ONLYNE: how two Corvinus students created something of their own during the pandemic
Today the Corvinus International Blog would like to introduce you to two of our brightest international students from the Corvinus major Communication and Media Science BA. During the pandemic, Arystan and Céline came up with an ambitious idea to create something of their own, which can help tons of young people follow their dreams and get employed in the social media management field. Dive into our fascinating interview with them and find out more about their newly-created platform ONLYNE.
First things first, can you tell us a bit more about yourselves? How did you end up at Corvinus and how did your partnership start?
(Arystan) Hello, my name is Arystan, I’m 21 years old and I'm the co-founder of ONLYNE. I am from Kazakhstan, studying Communication and Media BA here at Corvinus. When I just graduated from my high school, I didn’t really understand what I wanted to do in my life, so I spent almost 3 years trying to find it out. I decided that I want to study somewhere in Europe where I would feel free and more comfortable. I spent these years preparing, learning English at a local university while also attending some Economics courses. I can really say that this period was the most miserable time of my life, I felt like I was unable to succeed.
In the end, I applied to Corvinus and this was the best choice for me since I had already visited Budapest a few times and I fell in love with the city. When I finally started studying here, I met people with common interests and beliefs, and could really study something I am interested in. It was such a relief for me, honestly. During my studies, I joined Budapest Blend (a great student organization you HAVE to check out!) as part of the Promotions Department. I helped my fellow members manage the organization’s social media and edit photos and videos. When I returned from my Erasmus exchange I was elected to be the head of my department and I could really use my knowledge from university courses in real life. My main goal was to make Blend’s internet profiles visually clear and beautiful while also paying attention to content making. I believe that ONLYNE can make a difference for young people who would like to work in this sphere and that I can share my own experience in design and Social Media Management.
(Céline) The second half of our cozy little team is me, Céline. Arystan and I met during our first semester here at Corvinus, and we’ve been friends ever since. I come from Baku, Azerbaijan, and I’m 19 years old. I always thought that I would end up helping people but did not know how to execute that vision. The reason I ended up a Communication and Media major is my love for social networks and the onlyne (get it?) world. During quarantine I had enough time to spend on my hobby, and I realized how much you can accomplish in the sphere. I began learning new skills and getting more practice, which turned out in my collaboration with a blogger with more than 100k subscribers.
A month or so later, an aha moment, followed by a quick meet-up with Arystan, grew into ONLYNE.
So, what is actually ONLYNE? Where did the idea come from and what is your concept?
(Céline) ONLYNE, which originally was supposed to be called SkyRocket, is a Social Media Management School and Agency. Basically, we plan to launch social media-related courses and help our clients find gigs afterwards.
Our main inspiration was the idea that we could create a healthy environment of like-minded people, with no judgement, hierarchy and ego involved. Unlike many influencers we follow, our job is to make the knowledge accessible to everyone.
That sounds absolutely amazing. What is the essential goal of ONLYNE?
(Arystan) Our main goal is to help people find a new creative outlet, widen their career options and help them get employed. This is our cornerstone idea in a nutshell. Based on our personal experiences it is sometimes quite difficult to find the right information. Even though we have all of the knowledge of the world, Social Media is changing so fast that it is almost impossible to keep track of it. The other problem is that some influencers and other Social Media gurus sell their courses for hundreds of dollars making it hard for young people to start working in SMM. We want to make it easier for people like us. Initially, we are starting ONLYNE as a Russian-speaking project; Céline and I are both native speakers. However, we plan to make it in English too.
That is quite of an ambitious plan. How further would you like this platform to go? Do you see it as a try-out project or more of a mission?
(Céline) We treat ONLYNE as our love child, so hopefully it will be a long-term project. For the first couple months we plan on targeting a Russian-speaking audience, with a later implementation of courses and a platform in English. The reason we have to separate the two is the big gap between them. But who said it will be easy?
I’m not promising a decade-long commitment, but you’ll definitely hear more about ONLYNE in the near future.
We hope so! After all, we are proud to have students with great ideas who’ve decided to achieve their goals early on. However, every journey can get a bit rocky. What might be the greatest challenge in front of ONLYNE in the upcoming one year?
(Arystan) Of course, it’s not going to be easy in the beginning. I suppose that there are several things we need to consider. The first and the most boring one is finances. As we are 2 co-founders we decided to equally invest in ONLYNE. That includes future website maintenance, targeted ads, etc. I couldn’t say that we have deep pockets of cash but we definitely foresee the opportunities and of course future incomes. The main challenge for us is going to be promoting ONLYNE as we are still a work-in-progress business. It is essential to work on Google/Instagram targeting, buying ads from influencers and getting publicity. We intend to work in two directions: as education-providers and mediators between customers and Social Media Managers. So we have to ensure that all sides are satisfied with the services provided while also making good quality content for our own educational outlet.
And how do you guys think Corvinus University helped you go on this path?
(Arystan) I would say that our studies imply that we are getting accustomed to Social Media and Marketing. However, my first two years were mainly about theory of Communication and some more general courses. Of course, there were some courses that stood out and here I would like to thank one of our professors Mr. Rétvári Márton. He is such an inspirational figure for both of us. Our classes were always interesting and most importantly he gave us the opportunity to use our knowledge in practice, like creating websites and get experience in Google Ads. Mr. Rétvári gave us some useful pieces of advice and he is always ready to help us with anything.
What would you like to say to anyone who isn’t as brave as you are and is indecisive about starting something this big?
(Céline) All in all, it is important to mention that the obstacles we’ve already faced were countless - and the project didn’t even kick off yet! But persistence is always rewarded.
On another note, if you’ve been wanting to start a project or a start-up - this is your sign! Go for it! Why avoid the entrepreneurial path in 2020?
Many cold-brews and scooter rides later, the ONLYNE team wishes you the best of luck and patience with any of your future endeavours. And if you ever doubt yourself for a second, remember how two best friends decided to take a risk, and, perhaps, follow their steps.