How to make €30k while studying at university (and turn it into a business)

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You can start making an income of around €30k, or more, per month before you've graduated.

Many students wait until they have finished their degrees before getting into the workplace or setting up a business.

However, there's a way to earn money while at university without draining your time and energy.

Ditch the idea of working in minimum-wage retail, restaurant or bar jobs. This will have you exhausted and with less-than-impressive CV experience.

Instead, use your entrepreneurial skills to earn more.

Start an ecommerce business

The traditional way to start a business is to offer a service or sell a physical product that you source, buy, and store yourself.

If you don't have a service to sell, the second option can be pricey to get going.

Substantial start-up costs are needed to cover stock, warehousing, shipping, machinery, equipment, and renting a business unit.

There is another option - dropshipping.


An accessible and affordable way to start an ecommerce business is dropshipping. It allows you to sell a physical product without handling or storing the goods yourself.

Meagre start-up costs

Students don't have the biggest budget to get a business off the ground. This is why dropshipping is a great opportunity to earn a profit with little investment costs.

Starting a dropshipping business doesn't require:

  • Buying large amounts of stock upfront
  • Paying for warehousing
  • Hiring and paying employees
  • Handling shipping and returns

Actual start-up costs:

  • Subscription fee with a dropshipping supplier (dropshippingXL is only €30 per month)
  • Online advertising (you can budget €200 per month)
  • Building a website (platforms such as Shopify start at $5 per month)

You don't even need to create a website to sell with dropshipping. You can read our article "How to start dropshipping if you don't have a website."

No storage and no shipping

This is perfect for university students that don't want to invest in warehousing, which is a long-term and expensive cost. It is also a better idea than storing and packing goods in your shared student housing.

The way it works:

  • A customer makes an order with you
  • You purchase this order with the dropshipping supplier
  • The supplier ships the item to the customer

Only placing wholesale orders when a customer has made a purchase is a big draw to start dropshipping.

This business model is scalable and offers little risk.

You can have confidence that if your dropshipping business takes off, you will be able to handle huge volumes of sales without having to deal with warehousing, shipping, or inventory issues.

Likewise, if the product niche you have chosen doesn't seem popular, then nothing much has been lost.

Why start dropshipping while studying?

Make the most of university resources

University students have a host of fantastic resources at their disposal. Make the most of it!

Market reports

Benefit from unrestricted access to market research reports that are worth upwards of €1,000 each.

Platforms such as Mintel and D&B Hoovers, for example, are free for students to use. Find out crucial insights about a niche, market, or competitive report.

Product discounts

Use student discounts on business resources you might want. It's not necessary but it's a nice option if you can afford it.

You can get discounts on technology such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets, as well as entrance to trade shows and reduced prices on office spaces.

Free mentorship

Many universities also offer free mentorship programmes that put you in touch with a business professional. Gaining a mentor is extremely valuable for entrepreneurial advice and access to connections.

Start-up support

The business school or department of your university usually have student business hubs and enterprise centre. These are to support you with new business ideas and ventures such as where to find funding.

Long summer holidays to earn money

The long break between May-June and September makes for the opportunity to focus on your business project.

This might be an ideal time to start your dropshipping store.

Then, once your store is set up, you only need to concentrate on marketing and advertising as the order fulfilment is done for you.

What the statistics say

Still not sure about starting a business while at university? Here are some statistics to give you some inspiration:

  • A new business is born every two hours at UK universities ( Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2022)
  • 17% of America's 2022 college graduates run their own company ( Intelligent, 2022)
  • 49% of UK student business owners run their own website while 13% use an online marketplace such as Amazon ( Santander, 2021)
  • Undergraduate business owners in the UK total collective revenue of £44 million per year ( Santander, 2021)
  • 15% of all startup founders are under the age of 29 ( Harvard Business Review, 2018)

How to start dropshipping

Get your dropshipping business going with dropshippingXL.

A trusted dropshipping supplier, you can access over 90,000 high-quality and trending products to sell online.

Your customers can rely on quick delivery from our fulfilment centres in the Netherlands, Poland, the US, Australia, and UAE.

Sign up now for only €30 per month!

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