Freelancing while Studying: Top Tips to Succeed

Being a freelancer has recently become somewhat of a buzzword. You may have heard about being your own boss, working remotely, or a home office. Freelancing is a great part-time job that will not only help you gain a lot of useful experience doing what you love, it is also a great way to earn some extra cash on the side - especially if you're still at university. Freelancing while studying is a great way to build your professional network, which, in turn, can lead to landing a full-time job in the future.

Does freelancing during your studies sound like something you'd like to try? Then check out our list to learn how to get started with freelancing while studying!

desktop with a laptop and two monitors

Find your niche

The most important question you need to answer before launching your freelance activity is “what do I do successfully?”. Do you write great articles? Can you draw? Shoot videos/photographs? Design websites? Are you an expert translator? Maybe it’s something you do professionally? Or something you want to be doing?

The demand for professional creatives is higher than ever. Companies need good articles, photos, videos, but also web design and UX, and even more technical skills such as data science, app development, and Blockchain.

Build a portfolio

Having a portfolio is key to succeeding in the freelance market. How else are you supposed to showcase your talents to potential clients? While, as a beginning freelancer, you might not have an impressive, professional-looking portfolio (yet!), try making one with projects you've already done.

If you're looking for editorial/publishing gigs, try to start a simple blog on a free platform and publish your work there. If you're a graphic designer or photographer, look for visual platforms like Instagram, Behance or even Facebook (which is also a great platform to connect with your audience and potential clients).

Know where to look

No freelancer starts with a network of contacts that will provide a steady stream of jobs. You need to create one for yourself. The best place to start are websites dedicated to freelancers. Check out Upwork, Useme, Fiverr and Freelancer. Each of these provides an amazing variety of offers for both small ad hoc projects to longer jobs. Fluent in a language other than English? Try to look for "local" websites that do listings for freelancers.

Another place where you can look for projects is Facebook. Search for groups related to your area of expertise and start job-hunting!

Find your price

An essential part of being a freelancer is putting a price tag on your work. It might seem tricky and difficult at first, but there are some ways to tackle this. You have to do a little research. Try to answer the following questions: what prices do other freelancers ask for their services? What levels of experience do they have?

A good place to conduct your research is Facebook groups where various freelancers often share their experiences or pieces of advice. It’s a good place to not only find out how much you should charge but also to get some priceless industry knowledge.


two people negotiating about a contract

And finally - don't be afraid to negotiate!

Let's say you found a nice project and are about to discuss financial matters with your client. They propose a price, but it is a lot lower than you were expecting. Keeping the previous point in mind, you do a little more digging around and your research confirms your fears: the amount you were offered is too little for the time and effort you will put into the project.

If you'd still be interested in doing the project, but feel the price is not worth your time; try negotiating. You might end up earning much more than the initial offer! Finding a middle ground is very common and most likely will be profitable for you as well.

Follow these tips and you're guaranteed to succeed in being a freelancer during your studies! For other tips and tricks about working in the Netherlands, check out the Careers section of our Magazine!

Image of man filing for income taxes belastingaangifte