Full-time Student and Business Owner: The Balance
They say things may come to those who wait, but only the things left over by those who hustle. Whether I was applying for a spot in a Computer Science summer program at UC Berkeley, managing a $30,000 nonprofit project, or competing in a national pitch competition, I’ve always kept myself busy. Through each and every experience, I’ve been able to take away something special from the people I’ve met and the knowledge I’ve gained. I fell in love with technology at a young age. When I was six years old, my dad helped me build my first desktop computer from scratch. I was so fascinated by it, that the more I explored the software on my computer, the less I played with my Barbie dolls. My mom placed me in several summer and weekend engineering programs throughout middle and high school, and from there I began to learn computer languages. In high school, I taught myself HTML during the whole Myspace era where users could customize their profiles with the language. Soon after, I quickly learned how to build websites. My experiences throughout the years led me to take on side projects for friends and family, which gave me the motivation to start my business, Miano, today.
The services offered by Miano are website design, branding, and marketing. We’re all about leveraging technology to provide customers with modern, responsive websites to showcase their business/organization. From E-commerce to portfolios, we love creating a variety of different websites. New projects make us happy because not only do we get the pleasure of helping make a customer’s dream a reality, but we also gain another opportunity to unleash our passions for design, and contribute to the success of their brand. The brand is a company’s first conversation with a user. Style, design, and consistency are vital to a business’s success. We love helping customers make that great first and lasting impression. We create digital products designed for marketing campaigns across various social media platforms and we also help business’s visibility on the web as well as assisting with competitor website analysis. These are all the elements of my business that I am extremely passionate about. I truly enjoy having an impact on others.
Sometimes I am so engrossed in a client’s project, that I forget I am also a student. This is where the balance comes in. Google Calendar is my life. I use it to organize my weekly activities, and try to schedule in time where I can get a break. I’ve been told that when I went to college I would have to pick two of the 3 – Sleep, School, or Social Life. Add running a business to the mix, and it seems nearly impossible to maintain even two of those options. With good time management skills, I’ve (mostly) been able to manage all three. I try to schedule in a good 8 hours of sleep, and make it a goal to get my school work done early in the week. This gives me a little time to go out to an occasional football game or catch a movie with friends on the weekends. Sometimes that leaves me having to eat meals while studying or take client calls in between classes, but that’s not always a bad thing. It’s pretty cool to step out of a business class and get right to my own business.
My future goal for Miano would be to expand and possibly open an office. Although, I also have interest in gaining experience in the corporate world in order to contribute to society on a larger scale. I want to learn even more about how businesses are able to maintain success.
I’ve noticed that it is also beneficial to take time alone to yourself as well. All the introverts out there understand where I am coming from. Taking time to find yourself really gives you a peace of mind. As an entrepreneur, you do feel lonely at times because the start-up usually begins with one person - you! That is where having relationships with like-minded women that I have met at the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program makes it easier to navigate running my new business. I can connect and call on them for advice and guidance. The young women that I met have been extremely motivating and I find so much pleasure in watching us grow on this entrepreneurial journey. Having a mentor through the program has also helped me and has opened doors for even more opportunities.
I am learning so much about myself every day and I am embracing every second of my growth. There is so much in life to love! And I love that YOU are taking the time to learn about my experience as a student entrepreneur. Thanks for reading!
Naomi Thomas currently attends The University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she majors in Business Management and minors in Computer Science. Outside of class, she owns Miano Websites. Her company specializes in new business website design and redesign. She enjoys transforming the online presence of businesses nationwide.
Business website: www.mianowebsites.com
Personal website: www.naomimthomas.com