Empowering the Freelance Economy

Overwhelmed Freelancer? Cash-Strapped Student? This Unexpected Partnership is Your Answer

University students could be the answer to freelancers looking for an extra hand to grow their business. Image source: cottonbro
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Want to grow your business but think you can’t afford a helping hand? Santiago Steiner goes beyond the ramen noodle jokes to share why cash-strapped uni students and busy solopreneurs should be collaborating for the benefit of their cash flows and careers

Freelancing work can be strenuous and exhausting with most freelancers bearing the workload of multiple people while still facing short deadlines. However, with an increasing number of university students looking for non-conventional work that allows for flexible schedules and working from home, freelancing could be an excellent solution, while also helping to ease the workload for freelancers.

A recent study by Save the Student found that over 64% of students struggle to make ends meet, with 40% considering dropping out of their course altogether because they can’t afford the rising cost of living, especially in larger cities like London, Bristol and Manchester.

I don’t know much about freelance work, but the idea of being able to pick and choose work when it’s suitable for you sounds very tempting.

Second year student, UWE Bristol

Easing the workload for freelancers so they can grow

Most university courses require students to collect copious amounts of research for them to learn and retain all the information that is required for their course. This means that most students will already be experienced in researching specific topics or carrying out projects related to marketing, finance, communications, software and web design, and digital art. Freelancers can use this pre-established skill set by delegating tasks that require market research or compiling data to students, such as setting up online surveys.

Universities have no shortage of students full of opinions and ideas, freelancers should use these large groups of young people who are eager and energetic to let their voices be heard to their advantage by giving them a platform to create content. This could be in the form of blog posts, social media posts, websites, or articles. An existing knowledge of certain topics would prove useful, but if freelancers provide students with a clear outline and key points/words to align with the project this should ensure that the students’ work aligns with the freelancer’s vision.

Universities have no shortage of students full of opinions and ideas, freelancers should use these large groups of young people who are eager and energetic to let their voices be heard to their advantage by giving them a platform to create content.

Much of freelancers’ “unpaid” time is taken up by administrative work such as scheduling appointments, sending emails, or basic bookkeeping tasks. All of these in theory could be delegated to students for a reasonable rate, which in turn allows freelancers to spend their time on larger paying assignments. Social media management is another job that could be managed by a student who is tech-savvy and knows all of the ins and outs of Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and X. 

Freelance platforms Upwork and Fiverr both cater to a large base of student workers which allows for quick job role posting. If for whatever reason that is not an option, reaching out directly to universities who have direct contact with thousands of students is also a great option to let them know about work.

How can freelancers and uni students connect?

There are plenty of ways for freelancers to find and reach out to students who are looking for freelance work. Freelance platforms Upwork and Fiverr both cater to a large base of student workers which allows for quick job role posting. If for whatever reason that is not an option, reaching out directly to carer departments at universities which have direct contact with thousands of students is also a great option to let them know about work.

The heavy workload experienced by freelancers and the need for flexible work and experience for students make this working relationship a great match. A second-year student at UWE Bristol was intrigued by the prospect of a flexible work schedule with no set hours, saying, “I don’t know much about freelance work, but the idea of being able to pick and choose work when it’s suitable for you sounds very tempting.”

The student did however express the security that comes with a contracted wage and hours, adding, “I do find having a set wage and hours comforting even though my hours aren’t always the best.”

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