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Finding a Freelance Job: A Guide For College Students

Every semester, fast food restaurants, grocery stores, clothing retailers, and other businesses are inundated with applications from college students. Some of these students are seeking work to fund their educational expenses, while others simply need a bit of spending money. In any case, if you are a student trying to find work in a college town, competition can be fierce. Putting application after application can be frustrating when you aren’t getting any response.

Here’s a bit of good news. There is another option. You may have skills and talents that you can use to get freelance work. These positions are often flexible, pay more than standard student jobs, and you can often work from the comfort of your own home. Does this sound interesting? Keep reading to learn more about finding the ideal freelance job.

The Benefits of Freelancing

If you have doubts about freelancing, that’s understandable. Friends and family members might encourage you to just ‘get a real job’. You might worry that future employers might frown on this. However, the truth is that working as a freelancer might put you into a better position in the future than your friends who went the traditional route. As a freelancer you might:

  • Show That You Can Contribute Something Valuable to an Organization
  • Learn to Market Yourself
  • Track Your Own Finances
  • Pick up Social Media Skills
  • Learn to Negotiate
  • Meet Deadlines Without a Boss Guiding You
  • Gain Work Experience Directly Related to Your Career of Choice

This last point is extremely important. Most students have to take internships, usually unpaid, to pick up relevant work experience. As an alternative, they might be able to get part-time, low-level positions at companies that interest them, but the work is not likely to be relevant to a career.


Assessing Your Skills

Most freelancing jobs are service oriented. This means that as a general rule, you will be offering a service to your clients, as opposed to a product. However, there are a few exceptions to this. We will mention these below. Before you can get started,  you have to take an honest assessment of your skills. This helps you determine which freelancing positions to pursue. Here are some things that you can do to determine which of your skills are most useful. Try to answer some of the following questions:

  • Do you have hobbies or interests that have produced marketable skills?
  • In which school subjects have you excelled?
  • What have you learned from part-time jobs that can marketed elsewhere?
  • Are you frequently approached by friends and family members for help in a particular area? What do they ask you to do?

Here are some skills that are very marketable for freelancers, and some of the jobs that you can find that are related to these skills.

  • Photography and Videography

○     Sign on with a local niche magazine or newspaper to work as a freelance photographer.

○     Take graduation, wedding, pet portraits, and other pictures.

○     Film wedding videos.

○     Help small businesses film training or marketing videos.

○     Take pictures of properties for real estate agents.

  • Organizational Skills

○     Earn money helping people organize their homes and offices.

○     Help people organize their computer files and paperwork.

○     Help businesses and organizations put together events.

  • Basic Computer Skills

○     Tutor ‘newbies’ in Gmail, MS Word, and other skills.

○     Help people set up their computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

○     Teach inexperienced people to use the internet and social media.

  • Advanced Computer And Web Development Skills

○     Develop apps for small businesses

○     Offer other students help developing online portfolios and personal websites.

○     Develop and maintain websites for local businesses.

  • Athletic Ability

○     Be a workout partner for someone new to fitness

○     Write up diet and workout plans for other students

○     Work as a coach or an umpire.

  • Artistic Talent

○     Design wedding and birthday invitations.

○     Create logos for businesses and organizations.

○     Earn money creating commissioned art.

○     Create promotional materials for local events.

○     Create and sell works of art online, at art fairs, conventions, or in galleries.

  • Customer Service Skills

○     Work from home as a freelance customer service agent.

○     In home telemarketing.

○     Conducting polls and surveys for busineses and organizations.

  • Academic Talents

○     Provide online tutoring.

○     Offer to teach continuing education classes at community centers.

○     Tutor other college students who need assistance. Even the best college students need academic assistance.

  • Sales

○     Contact local construction companies and other small businesses and offer to set appointments or make direct sales.

○     Sell candles, cosmetics, kitchen supplies, and other items such as Avon.

○     Work with artists and craftspersons to sell their goods.

  • Writing Skills

○     Write resumes and cover letters for a fee. Apply to resume service as writer, designer, or editor.

○     Submit articles and blog posts to publications that pay.

○     Help small businesses write blog and social media posts.

○     Create a blog then make money through advertising and affilliate marketing.

  • Construction Maintenance And Janitorial Skills

○     Work as a freelance handyperson.

○     Offer cleaning services to busy homeowners and small businesses.

If you don’t feel as if you have a marketable skill, keep looking. Virtually everybody has some skill that they can use to earn a bit of money without working a standard minimum wage job. If you cannot think of something, perhaps you can find ways to update your skills quickly. For example, when tax season approaches, many tax preparation services offer free classes. You could use those skills to help other students prepare their income taxes. If you are a talented artist and baker, you might be able to take a cake decorating course. Then, you can sell your talents as a decorator for birthday parties and other events.


Creating Work For Yourself

Sometimes, the best way to find freelance oppurtunities is to simply pay attention. Do you live in a dorm? What can you do for other students to earn money? Students with the munchies might gladly pay double market price for frozen pizzas, chips, or ramen that you’ve stashed in your room. A student who wants to spend the evening at home with a date, might be more than willing to slip you a twenty to clean their dorm room before the big night. You might even put word out that you are interested in any old clothing or electronics that others throw out. These can be consigned at resale shops, pawn shops, or recycled.


Finding Clients

It is usually a good idea to begin your freelance venture by following the path of least resistance. Searching online for freelance job boards related to your interests is a good first step. Next, try looking up other freelancers who are doing what you want to do. Do they have websites? Are they active on LinkedIn? Are they advertising their services on craigslist? You don’t want your freelance business to be an exact copy of another, but this can certainly help you to figure out where to get started. Here are some options that might work for you:

  • Ask permission to post flyers and leave business cards at local businesses.
  • Find Facebook and other social media groups that invite advertisements.
  • Buy inexpensive ad space on local internet publications.
  • Leave flyers around campus.
  • Ask parents, friends, and family members for leads.
  • Contact businesses directly offering your services.


Don’t Forget to Stay Organized

Now that you know how to find freelance work, your next step is to stay organized. You’ll need to keep on top of appointments and deadlines. You’ll also have lots of paperwork to keep straight. If you earn enough money, you’ll also need to pay taxes and organize your receipts. Fortunately...


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Comment by Veronica Wright on November 11, 2016 at 7:07am

Thanks, Allan and Myhriah for your kind words!

I'm so much happy you loved my article.

Next time, I'll try to push my writing to the next level. It's so inspiring to read such warm comments. :)

Comment by Myhriah Young on November 10, 2016 at 10:13am

This is great Veronica!!  I'm Printing this out for my kids!!

Comment by Allan Dubon on November 9, 2016 at 9:41am

This is fantastic! I love the information you are sharing here! It really helped me in college to be able to build websites on the side and have some emergency money when I needed it! 

Comment by Veronica Wright on November 9, 2016 at 8:38am

Thanks, Jen!

It's such a pleasure to me, be the part of this community. That was one of the hardest researches I've made recently!

Group Leader
Comment by Jen McDonough "The Iron Jen" on November 9, 2016 at 7:54am

By the way...welcome to the 48days.net Community! 

Group Leader
Comment by Jen McDonough "The Iron Jen" on November 9, 2016 at 7:53am

Veronica - spot on awesome article as it does so much for giving people great out of the box ideas. THANK YOU for sharing!!!

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