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How I Paid My Tuition Doing What I Love.

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Working while being a student is a very common phenomenon in the Netherlands. It’s a way of becoming financially independent and it enables you to afford your tuition and have a little money of your own.

How it started

When I was nineteen years old I studied Business Information Technology at a University in Eindhoven. Every day after school I would go to work as a waiter at a restaurant which was located at the heart of the city until late at night. After coming home I needed to study and do my homework and repeat it all again the next day. Having some leisure time was a luxury!

The job itself wasn’t a most fulfilling one and didn’t make me particularly happy but it helped pay the tuition and I always had some money to buy some things for myself. It’s the obvious thing to do.

After some time, the restaurant got taken over by another bigger company. The atmosphere and work duties got way worse than it was before and it made me even unhappier so I quit the job.

Looking back, quitting the waiter job has to be one of the best things that happened to me back then, but at the time it didn’t feel like it.

You’re an IT guy right?! Can you fix my <insert any technical device> ? — A family member

After losing my only income stream I was out looking for a new job when suddenly a family member of mine came to me with a question.

You’re studying IT, right?

I said yes, kind of.

I was already assuming that the next question would be: “Got an issue with my phone/laptop/insert any other digital device here. Could you help me with it?”

But instead, he said:

I need an app where I can bill my customers easily. I’m already losing a whole day just writing invoices in Word. Do you think you can build one for me?

I said yes of course! We chatted for a bit and I started to write down all the requirements he had. I started working on the desktop app the same day!

Two weeks later it was finished and he began to use it. Together we ran into some early bugs which were easily fixed and after that, he was so happy that he paid me a good sum of money for the app.

I started thinking he can’t be the only one that has this issue more people must have the same issue! I asked around and surely indeed some family friends that have their own business had the same problem. I used the same app but customized it for their brand and sold it to them.

With only these 2 customers I had already made more within a 2 month period than I would normally during 6 months of hard labor-intensive work in a restaurant!

After this word of mouth marketing did its work and more and more people and companies came to me asking either to pay for the desktop app or to build them a custom app for other purposes.

The revenue of my programming work enabled me to pay for college and to have enough money to spend, and best of all I loved doing what I did!