Four Benefits of Freelancing That Strengthen a Student's Entrepreneurial Muscle

February 11, 2022

Nurturing client relationships, enhancing interpersonal skills and being responsible for your own deliverables – this is exactly why you should start and grow a freelance business while in college.

There’s no better time to kickstart your journey as a freelancer than while you’re a student on a degree path. For students, freelancing provides the ownership and responsibility that rapidly accelerates professional and personal growth, tapping into many skills that are requisite for building a scalable business. Freelance work also sends income your way.

DDIY forecasts that, by 2027, freelancers will make up the majority of the U.S. economy. From remote work trends to the gig economy, it is indisputable that many traditional notions of work have already been disrupted. For the entrepreneur, the playing field has never been more favorable to start testing the waters with a side business.

So, if you’ve never freelanced before, what are some possible fields to consider? This list by Localwise illustrates a breadth of popular freelancing services, many of which students can absolutely apply their skills toward: writing, editing, design, photography, music, brand ambassadorship, transcription, installation, programming, customer service, UX design, tutoring, personal training, fitness training – the possibilities are boundless.

Whatever you may decide is right for you, there are plenty of reasons to give yourself the greenlight in making it your freelance practice. From firsthand experience, I would say these are the four most significant benefits to freelancing today:

1. Freelancing helps build a wider skillset

The entrepreneurial mind is drawn toward self-improvement. As a freelancer, you find yourself problem solving in real time. Even if you’re seasoned in what you practice, new and exciting challenges will emerge along the way. Mastery comes with enough exposure to unique circumstances, and from my experience, no two client interactions are 100% alike.

For creative freelancers (such as designers), you learn how to be curious, ask your client the right questions, and gain insights into what they want the final deliverable to be like. For technical freelance roles, you’ll no doubt learn how to optimize workflows, building out processes and procedures that allow you to get the job done faster, at a higher quality, and for even more pay.

Above all, you’ll learn how to market yourself. Whether your post-graduate aspirations are to find the perfect role or start your own company, gaining freelance experience now will absolutely pay its dividends in the years to come.

2. You learn to prioritize work-life balance

As a freelancer, one popular perk is the ability to choose your own hours. Maybe you’re a morning person or maybe you kick into high gear in the afternoon, or even weekends. Whatever your preference and availability is, freelancing can almost certainly accommodate.

Work-life balance is the emphasis for professionals today, and taking steps toward that while pursuing an ambitious undertaking will help you establish those barriers: between your work, and your free time. This is particularly important for combating burnout and rendering the best services possible for your customers.

3. You manage projects and customer relationships

Working for a client is as much an art as it is a science. When you’re hired by someone, learning how to nurture and grow relationships is an invaluable skill to have in advancing in your career. Not only is it rewarding to have a client who trusts you to deliver on their projects, they also may be willing to refer new opportunities to you.

A huge part of personal brand building as a freelancer is your reputation: what do people say about you, how do they review your work, etc.? Establishing that early, both with your clients and in networking scenarios, by delivering top-tier work, is a tremendous asset that you can build over time. The best part: it becomes a topic of conversation in networking scenarios that’s entirely about you and your own work – not somebody else’s company.

4. Your work instills greater self-confidence

There is power in a morale boost, and completing a freelance job provides exactly that. The experience is best likened to a “runner’s high.” In a freelancer’s case, the feeling comes from having another successful job on the books.

Freelancing represents total ownership over one’s work. Much like the entrepreneur who launches their startup, freelancers can flip the switch on their craft and immediately be “in business.” Freelancing can require an extended time commitment, and there may be some long days depending on what you do, but the net benefits are immense – especially for students with major post-graduation goals who are seeking the next rewarding challenge.

© 2023 Alex Bialek and 1FiveFour Creative LLC. All right reserved.