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 while studying is a great part-time job that will help you gain a lot of useful experience doing what you love while also being a great way to earn some extra cash on the side - especially if you're still at university. It is also 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? Read further 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 When Freelancing While Studying

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 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.

Find your Place

If you work from home, make sure you dedicate an office room or space that is specifically for your work.  If you do not have the room to accommodate it, consider alternative options such as renting a coworking space for your work where you can also meet up with clients.  Your office space says a lot about your work, so invest in it wisely!

two people negotiating about a contract

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're still 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.

Interested to learn more about freelancing? Check out the beginner's guide to remote work and freelancing with a Q&A from the experts!

Showing 3 comments
  • Taís Pereira


    I’m Brazilian (therefore non-EU citizen) and I’ll start my master in Utrecht on August. I already have some freelancer projects on So even working just for home with it I still need the Dutch basic healthcare insurance? Is not just the student insurance enough?

    Kind regards,

    • Kristian

      Hi Taís,

      You may only have insurance in one country, and this largely depends on (a) in which country you declare the most income and (b) in which country you actually conduct the work. If you work as a freelancer while living in the Netherlands, you should register at the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) as an “Eenmanszaak.”

      For more information, visit and

      Rock on,
      College Life

    • Orlando

      Hi Taís

      I am a Mexican master student at Utrecht University. In my experience, student insurance is enough.


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