How to Be a Freelancer While Still at College?: Many students around the world face the necessity to provide for themselves while getting a degree. Reasons may vary, but the outcomes are largely the same: students feel stressed and overwhelmed. And the first question that comes to their minds is “Is It Even Possible to Work While at College?”
If you randomly browse through the offers on popular job boards, you may get the impression that there are no job opportunities for students. But that is not the case.
In fact, it’s quite possible to combine work and studies, and millions of students who do it are living proof that this statement is true. For instance, a 2018 report from the Center of Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University states that 70% of full-time students have jobs. Such examples are galore.
Read Also: Best Part-Time Jobs for Students
How to Be a Freelancer While Still at College?
So, the question is not if it’s possible to work and study but how to combine it effectively. While there are many ways to do that, freelancing is arguably the best option. Here’s why.
Why Freelancing Is a Great Choice for Students
As a student, you have a narrower scope of job opportunities compared to a seasoned professional. First and foremost, there’s this notorious “catch-22 dilemma”: you need some experience to get a job, but you need a job to gain experience. And that is not all.
The second biggest issue is time. While there surely are proven ways to ease the burden of academic workload, like hiring an essay writer from a reliable essay writing service, sometimes even that is not enough. So, what can a desperate student do to not end up starving at a dorm?
Luckily, there’s a solution that can help tackle both problems at once: freelancing.
Being a freelancer gives an abundance of benefits such as:
- Starting with little or no experience;
- Choosing your workload;
- Not being tied to an office;
- Working flexible hours, and more.
Isn’t all that just exactly what college students need to juggle work and studies efficiently? Looks like it is. But there are some things you need to consider before you opt for this choice.
So, Can Everyone Be a Freelancer?
Though it seems like the answer is definitely yes, things are not that simple. You probably can’t be a freelancer (or you can’t be a successful freelancer right now) if you are:
- Not organized;
- Cannot work on your own, need constant guidance and feedback;
- Like to have many people around;
- Plan to build a traditional vertical career at a big company as soon as possible.
If all this is not about you, go ahead and read a step-by-step guide on becoming a freelancer while still at college.
How to Become a Freelancer While at Still College
Follow these steps to go all the way through from a novice to an established professional while still being a successful student!
1. Choose a Professional Field
The first thing you have to do is to identify the professional field to try a hand at. For some, it’s as simple as finding an intersection point between their skills and the market demands; for others, more research is necessary.
As for the demands: some skills sell better than others on the freelance market. The most popular and lucrative fields typically are:
- Social media marketing;
- Content writing and editing;
- Web and graphic design.
This list is by no means comprehensive: there are also thousands of clients looking for bookkeepers, voiceover actors, babysitters, and more.
Useful tip: less qualified jobs are also in abundance – cleaning, running errands, etc. But they are not very beneficial in terms of professional development, so it’s better to choose something that better aligns with your college major.
2. Research the Rates
So, you’ve identified the desired professional field(s). The next step is to research the payment rates to find out how much you should charge for your services.
You can start with reading some articles on the subject: for example, if you have your mindset on giving a shot at writing, google “freelance writers rates [the current year].” This can help you get a quick overview.
Another way is to head directly to freelance job boards and conduct deeper research. Just be sure to check more than one website – preferably, more than three – before you set your rates.
Useful tip: see how your rates compare with candidates with the same education and work experience. Don’t just pick the average figure!
3. Find Your First Gigs
Already found several freelance job boards like Fiverr, Upwork, Workzilla, and more while doing your research? Now, you can start looking for your first gigs.
Most of such websites require registration, and the process can be rather tricky. You’ll be asked to fill out some forms and provide information such as your education, professional field, work experience, etc. You can also add a resume and a portfolio to increase your chances of securing a gig.
Another thing is such platforms as Fiverr and Upwork charge a 10-20% commission, so study the terms and conditions carefully and be sure to keep them in mind when you do your math.
Useful tip: you can also look for freelance jobs on social media and in messengers. For instance, there are plenty of specialized Facebook groups and Telegram channels where you can secure a job without paying a commission to the platform.
4. Plan Your Time
As you start taking more work, you’ll inevitably realize that proper time management is essential. Being a freelancer is not as easy as it may seem: while regular employees have working hours, freelancers only have deadlines. Oftentimes, novices struggle to meet them.
To aid yourself in becoming more organized, use a task planner and a calendar to write down your schedule and track deadlines. It’s also a good idea to install multifunctional helpful apps like Todoist or Focus-To-Do.
Useful tip: if procrastination is your problem, learn focusing techniques and install anti-procrastination apps to beat it. Otherwise, no wise planning will help, and you’ll keep breaking your deadlines one by one.
5. Promote Yourself
Last but not least – it’s vital to send the word out so that your prospective clients could engage with you both online and offline. Here’s what you can do to attract more customers:
- Create business pages on social media;
- Give targeted ads;
- Tell your friends and fellow students about your services and ask them to recommend you whenever possible.
Does it seem like a promo plan for a business? Well, that’s what it is: technically, a freelancer is an individual entrepreneur, and as such, needs promotion in order to grow. As for the scale of your promo campaigns, it’s only up to you.
Useful tip: if you feel you have an entrepreneurial streak and want to expand your small individual enterprise, you might need to recruit a team. That involves lots of legal nuances but can be very beneficial in the long run.
Most students work while at college to be able to afford higher education. Many are forced to take part-time or even full-time jobs – but there is a better way to earn some cash. Freelancing is arguably the best choice for busy students for many reasons. If you’ve always wanted to try it but didn’t know how – follow the steps listed in this article!