It's common knowledge that students embrace the 'work hard, play hard' attitude with great enthusiasm, and with all the studying, partying and sleeping to be done, some might ask whether it's even possible to cram in a successful freelance career as well. In order to meet project deadlines and produce quality work that exceeds clients' expectations and keep up with your studies too, you definitely need to master the art of effective time management. As long as you make sure you're organised and realistic about how much freelance work you can take on, however, there's no reason why you can't be a model student AND a highly successful freelancer.
Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why you should make the time to give freelancing a shot:
Practice makes perfect
If you're wondering whether you have the time for freelancing alongside your studies, why not look at it this way? By choosing an area related to your degree, you'll be able to practise your skills at a professional level and guarantee a decent grade along the way. As a student in languages and linguistics, my reading lists are packed with books and journals in French, German, Italian and Dutch. While I already read these languages pretty fluently of course, working as a translator is fantastic for picking up new vocabulary and increasing my reading speed: handy when I'm faced with a particularly long and exotic reading list for my course!
Live your life for the experience
...especially if you have any desire whatsoever for a regular income in the future. The student experience is great fun, but if all you can talk about on your resumé after graduation is a deep appreciation of Netflix and an impressive aptitude for beer pong, it's likely that your chances of finding employment will be somewhat limited. Freelancing allows you to demonstrate your skills, experience and professionalism as you build up a positive reputation in your field and a satisfied client list. Starting out can be tough when you don't yet have recommendations or formal qualifications to prove just how awesome you are, but determination and perseverance go a long way. All it takes is to convince a single employer that by hiring you they'll receive top quality work (and at introductory rates!): once you've completed your first project and shown exactly what you can do, it'll soon get easier and easier to find work.
Variety is the spice of life
Contests are a great way to have a go at something a little bit different - accepting a project without the relevant skills is a sure way to ruin your reputation as a freelancer (not to mention highly unfair on the person willing to hire you), but with open contests you can get creative and receive feedback without committing to a project. Whether you're a computer scientist with a secret love of poetry, or a language student who enjoys dabbling in photography, you can work on developing new skills and seek inspiration from the incredibly varied and talented individuals that make up the Freelancer community. You might even find you win something!
Flexibility is the key to success
Balancing studies with everything else in life isn't always that easy, and that's why precisely why freelancing is the perfect job for students. As your own boss, you get to decide exactly how your work schedule looks. Exams coming up? Just avoid taking on any projects for a while. Moving home during the vacation? Freelancing lets you simply carry your office with you.
Money makes the world go round
Perhaps most obviously, freelancing is a way to earn money as and when you need it, just by doing what you love. And since it seems that students can't actually survive on free alcohol and intellectual stimulation alone, finding some kind of income during college is necessary for most. While more drastic approaches such as selling a kidney or the like are probably a quicker way to make instant money, taking the time to establish your reputation as a freelancer is well worth it in the long run. Once regular projects start rolling in, freelancing has the potential to be an extremely lucrative career option, and not just at university - an impressive portfolio and history of satisfied clients will set you up for when you eventually have to venture out into the real world. And if you decide you can't face life outside of academia, at least you'll still have a couple of organs spare when it's time to find funding for a PhD...
So whether you're looking for a flexible, productive and enjoyable way to fund your way through college, or (like me) you dream of a full time career as a freelancer, identify your unique talents and then go share them with the world!