Roadie highlight: How to combine studies, work and a business — and still have fun

Columbia Road
5 min readAug 16, 2022

I’ve always liked to keep myself busy. Maybe you’re the same: I’m interested in a wide range of things and I always have a project (or two, or three!) on the go. Combine that with needing to work to pay the bills and it’s a wonder there’s any time for sleep! I don’t want to drop anything, so I need to find ways to fit it all in, from work to studies to my own small businesses. Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way.

There’s a lot out there to be interested in

I’m quite an impulsive person and I tend to hyper-fixate so it’s not uncommon for me to find something I’m interested in and then spend the next two weeks watching every video I can find on the topic. This means I’ve had quite a lot of different hobbies and interests in my life, but I do tend to focus and commit to each one.

I graduated last year with a bachelor’s in computer science, then decided to switch to industrial engineering and management for my master’s. Following my interests like this has always worked out for me and I think it helps to have a wide base of related knowledge and skills to draw on whatever I’m doing. I’ve just finished my first year of the master’s and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’d advise everyone to follow their interests — if you’re going to be busy, it’s best if you enjoy what you’re doing!

Busy as a bee. Photo: Oskar Sandås.

There are always jobs to do

I’ve done a wide variety of jobs with my company, including photography, web development and all sorts of handyman work. Photo: Oskar Sandås.

I’ve always lived in Helsinki but I went to a German high school, which is what led to me setting up my own company in 2016, doing small freelance gigs. A family friend needed help with his webshop and I used my German language skills to help with translations. It made sense for me to start a company for invoicing purposes, and it’s grown from there — my parents are architects and I’ve done various random projects for them; I’ve also put my photography skills to good use. I’ve done everything from web development, bookkeeping and invoicing to handyman stuff like assembling three kitchens’ worth of cabinets for my family friend’s new veterinary clinic!

People know that I’m keen to help and able to take on a wide range of things, so I get some pretty diverse jobs, which certainly keeps things interesting. Two months ago I also founded another company with friends from the university and Columbia Road, doing small-scale consulting and writing simple websites for people in our networks. If you’re open to a wide range of opportunities and experiences there are a lot out there to find.

Multitasking doesn’t work

I don’t really have a set approach to juggling all the things I’m involved with, but I can say that for me at least, multitasking doesn’t work. I’m quite organised but other than having separate days for work and studies I don’t have a strict schedule. I just make sure I’m focused on what I need to do that day — working for eight hours straight is far more effective than two hours here and there. Then my evenings are spent working on my new company or all the countless hobbies I’ve taken on.

Finding time to relax — while still taking photos. Photo: Oskar Sandås.

It’s important to prioritise when needed

Columbia Road recently opened also in Tampere and to celebrate, we spent two days with the Roadie flower bike spreading joy with our team. Photo: Suvi Uotila.

However organised you are, life isn’t always predictable so it pays to be flexible. If something comes up, you need to be able to prioritise what’s most important based on criticality. For example, if I need to write an essay that I’ll fail my course without then I’ll do that first, or perhaps there’s an essential bug fix needed to stop a website from crashing. Aside from that I’ll prioritise based on my plans for the day, and I don’t let studies interfere with work time or vice versa.

It’s also important not to take on too much and to realise when you need time to relax too — I’m not sure I’m always the best at prioritising this though! I do try to be quite strict about keeping the weekends free of work and studying, unless it’s one of my freelance jobs that’s more like a hobby. It’s important to try and maintain a good balance in everything you do.

It helps to work in a supportive place

In my day job, I’m a developer at Columbia Road, or an Associate Consultant to give me my proper title. I mostly maintain webshops at the moment, but I’m also involved in projects in the Care team, generally basic maintenance and feature development. I’m part of an awesome team among a company of smart, talented people who are always friendly and welcoming — and we have lots of fun together.

Although there’s a great deal of diversity among Roadies there is a real cultural fit between us all — in our own small way we each contribute towards making a big impact and we’re all part of the special culture here. This atmosphere makes it a particularly supportive place to work — everyone is always happy to help. The company also supports us by making it easy to study or pursue other passions outside of work — part-time employees, like me, are asked on a yearly basis how much work we want to do and then offered projects based on our availability. This makes it much easier to keep learning new things so we’re ready to seize any brilliant opportunities that might come our way in the future!

Are you interested in a wide range of things too?

If my busy life sounds similar to yours, you’ll find a happy home of like-minded people at Columbia Road. We’re always looking for new Roadies to join the team — have a browse through our open positions and if you see something that interests you, please get in touch! 👉

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