How to get started in freelancing as a student
A Step-by-step guide to getting started in freelancing as a student.
Freelancing, as a career, has been booming for the past few months now. Especially since the pandemic hit the world and everything went to ‘work from home’, it became the most sought-after job.
Freelancing is extremely flexible and allows you to expand your working and vision from a young age. Since freelancing does not really require a specific degree or qualification, but only skills, it helps you start young.
However, it comes with its own challenges. Being a freelancer sounds privileged to a level one cannot imagine, but what many people do not know is how you need to be a multi-tasker and an exceptional time manager in order to succeed in this field.
The pros and cons, however, are a story for another day. Today, let us dive deep into how do YOU become a freelancer whilst STILL being a student! Sounds crazy, isn’t it? Well, trust me – it is not as tough as you think and not as easy as you may imagine.
Let me break a few misconceptions for you to begin with, and state some facts about freelancing –
- It is a full-time job. However, if you decide to do it as a side hustle, that is possible too. Remember, even if you take it up on the side, you will still need to dedicate a couple of hours every day to keep the momentum going.
- It is not like any other ‘job’; the irregularities are daunting. One day, you can be loaded with 10 projects and the next with none. Do not let it get on to you by thinking you aren’t good enough just because you are not able to convert as many clients as you thought you would.
- It is a full-fledged business, and you are not only a freelancer but your own accountant, assistant, legal advisor, and right hand.
- If you are patient enough, it pays you well. However, it is a slow and strenuous process.
- It gives you the elasticity to work with clients overseas, opening doors to extensive exposure and learning.
Now, coming to the point – how to get started as a freelancer whilst still being a student. It is a step-wise process, which I have broken down into manageable segments for you.
Step 1: Understand your area of interest and your skills
If you are taking on the freelancing path, you need to be super sure about which area you are willing to get into.
Writing, web designing, social media management, brand management – there is an ocean of option to choose form. Realize your skills and know what you have to offer.
Step 2: Allocate time wisely
If you are a student, I am assuming you have weekly classes, homework, and self-study to do. Ensure that you dedicate time to everything according to your priorities.
If you have exams coming up, focus more on classes and self-study. Similarly, if you are in the midst of your semester, you can try your luck with a little more time devoted to freelancing.
Step 3: Capitalize on the presence of LinkedIn
Anything that I say about this platform is less! That is precisely how powerful LinkedIn is. Post regularly on this application, engage with people, and increase your network.
This helps you target not only the right set of audience and bag clients, but also create a personal brand that is of utmost significance to any freelancer.
Step 4: Try your luck with Upwork
Now, this is a little tough compared to creating LinkedIn content for increased visibility. However, it is an incredible kickstart for your journey.
Upwork allows you to bid on projects that you feel are most suited to you and enable you to work with clients worldwide. Register on the platform but do not have your hopes too high already; patience is the key to gratification!
Step 5: Have your samples ready
This is one of the most critical steps to abide by. Do not wait for clients to ask for samples; instead, have them handy with you at all times.
Spend some time preparing samples of your work – for example, if you are a writer, frame 5-8 articles/blogs; if you are a web developer, have a presentation (if not a website) ready to showcase your skills to the potential client.
Just make sure that you have something to prove yourself and your abilities to the client without wasting any time.
Bonus step: Approach clients through the methods mentioned above
Clients are everywhere, all we need to do is approach them at the right time, in the right space.
Network with clients on LinkedIn, bid to clients on Upwork – put your availability to work out there.
Email marketing works wonders, too; however, I do not recommend that for a student – so save that for later!
Lastly, all I would add is that if you really want to start as a freelancer whilst being a student – DO IT RIGHT NOW!
There is honestly no better time than to start when you have some extra time in hand, as a part-time engagement.
This will allow you to think if you really want to get into this line and leave you with ample time to develop further.
Finally, make sure you have your stance clear, not just with yourself but with your clients, too. Let them know your time availability to avoid any miscommunication later. Happy freelancing!
Freelance Content Writer | Speaker | Storyteller