Mainstream media’s hilariously bad suggestions on how students should make money.

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Now, I am not usually one to disrespect any other money making ideas. I tend to reserve my visceral blogging for the sometimes morally bankrupt actions of the bookmakers. However, I just so happened to be reading the money section of a very big-name newspaper and came across an article entitled ‘Students swap bar work for dog-sitting’.

It caught my interest, after all, I’ve always said that the wages paid to students by local (and even University) bars is quite frankly shocking. I was also excited to see whether ‘dog-sitting’ was a preamble to a wealth of new ideas that all students could do to earn better money – and of course hoping that Matched Betting would be listed among them.

This excitement was short lived as the article slowly slid away from the realms of reality…….and into sheer fantasy land.

Let’s start with the first proposition used in the title – dog walking. Sure, £15 an hour is decent. But how many dogs are there that need people to walk them in your area, and just how regularly. Let’s say, for the sake of example, that you got lucky and found three owners, that lived near each other and were happy to have their dog walked with other dogs. That’s £45, not bad – but is it realistic to think this will happen every day? I’d say no, in the sense that it is not an idea that replaces the consistency of a part time bar job and you’d end up making less per week.

Here is a list of this newspapers other ‘ideas’:

  • Spanish, Italian and Maths tutoring (£25 an hour)
  • Mandarin and Arabic teaching (£30 an hour)
  • Videogame tutoring (….I know?!) (£30 an hour)
  • Piano and guitar teaching (£18 to £39 an hour)
  • Cleaning (£12 an hour)
  • Pet-sitting (£12 an hour)
  • Personal Trainer (£45 an hour)
  • Teaching Yoga (£30 to £50 an hour)

Now you might have already seen a bit of a theme for the above suggestions. Yes, you’d be right to think ‘well…..don’t most of these require a skill set that can take months if not years to develop to a point were people would willing to pay for your input?’. Absolutely! Now, yes, there will be some who already have the skills to pull off some of the above. However, these ideas are hardly solutions that replace a bar job as a like-for-like comparison with regards to general accessibility. And that’s presuming you can find enough people to make it worthwhile over an extended period of time.

As for the other options that do not require an advanced skill set, well those are also easily debunked. Now, my parents have their own cleaner for their house, whom I’ve met on several occasions. If you think bar work is exhausting, then you have not done a day as a cleaner. She works ridiculously hard. Sure, it pays more than bar work, but Students (who are not known to be the cleanest individuals) will, I suspect, be physically broken after just one day of cleaning.

Pet-sitting caused me to chuckle. Because unless your area experienced a mass migration of pet owners for a couple of weeks, this can hardly be considered a consistent earner. Then there is ‘Personal Trainer’. This one actually made me a bit angry, because I have a friend who has just been certified as a personal trainer. Firstly, becoming certified takes months and includes exams – and more importantly it costs money. The idea that a Student can just put up an ad to be a personal Trainer is insultingly stupid.

Perhaps I am being too negative and underestimating the number of multi-talented students in areas plagued with lonely dogs who just want a walk - while their owners get fit using a personal trainer in their ‘in-home’ gym. However, I think it is reasonable to say that not only are these ideas niche, but also, they are not scalable. Is bar work under paid? Absolutely. However, the bar opens every night and unless there is some severe localised animal abuse, there is not going to be a dog that needs looking after every night.

Students are tech savvy and will always choose the path of least resistance. So, if they truly wanted a earner that didn’t require a niche skill, paid at least £20 an hour and was scalable – then they’d just be do matched betting and get all that without leaving the comfort of their, no doubt, messy room.

I don’t expect main stream media to write a puff piece on Matched Betting, but it seems ridiculous not to include us in such discussions…….rant over!