The question of how to make a bit more money is bound to come up at some time during your studies, so let’s have a look at some creative ways to do this. Sure, you could get a job in a pub or burger bar, but read on to see how taking a trek off the beaten track littered by the limiting structures of traditional student drudgery can unlock a whole world of fascinating opportunities. The secret to being a successful student doesn’t always rely on how hard you work, but on how cunning you can be.
1– Can you monetise what you’re studying? Whatever your degree, It’s probably not too far-fetched to suggest that one reason you chose it is to utilise its potential to get you a legitimate career after graduation. So why not start making a bit of an income early? For example, I knew someone who was studying fine art who used to sit in the smoking area of the local pub drinking a coke, while he painted portraits of customers on beer mats. He would judge what price to charge customers by how rich they seemed, and in doing this built up a pretty impressive portfolio. So get thinking outside the box and building that micro-empire!
3– Do you like being motionless while staring into the middle distance and being paid for the pleasure? Then here’s the job for you! Did I mention you have to do this naked while a whole room full of people stares at you? If that doesn’t worry you then being a life drawing model is a really interesting source of extra money, paying generally £8-£12 an hour for 2 to 4 hour sessions. It doesn’t matter what you look like, and often people who look ‘interesting’ as opposed to traditionally beautiful get more jobs, and you’d benefit from practicing poses beforehand to see if you can hold them for half an hour. Although it’s not essential, a good place to start is signing up with the Register of Artists’ Models, which costs £35 a year, but is a good resource for finding jobs all over the UK and doubles up as a kind of art model union.
2– Mystery shopping is a bit like being an incognito shop spy. There are all sorts of roles you can undertake, such as secret shopper, theatre evaluations or even reviewing restaurants. This undercover mission requires you to keep yourself anonymous at all times or you risk not getting paid. You get paid for the mission and paid back for the money you spent in making the research a week later, so it makes sense to not go to the shop by taxi as this is the kind of thing that won’t be paid back. You have to write a fair and honest review of the shop, restaurant or theatre performance. Market Force seems to be the company who gets the best write-ups from those who have done these jobs.
4– Medical research opportunities are a great way to get involved with the pharmaceutical studies that will benefit future generations. Of course you’ll be well paid for both your time and travel, and hopefully meet some interesting people doing the same trial in the waiting room. Follow this link to open the UK Clinical Trials Gateway!
5– Here’s one for the creative types who can sing and/or play an instrument. If things haven’t changed since my day in most towns that there’s no specific bye-law in relation to the control of street busking, so long as the area you are playing in is publicly owned and you are un-amplified, there is no specific legislation in UK law governing busking. Under the Vagrancy Act, the Police have the power to arrest you if you’re creating a public nuisance, but how could your angelic voice ever be interpreted as a nuisance? Get a bit of practice in, team up with some like minded virtuosos and get yourself on that street corner. Even if your pockets don’t become filled by financial manifestations of public goodwill, its free fun and you’ll have had a great time trying.
6– While researching this post we stumbled on a number of good sites full of tips, ideas and most importantly links to trustworthy pages where students can get access to money making ideas. Two of the leading pages dedicated specifically to money making ideas for students are Student Money Saver’s Make Money section and Money Magpie’s 41 Ways for Students to Make Money and have Fun guide
7– As a student I found a really good income by utilising my university’s student ambassador programme. By contributing massively to the Professional Practice module of my own course, doing this work killed two birds with one stone. All you have to do is locate the Student Progression department and tell them you’re eager to be involved. My favourite well paid role was doing ‘taster days’ for school children, and promoting the idea of attending universities by engaging them in workshops all over the university campus.
8– Do you have a particular interest that you know more about than any of your associates? Perhaps it’s quite an outsider subject that you could be considered as some kind of expert in the wider world? If so you’re in luck, as the most successful blogs and vlogs are created by people with that kind of eccentric foundation. The best strategy is to spend a few months building up a following for your online enterprise. You could do this by dropping links to your site in relevant posts on other blogs with a good following. When you feel you’re getting enough traffic, think of ways to monetise your posts or videos. If the blog is about music or reading, Amazon has really good associates program. Generally you would have to be extremely fond of your subject to make the idea of spending 10 hours a week on it not sound like a drag. If this is the case, get writing!
9– To compliment the student ambassador idea, there are a number of companies that seek young representatives to spread the word about their products in colleges and universities. Following Google’s acclaimed ‘Google for education’ programme, other online titans started their own initiatives to get students involved with the promotion of their companies. One that is currently recruiting is Firefox Student Ambassadors. The Firefox browser is currently seeking students to promote Mozilla tools and resources while strengthening their own brand identity. Luddites need not apply as your job would be to ‘do good and change the world’ through the teaching of web literacy, promoting Desktop and Android versions of Firefox and educating others about the Mozilla company’s mission…
10– The final crazy idea I want to share with you is essentially starting up your own shop, the easy way. Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique that allows you to ship goods to customers without physically handling the product. Go to Ali Express, find cheap versions of popular products, buy them in bulk and source them to your friends online using a site managed by yourself that looks legitimate and trustworthy. Of course, you will provide the advertising so you’ll have to invest some time into advertising your site or products, but if you think of something that everyone on your campus needs (for example USB cables), buy it wholesale then sell it word of mouth via your website. You could build a complete online store and throughout your time at uni develop a reputation as the ‘USB cable guy’ and hey presto, free advertising! Beware of ‘back-ordering’ though. If you place a shipment request with a wholesaler, but the product is sold out, your customers could be in for a long wait for their USB cable to arrive. So it helps to do business with wholesalers who are consistently trustworthy, and not to retail too many products to keep track of!