Youth Month: How I paid my first year university fees running a small business from home

Alycia Naidoo at her printing business she runs from home. Picture: Supplied

Alycia Naidoo at her printing business she runs from home. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 9, 2023


Durban - An 18-year-old Durban girl didn’t imagine that her small business could empower her to pay her first-year tuition fees.

Alycia Naidoo, who lives in Phoenix, is a first-year law student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

While in her matric year, Naidoo said her parents bought her a Cricut machine, which inspired her to start her printing business called Lyon Designs.

“I started making mugs for families and t-shirts, and then, when I started receiving positive feedback, I decided I should start a business.”

Naidoo said her mother began promoting her business on her social media accounts, Tik Tok and Facebook, and the orders began pouring in.

“There are months when we are quiet, and there are other times business is booming.

“However, I was able to pay off my first-year university fees already, and that is a huge achievement for me.”

Naidoo said her business entails sublimation on cards, t-shirts, mugs, files and jewellery.

When asked how she managed to balance running a small business and first-year of studies, Naidoo said:

“My mother taught us the importance of time management from a young age.

“Now I balance my time between academics and doing my business, which is very much a hobby.”

She said her secret to running a successful business was having patience, providing quality, and communicating with customers in an efficient manner.

Naidoo plans on specialising in cybercrime law when she graduates.

“But having a small business to fall back on is so empowering.”

Her advice to the youth.

“Find something you love and start a business. You’ll be surprised how successful it can be.”