Ingenious ways of making money, without even having to get up off your backside

Six unusual ways in which students, teenagers, and one scarily precocious nine-year-old child, have become extremely and unusually rich

Katherine Burch
Tuesday 30 April 2013 11:38
Nick D'Aloisio
Nick D'Aloisio

As summer swiftly approaches, there is a distinct realisation both for undergraduates and graduates that a whole summer - or life - with no money, no job and no student loan looms on the horizon.

But don’t panic yet! Young people have been known to make money occasionally. And if you don't fancy anything so gauche as getting a job, here are a few sensible, intelligible and completely attainable ideas from which to take your inspiration...

Paint your face?

Anyone who has paid vast amounts of money to tout Abercrombie and Fitch will understand the genius of this idea. 'Buy My Face' was a scheme in which companies would pay to have their advertisements painted on two young men’s faces.

Every day from October 2011 to September 2012, companies were able to pay for their advert, with companies such as Adobe paying for face-time. It was set up by graduates Ross Harper and Ed Moyse to pay off their university debt, in which they succeeded. The idea has been taken on by a current University of Edinburgh student called Jay, doing Buy My Face 100, in which he is selling advertising on his face for 100 days.

Buy My Face

Buy My Face 100

Sweet shops?

Putting most of the adult student population to shame, this savvy young entrepreneur has managed to make his own money before leaving primary school. At nine years old, Henry Patterson has opened an online sweetshop called not before tea, selling jars of sweets.

This is already Henry’s third business. Whilst he may have had a reasonably large amount of help from his parents, his clear business acumen should be applauded.

Henry’s sweets

Make the new Facebook?

Many of you will know one of the multiple versions of the story of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. In short Zuckerberg and friends create program called Facemash, rather similar to a hot or not page. This becomes the university networking site Facebook, which then rapidly expands to everyone and gains over a billion users. It is fair to say he is now quite well off. As of March 2013 he had a net worth of $13.3 billion dollars. Well played Mr Zuckerberg, well played. 

Design a killer app?

In an ever increasingly technological world, apps are a key way to make money. At only 17 years old, Nick D'Aloisio is already a millionaire, having designed an app called Summly that takes the news and condenses it. D’Aloisio received funding for the app from billionaire Li Ka-shing, Yoko Ono, Stephen Fry and Ashton Kutcher. Yahoo bought the app for $30 million dollars in March 2013. Not a bad wage to earn before your 18th birthday.

Hire a billboard?

A simple but effective idea. Media Production graduate Adam Pacitti hired a billboard stating “I SPENT MY LAST £500 POUNDS ON THIS BILLBOARD PLEASE GIVE ME A JOB”. The billboard had a link to his website and video CV. The idea gained Adam around 60 job offers and a job at KEO Digital. A bold, inventive way to stand out from the thousands of other ravenous, job-hungry graduates.

Adam's website


Among a new generation of Internet celebrities stands college student Jimmy Tatro. Star of the YouTube channel 'Life According To Jimmy', which includes some rather hilarious videos such as the 'Awkward Social Interactions' series. This YouTube star will be part of the upcoming film 'Total Frat Movie'. His videos allow him to sell some rather snazzy t-shirts.

Life According to Jimmy

Just remember to let us know once you've made your first million...

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