Students That Freelance

Fall Semester About to Start? Tips and Tricks for Survival as a Student Freelancer

Day to Day
by: Amber Leigh Turner
I don’t know about you, but my fall semester--the busiest of my collegiate career--will begin two weeks from today. Where did summer break go? If you are like me, chances are you spent most of your summer working on freelance projects and building your business. Kudos to you my friend! But when school starts, the time we have to work on our freelance business and meet client needs dwindles. Fast. With two weeks (give or take a few depending on your college) before the school year starts up again, I am going to share with you some tips and tricks to make going back to school easier on the student freelancer who also has a business to run.

Get things done now

I know, I know. Seems cliche, but trust me, it works. Take a few moments to take an inventory of how your business is running right now. Do you have projects that you are working on? If so, what can you do now to help free your time when the semester starts? For instance, could you go ahead and work on other parts of the project now instead of when you scheduled them? Could you get the project finished before the semester starts? Do you have reoccurring invoices? If so, could you go ahead and get those ready to send out ahead of time? Of course, this questioning could go on forever.

Take a look at the aspects of your business (and personal life). If your freelance books are out of shape, get them up to date before school starts to reduce your stress later down the road. If your room looks like a tornado hit it, now is a good time to work and clean your room up to get ready for the semester. Just looking at everything you need to do and should do before the semester starts when it comes to your freelancing, then taking care of those things before the busy semester starts, can help reduce your stress when papers and tests start eating away at your time.

Plan ahead

Similar to the above, but crucial as well. Dust of your planner and start writing down things that will pop up during the course of the semester. Dates invoices are due, project deadlines, family events, etc are all important keep note of. When the semester starts, take all of those syllabi with schedules attached and write down important project and tests dates in that planner. And if you are all about your planner like yours truly, you should also look at your university’s academic calendar and make note of those all important days off.

Writing all of these dates down will help you not only help you to have to remember less as the semester rolls on, but allows you to see what is coming up and allow for better planning of your time. For instance, during your fall break, you could work to wrap up a client project, or get a head start on that term paper due at the end of the semester.

Take care of yourself

Something I always have a hard time with. During the semester, you tend to start losing more and more sleep, and start not eating the way you should and it all starts to catch up with you. But what can you do now to prevent that from happening? Simple: think of things you can do now and get in the habit of doing those things. For me, it was exercise. I have started exercising at least four times a week so that it boosts my metabolism and helps me sleep better at night.

Some ways you can prep yourself for the upcoming semester include: start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to help your body get adjusted to early-morning classes; start exercising and put that plan in place so that it is a habit before school starts; have set times of when you will work on client projects and when you will work on school work. Taking care of yourself is a huge way to keep your stress level down and keep from feeling burn out toward December.

Other tips

I have hit on a few above, but I have written some articles that can help you with your fall semester. The power of planning is definitely a powerful way to help you stay ahead of the curve. With holidays coming and going during the fall semester, I wrote about surviving the holidays as well. Last year I wrote on a similar topic to this post, but it involves how to prepare for the fall semester. If your schedule isn’t set in stone yet and you are still working on finding classes, give this article a read about taking business classes. I mentioned that your free time dwindles down to nothing during the semester, so I wrote how you can help maintain that school/work/life balance as well. Finally when December rolls around, insanity ensues! Here are ways you can work to keep sane during finals week.

Have any other tips that you use to prep for the busy semester ahead?