More college students are starting to work while attending college, and it’s not working as a barista. Students are taking advantage of the gig economy and opening up shop on freelance websites. Students create a profile offering a service that they can provide for entrepreneurs and other businesses around the globe.
The biggest advantage of freelancing is how the right gig can make you more valuable to businesses after college. While having customer service experience helps, it still doesn’t compare when competing for work with someone who has 10+ years of industry experience.
Looking to get a jump start on your career after college? Consider these reasons why you should start freelancing.
1. Make money
It goes without saying that the biggest reason college students should freelance is to make money. Don’t be fooled into thinking that making money by freelancing is easy. You have to be proactive about getting clients.
Joseph Nagle, Director of Marketing for EverCharge, started building flash-based web pages for local businesses while in school. In an interview with Forbes Nagle said, “All it takes is a little hustle. Most people don’t succeed because they don’t try. It’s the ones who learn to stick with it who see the real payoff in the end.” Though it seems like your schedule is already packed, set some time aside to create a business plan that will make you money so you can enjoy the social aspects of college without going into debt.
2. Freelance as a form of networking
Without working part-time, it is tough to come up with people you can use for referrals. Freelancing opens that up and with each project you work on, your network grows.
Jeffrey Moss started a freelance platform, Parker Dewey, with a college student’s best interests in mind. He explains that his platform is meant to, “help students to make some money, understand employee life and career demands, and provide employers with the chance to get to know prospective employees who might otherwise be just another applicant in a pile of resumes.” For that reason alone, the platform is definitely worth looking into.
3. Get serious about the service you offer and start a business
If you play your cards right, your freelance service can do more than get you steady work after you graduate. Think about this example: You are going to school to learn about finance and are set on becoming a CPA after graduation.
Why not start early, and start a bookkeeping service? You can easily promote it to small business owners looking for a low-cost solution to their accounting needs. Add it to the resume and see what happens. Potential long-term clients will love seeing that you took the incentive to start a business while getting a degree. They’ll be more likely to hire you right off the bat.
4. If you love the idea, here’s what you do next
Get your first client! The trick is to build up a good resume, or work history, in the service you want to provide. This gets a bit tricky if you’ve never done anything like this before.
Freelance web and graphic designer Charli Marie of CharliMarieTV revealed to Smart Passive Income how to get clients. “The more you put out there, the more useful and relevant content and information you share with people online, the more you’re going to look like an expert in your particular craft or skill.”
Bid on projects posted on freelance sites with a well-written resume. Another route to take is to cold email local business owners that could use a temp. Your first project will take work to get, but once you get some experience, use that to grow your clientele.
Studying for hours to get a college degree, then packing on a 15-20 hour a week job?
The thing is that business owners love seeing a student that is able to balance the two. Show that you can manage a freelancing service in college and your resume is bound to catch any recruiter’s eye.
Ben Walker is the founder and CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC in Denver, Colorado, which provides transcription services to the legal, law enforcement, medical, financial, academic, and business industries. Ben has become known worldwide as an expert in helping companies grow by utilizing the services of freelancers and contracted employees. He makes regular podcast appearances and has been featured in major publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. Magazine.