Here’s Why Students Should Choose Freelancing over a Regular Part-time Job
The top five luxuries that freelancing offers to students
I was introduced to the freelance market at a young age of 17. As an undergrad, I was dependent on my parents to support my academic and social expenditures for the first two semesters.
But thanks to freelancing, I was financially independent as a sophomore in a way that I was making enough money to support myself.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Freelancing is not all about money. With over eight years of experience, I can vouch to have learned countless “applied” skills from freelancing that are usually “out of curriculum” as far as conventional education is concerned.
So, naturally, I am a staunch supporter of freelancing for students.
No, I don’t think you should jump into freelancing because it will help your understanding of time and money management. You can learn it just as well from a part-time job, much like everybody else.
Based on my personal experience, here are the top five luxuries that freelancing offers to students, but a regular part-time job doesn’t.
1. Get Paid to Develop Skills
For the most part, it’s a concept attributed entirely to freelancing. The conventional job market will usually require you to get dozens of unpaid internships on your resume just to be sure that you are the right candidate for the job.
But such was not the case when I entered the freelance market as a “Content Writer”. If I’m being honest, I had zero experience in writing when I started applying as a potential Content Creator at a few of the online platforms.
And of course, I did not end up landing a job at Washington Post. But the freelance market connected me with clients who were willing to bet on a newcomer at the minimal budget. Still better than unpaid, right?
The best part was that I started receiving feedback from actual employers. That went a long way in honing my applied skills in writing.
Point being, the freelance market is not one that hides behind a piece of paper, such as a resume. It welcomes you as long as you can get the job done.
You get to practice and improve a chosen skill all the while making some extra cash. Over time as you master your craft, you can start approaching clients with a broader budget and turn the pocket money into a decent income.
2. Save More Time
Being a full-time student, the only other option at my disposal to make money was a part-time job. And I did work as a part-time cashier at a local store for one semester. So, I’m well-positioned to draw a fair comparison between part-time work and freelancing.
The problem with a part-time job was how exhausting did it get for me every week. I had to get to class at 09:00 in the morning. I was done with school at 14:00 and had to immediately rush to work.
It was a thirty-minute commute to the store where I worked, and a forty-five-minute commute from work back to my apartment.
This was an additional over an hour of commute that I had to take every day. After four hours of shift at the store, I used to get home by around 20:00. That’s about 12 hours away from home every day.
Who would want to cook dinner and get on the academic assignment after that?
But once I got into freelancing, the overall quality of my life changed dramatically. After school, I could now get straight back to my apartment and take an hour of nap. Naturally, I got to start working with a fresh state of mind that helped a great deal with productivity and efficiency at large.
Avoiding unnecessary commute and the ability to work from the comfort of your home goes a long way in making your day much less exhausting.
With freelancing, you get to work as much as on a regular part-time job, make the same amount of money, and still be left with enough energy and time on your hand to cook yourself a delicious dinner and get that university paper ready for the next morning.
3. Be Your Own Boss
If you want to get a sneak peek into the life of an entrepreneur as a student, there’s hardly a better avenue than freelancing.
In the third year of my honors degree, Tuesdays and Thursday were the most hectic for me. Compared to a part-time job that would have made me roughly the same amount of money, I benefitted from freelancing and decided to take Tuesdays and Thursdays off.
There weren’t any objections, of course. Why? Because I was my own boss. Freelancing enables you to practice a complete control over when do you want to work and how many hours do you want to put in.
There isn’t an official schedule that directs you to show up right after school at 15:00 sharp. You feel like taking a nap after school and get to work at 18:00 instead? Your call boss!
For me, such flexibility was everything that fascinated me about an entrepreneur’s life. And with freelancing, I was already getting to practice it.
The flexibility did not even translate into lower income. If Tuesdays were hectic for me academically, I could work on Saturdays instead, to cover for it. The net impact on monthly income? “ZERO”.
4. Get Yourself a Relevant Experience
How would you like to enter the conventional job market with years of experience as a fresh graduate?
You are unlikely to relish such a luxury with a part-time job. Take me, for example. I was getting a degree in Biosciences and working as a cashier at a local store to make some extra money. The two things that could not be farther apart.
But as a freelance content writer, I got to improve my writing skills. A skill that I could see will be applicable in my professional career as a biological researcher with all the report writing, technical writing, essays, and white papers involved.
Simply put, freelancing aligns itself with your long-term professional goals.
Imagine sitting in an interview for the position of a data analyst at one of your desired companies. While other candidates have a 6-month internship on their portfolio, you are there bragging about three years of experience in data analysis and expertise in a bunch of relevant software like SPSS, Tableau, and QlikView etc.
5. Broader Job Prospects
In a way, the freelance market broadens your job prospects by several folds. You are no longer bound to landing a job in your state. Not even in your country for all I care. It connects you with employers from across the globe. But that’s just one of the ways how it helps increase the job prospects for you.
Freelancing has the potential to align itself with your professional goals. But it is, by no means, a requirement. After all, you could be into business by academia but who’s there to say that you can’t catch an interest in, say, photo and video editing?
Freelancing offers a platform for you to develop such skills that you picked up as hobbies. More often than not, these skills have the potential to be turned into a full-time career.
Here’s a revelation for you. I got my honors in Bioscience but didn’t pursue it professionally. I caught such a profound interest in content writing that I am now working as a full-time writer for the past three years.
So, if the idea of turning your hobby into a professional career excites you, the freelance market is an effective, time-efficient, and a practical approach to turn it into a reality.
6. Become a Small Business Owner
Even if you don’t take it up as a full-time career, you can keep freelancing as a part-time, additional source of income. You could, perhaps, continue to work on your freelancing projects over the weekends. What’s wrong with some extra cash for doing what you love anyway, right?
If not, you can slowly turn it into a small business. A passive source of income, if you may.
I started my career in writing on the back of clients that were willing to bet on newcomers. Today, I’m a client myself who gives freelancers with no prior experience a go at writing.
Freelancing ultimately opens the way for you to start outsourcing the projects. I now have a team of five content writers that have been working for me since last year. My job, for the most part, has been shrunk to negotiating and striking a deal with the clients only.
My team now handles the tasks for me while I make a small profit out of every project that is completed successfully. If you can invest more time into grabbing more projects, expanding your team, and training it sufficiently to remove the need for editing, the possibilities are endless.
Ultimately, it boils down to this. Why would you want to waste your time, energy, and talents on something that you don’t even love doing? Something that doesn’t help with your professional goals?
As a student, you are already under a lot of academic and financial stress. The line of work that you choose during these years, therefore, must offer more than just money.
If you are already dreading having to pack the hectic university schedule with a 20-hour job, exploring your prospects in the freelance market may be liberating.
Khan has an experience of over eight years in blogging. He specializes in writing content for several niches, including healthcare, business, tech, finance, and life coaching. Follow me on Medium: https://medium.com/@wajeehkhan93