Rattlers ‘hustle’ for a living

With all the expenses of college such as tuition, rent and utilities, many students find that they need to work side jobs just to make ends meet. Students at FAMU have found ways to use their talents in order to create their own business opportunities. Or in other words, they have found themselves a “hustle.”

“‘Hustling’ helps me pay my rent, utilities,” said Avery Brewton, 20, a political science student from Jacksonville.

Brewton braids and twists hair as a side job while enrolled as a full-time student.”Eventually, I want to have my own [beauty] shop, so this is giving me the experience I need to just understand business in general,” she said.

This self-proclaimed “hair culturist” said, on average, she makes $100 to $200 per week.Meanwhile, other students use the skills they are developing in the classroom to make extra money on the side.

“Just because you are a college student does not mean you should be getting paid minimum wage,” said Melba Carpenter, a senior graphic design student from Wilmington, N.C.

In her spare time, Carpenter uses her graphic design skills to make brochures, invitations and Web sites for students, family and friends. She said she enjoys the freedom that comes with being an independent graphic design consultant, and the extra money helps to pay for groceries and to keep a full tank of gas in her car.

A college startLike Brewton and Carpenter, students are starting businesses and careers that they can continue even after they graduate.

Alumni Joe Womack, president and co-founder of Rchitect Group, LLC and business partner Maurice Steward, began a free online entertainment newsletter, Digitialguest.com, during their senior year. The Rchitect Group, LLC owns and publishes Digitalguestlist.com.

Womack said the idea of an entertainment Web site came after an internship in Detroit at Visteon, a global automotive supplier and manufacturing company. He said he wanted to improve the idea of the online newsletter and apply it to the Tallahassee market. Since its establishment in July 2002, Digitalguestlist newsletter reaches markets in

Tallahassee, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.With a staff of about 50 students and alumni, the Rchitect Group, LLC includes the Digitalguestlist Titanium Card, a discount card, and Digitalguestlist online event ticketing on its list of services.

“Starting a business in college is better, because you have access to professors who have experience in business. It’s like free consulting,” Womack said. Some students may look down upon braiding hair, washing cars and selling candy, but like rapper Jay-Z said, you “can’t knock a good hustle.”