How I Earned Money When I Was Studying

There is no shame in working any job. This has always been my work ethic. So I thought I share what I did to earn some money while I was studying at New Bulgarian University While I lived in a rent-free apartment during my college years, I was given 100 leva (50 euro) per month by my grandparents to get by. And don’t get me wrong, I immensely appreciated the help and I will be forever grateful, but in today’s standards, it’s just not enough. I dug deep into my archives to find some photos to support my stories.


I was bartending in my senior year

I couldn’t wait to turn 18 so I can become a bartender in the family-owned bar. I started organizing themed events like  Hawaiian parties, Shot parties, Mojito&Mint nights, Retro themes and so on. I think the most successful event was the Shot Party where I had orders like 80 shots per table. I made pretty nice tips, too. One time a man in his fifties came to me and I politely asked him for his order. His response was “I want to order you, how much is that?”. Without second thoughts I pointed to a guy at the end of the bar and I told him “I don’t know, why don’t you ask my father over there”. So that was that. Later on, I stirred up some family drama and I got fired. So I sold some silver jewellery and went camping on the Black Sea shore for half a month.

I started designing CV-s

After graduating from high-school I had a gap year and it was a fun one, so naturally, I don’t remember much about it. When I moved to Sofia to study I started selling CV designs. Five years later, I still get asked to do it by referral of my old customers. As far as I know, most of them got interview calls. It wasn’t a lot of money but it was so fun for me and I even branded it. I called the service UNFOLD (your potential) and the logo had something to do with origami. I also promoted companies by giving away flyers. I didn’t make a lot by doing those things but it was just enough to explore some new cafes and restaurants in Sofia.

I went on a Work and Travel program in the USA

Ever since I left the states after a year spent there as an exchange student I wanted to come back. So in my second year at university, I joined a WAT program for the summer. At first, I was in Rhode Island working as a housekeeper, but conditions were so bad I switched states and went to Pennsylvania where I would be closer to my friends from school. I had four positions there: Ice-cream scooper, hostess, waitress and busser. One time I had to do all of them at the same time because of a lack of personnel crisis. The regular customers were after their 60s and they adored me. I have a soft spot for elderly people, I love to hear their stories. Maybe that’s why they left me huge tips. On my last day, several of them came to say goodbye and gave me 50% tips. The money wasn’t important at this point, I have saved up enough, but the gesture made me cry. This was one of my most treasured summers, I met so many old friends, made a lot of new ones and even got to a Broadway show.


I had three jobs at the same time

When I came back I had gotten used to having some real cash and I had to continue making some. But I didn’t want to start working full-time because I really wanted to continue going to classes. So I had a bunch of part-time jobs. I worked as a Social Media consultant for one catering company on Fridays, I was washing dishes for fancy cooking classes on the weekends and on Wednesdays… I was posing naked for other students to draw me. All of that summed up to around 400 leva (200euro) per month which was awesome. Now I could take rent from the spare room in the flat because my sister had moved out. Things were going pretty well. That’s when I got into entrepreneurship and I had this amazing idea of having a guest house in the forest for people to come and make art. The idea came to me while some people were drawing me and I really wanted to recreate this in a natural setting.

I gained so much from these experiences. I learned to accept my body as it is, I started seeing cleaning dishes as a form of meditation. I learned how to manage my time better.


I went from all of this to marketing

My major was in Public Relations and a marketing position didn’t seem that different to me. So I took a job at a toothbrush company without knowing what I was getting myself into. For two years I learned so much about marketing, manufacturing, releasing new products, managing a team, graphic design and so much more. So after two years, I felt I was ready to become a freelancer and quit my job. At the time I already took some jobs as a side buck and just to shake up things. So I already had some clients. I managed an Instagram account, I worked with my boyfriend for some graphic design and photography projects. I actually started working as a marketing consultant for two places but I had major moral differences with one, and I couldn’t make valuable time for the other so I left those. What I learned is that I wanted to start creating visual content as my primary thing.


I am starting my own company

I don’t want to drop big bombs here, but it’s true. Hopefully, I’d be the founder of a company pretty soon, and I am so excited. This event made me reflect back on all of my previous experience, without even mentioning the three internships I did in my younger years. I won’t say much more about my plans, but I really can’t wait for everyone to see. So stay tuned to find out what I have been cooking.


And before I end this post, it’s worth to mention I had a blog this whole time. It wasn’t called Popara all along and it evolved during this time. Most importantly it lived to tell you all these stories. I couldn’t be happier with how it is developing and I really have so much more in store that I want to show you!








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