Attending university can be tough financially, regardless of the loans you receive or the support you get from family. Chances are at some point you will want to get a job for extra income.
Fortunately giving up your evenings and weekends to work in bars and restaurants is not your only option. Online freelancing offers the flexibility that appeals to students and will look good on your CV.
I have been freelancing ever since I could work – and in this blog, I shall give you my tips and advice on freelancing online.
What Is Online Freelancing?
Freelancing online is the selling of your digital skills over the web on a self-employed basis. As students, we have these skills in abundance, even if we don’t realise it.
For example, common freelance jobs include writing articles and blogs, graphic design, web design, video editing, web and app development, social media management, coding, data entry, customer service, virtual assistant work and more.
If you can do something on a computer that requires a level of skill, talent or that just takes time, then you can make money from it.
How Do I Get Started?
To get started you will need to create a profile on one of the large freelance marketplace websites, which connect freelancers with potential clients. UpWork is the most established of these, while Fiverr has built a large community based on the starting cost of $5 for all services.
Your profile should include the services you offer (blog posts, logo design etc), how much you charge (a blogger might charge between $1 and $2 per 100 words), a list of skills and a portfolio of past work.
As you complete jobs you will earn ratings and feedback. This builds your reputation, allows you to command better rates and makes finding more work easier.
Am I Good Enough?
If you’re wondering why anyone would hire you – many of you will have relevant A Levels or other qualifications, hobbies (maybe you make YouTube videos or write your own blog), and are studying a related degree.
Furthermore, work available to beginners typically involves the things that clients don’t have the time to do themselves or budget to pay an established professional for.
For example, if someone was launching a business they could pay a big graphic design company to make their logo, or seek out a talented individual on UpWork that charges much less – you are that individual!
Basic writing jobs might simply require somebody with a firm grasp of English to write filler for a website so search engines can find it.
It wasn’t a byline in the Guardian, but you still got paid to write!
One of the main benefits of online freelancing is that you are your own boss and can take on as much or as little work as you desire. Obviously, once you have agreed to do a client’s project you will need to see it through, but if you have exams approaching or just want to hang out with your housemates this weekend, you’re under no obligation to accept new projects.
Secondly, you can build that all-important portfolio. Pulling pints might not get you far in a film production career, but having hundreds of small editing gigs under your belt will certainly give you a head start.
If you want more advice on freelancing, you can contact the Career’s team here!