You are a college student; thus, you probably live on a really tight budget. We understand, we’ve all been there. Coming up with a reliable source of income might sound impossible at this point. However, when you look at how much technology has developed lately, things might brighten up for you a little bit.
Freelancing as a college student is an amazing opportunity to support yourself financially throughout college (and maybe after too?). So, if you’ve considered this option, let’s see what do you need to know before you get started.
1. Be Aware of The Qualities You Must Posses
Freelancing is a time-consuming job that can take a lot of patience and perseverance. Great freelancers know what to expect before starting to work. In order to excel in your field, understand what qualities you must possess:
• Persistency and perseverance – without staying on top of your tasks and setting high goals, you won’t be able to climb the success ladder. It’s important to know where you are standing, and which path you are following. Even if you have the right skill set, without persistency, there’s no progress.
• Come up with brand-new plans – staying involved, brainstorming ideas, taking initiative – these should all be part of your daily routine.
• Manage your time properly – read more about this on point #2.
• Act like a pro – respect your deadlines, attend Skype conferences, deliver the services requested on time.
• Never stop being curious – learn something new each day, every day!
• Be open-minded – ask for advice, feedback, and support from your freelancing peers
• Promote yourself in a smart way – let your recruiters/prospective employees know what you are capable of by exposing your greatest skill sets, investing in your online presence, and sticking to your long-time business goals.
The above qualities are a must if you want to succeed in your freelancing career. Take all of them into consideration before starting to work. And don’t worry! You don’t have to be great at everything. Practice makes perfect, so keep practicing your skills every day until you reach your targets.
2. Organize Your Time Properly
Time-management is the answer to all of your questions. Here are some tips that might be of great help to you.
Tip #1: Do not multitask, because multitasking:
• Slows you down – by concentrating on too many tasks, you won’t be able to completely focus on any of them.
• Makes you lose productivity – splitting your attention between endless assignments is inefficient; you will have to return to each one of them separately, edit, polish, and correct your mistakes. Is that productive? Not at all. Better take things step by step.
• Stresses you out – “will I finish this first?” or “will I get this one first?” Too many choices, not a lot of time to think things through, too much pressure, not efficient.
Tip #2: Keep distractions out of your way
• Avoid social media while you are working
• Download time-tracker applications on your phone/PC for better productivity
Tip #3: Take constant breaks
• It’s important to take 10-minute breaks every 50 minutes – you will be able to focus better on your tasks
• Stretch, read something relaxing, meditate, do something that you enjoy during your break time; avoid scrolling down on Facebook or Instagram
Tip #4: Learn how to say “no”
• Being in college and saying no can be truly challenging, but if you practice it enough, you’ll eventually make it!
• Sometimes, you just need to stay in and finish your work, rather than spend time socializing. Try to find a proper balance.
If you don’t treat freelancing as a job, you won’t advance in your career. Make sure you organize your time properly, and keep a well-defined line between your social life and work life.
3. Learn How to Be Patient
Getting a high-paying job from the start is close to impossible. You will need to be patient in order to succeed. That means taking on some starter jobs, earning less than expected for a limited period of time, and making your way up to earning the big bucks later.
If you don’t have any experience on the field, don’t freak out. There’re a lot of companies out there waiting to hire novicesto train as they please. So, how to find an entry level job:
• Do a thorough job market research, and see what niches need freelancers the most
• Think about meeting the needs of your customers – they want you for what? Which one of their needs can you fulfill?
• Design the perfect resume, stand out of the crowd (there might be many people applying for the same job as you, so being original is crucial)
• Consider applying for jobs such as editing, content writing, writing eBooks, ghostwriting, or resume writing on websites such as Twine.
Start small, but keep developing your skills if you want to advance quickly. Learn how to be an effective problem-solver, build up quality content, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
4. Design a Portfolio
Owning an outstanding portfolio is really important in your advancement. Reviews are great, but proof is undeniable.Here are some great ways in which you could design your portfolio:
• Include many personal articles and numerous examples of your work
• Ask yourself: what do companies like to see? Reponses might differ depending on the business you’re aiming for, but one of the most important qualities you should always expose is proficiency.
• Quantify your results – don’t just tell them what you’ve accomplished, show them. A portfolio is the greatest way to do it.
• Avoid designing one-size-fits-all portfolios – personalize each one of them according to the companies’ needs and requirements.
• Include education in your portfolio, and anything else (from your resume) that you consider necessary
• Include reviews and testimonials of your work
Smart tip: If you are unsure about your results on a certain project, don’t include it in your portfolio. Better avoid exposing your weaknesses in front of new employers.
