People often refer to college as their glory days. The time of their lives. A four year period where your only worries are finals and getting to class on time. Then again, some people look back on their college days and consider how they could have made better use with all the free time they had.

Not to say a college student’s life isn’t busy -- it is. There is a whole slew of social engagements, assignments, work meetings, and jobs to attend to. But for many college students, this is the last time their schedule won’t be dictated by a 9 to 5. 

That’s why if you’re interested in freelancing, college is the perfect time to start. 

You might be thinking, “I don’t need to freelance now. I can start when I graduate.” Fair enough. On the other hand, even if you don’t want to be a freelancer after college, it can be a great way to gain work experience and build a portfolio while you’re still in school. 

For most college students, the only way to gain “real world experience” is by getting a job on campus or a summer internship. Both are great options that all students should explore. But why not make your resume stand out a bit more and showcase what a self-starting, go-getter you are? 

Freelancing is ideal for college students. The work can be done around your already busy schedule, and – for many students – financial independence won’t come until after you graduate. A whole slew of bills and financial responsibilities won’t fall on your lap until after graduation. So in many ways, college is the best time to start a freelancing career. 

Let’s say you want to a job in graphic design. If you start taking on graphic design jobs in college, you’ll have a whole portfolio of work ready to show potential recruiters come graduation. Not only does this show that you have invested time into the craft, it also tells employers that you take your work seriously and are professional enough to manage your own clients. As an added bonus, you made some cash along the way.

Are you convinced yet that college is the best time to start freelancing? We thought you might be. But before you get started, be sure to check off this crucial step:


Identify your skill set

Many people hear “freelancer” and assume that person must work in a creative industry. While there are many freelancing options out there for artists and creative types, that isn’t always the case. You can freelance in just about any field, from coding to video editing to landscape design. 

So before you start announcing yourself as a freelancer, consider what your skill set. In other words, think about what service you have to offer. What can you do that is worth paying for? Are you a talented photographer? Offer to take senior pictures for your friends around campus. Are you an IT guru? Reach out to local businesses about touching up their websites. 

Freelancing opportunities are endless, no matter what field you specialize in. But if you’re still asking yourself, “What should I do?” read on to the next section. We may be able to help. 


Freelancing options for all

If you think you don’t have a skill set to offer, you’re wrong. You can start a freelance career in any field. 


Art Skills 

Are you a painter? Do you love to draw? There are so many freelancing opportunities for you: 

  • Sell your art online (Etsy is a great place to start)
  • Design logos for businesses
  • Paint chalkboards for local coffee shops (like this Richmond-based artist here)
  • Paint graduation caps
  • Draw photos of people’s pets (yes, it’s a thing)


Photography/Video Skills

Are you a wiz with the camera? There is so much you can do:

  • Shoot senior portraits, shoot weddings, shoot events on campus, etc.
  • Get in contact with local publications and sell your work (and hone your skills at The Rotunda while you’re at it)
  • Take pictures/videos of local bands 
  • Edit videos for local media sites and production companies 
  • Contact local bands and shoot promo photos, music videos, etc. 


Computer/Programming Skills

Maybe you can’t draw a lick. But you sure are computer-savvy. So put those skills to use: 

  • Build websites
  • Be an online assistant
  • Teach tutorials on Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and Excel (there are YouTubers making loads of money doing this)
  • Start a programming blog
  • Tutor on campus


Writing Skills

Luckily for you, the opportunities here are endless: 

  • Ghostwrite for your favorite blog
  • Start your own blog
  • Pitch stories and write for local publications
  • Copywriting (Upwork and Fiverr are a good place to start)
  • Transcribe interviews 


PR/Marketing Skills

If you’re a communications major, these jobs are for you: 

  • Social media marketing (help local businesses build their brands, and use your stellar Instagram account as an example of why they should hire you)
  • Social media consulting (help older folk figure out how this whole “Twitter” thing really works)
  • Blogging 
  • Event planning 
  • Write press releases


Hands-On/Mechanical Skills

Are you worth your weight in elbow-grease? Then there are some jobs for you: 

  • Yard work (i.e. mowing lawns, gardening, landscape, etc. 
  • Bike repair 
  • Car washing
  • House painting 
  • Shoveling driveways

… The list goes on. 


Like we said: Freelancing is for everyone. All it takes is a little bit of brainstorming to figure out which freelancing career is right for you. 

Do you have a skill set that doesn’t match one of the lists above? Are you struggling to brainstorm services you can offer? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Contact Maura Mazurowski, our Community Coordinator, for help. 

About the Author

Maura Mazurowski

Maura Mazurowski is the Community Coordinator bringing together students and alumni to the Longwood Professional Communities. She also produced Season 2 of the Longwood podcast, Day After Graduation." Her work has been published in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Daily Progress, Virginia Mercury, and more.

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