January 18, 2018

Getting started as a student freelance writer

Getting started as a student freelance writer - photo copyright 2012 Rick Sherrell

Don’t worry; you are part of the norm. A lot of students need part-time jobs to supplement their college lifestyle. Between exorbitant tuition fees and general life expenses, your years at a higher education institution will be pricey.

You are probably looking for a job with flexible hours to fit in between your scheduled classes. You’ll also want something with a minimal commute since study time and gas money are both in short supply. And, if possible, you want a job that provides fast and easy money.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, freelance writing might be just the ticket. Here are six tips for launching a freelance writing career as a student.

1. Evaluate Your Personal Qualities

Are you organized? Are you self motivated? Do you have good time management skills? Do you like to write? These are all important qualities of a freelance writer. If you don’t have these capabilities, you might want to stop reading right here!

2. Plan Your Career Launch to Coincide with a Major School Break

The end of the school year isn’t the best time to launch a freelance writing career. Your time and brainpower will be focused elsewhere. Instead, postpone your launch until after the summer break. Use those three months to get organized. Likewise, you can use other, shorter school vacations the same way.

Use school vacations to lay the groundwork of your emerging career. Here are some things you should master before looking for clients:

  • Learn about the business side of freelancing. Look for bookkeeping tips and suggestions. Learn about tax regulations.
  • Build a website – check out options like Blogger, Weebly, and Tumblr.
  • Create a portfolio.
    • Connect with local charities, churches and other non-profit organizations. Offer your writing services pro-bono. For best results, connect with organizations you are already familiar with. Don’t waste time building relationships; act on the ones you have already established.
    • Ask friends and family members for assistance. Do you know anyone who runs a blog and would be interested in a few guest posts? Can anyone hook you up with their company’s blog?
    • Check for opportunities like lab report writing service or educational websites that accept articles from students.

3. Check Your Equipment

Some schools have policies in place that state they get a portion of any paying work done on their system or computers. You won’t be earning a ton of money – especially right off the bat. Why would you want to fork over even a small portion of your precious earnings?!

Make sure you have your own equipment. Don’t rely on your school to provide the tools you’ll need. At the bare minimum, you will need a dependable computer with fast, reliable internet.

4. Schedule Everything

As jobs start rolling in, you’ll need to pay special attention to deadlines. Get the syllabus from all your courses. Add all the important deadlines and dates to one calendar. Then add your clients’ deadlines.

Make sure time-intensive projects don’t overlap. For example, you may want to black out the entire week of finals (and the week before) so you have plenty of time to study without the stress of client projects.

If you are a social butterfly, add your recreational and social engagements to the master calendar too. For example, if you are a huge basketball fan, you probably won’t want to deal with big writing projects during the NCAA tournament.

5. Look for Reoccurring Jobs

As a student, you have a lot of demands on your time. What precious free time you have available should be spent wisely. Try to minimize the amount of time you spend searching for clients. Look for reoccurring writing jobs so you won’t constantly be hunting for new leads. For example, hook up with a blog that needs content on a regular basis. Or connect with a company that offers a monthly newsletter.

6. Keep Your Identity Under Wraps

Don’t make a big deal about the fact you are a student. While you shouldn’t lie if someone directly addresses the issue, don’t volunteer the information unnecessarily. Clients tend to think students don’t need to be paid much. Also, prospective clients fear a student doesn’t have the necessary skills – no matter how stellar the portfolio. And an inaccurate assumption about your inability to manage school work with freelance work might cause clients to shy away from you.

There are plenty of resources available to people who are interested in launching a freelance writing career. However, as a student, your freelancing endeavor will have very specific challenges. Pay special attention to these student-specific tips and your freelance career is bound to be a success!

About the Guest Blogger: Steve is a full-time freelance writer at Fresh Essays, an online company that provides content writing services and help with researching.

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