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5 ways freelancing has jumpstarted my career

Are you thinking about earing some extra cash with freelance work while you study? It can be tough sometimes, especially when exams are coming, but it’s also flexible and you can always decide how many clients you would like to work with. This is not just an option for journalism students; it’s a great choice for engineers too! Our guest writer Connor shared with us his experience on how freelancing as a college student jumpstarted his engineering career.

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5 ways freelancing has jumpstarted my career

  1. 1. You can find more freelancer tips on
  2. 2. When I started college I had plans of working as much as I could with hopes that doing so would put me on track to have a job I’d be proud of by the time of graduation. However, one thing that stifled my aspirations was the lack of engineering internships and part time positions available during the school year. So I turned to something I never thought would have as great of an impact on my career as it had—freelancing. Here are the five ways freelancing as a college student jumpstarted my career in engineering:
  3. 3. If I were to list my favorite aspects of a freelancing career in tech, I would have to say that the opportunity to diversify your work experience would be at the top of that list. Diversified work experience ameliorated some of my anxiety around decisions regarding what I wanted to do once I graduated, as it gave me the chance to explore many possible options. I then used these experiences to better inform my career decisions I had difficulty determining, which provided me with a great sense of confidence in knowing the choice I made was a good one. 1. It Allowed Me to Diversify My Experience
  4. 4. Networking has always been in the back of my mind as something I needed to do more of as time went on and I became more involved in my career. But it never felt as vital to me then as it did once I began freelancing, and that was because it hadn’t proved its ability to me yet. Since then, I’ve gotten most of my freelance work from networking and talking to people. Whether it’s meeting new people at tech events or making new friends, just talking about the type of work I’m doing (or the work I’d like to do) can lead to some type of introduction. These introductions could be to new people or opportunities that can enable me to grow my freelancing business. 2. I Learned the Importance of Networking
  5. 5. 3. My People Skills Became Stronger The networking aspect of freelancing is part of a larger element within it that holds a strong influence over all of my work— people skills. People skills have become an increasingly important piece of my freelancing career, as they’ve bolstered the success of various projects and relationships—both easy and difficult. Freelance jobs so often require the freelancer to address needs and mitigate difficult situations in a positive way, so I truly do not know how I’d successfully accomplish these jobs without gaining better people skills. These are skills that I’m thankful to have acquired as a student, as they’ve provided me means of understanding how to work with a variety of different people and situations that I can use in the future.
  6. 6. The school I go to isn’t a typical one for an engineering/tech related position. I’m enrolled in a business school studying Computer Information Systems, so there’s a lot of tech involved in that, but I still have to take Accounting in order to take classes like Database Management Systems. So for a while I struggled with the question of “when will I need to know this.” What freelancing did for me is answer that question, because as a freelancer you have to operate your own iteration of a small business. Dealing with clients, processing bills and payments, or making sure you allocate correct tax funds for the end of the year are all pieces of an effective freelancing business. So going to a business school actually worked out in my favor, as it enabled me to see how taking a class like Managerial Accounting could help me in the day to day operations of my freelancing business. Consequently, I felt encouraged to become more involved in classes I was less interested in, making my time in college more enjoyable, and me a better student. 4. I Saw How a Business Operates
  7. 7. Sometimes negative experiences are out of a freelancer’s control. Maybe the client decides he or she no longer wants the work requested, or there’s a misunderstanding in the terms of the project agreement, both leading to a negative client experience. It may seem like this is an entirely bad thing, but these negative experiences—and what I’ve learned from them—are lessons that continue to guide me through future projects. 5. Making Good Experiences Out of Bad Ones
  8. 8. I had a client once frequently request additional (free) services after the project we worked on was complete, making the situation a bit awkward for both parties involved. Clearly, there was some type of miscommunication between us, and it was my job to figure out what it was and how I could fix it. My first line of aid in this situation was the contract we both signed at the beginning of the project that outlined exactly what I was to do for him—and also what I wasn’t. So when work was being requested that was outside of the scope of our agreement, I was able to easily clear up that miscommunication, and leave off on a good note with my client. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without a contract, and I probably wouldn’t have requested to sign a contract in the first place had I not before had a negative experience from not having one. 5. Making Good Experiences Out of Bad Ones
  9. 9. Freelancing has provided me with a number of incredible opportunities that have shaped both the way that I work and the direction I’ll take my career. Along the way, I’ve been able to build up a solid, diverse portfolio that I’m proud of, and can use to market myself for work I want to take part in. Most importantly, though, freelancing guided me through the process of finding my own career track during a time where I felt my career was something I couldn't quite figure out, and for that, I will always be thankful.
  10. 10. © Further freelancer tips available on Contact Contact person: Natalia Campana - International Affairs Mail: Phone: +49-911-37750286 facebook: Twitter: freelancer_INT