Waitering, working the cash register, selling food and drinks, and stacking goods are just some of the most common student jobs that have, unfortunately, suffered a massive blow in the past year.
Due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many jobs are at risk, and students who are one of the most affected groups on the labor market are rarely mentioned. Working while studying is always challenging. For some students, such work is the only source of income, while for many of them, student work provides additional pocket money.
‘We sent countless job applications, but without answers’
When the amount of work of many businesses reduced, especially in tourism and hospitality, students were the first to be hit by the dismissal. Thus, according to data from the Student Center in Zagreb, there were almost half as many employed students from March to September 2020 as in the previous 2019. Students hoped for a better situation in the fall and during the Christmas fairs last year, but due to cafe and restaurants’ re-closure in early December, they were again left without earnings.
The situation is not better in Split either. Aware and disappointed with the whole situation, Split students Mario Veljača and Toni Šegović decided to start their own van transport business after many unanswered job applications. Since they could not find a student job, they created it. The lack of employment opportunities was a big blow to them because they financed themselves during all the years of their studies, and they also loved their work routine while studying.
Mario Veljača / Private archive
“As one tries to save on everything in these times of crisis, including the workforce, it is almost impossible to find a job. As students graduating, we have a lot of free time, and we could work full time. We sent countless job applications, but without success, more precisely, without answers,” says Mario, a business economics and management student at the Faculty of Economics in Split.
He and his friend Toni, a graduate student of nautical studies at the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Split, fear that they will end up on the job market after graduating this year.
Despite their extensive work experience in the tourism sector, they could not find a job. As time went on, the savings dried up, and state aid for students was lacking. Mario and Toni did not want to sit at home and wait for the situation to pass but took matters into their own hands to not have to depend on their parents, who were also not bypassed by the crisis.
The key is in social media marketing
With almost no start-up capital, they were thinking about possible options, so they came up with the idea of van transport. Their only mitigating circumstance was that, due to a lack of his own business, Mario’s girlfriend’s father could lend them a van to use.
“We offered him cooperation where we would run all the business and slightly repurpose the original activity of his company. As his company was registered for the transport of goods and passengers, the idea could come to life. He agreed and gave us the green light. We agreed on all the conditions, withdraw the student contracts, and we were ready to start the business,” says Mario.
Van transport seems to be a good market niche for two Split students / Source: Pexels
The young duo from Split have been friends for over 15 years and have always planned to start a joint business. They have had some plans before, but they were disrupted by an unpredictable situation that shocked the whole world.
For furniture moving and transport services with their van, they are available in Split-Dalmatia County every day, at any time.
With a well-designed promotional campaign on social networks, they managed to reach their first clients very quickly. As they say, there is always a need for relocation and removal services for old furniture and similar bulky waste, so they have found their place on the market.
Low prices and high effort
“Our work is much more than just taking out and bringing in furniture and driving a van. We spend an entire 8-hour workday devising ideas, creating ads and planning. As we create graphics, pictures, hand out flyers, or do all the marketing, time really flies by,” says Mario.
During their average workday, they don’t go home until they do everything they can. They want to leave a good impression, be as fast, efficient, and careful as possible, but also more affordable because offering lower prices for their services makes them acceptable. They’re aware that many people are currently in a difficult financial situation, so they started their business by offering lower prices for their services.
Their services are available in the Split-Dalmatia County / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić
This has proved successful for them so far. They earn enough for their needs and hope to be successful enough overtime to hire other students struggling with similar difficulties in finding jobs.
“After the physical work is done, we continue coordinating business for the next period, giving ideas and suggestions for new campaigns and designing a concept based on the mistakes we make,” says Mario.
‘You have to create opportunities for yourself’
On social networks, where they advertised from the very beginning, they received many supportive messages for their initiative. Their biggest reward, they say, is when clients promise to call them again and recommend them to a friend, neighbor, or godfather. And they are happy when they are greeted by kind and hospitable hosts and treated with some local delicacies.
Slowly but surely, they notice a positive business trend. People call them from Zagreb and even from abroad. Their next step is long-distance transport, outside Split-Dalmatia County, and in the future, they would like to try to organize transport outside the borders of Croatia.
“People are glad to see that young people are active and recognize that we fight to make it easier for our family, instead of sitting on a sofa and waiting for a job to fall from the sky. You can’t cross your arms and expect opportunities. You have to create it yourself. Citizens appreciate that we are especially friendly to retirees for whom we have reduced transportation prices. We hope that you will hear more about us in the future if we succeed in other projects that we planned before the whole mess with the coronavirus,” says Mario.
These two friends are a great example of how, with knowledge, resourcefulness, dedication, and hard work, it is possible to take control of your misfortunes and earn a few kunas in this unpredictable time.