Freelancing Guide for Students
Sooner or later, every university graduate stumbles upon the same problem, employers demanding working experience, even for junior positions. However, how could one get that experience if it’s almost impossible to start your first job without one? One of the solutions is a paid traineeship; however, the competition is usually high for such opportunities. Another option is to try freelancing while being a student to get the experience that will count.
What Can You Do as a Freelancer
The best thing about freelancing is that you can do almost anything: the list of offered jobs is endless. It all depends on the skills you already have.
Even being an undergraduate, you can find data entry jobs where the only skill you need is typing. If you enjoy essay and paper writing, you may try copywriting. Usually, large companies engage in-house writers, but smaller ones may require their assistance only part-time. You could also work on separate writing projects using freelance platforms. Designing skills are also in high demand in the freelance market. Finally, one of the best-paid freelance opportunities is, of course, mobile app development.
Why You Should Start Freelancing
The first benefit that you will hear from the majority of freelancers is freedom and autonomy. It is indeed easier to take an afternoon or a day off when you need it compared to a full-time job.
Then, of course, there is a salary benefit. On most freelance platforms, you are free to determine your fee, and you can even earn a lot more than an entry-level employee. However, you will need to work more for it as well. The endless number of projects you can engage in is another advantage of a freelance job.
Among positive aspects, we should also add flexibility. You can work at home and, thus, save money and time on transportation. If you wish, however, you may work from a co-working space or your favorite coffee shop. And, of course, no-one will make you stay at a workplace from 9 till 5.
Finally, a great thing about freelance jobs is the ability to enjoy the calm of your personal office, without colleagues, open spaces, or extended meetings.
Why You Should Not Start Freelancing
The first inconvenience which seems relatively obvious is the isolation, in case you are not working in a co-working space. Working in a physical office, you learn about the corporate culture and build a certain social bond that one finds in business. If you do not plan on working as a freelancer for your whole life, building soft skills by merely being present in the office and participating in social life is extremely important.
Secondly, you will face the need to manage some administrative tasks on your own (invoices, reminders, accounts, etc.). Besides, you should be highly organized to be able to finish all of your tasks in time and balance between your studies, freelance projects, and private life. However, there are tons of productivity apps that can help you with that.
Distinguishing your professional and personal life is not the easiest thing to do, whether you are a freelance or an employee. However, as a freelancer, you work from home, and the line separating your working and leisure time is blurred.
Finally, no matter how cool freedom sounds, it can be difficult for many to manage. You may stumble upon the problems of finding your work pace and sticking to it. Some days will be unproductive, and you may find yourself procrastinating. Keep in mind that this is part of your process. You will finally learn to manage your working life. In any case, if you are organized enough to freelance as a student, any recruiter will appreciate this experience and consider yourself to be a responsible and independent employee.
Top Freelance Platforms
Please, note that the prices and fees mentioned are relevant as of December 2020. For more detailed information, check the websites of the respective services.
Freelancer fee: free
You can simply type “freelance” in the search engine to find numerous opportunities on Facebook. The advantage of this social network is that it doesn’t charge a fee, compared to other freelance websites. However, it’s easier here to become a scam victim. If you would like to take off here, do your research and make sure your client is the one they claim to be. If possible, check the reviews of their previous collaborators and ask to pay upfront.
Freelancer fee: 10%
The distinguishing feature of such platforms as Freelancer is their reliability. If something goes awry, you can always count on the support of the platform. However, the competition on this platform is high as well.
Freelancer fee: 20% at a starting point; after you earn your first $500, the fee is reduced to 10%
Due to its popularity, Upwork offers opportunities with some well-known companies. However, you will need to work your way to build a reputable profile before they start considering you. The range of tasks you can do on this platform is vast. You can use the search engine before registering to see which types of jobs are available for you according to your skills. The fee here is the highest for new freelancers, although it is reduced with time. In this manner, they try to encourage freelancers to work regularly rather than placing bids every now and then.
In general, all platforms are looking for long-term partnerships with their freelancers. For that reason, it may be wiser to sign up for one platform and work on your reputation there instead of managing multiple accounts in the hope of having more orders.
Hopefully, you got your dose of inspiration to try freelancing. Good luck!