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Freelancing Career in College: How to Start 19 April, 2021   

College years are one of the best times for most people. No major historical event can change the fact that you start to figure out who you are and what you want during college. Being a student, you also understand the importance of doing everything in time and getting a high grade in your chosen major, and you also appreciate making extra cash. 

Without a doubt, it is possible to be on top of your course and get a valuable experience. So why is freelancing considered to be one of the easiest and tough experiences simultaneously, and how to start your career? Let’s answer these questions before we get to technical stuff like putting a correct objective on resume example and listing must-have qualifications.

Before looking for offers

First of all, you have to make sure that you are in the right headspace for new opportunities. You might feel overwhelmed with all that semester’s fuss and the necessity to be one of the brightest students in the college. It is not an easy job to be always happy and always have means of taking care of yourself. That’s why it is important to start with some resting before you would hop on the fast train of career development. 

Deal with your research papers and exams first, then give yourself enough time to rest. Only then start looking for inspirational stories that would bring you a boost of creativity and encourage you to look for your path. Yes, sometimes you need to find inspiration in the lives of others (or books, or whatever makes you feel good and gives you confidence). Don’t expect yourself to figure everything out in the snap of a finger. 

Freelance is considered to be a heaven and hell on Earth because everything depends on your time management skills. You are the one responsible for communication with clients, getting projects done, and dealing with your “employee” platforms. So you have to manage everything effectively. 

If you don’t create boundaries and timetables, you would be sucked up by your work. It might impact your academic performance and leave you with no free time for social life. It is the last thing you want when having a side hustle. 

Simultaneously, you become your own brand when you join the freelance world. Every case, when you fail to finish your work in time, casts a big shadow on you and your reputation. The rating system is common for many freelance positions, so you won’t profit from being confused, lost, and rated with less than four stars. 

If you are not sure you have any time to launch your freelance career, better give yourself more time to think about it. There’s no rush, and you would definitely find the niche where you would be one of the leading specialists. Yet, the situations are different, and you might start understanding the value of notebooks, schedules, productivity apps, and different perspectives on being a boss. 

Define what do you want to do and whether you can do it

Freelance can be anything from writing to working with web design. Writing, editing, writing apps, or shooting and photoshopping new entries for stock photo platforms. You are not limited by a range of open options presented on the website, so you can start in whatever niche you want.

Yet, be prepared to update your laptop or PC as you might need to work with large amounts of data. Some of the jobs require only high-speed Internet connection, though. That is a perfect choice for people who join freelance to upgrade their devices. If you have problems with your working station or high-speed connection, it is better to resolve this aspect before getting into several projects.

At the same time, think carefully, whether you want to join the freelancers’ community or focus on a startup project, which requires a different set of skills or logistics. Of course, you might make a startup alone, but it’s a more ambitious project to grasp. Freelance websites may require only a portfolio and a small test case for starting to contact the clients right away. 

Work on your skills

Choose the field you would like to learn more from the inside or something you like to advance. For instance, you are good at writing, so it’s time to remember some editing tips and get ready to search for offers for copywriters and writers. Or maybe it’s a perfect time to remember the second language you learned in high school. 

Many design students start their portfolios via freelance offers. If you are passionate about coding, it’s time to put your knowledge to work. Don’t forget to keep track of all of your work done and collect the best projects for your CV. 

Every skill you possess is your advantage. Of course, you should focus on something specific and master one of your talents. You know the proverb: “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” 

On the other hand, you are always encouraged to show your motivation and ability to adapt. Many people would love to work with people who are not afraid to suggest something beneficial. 

Nevertheless, you should never stop improving and developing. You may drastically change your plans in one year. You may change your degree or decide you don’t like photography anymore (or you want to turn the industry upside down). What we’re saying is to plant a seed of knowledge now and get beautiful results in the future. 

Your soft skills are a must

Getting along with people is a must. Most of the time, you won’t have an active and passionate dialog with your clients. You mostly would work with precise and clear instructions instead. But other times it is important to show that you are a trustworthy person and people should cooperate with you in the future. 

It’s time to remember some rules of effective communication and building relationships with others. You don’t have to be as sweet as sugar. You need to know how to respect others and set your boundaries. 

It is also important to note: you don’t have to tolerate disrespect. Clients come and go. Your mental health and wellbeing are always a priority. 

Consider tutoring as a freelance option

Being a creator is always good for your future career. Yet, working with people is also a valuable asset that you can take to another level. Being an online tutor is one of those career opportunities that would give you a boost for practicing what you already know. As a bonus, you would learn how to cooperate with people of different ages and backgrounds. 

Surely, being a tutor is not everyone’s cup of coffee. You have to be confident enough in your knowledge of the subject. You also have to develop a plan for studying, and it requires some dedication. And you have to be mentally prepared to speak with people and explain the subject to them. 

There are various possibilities to choose from. You can work individually or with a small group. All classes are limited in time, and you work extra time only if checking your students’ homework. A big advantage is that you choose your schedule and don’t overwork. 

Be cautious

Also, pay close attention to where you register and what terms and conditions you sign. It is really important to clarify all unclear aspects before agreeing to join any platform. Don’t worry because many big freelance platforms are proven to be secure and legit.

You are your boss now, and you bear the responsibility for your time and effort put into the campaign. It might be stressful enough, but it is a matter of experience and attentiveness when it comes to cooperation with people.  

As a newbie, you might not get a fair payment for the first projects. Don’t be greedy and give yourself time to get some recognition. It’s all about building a reputation and trustworthy relationship with your clients.  

Important Note: you might receive quite tempting offers “beyond” the platform, and it is a big red flag to recognize. If someone contacts you and suggests “settling business” without an agreement, you might end up without payment for your job. Report the profiles as freelance platforms usually are there to represent you and resolve such controversial cases.

So, what is important for you?

  • Master the art of time management;

  • Understand what you want to do and if you have the necessary tools to do it;

  • Look at various opportunities, tutoring, or other activities;

  • Advance some of your skills before applying for the job (for instance, reading related blogs, watching educational videos);

  • Improve your soft skills and learn how to respect others and respect your time;

  • Think carefully about platforms, their terms and conditions before agreeing with them.

freelancing career freelance work

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