Holiday break is over and a new college semester is upon us. If you’re a senior, that means you’ve officially hit the final home stretch before graduation (congrats!- I know it hasn’t been easy) and you’re probably scrambling to find that last internship or working up the courage to ask your current supervisor about post-grad opportunities.
Before you do that though, let me make a quick case for something that nobody ever talks about: freelancing right out of college.
According Forbes, 16.5 million freelancers, remote workers and solopreneurs make up what is commonly referred to as the “gig economy,” and 55% of U.S. companies are now utilizing nontraditional workforces. Freelance is quickly becoming the way of the future, and for good reason. Here are four reasons it works for me (and you) as the perfect post-grad opportunity.
1. Freedom to find what fits
Have you ever gotten an internship only to realize that specific area of communications just isn’t for you? Then you keep having that same realization 5x/week until you’ve earned enough credits to leave, without even figuring out what you DO like? I hope not, but if you have, you’re not alone. Doing contract work for smaller businesses who typically don’t have the budget for independent PR, marketing, and social agencies allows you to dip your toes in a little bit of everything to see what really interests you and what you’re best at. On the flip side, if you’re a die-hard social media fanatic and know you really want to focus on that, contract work allows you to make that decision for yourself and take on just one specialty for multiple clients.
2. Ability to grow your portfolio
Say goodbye to the days of magazine clipping, list building and coffee-running. Freelancing forces you to really own every aspect of your work. While this does include a lot of self-teaching at times to make sure you can actually deliver for your client, it gives you great hands-on experience much faster than you would typically get at a big agency.
3. A chance to make that $$$
Post-grad agency positions are as competitive as can be. Sadly, that often means a low salary or an hourly position with no benefits. And as much as we’d like to be paid in trident layers for the opportunity of our dreams, that isn’t always a viable option (student debt repayment, anyone?). Contract work allows you to set your own pay rate within reason and take on multiple clients/ work double time to meet your financial requirements. If you aren’t sure where to start out, Glassdoor has a great guide on competitive rates for freelancers and you can check sites like Fiverr to see what others in your field are charging on an hourly and per-project basis.
4. Range to work remotely
Freelancing often allows you to work remotely, which can be a great fit if you want to break out as a shining communications star without packing up and moving to LA or NYC. There are also plenty of boutique agency owners looking for a little extra help remotely. This is a great opportunity to have some of the freedoms of freelancing while still benefitting from the guidance of an agency position. Keep your eyes peeled on our job board for upcoming opportunities!
Sounds great, right? Well there is one caveat- you have to be extremely motivated and actually know your stuff. Chances are, if you have a degree and a few internships under your belt, you’re in pretty good shape to start taking on at least a few small projects. If you’re convinced but unsure of where to begin, spiffying up your webpage/Linkedin and creating a profile on UpWork are great places to start!
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