As a university student, part-time jobs that work with your schedule come few and far between. With the increasing costs of receiving an education, should you sacrifice your study time just to earn some extra pocket money? Thankfully, students with in-demand skills don’t have to settle for the typical minimum wage job. The world of freelancing is open to young, savvy students looking to gain some work experience, while earning an extra buck or two. Here are a few things you need to know before diving into freelancing:
Benefits of Freelancing
- Better salary. You set up how much you want to get paid per hour. Since it is for a specialized skill that not many can offer, you usually earn more than minimum wage. The price is affected by your experience and the demand for your field of work. As a student starting off, you won’t be able to charge as much as the seasoned pros, but more experience and projects under your belt will allow you to start charging more.
- Be your own boss. Everyone has had their fair share of bad bosses. With freelance work, you are your own boss. You can specially design your work schedule to fit with your academic and social schedule. You can even save on transportation costs because you can work from your bed!
- Helps your resume stand out. Even if your desired career doesn’t involve developing apps or writing articles, you’re creating connections and learning valuable soft skills. Employers appreciate applicants that display entrepreneurial spirit and have technical skills that stretch beyond the job requirements.
What it Takes to Be a Freelancer
- Be knowledgeable in an in-demand skill. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a freelancer. A prerequisite to becoming a freelancer is to have a skill that others would hire you to perform. This can be graphic design, web design, photography, video production and editing, journalism, translation, or administrative work (to scratch the surface!). Whether you’re a master or a self-taught amateur, you can always find opportunities.
- Self-motivation and time management. Without a boss hounding you to get work done, it can be difficult getting yourself motivated to finish a job. Even if you’re exhausted from schoolwork, you need to find time to work on your latest project. Never take on more work than you can handle! Always submit high quality work so that your client will recommend you or even hire you for future projects.
- Patience and persistence. Especially as a student, finding freelance work can be difficult. It’s not always going to be a reliable source of income. You have to remain patient and be persistent in marketing yourself and finding work.
- The right mindset. Don’t be fooled into thinking being a freelancer is easy. A lot of work is involved in trying to meet deadlines and client needs. A huge focus on quality has to be taken. Money isn’t going to come right away either. Like any other business, you will need to build capital – buying better equipment, programs and other necessary tools.
Where to Find Work
- Personal website. Build a website that you can post all of your previous work on. There are plenty of websites such as WordPress and Blogger that will allow you to easily and quickly build your own website for free. If you’re just starting off and don’t have any existing work, include projects you’ve done in school or anything you’ve done in your spare time.
- Websites for freelancers. There are plenty of websites out there designed for freelancers looking for jobs and clients looking for freelancers. Some websites include oDesk, Elance, StudentFreelance and even Craigslist!
- School. University is full of innovative students looking for help on their personal projects. Someone might be starting a company and need a web designer or creating a student film and needs editors – all you need to do is look around! Put an ad up on the student bulletin and ask around to see if anyone is starting on a project who may need your skills.
- Cold calling. This may be a daunting task, but you never know which companies and organizations may need your help. Calling charities and asking them if you can do some pro bono work for them is a good start. You might not get paid, but it will help you gain experience and possibly build on your portfolio. If you do a good enough job, you might even be asked to work with them for future projects where you can get paid.