How to make money whilst you study: a guide for student entrepreneurs

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It’s entirely possible for you to make money whilst you study, even if you’re a full time student.

You don’t have to prescribe to the ‘poor student’ stereotype who puts their studies above everything else.

In fact, if you’re smart about the work you do, it can really enhance your studies and help kick-start your career.

Here’s our guide for how to get started as a student entrepreneur.

1. Identify the skill you can get paid for

Everyone has skills that someone else would pay good money for. For example, I happily pay a bookkeeper to do my accounts, because numbers are not my strong point. I write for other people who struggle with words and creating content.

The best place to start making money whilst you study is identifying the skills you already possess, that someone else might not, but they need.

It could be anything from writing to making videos to getting set up on social media to interviewing people, to well… almost anything!

Take action:

  • Make a list of all the things you know how to do, especially the things you find easy
  • Ask other’s around you what they think you’re good at, and what skills you have
  • List all the software, systems and tools you know how to use
  • Look at what other people are offering and people are paying for (check out sites like or as a starting point)

2. Where possible, tie it in with your studies

To make money whilst studying, without it becoming a detriment to your learning – try and align it with the skills and industry of your course.

For example, if you’re learning to become a journalist, and you’re good at writing, perhaps you can help write blog posts or website copy for others.

If you’re training to be an accountant, you could use your knowledge to help business owners get organised with the way they record their business finances.

Take action:

  • Go back through your list from step 1 and highlight skills that are linked to your studies
  • Look for the skills that will really enhance your studies, portfolio and experience
  • Decide on 1-3 skills you can and want to offer, that you know people already pay for

3. Create a service

Once you’ve chosen your skill, or skills, you want to turn it into a service for people to buy. That means deciding the details of what you offer, the price and how people will work with you.

For example, I offer copywriting services. My clients work with me to decide topics for the content, and they send me any style guides they already have. I then write the copy, send it via email, discuss any edits (and make changes as necessary) before invoicing them.

Take action:

  • Flesh out the details of your service
  • Decide on a price
  • Write down the steps your customers will take when working with you

4. Decide how much time you have available whilst studying

You need to be clear on how much time each week you have free to do paid work. This means leaving room for any lectures or seminars, coursework and of course free time. Once you know the number of hours you have available, you’ll be able to know how many customers or how much work you can take on easily.

Take action:

  • Create a calendar for your typical week
  • Block out time for studying, lectures/seminars, coursework and other commitments (including free time)
  • Tot up how much time you have left for paid work and how many customers you can handle

5. Promote your service

The final step is to start telling people about the service you’re offering. As a student, you’ll have access to student boards and forums, so share you new service there. Reach out to anyone and everyone you know who you think you can help and tell them that you’re now offering this service, what it entails and how much it costs.

Even if the people you know aren’t necessarily going to buy what you have to offer, they may know someone who will, so don’t be afraid to tell them.

Promoting and marketing your service is a big part of successfully making money, so look for opportunities to share what you have to offer, support people and make connections. This is an on going thing, you can’t just market something once and hope for the best.

Take action:

  • List all the places you could promote your services
  • List all the people you could tell about your service
  • Start sharing it in those places and with those people!
  • Ask for other people’s help in sharing it too
  • Keep going!

And then, it’s about doing the work as and when you get new customers. Remember to keep documents of the money you make (it’s taxable income!) and register as self employed with HMRC if you haven’t already.

And if the entrepreneurial route doesn’t appeal, there are so many opportunities to work, and get work experience in the field you’re studying. You can use these same principles to figure out how what you can bring to the table in a company or organisation as an employee or work experience intern.

Jen Smith coaches entrepreneurs in social media.

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