Saturday, August 1, 2015

5 Tips for Successfully Freelancing as a College Student

As you will soon learn, I am very passionate about freelancing. If you were to Google my name, you will see I am a freelance writer, I dabbled in transcription, and so on. However, what I loved and still love about freelancing is as a college student, you have more than enough work with your classes. However, with freelancing you can set your own schedule, you can work when you want to, not when the company you work for needs you.

Markus Spiske /

Instead of having to juggle a “real” job as most people like to refer to it as, you can freelance to help jump start your career, if you choose to; or gain some very important skills for a better job after graduation. From experience, it is pretty easy to start and well rewarding, if you stick to it.
Now, that you are probably Googling how to become this great freelancer, I do want to warn you that it is not as easy, not as simple as it sounds. I know how hard it is to keep up with school, and how hard it is to keep up with your clients. If you fall into this never ending hole, you may never be able to get out; you will compromise your school and professional work. Therefore, in a blink of an eye, you will fail both school and work at the same exact time.

This is why I will let you in on five secrets that have helped me keep school and work life from failing.

Prioritize Your Classes

This tip is a no-brainer, but you don’t know how easy it is to put your classes on the back burner for a few days. You think, oh, it is just a few days, I can easily catch up, but that is how it starts. A few days will turn into a week, then the next time you realize it, you are so far behind that it is almost impossible to catch up.

Now, let me tell you this, I failed a few classes due to this. You are getting ready to start on some homework and your client Skypes you, and they need you to complete a few articles for them by tomorrow. Well, you decide to not do your homework that is also due tomorrow and do the articles. Now tell me, is this the right thing to do? No, it is not. You won’t believe how many times, I have done this because I thought money was more important than my education. If you have homework, do your homework. Do not take your focus off of school over a few dollars. Keep that your number one priority no matter what.

Let Your Client Know you are a Student

Now, this one, I do depending on the client, and their needs. If a client wants me to be available 24/7, I will tell them that I am a full-time student and not available during this time, on these days. This will let the client know that you have other obligations, and most of the time they will respect that.

Most clients will not mind that you are a college student; some of them may even be impressed and ask what you are studying. As a client, they know you will have times where you cannot work, or answer your emails, and messages quickly, but this should not be your excuse why you cannot make a deadline either. For instance, your client will need 5 articles by next Thursday and it is Saturday. You should not tell your client on Thursday that you cannot deliver them because of school. There is more than enough time for you to complete those articles and still focus on school.

Choose Your Activities Wisely

If you’re a social butterfly, you might be a member of many clubs and organizations at your college. Joining the right groups can be a huge benefit for your academic and professional careers, but as a student, freelancer, you’ve got to choose which ones will be best.

College doesn’t have to be about parties every night. There are a lot of different clubs and organizations that can help your freelance career, as well as your academic career. For instance, some colleges offer an entrepreneurship club, this club will help you create and maintain connections that you may need later in life.

Personally, I do choose to not join any clubs or organizations. However, that doesn’t mean it is not a good choice because it is. It all depends on what kind of club you are choosing to be a part of.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

This happens to the best of us; even the veterans have an issue with this. You need to know your limits and respect them at all times. If you feel overwhelmed, you may need to take a break. However, do not plan a good work load when it is finals week either. You should always plan for times when you know studying will be heavier too.

For instance, during finals week, I may only write a few pieces rather than during a week when I barely have any school work, I can write much, much more. It all really depends on my school work. Personally, I plan my weeks using my school syllabus and go from there. Sometimes, the load changes, while other times it doesn’t. However, it is a great tool to use.

Make Your Own Rules

Needless to say, what I love about being a freelancer, you are your own boss. Yes, that is the best perk about this job. You get to choose what you want to do, when you want to do, without having someone breathing down your neck.

Therefore, what you need to do before you contract with anyone, you need to make sure you and your client are both on the same page about the terms of the position. Since your client is choosing to work with you, they are accepting your work conditions. Basically, all that means, is they cannot complain about your work schedule. However, sometimes, clients will say they need articles by this time, or by this day. If you can do it, tell them, if you cannot try and compromise a time. Don’t tell the customer how you are the boss and you will work when you want because quite frankly, you won’t have many clients.

So, please do not let this, you’re the boss thing get to your head. You may be the boss, but treating your customers with respect, and allowing them to have some say when they need their work by can help you and your business. Your clients will more likely recommend you to their colleagues.

Question: Did you freelance when you were in college? If so, share your tips in the comment section!

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