Is Freelancing Good For Students?

Is Freelancing Good For Students? Students who earn money through freelancing don’t really have much to worry about when it comes to taxes, bills, and having enough to be able to feed a family.

Some students spend their earnings on everyday needs while others (like me) have allowances being sent every two weeks to cover most of the major expenses (especially food and transportation).

This leaves my freelance earnings in my bank account at my disposal.

Obviously, the earnings received from freelance work can be spent on almost anything my heart desires. I get to buy clothes, shoes, accessories, better food, and can even treat my friends out to pizza every week!

The Stepping Stones to a Freelance Career

Of course, not all student freelancers begin this way.

A freelance graphic designer may have started out with a design project as a favor for his best friend. A freelance virtual assistant could have stumbled upon many other websites that hire VAs specifically.

What all these humble beginnings do have in common though is they teach us the fundamental skills for a freelancing career.

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In my case, I learned all kinds of interesting things about the freelance writing industry, with the company starting me off with the basics. These included:

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  • Adhering to instructions, such as word count and keyword placement
  • How to submit the articles (we had to use Winzip)
  • How to open a bank account (my first payment option)
  • How to check for plagiarism using seomagnifier
  • How to write under tight deadlines.

Eventually, I began to learn the more difficult stuff. I started taking on different and more difficult writing projects while working under tighter deadlines. Soon enough, I discovered oDesk.com and created my own profile in 2012.

I learned how to cater to clients, how to set my own freelance writing rates, how to negotiate, and the value of feedback and testimonials.

How to Succeed as a Student Freelancer

I did learn one hard lesson about student freelancing, and it’s a lesson I had to pay dearly for.

Student freelancing is difficult. It’s not for those who suck at time management nor is it for those who prioritize their university education. It’s not for those who prefer to stay within their comfort zones, the weak-hearted, or those who don’t want to take risks.

In my experience, I was still rickety on the time management side of student freelancing. I was bad at sorting my priorities, and because freelancing was an amazing experience for me, I failed a course subject and got low grades.

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So if you feel that balancing freelancing and school is too much to handle, stop reading this post, but the thought of freelancing aside, and focus on school.

But if you think you can handle the two together and are not afraid of the challenges ahead, then I’m sure you can take on whatever comes your way.

At most, these are the things you need to succeed as a student freelancer:

1. Skills 

Are you good with words or digital art? Any experience with app development or website design? Before you can even begin to freelance, you need skills to sell.

2. A Strong and Growing Portfolio 

Already build an impressive portfolio for bigger and more challenging projects in the future

3. Great Communication Skills 

You should have a strong grasp of the English language to communicate with both local and international clients.

4. Freelancing tools 

Skype, email, and the tools of the trade. Use this freelancing toolkit as a guide.

5. Payment Options

This is a must-have, as you will encounter lots of potential scammers and cheapskates who will try to outsmart and abuse you.

6. Excellent Time Management 

You should know when to freelance and when to do your school projects. Set reasonable deadlines for freelance projects to avoid overlapping your school work.

7. Courage and Guts 

Student freelancers need guts. You’ll face all kinds of challenges when working with clients, especially those who expect you to work for peanuts because of your student background.

8. Humility

Student freelancing is all about learning and gaining experience, which means you will receive rejection and criticism. You will also make a couple of mistakes along the way. Be humble enough to accept and learn from them.

So before you start revving up your engines, ask yourself if you have what it takes to study and freelance at the same time. Can you take on the pressures of both school AND your growing clientele? Can you motivate yourself to spend your free hours from school on your freelance projects?

9. An ideal range of freelance rates and fees 

Spend a full day (or week) planning on how much you want to earn as a freelancer. Choose the best freelance rate and stick to it all the way.

10. A good sense of personal finance 

You’re dealing with actual income here, so you should know how to budget and set aside money for what’s to come after graduation.

If yes, then take those first steps to build a career as a student freelancer.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to gain from student freelancing is experience.

Whether you decide to become a freelancer or not, the experience you gain from working for actual clients and applying your skills to actual projects is extremely valuable. These are what will help you get to where you want to go the moment the diploma is in your hands.

Treasure the experience, whether good or bad. Learn from your mistakes and take the lessons with you to your next phase in life. Who knows, you might actually find yourself setting up your own freelancing business in the future, with a wide range of clients waiting at your virtual doorstep.

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