This article is part of the Winter 2020 Magazine Issue series. To read the full Winter issue click: here.
Do you have a knack for time management and hate to leave your pet at home? If so, freelance work might be a career option for you. A freelancer is an individual who works for multiple companies rather than just one. A freelancer usually takes on projects assigned through business contracts. At times, one can expect a freelancer to find themselves with more responsibilities than a traditional employee but also more freedom in making their schedule.
Historically, becoming a full-time freelancer after graduation has carried the stigma of being “too risky” and unstable. However, this ideology may shift due to coronavirus’s influence, which resulted in a huge increase in working from home. According to “Statista,” a business data platform, 86.5 million people will be freelancing in the United States by 2028. This makes up roughly 50.9 percent of the workforce residing in our country and shows how significant this shift is.
Currently, the most popular freelance jobs include web development, teaching, tutoring, writing, copywriting, creative design, sales, marketing, and search engine optimization. Likewise, in the wake of this pandemic, many other industries have switched to remote work, which opened many doors for freelance workers.
Many students start their freelance work while taking on their college workload. One of these students is Caroline Semlar, a Michigan State University alumna and freelancer. Semlar, a 2020 graduate, worked as a graphic designer with MSU’s business college last October. This was when she began her freelance journey. Since then, Semler has taken on many opportunities to expand her work beyond small businesses. She has always considered managing her time as a top priority with her fluctuating clients.
“Being a freelance designer varies greatly based on the clients,” Semlar said. “Sometimes they are super specific, knowing exactly what they want, making the project quick. Or, a project can go on much longer than expected. I’ve had clients who I have finished a project for in a day and others have been ongoing for many months.”
During the pandemic, Semlar chose to work with one extra client but admits her “hands are full.” She also mentioned that the ramifications of COVID-19 barely impacted her work and clientele, yet another benefit of becoming a freelancer. Overall, Semlar advises students to network because making connections is extremely important as a freelancer.
Some industries utilize freelancers on a large scale for projects. For example, an advertising agency may hire a freelance producer with a specific style to execute a commercial for a client. These individuals don’t work solely for the firm they are assisting, but their contributions are just as vital.
Finally, being self-motivated is extremely important when considering the option of becoming a freelancer. With the number of self-employed people on the rise, sharpening professional skills like time management could prove to be beneficial.
Likewise, as the class of 2020 and 2021 enters the workforce during these unprecedented times, remaining open-minded towards freelancing and other forms of virtual work can and will help them to be successful in whatever industry they may choose.
Kate Snider is a senior majoring in advertising with a concentration in copywriting. Outside of class, Kate works at the Creative Center — a new organization started within Comm Arts to assist other creatives with their portfolios. She is continuously inspired by encounters with new people and places. Post-graduation, Kate plans on looking for work in Portland, Oregon to expand her hobbies of hiking and photography.