If you’re one of the many college students who pursues a degree to land a job, you may find yourself stuck after college.
You may have no job, few skills and an enormous amount of college debt.
What separates those who make money after college from those who don’t are the projects they finished while completing their degrees.
If you don’t have projects to show, for yourself employers won’t have a clear conception of what you can achieve.
You almost have to become a freelancer to land an excellent job because outsourcing and software have made companies incredibly efficient. Companies once comprised of 50 employees now only need 10.
What this means is they don’t need you unless you have a portfolio that implies you can do something great for them.
You can’t wait until you graduate and start looking for a job to create this portfolio; it needs to happen by freelancing early on.
The number of American freelancers is expected to increase to 50 percent of the workforce by 2020. So, ask yourself, "Am I ready to start freelancing?"
For some encouragement, here are 22 reasons you need to learn how to freelance before graduating college:
1. When’s the last time you were independent?
Many college students glide through their education because their parents pay for everything, and they don’t see payment requests on student loans until they graduate.
Put yourself in control of your finances, and you won’t have to battle up this learning curve after graduation.
2. Completed projects are better than a degree.
Not a single employer has mentioned to me or any of my close friends about achieving a college degree.
However, I have heard this countless times: “What project are you most proud of accomplishing?”
So, ask yourself the same question. In fact, I don’t even put my degrees on my résumé anymore, and I’m only a year and a half out of college.
3. Less college debt.
The earlier you start working on projects, the sooner you’ll start making money.
Even though it may be hard to make money at first, as you refine your skills, you'll land higher-paying projects.
4. A head start in perfecting your portfolio.
Putting together a portfolio takes a lot of practice. You don’t want to be producing your rough draft after graduation.
5. You learn how to keep your interview skills sharp.
As a freelancer, sometimes you’ll be working for multiple bosses at the same time.
A salaried job requires one interview; a freelancer may go through 50 in a single year.
6. You may not have a choice in several years.
As I stated previously, companies are becoming more efficient in how they operate.
As a result, they don’t need as many employees. Today, a company that has many layoffs may represent a growing company.
7. Put yourself in control of your life.
When you’re working in the corporate world, you will be assigned projects and will have to answer to someone with whom you most likely can’t negotiate.
As a freelancer, you can choose what projects you work on and what bosses you want to answer to.
8. Entrepreneurs are really just freelancers.
The common thread between all entrepreneurs is they can craft their futures.
Even though some corporate jobs offer little freedom, freelancers will always have more control over their lives.
9. Learn to fight for a job.
To earn a salaried job, you only need to put up a fight once.
To work for a number of employers as a freelancer, you’re constantly in the ring.
As a result, you’ll find yourself always landing jobs over those who recently quit their corporate jobs for the freedom of a freelancer.
10. Learn how to negotiate.
Negotiation is a powerful skill, and it’s hard to know what you're worth until you vie for enough contracting jobs.
Once you know your price point, you'll realize what you need to do to get paid more.
11. Find the confidence to count on yourself.
Many people opt to work for the corporate world because they are afraid of themselves.
They don’t want to fail, and they want directions handed to them. The truth? This attitude won’t last you long in the corporate world, either.
12. Apply what you learn before you forget it.
It's an outdated idea that you must learn for four years in college before you can apply your knowledge.
If you wait four years to start working on projects, you won’t remember much of anything you learned in the first three.
13. Set your own deadlines.
Since I have control over the projects I take, I make sure my deadlines don’t interfere with my favorite passions, like going to music festivals, hitting the beach and traveling.
14. Don’t suffocate yourself in a corporate closet.
If you stay too long in the corporate world, you’ll become content.
You’ll start thinking accomplishments are only for those who are lucky. Get out now before you suffocate.
15. Learn how to land clients.
This skill is transferable to all industries. Knowing how to land a client will keep you employed through the roughest of economic times.
16. Determine what you're worth.
"What are people willing to pay me?" is a scary thought. The sooner you face the reality of how much your time is worth on the open market, the quicker you’ll know where and how much you need to improve.
17. Corporate conformity is ordinary.
Corporations try to carve out a life for you that keeps you from gaining an entrepreneurial spirit.
Freelancers understand having control of your own path increases your chances of stepping up from ordinary to extraordinary.
18. Freelancing is a more uncomfortable route.
This sounds counterintuitive, but the best decisions you make in life tend to be the most uncomfortable.
You'll only start learning when you’re outside your comfort zone.
19. Keep spontaneity in your life.
I’m thankful every day I don’t have to go to a nine-to-five job. Each day as a freelancer is new and exciting.
20. You have more value than you think.
Waiting a year in the corporate world to receive a 10, or even a 5, percent pay raise is pathetic. My average pay increase is about 100 percent every year.
The reason? I continually expand my portfolio with more projects and can devote time to the skills I know I need to learn.
21. It’s the fastest way to achieve success.
Huge success arrives when you have your hands on the steering wheel, and a corporate employee is a passenger.
A passenger can do all the yelling he or she wants to change directions, but in the end, the passenger still won't have his or her hands on the wheel.
22. Because corporate shortcuts are really just dead ends.
You may get corporate job offers well above what you’ll receive as a beginning freelancer.
However, if you're determined, you’ll eventually start making a significant amount more than corporate zombies.
You’ll learn faster and can choose what skills you want to improve.
Think you're ready to start freelancing?