Working as a Freelancer: 5 Secrets to Launching Your Side Hustle in College

Last Updated: 

March 17, 2023

Online Business Startup

Your time in college is, no doubt, exciting. It’s a time for you to go off on your own and forge your path.

But with it comes great responsibility.

Luckily there’s a solution, and it’s all about starting a side hustle. Freelancing is the perfect side hustle to make extra cash. And, you work wherever and whenever you want!

Freelancing can also help you learn about a particular industry. If you’re an aspiring journalist, for example, it’s a great way to learn the ropes and start meeting people in your field.

As you venture into the freelance world, here are five secrets to launching a business on the side.

1. Become Familiar with Different Freelance Websites

If you’re new to the freelance world and aren’t sure where to look for jobs, here are a few sites you can check out:

These platforms are great places to find work. Whether you’re a graphic designer, a computer programmer, or anything in between, there are people looking for your services on these sites. Get familiar with them.

Browse through them and see if there are any listings that fit your skillset.

If you’re a newbie looking for entry-level work, don’t worry. There are plenty of people who will hire you, even if you lack experience. You may have to work for less money than you’d like at first, but you’ll gain experience and build your resume.

2. Look for Long-Term Contracts

As a busy college student, your time is precious.

So, you’ll benefit by working with long-term clients instead of having to search for new ones every week. It’ll save you a lot of time.

Some companies only hire freelancers for short-term projects. Even though it’s nice to make any money at all, short-term work could be a waste of your time. As soon as you finish, you’ll have to head back to Upwork or Craigslist and write more proposals.

Do your best to weed out the quick jobs and stick to ongoing contracts that could lead to higher-paying opportunities down the road.

3. Seek Freelance Work That Aligns With Your Career Goals

In addition to providing you with income, freelancing can also help you build your resume. By the time you graduate, you’ll have a full CV that you can use to apply for jobs!

So, you should find contracts that will help you land a career in your desired industry.

For example:

If you want to work in digital marketing when you graduate, then it’d make sense to find freelance social media work.

If you’re getting a degree in engineering, on the other hand, it wouldn’t be smart to take on social media contracts.

Aside from making a bit of money, you won’t benefit from doing work that doesn’t align with your career goals.

4. Ask Your Mentor About Opportunities

Having a mentor in college can be very helpful. They have experience in your industry, so they can answer any questions you might have and help you map out your career path.

If you don’t have a mentor yet, consider asking a professor or advisor for guidance.

If you do have a mentor, however, you should ask them if they know of any freelance opportunities. Since they work in your industry and likely have a lot of connections, they might know someone who is hiring.

And at the very least, they can advise you on which types of freelance jobs will be beneficial for your career.

5. Contact Everyone

Even though there are many jobs on sites like Upwork, it’s also smart to tap into your network.

Okay, I’m not suggesting you reach out to your grandma for freelance work, but asking for referrals can help.

If you know that one of her friends is a business owner, for example, why not ask her to introduce you? If they're having a hard time keeping up with their workload, they may need a virtual assistant. Your grandma can set up a meeting, and’ve got a freelance gig!

Ask your roommates, too. They may know of a friend who graduated that now has a successful business.

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to talk to people and find some freelance work. If you want to start a successful side hustle in college, you have to put yourself out there.

In Summary

Freelancing is a fantastic way to make money and get your feet wet while you’re in school. At first, it may take some time to get used to working as an independent contractor.

But after a while, you’ll find that it’s a lot of fun. Keep these secrets in mind as you start freelancing. You’ll probably encounter some hiccups at first, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Remember, if you find the right freelancing jobs, you never know they might help you in the future. You may even end up finding a temporary gig that leads to full-time employment after you graduate!

Author Bio:

Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Cottages at Tucson every day to help them with their marketing efforts.

Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management

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