{:en}Gift ideas for PhD Students: Gain Consulting Authority{:}{:es}Ideas de regalo para estudiantes de doctorado: adquirir la autoridad de consultoría{:}{:de}Geschenkideen für Doktoranden: Erwerb der Beratungsstelle{:}{:fr}Idées cadeaux pour les doctorants: acquérir l’autorité de consultance{:}{:ru}Подарочные предложения для аспирантов: получение консультационного органа{:}

Hello dear colleagues,

Today I’m going to inspire some of how to start gaining authority as a consultant. Despite the hardship of the first year in most doctoral studies, there are plenty of gift ideas for PhD students to start a career or journey to business owning. Whichever PhD you’re studying now, you do need a brighter employment opportunity, don’t you? Journey with me in this post, who knows …you may get some inspirations.

What do you like most?

Of course, it’s not only a matter of what you love most but it is also what you’re comfortable with doing. I would also add that being comfortable and like doing something is not enough. It is prettier if you have minimum expertise in that. When I twang the cord of “expertise”, some of you may get me wrong. But PhD studies are not going to add much knowledge on what you already know.

A master’s degree is a degree of specialty: you’re able to do something. In many countries, only those wanting a career in the academia further studies to PhD level. You’re already an expert at some extent then!

Association: Many hands, diversified expertise

You do have friends for sure, don’t you? “Yep, I do,” that’s your answer.

Associating with good friends—people you know—is great to start something, “entrepreneurial.” It’s better to see some buddies with different expertise and then fix a jaw for an opening of something like consultancy house, a market survey board, an independent (educational) certifying board, (independent) product quality assurance company, a data house, project/program/policy evaluation/analysis, etc.

Road map texts and associates’ oath

After having come out with a tangible idea or conceptualized a company, you know its name.

Now try write its vision, mission and objectives professionally.

Next, you need to have clear road map of how you, as associates, are going to work together, who will be what and how long, how is the pay for the first year as your company is still at its embryonic stage, brief set clearly your company internal rules and regulations and take the texts to a notary public for authentication and review.

Company registration and legal texts fees

I am sorry to tell you this but it’s true: you need money even before you start to make any penny from your new company. In some countries, if in most, there is a company registration fee or other tiers tax book opening that one pays before operating any business.

That said, it means you have to pay for registration and company opening services. Where do you get the money? Either from your stipend/monthly allowance if you’re on a scholarship that pays restaurants and accommodation bills or you ask for some money from a relative, friend, etc. Since each of the new associates need to have some money for this same end, put the money together and open a company.

Office location: strategic but demanding

Some people may choose to locate the office of their embryo company in city centers. But as starting point, I would advise not to take that too far. Just consider your budget. In the city centers it’s pretty fine as you get a good view by potential customers. But at embryonic stage, many associates PhD students, do not have big budget to rent an office in the centers.

An alternative is simple: your family house or any other family owned business headquarters (or even a room in apartment) may be your office location. This might be pretty cheap or even free, but exposure of your services to the public view you is limited. To fix this bug, find yourselves a good and visible placard to attract views from far passersby. The use of social media may be more convenient.

Business plan 

Write your business plan together as associates. Set time deadline and let each one you come out with short-term activities or goals to achieve in their area of expertise. Come together (physically or virtually on a social media platform) on the D day you’ve set and prioritize your top ideas.

Marketing strategies

Set marketing strategies and they should include modern and traditional ones.

  • Help: this strategy has worked for me and I remember struggling to convince my friends to implement it. You cannot operate well without a notorious company experience. The lower hanging fruits for you (which might be dirty, hahahaha… I’m kidding) are free services that are exchanged with written testimonies or credentials.

Sit together and single out schools, organizations, charities, etc that may struggle to pay top consulting services and suggest help. Brainstorm together as associates, list all the small businesses, public or private organizations that are likely to strike  a deal or sign MoUs/partnership pacts with YOU.

For example, we used to set partnerships with local organizations when my associates and I started operating a data, market surveys and program/project evaluation service. Partnership pacts stipulated that at those embryonic level of such organizations, we charge nothing for services like business plan, project proposals writing for funds requests from international organizations, etc. In exchange, I remember harvesting up to ten credentials in few months.

  • Advertising services: after singling out schools, organizations, charities, etc that may struggle to pay top consulting services my associates and I would visit those organization headquarters, shoot pictures of the sessions (for later online media posts), and offer them brochures about our services. We used our titles as teaching assistants in public universities and personally I was still a master’s holder!
  • New product gift ideas: Brainstorm about product, business boosting ideas and disclose or offer them to companies singled out. This is a gear up of your move, I guarantee you. Exchange these with written credentials and certifications of honor.
Sample Brainstorming Session
  • Lobbying Government/state departments to organize something: Now that you have gathered more credentials, made a sort of company résumé, it is time that brainstormed ideas which may interest local governments or ministerial departments.

Request audience and meet officials that are competent enough. Suggest to them a youth, women, elderly, etc empowerment program and show the free services and involvement your organization is going to offer. This will hit top, high, believe me I saw it! Ask for credentials and shoot pictures as many as possible of all the events you participated in.

  • Website or blog: A website would be like an online office for you. The company’s vision, mission, and goals, and the leadership of your organization is displayed to public.

Share tips related to your expertise (you can poke down into your master’s classes contents for inspiration), put there your organization accomplishments and credentials, and company registration information.

Publish your free services and painstakingly do tasks whenever someone asks for a service listed as “free.” Just remember to invite free service receivers to rate your free offer, which will push to save your credibility and value while doing free service.

  • Social media: Facebook page or Facebook, twitter, Wechat, etc accounts will be great too. Publish on these media your free services, pictures shot from sessions of lobbying and marketing in local organizations, and especially a link of your website.

For your information, a website can kill two birds with one stone for you. If you reach out a considerable traffic, you may think of monetizing your traffic and start selling your services like courses, computer software program tutorials and training, and advertise related products, which is termed “affiliate marketing,” to earn commissions.

Remember, YOU will not be selling anything, people will only be directed to the seller’s stores!


This post is all about my gift ideas to PhD students, especially how you can start gain consulting authority even before you finish your PhD studies. Associating yourself with other close friends, especially with those who have different expertise, can be more powerful than operating as one individual.

Let your company start as a help hand volunteering and offering free services to the needy organizations. By getting credentials and testimonies from your free services, you will be gaining and building authority/value for your company.Money will follow your company value and credibility. You can achieve this authority before finishing your PhD studies.

Can you imagine graduating while you’re a CEO of a company you co-founded? You will be a living success: other people will follow your model of doing their PhD studies and entrepreneurial activities. That was my “Gift ideas for YOU fellow PhD Students.

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