5. Network, Network, Network
Networking is the key to success; did you know that? It’s the only way to meet new clients and increase your chances of getting hired by even better companies. Network by:
• Keeping an open-mind and being communicative
• Being precise with what your long-time goals are, and exposing them to all the new people you connect with
• Being honest about your intentions – if you need something from someone, say it
• Defining your boundaries and understanding what you are aiming towards
• Helping a person in need – in return, they’ll help you back
• Giving, not asking
Reach out to people, be intriguing, ask them how they’re doing, follow up, be active! It’s the only way to learn how network properly. Learn by doing!
6. Make Smart Decisions
Besides developing your skills, networking, and organizing your time properly, there are other smart decisions you should make.
For example: choosing a profitable niche. As I mentioned before, meeting the right market needs is crucial for your success. Ask yourself:
• What are my passions? What are my best skills? What are my long-life interests?
• What can I see myself doing for the next period of time without getting bored?
• How do I like spending my time, and what are my hobbies?
• What problems can I solve? What am I good at?
• What is my target market, and why?
• Is my niche profitable? How’s my competition?
• Will I be able to come up with high-quality content?
Think twice before making any decisions; but once you do, don’t look back!
If you’ve chosen an interesting niche, progressing in your field shouldn’t be too hard. You love what you are doing, don’t you? Here are some basic rules on how to grow as a freelancer:
• Set goals and design plans to reach them
• Track your progress by quantifying your work
• Create a space where you feel comfortable working – a nicely designed home office would be terrific
• Be confident in your abilities to succeed
• Choose only great clients – you can spot bad clients easily. They are usually disrespectful, mean, and pay lower rates than expected (or pay later than expected)
• Seek help if necessary – start assigning your smaller tasks to other people
• Practice what you are doing until you become the best
• Don’t work at home only – join freelancing communities, and socialize with other people; expand your contact list
• Plan your budget, and be aware of your costs
Last but not least, always remember why you want to succeed. Write down your goals on a piece of paper and stick them to your wall. Read them every morning, reminding yourself why growing is essential in your career.
8. Charge More
Once you have leverage, you can start asking for more money. If your clients have become dependent on you, there’s no way they’ll reject your request. Know when the time has come, and take that important step. When asking for a raise:
• Be polite, and explain the reasons behind your requests
• Make sure the other side understands how valuable you are
• Show them that you have enough experience and expertise to charge more
If your current employer is unwilling to work with you, consider applying for another job. You should not keep a certain position only because it’s “comfortable.” If you feel like you desire more, go for it!
9. Take Risks
Freelancing can sometimes mean taking unplanned risks. But you are a young college student, so make the best out of these years. Don’t be afraid of the risks. If you need to quit, quit. If you need to aim bigger, aim bigger. In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
Some potential risks you might have to consider:
• Having an unstable, volatile income
• Being exhausted from balancing work, studying, and social life
• Spending less time with your friends and downsizing your social circle
• Not having health insurance or other form of offline work benefits
• Taking responsibility for all of your actions
If you are able to take these risk, you’ll be all good.
10. Use Essential Tools and Services
Some great tools that will help you succeed:
• Azendoo –if you need a good communication tool, Azendoo will be of great help to you. Collaborating with your employers or other freelancers on different projects online is crucial, especially when you are a remote worker. Stay updated on your team’s progress by using this app!
• Harpoon – by using this app, you can set your financial goals, track your personal achievements, and learn how to properly design a budget. Plan your revenue, bill your clients in the smartest way, and control your expenses – all of that by using Harpoon.
• Toggl – if you need to figure out reports, and track your time and progress, Toggl is your best friend. It’s been proven that this app boosts your productivity, breaks down your data into specific information. It also helps you win back your time. “Where are my hours going?” won’t be a valid question anymore.
• BrllAssignment.co.uk–if you need a professional writing service. Their services are professional, and they will always be down to check your work, edit your articles, polish your pieces, and see how your writing style has developed over time. Sometimes, we just need someone to pat us on the shoulder and say, “good job!”
• Cushion – if you need help scheduling your time, Cushion’s got your back. It will help you organize your business, get paid on time, and build your financial “cushion.” You can plan and visualize your entire year, find out when you are available, and avoid overbooking yourself by using this app.
There are many other tools waiting to be used out there. Search for them online, and check them out!
11. Be Confident
Expanding your clients circle will be easier if you are self-confident! Do not worry too much about the future, live the present moment. A worried freelancer attracts worried customers – and you really don’t want that in your life, trust me.
Reassure your clients that you got their back, and give them the confidence they need. Always respect your projects’ deadlines! Instead of using phrases such as “I might be able to finish on time,” choose “I will deliver on time.” Being self-confident attracts trustworthy clients, and that is exactly what you want!
Freelancing as a college student is a great idea as long as you respect all the aforementioned information. Be confident, use the essential freelancing tools for help, take risks, grow, and be aware of all the qualities you need in order to succeed! Good luck!