What they don’t tell you in college …
I studied professional writing in college. Lessons on writing resumes, cover letters, and business proposals were covered. However, nothing was ever mentioned about freelancing. (Well, if it was, I wasn’t paying attention.)
Technology has certainly advanced in the past ten years since I graduated. And with these advancements, opportunity sprung forth – opportunity to freelance as a student and as a graduate.
However, I now wonder:
“Are these opportunities being discussed within the walls of the advanced education systems?”
My guess is no.
In a crap economy (yes, I still say it’s crap even though reports predicted otherwise), college grads are emerging from their “me” centered bubbles with high hopes. They expect to find a job in their field, and one that pays well.
This is not always the case. And when it is, those grads are “the lucky ones.”And we all wish that was the reality for all grads. If it were only that easy …
Where I come from, college grads are lucky to find a job that pays more than minimum wage.
Unless they’re willing to move.
Most are stuck with minimum wage jobs. And if they’re lucky, they’ll be hired despite being a now overeducated applicant.
However, there are money-making opportunities right at their fingertips, literally. But, you have to think outside the “college box.”
Money-making opportunities at your fingertips
Freelancing websites allow users to search for field related work. And the work can be done while sitting naked on your own couch. (I don’t recommend sitting naked on a parent’s couch, however, if said grad still lives at home.)
Sites like oDesk provide free user registration. Once an account is created a user can then search job listings by category and go from there. However, if said user is not quite ready to jump into the freelancing pool, and he or she prefers to first get their feet wet, I suggest trying Fiverr.com.
Again, registration is free on Fiverr and one can opt to participate as little or as often as desired. Fiverr allows users to search gigs and buyer requests. The easiest gigs are posting reviews, such as product, book, and site reviews. And while the money isn’t a lot, it does eventually add up. Also, payments can be sent directly to a PayPal account.
Simple. Fast. Perfect.
However, there is a downside to freelancing.
When freelancing, you are not exposed to actual human beings. Therefore, you are alone. You MUST motivate yourself. If you have difficulties with distractions (i.e. Internet browsing, social media sites, online shopping, etc.), then you may have a hard time succeeding as a freelancer.
Why is Jen writing this blog?
I’ll tell you why. Over seven years ago I was an expecting mom with a college English degree. I wanted to work from home, be my own boss, and daycare was out of the question. So, I tried my best to think “outside the box.”
First, I thought I could start my own resume writing service.
Yeah, that didn’t work. I knew nothing about website development and that’s where I thought my business would generate the most customers.
Then, I bought into Mary Kay Cosmetics. I learned I was a terrible sales person. But I LOVED the makeup!
Next, I dabbled in candle making. Too much mess. And good wax is expensive.
So, I then joined a candle selling business (like that of Mary Kay). Apparently I hadn’t learned my lesson the first time. Ha. However, I was lucky because I sold those candles for a year. They were THAT good. Good candles sell themselves. But, I had to leave my home and my kids in order to sell. So in the long run, it wasn’t for me.
Finally, I started my own book blog and decided I was going to write, even if I wasn’t being paid to do so. And as a result of that decision, I broke into freelancing, by accident.
Two years ago I was given an opportunity to edit and I snatched that baby right up (all because someone noticed I was a writer),
I did everything I possibly could to ensure my client was happy with my work. I went nearly two years with less than 5 days off. I worked all the time. And along the way I met some wonderful people and fellow freelancers. Doors opened. Opportunities came my way.
And finally, one day, I had a choice. I had several opportunities floating in my inbox. I chose the one best fit for me. There’s nothing better than having a choice.
Think outside the box. If you’re working a “less than desirable” job, do something on the side. Do anything. Search for work. Create your own work and talk about it. That’s what I did. And one day, it finally got me somewhere.
One day, it may get you somewhere as well.