How to work as a freelancer while studying
Working for yourself is a highly rewarding experience. You can manage your own time, and choose the projects and clients you want to work for.
Freelancing is also rewarding financially. Many potential clients outsource work to freelancers on a regular basis, which means there are plenty of opportunities waiting to be grabbed.
It’s also becoming more common to mix freelancing with studying – many students pay their way through their degree by working freelance. To help you work out whether this could be an option for you, here’s some advice.
Work out your availability
The first thing you need to do is to identify your priorities. Obviously you need to have the time and energy to pursue your education properly. So you’ll need to work out how many hours a week you need for studying.
The hours you have remaining, and your availability in them, will help to decide what type of freelance projects you can take on, and how frequently.
You also need to factor in your flexibility. For example, do you have set lecture hours and can complete work in your own time after that, or will you need to attend campus at different times each week?
This can impact the type of freelance work you’re available for. For example, if a freelance client expects you to be free for calls when they want to speak to you, or require you to turn around work quickly at the last minute, it may not work if your college schedule isn’t fixed.
For example, you have more flexibility when pursuing your degree online, which means you can place work as a priority. If this is the approach you take, you can allocate more time during the day for completing projects and then set aside one or two hours in the evening for studying.
Master time management
Speaking of time, you’ll need to get really good at time management if you want to succeed in both your academic work and your freelance career.
Both will require your full energy and attention when you’re working on them. You’ll also need to ensure that you meet your assignment and freelance deadlines without fail.
So you’ll need to plan out your week as much as possible and ensure you have sufficient time for all your responsibilities. There may be times when you have to choose between them and knowing which one to prioritise makes the decision easier.
Time management doesn’t have to be complicated. You simply need to allocate time based on the workload you have at that time. And it’s essential that you stick to the time allocation you have created for yourself. This is where the real challenge lies.
Ideally, you want to eliminate distractions as best as possible. If you allocate five hours during the day for studying, find a quiet place where you can concentrate and spend those hours actually getting school-related tasks done.
Find a method that works
Staying focused on the tasks in hand isn’t always easy – especially when you have other pressing deadlines or exciting freelance projects tempting you away.
This is where time management techniques come into play. You may find that you are more effective if you divide the tasks you need to do into smaller sprints using a method known as the Pomodoro technique.
With the Pomodoro technique you basically do a short sprint, during which you stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish, and then take a short break. Then you repeat the cycle several times during the allocated schedule.
Of course, you can also adopt your own approach to stay focused. However, shorter sprints do work for most people. It also works well if you have a lot of distractions to deal with; when you have to study with your children around, for example, getting through course materials in shorter sprints certainly helps. You’ll find taking short breaks in between sprints useful too.
Use the best resources
Life as a student and a freelancer is easier today with the internet to help. There are plenty of resources to help you master the necessary skills, complete assignments, and organize work. There are also resource centres that can help you master the necessary soft skills to excel in both.
The Talented Ladies Academy is a great place to start, with courses on various subjects, including topics like how to be an effective freelancer, how to boost your marketing prowess, and even detailed subjects, such as Twitter for Small Business. These courses are designed to equip you with the skills needed to overcome day-to-day challenges.
You can also find specific resources to help you master specific skills. For example, Southern Cross University has an excellent page filled with educational leader resources, perfect for those who are pursuing a degree in the subject or want to expand their leadership skills in general. The university also features a wide range of helpful articles to support its students.
Learn to say no
One last tip that you must understand if you want to work as a freelancer while studying is to learn to say “no” at the right times. You don’t have to agree to everything in both work and school. Knowing when to reject projects that don’t fit your your timeline or say no to classes that you are not ready to take is essential to your success.
It’s all about balance. You need to know how to balance the workload you get from school and the projects you handle at any given time. It doesn’t matter how good you are at managing time, you will feel overwhelmed and become less effective (both as a student and as a freelancer) if there are too many things to do.
With this last tip in mind, you are ready to pursue success as a student and freelancer. Both roles maybe difficult at first, but by placing one as a priority, managing your time meticulously, and using the right resources to help you, you can earn a higher degree while achieving success as a respected freelancer in your field.