If I had a dollar for every time I hear a university student make the statement “I’m broke”, I would be a close competition to world’s richest man Bill Gates. Maybe I would have built a university.
Being a student requires hard work and for most university students, one of the biggest problems of schooling is the lack of money. Very few students have enough cash to spend while in school and so they look for various means of getting money. Also, because of the busy schedule, most students are unable to take day jobs and so look to freelancing as the solution.
In many campuses today, many students offer various freelance services ranging from programming to designing and writing. Almost every type of freelancer can be found on campuses and they run their services professionally. In essence, the number of student freelancers is increasing and they are beginning to form a huge chunk of the workforce. Here are five useful tips that would help student freelancers work better.
1. Learning how to manage time. Time management is probably the most important skill to a student freelancer and this is because most students are swamped with so many activities starting from school work to extracurricular activities. Adding freelancing to this mountain of activities only means that it would become harder to manoeuvre between all these activities.
Having good time management skills would, however, lessen this burden. It is important to note that the key to time management is knowing what activities need to be done and scheduling the time to carry them out. For some students, freelancing is easier done in the night after other activities have been handled. Others prefer the weekends, while for some it’s holidays. Whatever you decide, what is important is that you get your job done without overexerting yourself. Remember health is wealth, if you feel lethargic and unhealthy from too much work, examine your activities and reschedule. Drop some activities if necessary, and do not take projects you know you won’t have time to execute.
2. Knowing the value of the service you are rendering. As a student, it’s hard to get clients when you are just starting out with no previous record or work experience. It is advisable to start your freelance career by taking free jobs, volunteering, and accepting low paid jobs but the purpose of this is to gain experience and to build your portfolio. Once you’ve gained some experience, begin to charge fees for your services. Many clients like to take advantage when relating with student freelancers. They underprice services, make late payments and act unprofessionally. One way to avoid this is by defining the price for the services you are rendering, communicating them to clients and not yielding to unreasonable terms. You are a freelancer, not a charity organisation or philanthropist.
3. Learn how to prioritise. As a student freelancer, priorities clash a lot of times. You may have an assignment to submit, a test to read for, a programme to attend and an unfinished job all in the same day. While you may be able to juggle all activities simultaneously, this approach would only drain your energy and reduce your productivity. The best thing to do is to prioritise your activities. As a student, school work should ordinarily take priority, it is usually more efficient to finish doing school activities such as reading or assignments before engaging in freelance work. The reason for this is that concentrating on freelancing as a student may adversely affect school performance and you begin to get bad grades along with worrying and all other consequences of poor school performance. Deal with school work early and then start your freelance work. This is the best strategy.
4. Connect with people in your school environment. One of the benefits of freelancing as a student is that you have an existing platform for meeting clients; campus. A university campus is a great opportunity for meeting new clients and establishing relationships because you get to meet different types of people who may need your services. Your client could be a fellow student, lecturer or alumnus of the school. It is a great opportunity to meet new clients as programmes, networking events and various sorts of gatherings are constantly organised on campus. Seize this opportunity by introducing yourself and your business as frequent as possible, look out for events that relate to your field, attend them and make new acquaintances.
5. Deliver good services. To a student freelancer, delivering good work is as important as getting clients. As a student, you are already at a disadvantage because people will tend to underestimate your skill and ability. However, if you are known to deliver good work and have proof of previous jobs to show this, your status as a student would be overlooked. Clients are interested in your services and not in what you do outside freelancing. It is safer, to be honest about your studentship and it is very important that you do not lie. Apart from the fact that it creates trust between you and your client, it will also make it easy for you to explain circumstances when you cannot accept projects or when you delay in delivering.
Are you a student freelancer? Did you enjoy reading this post? Share your experience on freelancing in the comments section. Thank you for reading.