The last thing most students think of doing while studying at university is setting up their very own business – but that is exactly what Will Wells has done.
The 21-year-old International Business student set up Founders Media Limited – a company that runs social media accounts for small businesses – just over a year ago, alongside his studies.
Will, who is now in his fourth and final year of his course at Nottingham Trent University, says the idea for his business came to him while working for a start-up firm called Childhood, in Malta, as part of his placement year.
“I wanted to work in a start-up environment, which is exactly what it was,” he said. “It was an incubator at the University of Malta and my title was marketing intern and I basically did a variety of things from social media, blogging, researching and SEO.”
Whilst out in Malta, Will found that his boss – who ran the start-up on his own – did his social media work late at night as he didn’t have time in the day.
“This made me realised there must be several businesses in the same situation,” he said.
After Malta, the young entrepreneur, who is originally from the Peak District, continued his placement year at The Hive – Nottingham Trent University’s purpose-built centre for entrepreneurship and enterprise – where he saw the opportunity to set up his own business.
Speaking about his initial steps, Will said: “I first spoke with one of the business advisers at The Hive. One part of his job was to advise people who have business ideas on what to do.
“After that, I did some market research to validate the idea and see if there was a market demand for it. And also to think about how exactly I would go about building the business and what kind of services would I provide.”
After a successful trial, Will is now managing social media accounts for numerous small businesses and start-up companies. In fact, he has clients from all around the world.
As a result, he has brought on his friend Yaron to work on the business side of his firm, has a social media account manager, Alina, and is currently recruiting for a second account manager.
So what’s next?
“We have recently started hosting events teaching entrepreneurs how they can run their social media efficiently,” he said. “So far we have hosted two successful events in Amsterdam and London and are looking to hold the next one in Berlin in June.”
With his business up and running in full swing, the question remains, how does he juggle his studies alongside his work?
The answer is simple: “being disciplined”.
“I structure my day so it includes work and uni. I get up early and ensure I work a full day. I also have somewhere to run my business from at the moment, which is The Hive, and this helps.”
When Will graduates this summer, he intends to run Founders Media full time and take his business from strength to strength.