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The mad things students do to earn money

September 10, 2017 | James Falconer

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Blog / The mad things students do to earn money

We wish we had waited for uWork

It’s hard to hold down a regular job as a student. You’ve got to find a fairly flexible employer to accommodate for the demands of university life (academic and of course, social).

Because of this, students do some pretty mad things to make a bit of money during term time and the uWork team are no exception. Below are some examples of the failed money making schemes we’ve tried that make have motivated us to create uWork!



“During my first year of uni I began working on Poopr: an app allowing those who are pooping, to talk to others around them, who are also pooping.

It was anonymous but allowed you to save those you grew close to on your lists of Poopals. During the design process a competitor came out and my idea went down the pan… When the same thing happened with uWork it didn’t phase us. We live and learn.”



In the past, I have been so strapped for cash that on two occasions I sold my body… to science (not the night). I partook in clinical trials, spending up to 16 days in isolation with needles flying at me from all directions.

Despite the interrupted sleeps, the stringent food rationing and the headache-inducing medication, I found the energy to slip in some revision. However, with potential side-effects ranging from a runny nose to incurable blindness, I do question my choices… as does my mum.”



“In my second year at uni I was presented with a guilt edged opportunity to buy 80 crates of premium Italian cider on the cheap to sell on to friends with ridiculous profit margins! The cider arrived and looked the business. I didn’t drink much myself, aware of the ‘don’t get high on your own supply’ mantra. This proved to be a wise decision as reports came in that the cider gave some people dodgy tummies. I played these reports down saying ‘it must have been something you ate… you’re the first person to have any trouble’ and the stock continued to fly off the shelves.

Fortunately, there was no tripadvisor account so the reviews didn’t spread and I managed to sell them all (albeit a little after the expiry date…).”


THE MAN • Stefan

“I haven’t done anything especially bizarre to make money while at uni but my housemate has provided me with more than enough material. His biggest failure was when he bought some rare exotic shrimp, in order to breed them and sell them at like £25 a shrimp.

Though this seemed like a good deal, when the shrimps arrived in the post all the females had died in transit. Regardless, the little fellas tried to give him the spawn he wanted but failed to defy biology. Lacking knowledge of shrimp genitalia, he spent a lot of time watching the tank waiting to see signs of new life… his poor degree.”



“In my first year I became a wheeler dealer; buying things from charity stores and selling them on ebay. I specialised in lego, and all the local shops would call me whenever they got a batch in.

I once got a 40kg bag of jumbled lego sorted it into its sets and sold it on. After I had sold the last piece I calculated that my efforts had earned me a measley £5/hour and taken over 100 hours of my life.”



“At college there was always that one guy who was selling Malboro straights that he picked up on the cheap during his latest duty free shopping spree. So, when I came to uni I thought I would get a piece of the action.

Being an enterprising chap, I decided to up the game and take orders before I went. That way I didn’t have to be quite such a wheeler-dealer and go knocking on doors in halls. That said… not sure it’s entirely legal…”

As you can see, we’ve all had varied, if not limited success in making money at uni. So, if selling your body to science or getting into the shrimp dealing business doesn’t take your fancy – why not wait for the uWork launch?