How to Start Freelancing as a Student
From clients to portfolios to HMRC. A beginners’ guide.
Figuring out how to start freelancing as a student can be intimidating, especially with little prior experience. However, as a flexible and accessible way to earn some cash, it’s the perfect way to make some money as a student.
For students, often timetables can be restricted, you can be based in your hometown or another town for university at multiple points of the year, all of which makes being tied to an office difficult. Internships and part-time jobs are rigid and exhausting, so we’ve looked into a few ways you can start freelancing as a student.
Create a portfolio
Now, if you’re new to freelancing, you may be wondering, what is a portfolio. Well, portfolios for freelancers are an addition to a CV. If you don’t have a CV already, look into our article Top 5 Skills to Add to your CV. This is a great way to reflect on your skills and experience and bring them into interviews and meetings. Having a portfolio as an addition will be an ideal way to showcase your talent in practice and attract more clients.
If you’ve taken any modules at university that relate to your chosen trade then be sure to include those in your portfolio or CV. For example, if you want to get into writing and editing, then include some university essays or journalism articles to sample your writing style. Maybe if you took a practical course or a year abroad, the skills gained from that environment can be linked to most freelance trades. And if you speak multiple languages, these are excellent for getting translation and captioning gigs.
While you’re still at university, take the time to find additional experience. A good example is to join societies which have an educational or practical element, such as the student newspaper, or to take a position such as treasurer or president which involves some responsibility. These skills are applicable to any trade and profession.
List on freelance websites
If you’re still struggling or needing extra inspiration, browse freelancer websites to see examples of other people’s portfolios. Take a look at Revolancer and browse the listings there for some ideas either to jazz up your portfolio or for ideas for which trade you’re looking to advertise.
Another efficient way is to make a profile with us and follow the steps outlined which will help you create a portfolio. This essentially provides you with a step-by-step guide to creating a portfolio, allowing you to maximise your time and efficiency, while also advertising your services on our zero commission website to be viewed by clients looking to enlist your services.
While you’re browsing other people’s profiles and listings, have a look to see what rates they charge. If they have a similar experience to you, then match your rates to theirs. It’s important not to undervalue your work, however, overcharging with very little experience means you may not get a lot of business. Once you have gained more freelancing experience you will be able to up your rates accordingly. Now, be careful which sites you list on as some freelancer sites take a commission of your earnings. At Revolancer, we charge 0% commission, so don’t be afraid to get started with us.
Make a good impression
Networking is an integral part of freelancing. Making a good impression on each client could potentially create repeat business either with the same client or help you get great references and recommendations to other clients.
Don’t take on too much at once and be selective with your work – don’t forget, you still have university obligations. Take on enough work to keep you busy, and make sure you can submit all projects on time. When you finish up with a project, why not kindly prompt the client to write a testimonial or a review for you to use in your portfolio or on your profile?
The legal stuff
You aren’t taxed monthly as a self-employed person, so make sure you save a percentage of your earnings in order to pay any potential tax or national insurance at the end of the tax year. A freelancer is responsible for filing a self-assessment tax return and ensuring any tax is paid through HMRC.
This sounds scarier than it is, and the forms are relatively straightforward to fill out. As a student, it’s likely student support or university careers advisors would be able to help you with this. Don’t worry, as we’ve also got an article which gives you a more in-depth overview: How To Start a Sole Trader Business in 2022.
Before you go
Now you’ve got the tips to start freelancing, feel free to check out our article How to Make a Side Income From Home for more handy tips to make freelancing easier for you.
Why not take advantage of the Revolancer Plus subscription plan and start bidding on available projects? With a Plus account, you’ll have unlimited project biddings, insight data on your biddings, and early access to new features. It can be cancelled anytime, and you can continue with a free account. Why don’t you take the opportunity and sign up?
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer