A lot of college students seek employment opportunities to gain experience and financial independence. Yet, taking a full-time job is not an option for most of them. Uncomfortable working hours and poor work-life-study balance might put their grades at risk. Luckily, there’s a better solution: freelance.

Freelance is bliss for any student who wants to earn some extra money and get a foot in the door of the desired industry. It gives flexibility and freedom to work from home and to choose your working hours. As you are the one controlling your workload, it becomes easier to balance your career with coursework.

If you don’t know how to start freelancing while still a college student, this guide is what you’ve been looking for.

Tips on Starting a Freelance Career for College Students


Starting a career as a freelancer might be intimidating, especially when you’re still a student. Here are some tips that will help you set up your venture and manage projects.

Identify Skills You Can Monetize

The first thing you need to take care of is to identify skills that can help you build a freelance career. It’s your most valuable asset. Think about the unique talents and abilities you’ve developed over the years. Maybe you know how to code or take stunning photos. Find something that can help people and build your business around it.

Determine How Much Time You Can Dedicate to Freelancing


Students often have a tight schedule. It is filled with classes, extracurriculars, exam preparation, and presentations. It might be difficult to squeeze a freelance job into it and still be successful as a student. If you find yourself overwhelmed with coursework, let take care of your papers. By delegating, you make your schedule more effective.

Your Potential Clients Won’t Find You Unless You Spread the Word

You need to identify your potential clients and reach out to them. Set up your website or join a freelance platform to advertise your services. It’s crucial to be proactive and use all available marketing and networking tools. Often, first projects come from personal contacts. So, put yourself out there and tell people who you are and what you offer.

Start Small

In freelance, like in any other job, you have to work your way up. It might take some time before you build your reputation and get big projects. However, it doesn’t mean that you should accept every offer. It’s ok to turn down work if you don’t feel comfortable with it.

Decide on the Price

Identify your hourly rate and stick to it. You’ll need to think about your financial needs and check the average income of freelancers in your niche. Always keep in mind your ideal hourly rate and turn down work that offers significantly less. You should work with people who appreciate and respect your work.

Always Discuss All Requirements in Writing


Communication is key. If you want to avoid misunderstandings, don’t be shy and discuss every detail with your customers. Both you and your client need to have a clear idea of the desired result, working hours, and payment terms. Make sure you are able to meet all expectations before accepting a project.

Find Ways to Balance Work and Study Time

Be ready that time management will become more challenging. You might need to start tracking your time and learn how to prioritize tasks (by deadlines, pay, etc.) Develop a schedule with separate time blocks for freelance projects, college assignments, and, of course, leisure time. Don’t disregard the latter, as being in an “always working” mode might lead to burnout.

10 Freelance Jobs That Pay Well

Almost every skill can convert into a freelance job. These are some of the high-paying options:

1. Writer


Trying your skills in a writing career is one of the most accessible options. You can write for blogs, newspapers, magazines, and online stores. There are a lot of options you can choose from depending on your interests and skills.

2. Graphic designer

Jobs in design are demanding. To start, you need to have a strong portfolio and be ready for creative challenges, as well as to know how to work with specialized software.

3. Programmer


If you are looking for a future-proof job, this one is for you. The IT industry is extremely dynamic and projected to grow even more. So, if you are good at problem-solving and can develop innovative solutions to people’s needs, become a freelance programmer.

4. Teacher of an online course

You can teach any skill: how to take selfies, how to paint with watercolor, how to grow plants. Any unique craft can bring you income. There are a lot of teaching websites and platforms like Skillshare or Udemy where you can set up your own course.

5. Social media manager


If social media is your passion and you know ways to get likes and followers, why not help people build their brands? You’ll get to create content and design social media strategies for businesses and bloggers.

6. Photographer

There are a lot of ways to turn a passion for photography into a freelance business. Yet, you’ll need to have a good camera, photo editing software, and a strong portfolio to get started.

7. Virtual assistant


A lot of people have hectic schedules, and they’re looking for a personal assistant who will deal with their emails and calls. For this job, you should have excellent social and organizational skills.

8. Web developer

If you know how to build a website, you can earn your living by working in web development. It is a fast-growing area with high earning potential where you can try yourself even if you have only basic skills.

9. Blogger


To become a blogger is a dream for many young people. You’ll need to know how social media algorithms work to attract your audience. If you’re lucky, a blog can turn into a sustainable and profitable business.

10. Audio transcription specialist

Although computers have become better at recognizing human speech, they are still far from being perfect. You can earn some money by converting audio from podcasts, lectures, workshops, interviews, and speeches into text.

The Bottom Line

Starting a freelance career might be your best decision. It can either give you more experience to transition into the labor market or even turn into a full-time business after graduation. Even though success won’t come overnight, you’ll get more and more interesting and high-paying projects as you build your reputation in the chosen industry.