Getting a college education is no joke. It never has been, and it will probably never be. On the one hand, learning and obtaining a degree can put you ahead of your peers as you launch a career. On the other hand, the cost of obtaining that degree is crippling.
Having to pay for tuition is definitely no laughing matter, and while many take on part-time jobs, it seems being broke is a given for a college student. Not to mention having to pay for student loans at the end of it all.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are ways to earn money as a college student without breaking your back and managing to stay above the “broke line”.
Enter freelance writing.
Every freelance writer has to start somewhere. It’s a matter of when and how.
A seasoned freelance writer today may have started out writing website content 10 years ago as a side job. Another freelancer may have started a writing career as a stay-at-home mom. Then there are those who ditched their day jobs and jumped right into the freelancing pool.
Why can’t you, as a student, become a student freelance writer, too?
There really is no excuse not to start freelance writing. It’s a win-win situation for you.
One, you get to make money to support yourself through college.
Two, you get to hone your writing and research skills.
So, what do you do to become a student freelance writer?
Here are some tips on where and how to start.
1. Know the market. Before you start, read up. Do your homework. Find answers to questions like below.
- What kinds of freelance writing jobs are out there?
- What styles of writing are needed?
- What are the going rates for gigs?
- Are there writing-related gigs in your school or in the surrounding area?
2. Decide what kind of freelance writer you want to be. Once you have a feel for the market, you can take the next step. Do you want to be a generalist, or do you want to be a subject matter expert? You’ll get a lot more work as a generalist – content writers for multiple topics are always wanted, but you’ll be able to command higher rates as a subject matter expert. However, you have to have proof of your knowledge on a topic. The best thing to do if you want to take this route is to focus on your degree. You’re going to college for it. You should know the niche inside out (or close)!
3. Follow writing blogs. I’m using “writing” in a general sense here. You’ve got so many options when it comes to learning from the pros. Of course, FreelanceWritingGigs should be your first stop. 😉
For copywriting, I recommend Copyblogger. For quick but useful reads, visit Daily Writing Tips. For more on freelance writing, follow The Write Life. These are just some of the sites I regularly visit.
4. Join freelance writing groups/communities. I’m talking about Facebook Groups (join us here!), Google Plus communities (pro tip: search for “freelance writing”, “writing”, or “freelance writers”), Subreddits, and so on. More than consuming information from the blogs I mentioned earlier, you can participate in more in-depth and real-time discussions in these groups.
You can ask grammar questions, job-hunting issues, client issues, and more.
5. Look for jobs! Now, for the most important step – start job hunting! Our daily job listings will save you a lot of time if you’re looking for online jobs. Some of the jobs we list are location-specific, too, so you might want to check if there are ads for your area.
You shouldn’t limit your job hunting to online searches, though. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities at your school. Look at the bulletin boards. Departments, professors, and even students may post gigs that you can check out.
It may not seem easy at first glance, but once you’ve started freelance writing as a student, you won’t regret it one bit. You might even continue writing long after you’ve graduated.