Once upon a time, I was a broke college student with no job. I desperately needed to earn some cash, but the idea of spending the summer behind the grill at McDonalds made me want to cry. I knew I had decent writing chops, but I didn’t have any real professional experience to my name, and I didn’t even know where to begin looking for writing gigs online. I needed a college summer job and pronto.
Fast forward to today, several years later, and I still find people are amazed to discover that I work as a full-time writer. Just last week, someone asked me incredulously, “You can actually make a living doing that?”
And, writing online is maybe one of the best college summer jobs of all. The hours are flexible, earning potential is unlimited, and you won’t smell like burger grease at the end of a long day.
Whether you’re personally looking for college summer job ideas or you know a student who might be interested, I’ve put together this quick guide for anybody looking to pick up some extra cash over the next few months. These three simple steps will send you on your way.
1. Build a Personal Website
You know how many supermarkets offer tasty little bites of free food for you to sample as you grocery shop? Think of your website as the sample you offer for people who might want to work with you. Plenty of people get really hung up about their website. What does it need to look like? What should I blog about? Do I need my own domain name? How do I get started?
Have you ever heard of the acronym, KISS? It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t get too wrapped up in all the things you could put on your site. Your website ultimately only needs the three following things:
- A short snippet about yourself, along with your working history
- A blog
- Contact information
That’s it. You don’t need a bunch of extra add-ons, certainly when you’re just starting out. If you’re looking to build a freelance writer website, check out Freelance Writer Websites.
2. Start Looking for Work
There are plenty of different ways to land writing work online. The Craigslist job board is one particularly popular spot, as is the ProBlogger board. You can also try working through platforms like Upwork or sell articles you’ve already written on Constant Content. (I regularly earn over $100/hour writing for Constant Content—beat that, Burger King.)
Of course, you’ll likely find that competition can be pretty steep on some of the Internet’s most popular freelance writing boards. Instead of throwing your ring in the hat with hundreds of other applicants, pitching is a great alternative.
Pitching your work basically entails contacting businesses and offering to write for their blogs. It may not sound super glamorous, but reaching out directly to your buyers can be a powerful way to land jobs.
3. Market Your Services
With any luck, you’ll start finding writing jobs through job boards and pitching yourself, but you’ll also want to invest in marketing your writing services. Writing online can be one of the most flexible jobs for college students, but you might find yourself disappointed with your earnings if you’re not actively focusing on marketing.
There are so many different ways to go about landing clients and getting the word out about your skills. From getting affiliated with professional writing groups to sharing your business on social media, calling local businesses, and passing out your business cards to friends and family, let your imagination run wild.
Treat your writing as a business and you’ll reap the rewards you crave.
Do you have any advice for college students looking to catch a break writing online?