All thoughts and opinions of guest posters are uniquely their own and do not necessarily reflect my personal experiences or beliefs. Thank you for supporting writers who support The Confused Millennial. Please welcome Cole Nemeth from She Monster Media.
Like a lot of students, I started college without a clear vision of what I wanted to do once I graduated. Back in 2013 I had little knowledge about freelancing, content marketing or business in general. What I did have? A lot of determination and drive to succeed. I knew I wanted to get as much experience as possible while still in school.
When I saw a post on one of my favorite blogs looking for regular contributors, I knew I had to go for it. Even without any experience and just two months into my schooling, I submitted an application and to my surprise, I got the gig!
Now I’ve moved up to the next level in my program and I still freelance. There are a lot of reasons why I started freelancing in college, but it wasn’t until recently that I began to notice all of the benefits it's awarded me. I honestly think that there are a lot of incredibly talented students out there who would also benefit from freelancing while in school and here’s why.
1. Try Out Different Things
College is the opportune time to test the waters. See what it is you like, and what you don't like. In almost every career field there are a number of different paths you can take, so before you even graduated it's a good idea to have some sort of direction. For example, while studying public relations, there are a number of different jobs one can do from event planner to social media manager. By doing some freelance work that's related to your program, you can try out different things and discover what it is you really enjoy.
2. Gain Experience
When I started applying for internships and part-time jobs, I quickly realized how beneficial it was to have freelance writing on my resume. A lot of my classmates were working retail jobs, which are also great, but here I was having actual related experience. Freelancing is a fantastic way to help gain experience while still in school, and you can do it all on your own.
3. Profit off your skills
No matter what you study in school, chances are there’s a way to make money at it as a freelancer. Graphic design, writing, illustration, bookkeeping, photography, tutoring or even babysitting – the possibilities are endless. Freelancing while still in college is probably one of the easiest ways to profit off of your skills before you even graduate.
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4. Learn more and faster
By taking what you learn in school and immediately applying it to a real life work experience, you're going to learn the material a lot more and a lot faster. When I took project management in school, I found it so confusing. But when I was getting ready to launch my new website I actually followed the steps I learned in class and without even realizing it before, I actually understood it completely. Freelancing gives you the opportunity to apply what you learn right away, which is good.
5. Flexible work schedule
It can be really hard to find the time to do anything between your class schedule and your homework. And if you have a part-time job, on top of extra-curricular activities, your time is that much more valuable. Instead of making time to travel to and from a part-time job on someone else's schedule, freelancing allows you to work when and where you want to.
6. Make an income
A lot of college students end up working minimum wage jobs while they're in school. While there's nothing wrong with that, freelancing can actually make you a lot more money. For example, where I live minimum wage is about $11 an hour, but I can make $30 or even $300 in just an hour or two writing up one blog post for somebody else. Your income is not controlled by anyone except for you.
7. Profit off your passion
Speaking of making money, wouldn't it be amazing if you could profit off of something you love? Freelancing while still in college gives you the opportunity to make some serious cash from your passion.
8. Build your portfolio
Depending on which college program you're in, your portfolio might be more important than your grades. Not that grades aren't important, because they totally are. But when you go into a job interview a lot of interviewers are more interested in seeing what kind of work you can produce. By freelancing while still in college, you'll have more than just course assignments to share, you'll have real projects.
9. Start networking
Networking is an important part of any career, and at every stage in your career. Freelancing while still in college is a fantastic way to start networking. First, because you have to in order to get clients, but because you're already reaching out to people, you're already staring to build professional relationships. This can be a huge benefit when it comes time to start looking for a job after graduation.
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10. Build a successful business
And who knows? Maybe by the time you graduate your freelance business might become your career. A lot of people make comfortable incomes from freelancing. The sooner you get started, the more successful you will be by graduation!
Being a freelancer is not always an easy path, but there are a lot of benefits to freelancing while in college. If you're a determined and self-motivated person, freelancing might just be the perfect gig for you while you're working towards your degree.
Would you try freelancing while still in college? Why or why not?