There is absolutely no better time to take on your first freelance jobs and explore the world of entrepreneurship than during your college years.
I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, but college is for sleeping in late and living your best life, not working.”
However, the beauty of freelancing is that you can make it as little or as much work as you want! While in college, you can explore the world of starting a side hustle, or you can build your freelance empire, it’s completely up to you.
College allows you to explore different subjects while offering you the flexibility to still enjoy some downtime, too. Why not try your hand at offering your services in the field you enjoy and make some extra money in the process? Not to mention you’ll be gaining valuable, real-life experience to put on your resume before graduation time. I’ve narrowed down my top ten reasons for exploring the world of freelancing while in college.
1. Create your own hours & work around your school schedule
As a freelancer, you’re often able to create the kind of schedule you love – how awesome is that? That means if you’re a morning person, you can plan to work your freelance jobs before classes. More of a night owl? Stay up as late as you want getting your freelance work finished.
You choose your clients, you pick your freelance workload and you create your work schedule, so long as that works for your clients.
2. Get experience in your field
One of the most valuable things you can do is begin gaining experience landing freelance jobs before you’re stuck in a corporate job that you (may or may not) hate. Similar to an internship, (I’ll touch on internships, below) freelancing lets you work in the field you enjoy, in the way you prefer to work. Whether that’s offering virtual assisting services to a remote business or helping a local company promote their offerings, how you freelance in the field you love is totally your call. The most important thing is that you’re gaining experience and building your resume.
3. Replace internships with freelance gigs
When I was in college, interning was the norm. It was expected that you spent a certain number of hours working for free for a local business. But why not do the same thing and make money doing it? Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely value in interning and learning the ropes in an organization that you otherwise may not get access to as a college student. However, consider going after freelance jobs like you would internships.
If you’re willing to work hard, communicate effectively with your clients and continuously improve your craft, there is no reason why you couldn’t charge for your work as a freelancer!
4. Incorporate freelance jobs into your school work
Explore whether or not your college will allow you to earn internship credits as a freelancer. Be sure to outline all of the types of tasks you will be completing for your clients (which will most likely be very similar to an internship) so they understand you’re not a huge corporation trying to gain money as well as college credit.
5. Get an introduction to entrepreneurship
What better way to learn about entrepreneurship than to dive into the freedom economy! Being a freelancer means being a business owner. You’ll have to keep track of your client’s information, your tasks, as well as payment information. Freelancing also means effectively communication upcoming deadlines and project progress. If you’ve ever considered being an entrepreneur, begin to learn the ropes while in college by booking one of your first freelance jobs.
6. Figure out what you love to do
One of the reasons college is such a meaningful time for people is because they learn what they find interesting and what they want to develop a career in. By booking freelance jobs, you’ll begin to understand how you enjoy working (independently or with a team of other people) as well as what types of tasks you like to take on (such as virtual assisting, writing blogs or creating logos). Before the pressure of the “real world” sets in after graduation and your parents start breathing down your back to “get a real job,” start exploring what makes you tick as a freelancer.
7. Make some cash while school is out
This one is self-explanatory. Why not make some extra bucks throughout these 4 years and attempt to improve your poor college kid status?
I’m sure you can find a good way to spend it…
8. Network within your industry before graduation arrives
The reason interning is so important is that it allows you to network with professionals working in the field you love. The same goes for freelancing as a college student – especially if you opt for freelancing instead of interning!
By offering businesses and organizations your services, you’ll get your name in front of their email inbox, and once you do a stellar job for them, they’ll keep you in mind for future jobs. Never underestimate the power of networking as a college student or a freelancer.
9. Learn the ropes from your professors and other professionals
As a college student, everyone expects you to ask questions and operate like a newbie in the professional world. You haven’t had any major job experience, and people are sympathetic to that and much more willing to teach you things. Take advantage of this and ask if you can job shadow the successful professionals in your life. Once you learn the ropes, you can ask them for freelance opportunities! Experience gotten, money made, and knowledge gained.
10. Allow yourself the time to grow your business before graduation (hello, full-time freelance biz!)
Starting to freelance in college can set you up for longer-term success in the freedom economy. College is an excellent time to learn the ropes of your new business, begin networking, and learn from your first freelance jobs (like how to manage tasks and deliver projects on a schedule, handle payments, work successfully with clients and more). These skills can even give you the opportunities and confidence to make freelancing a full-time job if you want.
Take advantage of the flexibility of your college schedule by exploring the world of freelancing. Book one of your first freelance jobs today to join the freedom economy and start gaining real-life experience before you graduate.