do something I enjoyed, so I would never create videos for the views. When I started, the first year was really about testing the water, seeing what sort of things I was good at, and what I enjoyed the most throughout the different seasons. So if you are setting up your own business, don’t ever lose sight of why you are doing it.’
Eltoria is a real example of how you can create your own direction, and your own career. Following your passions can lead to something special. The advice around how you can fit your own business in around your full-time job and ‘test the water’ before you go full time is definitely very useful.
Have you found Eltoria’s story inspiring?
When coming to Henley, don’t side-line your passions, why not choose modules that could help you to create your own business! If you are interested in what Eltoria is currently working on, check out Eltoria’s Beauty Blog.