Most universities offer a business program in which you can either major or minor in several areas. At my university, they have an entire College of Business that houses many concentrations such as marketing, accounting, finance, management, general business, and economics. Even though I chose to double-major in design and business early in my collegiate career and started freelancing soon after, there wasn’t one of my business classes that I sat through that didn’t help me in some form with my freelancing career.
As a student, you have many more opportunities than other freelancers to help get the business person in you into shape. It is worth the time to think about rather or not you will benefit from taking just a handful of business classes, electing business as your minor, or even going as far as I have by double-majoring. Also a quick visit to your advisor, mentor, career counselor, etc that is available on campus to help answer your questions wouldn’t hurt either.
When I started my collegiate career, I had pretty much decided that I wanted to double-major in graphic design and general business. Since then I have decided to change to a marketing major instead of a general business major. However, both curriculums required me to take a set of classes that make up a foundation to continue my business education. At least at Austin Peay, they require all business majors to take the same foundation business classes. These foundations classes are the basic foundation classes of accounting, finance, management, economics, and marketing, along with decision science and business law. These classes basically lay the groundwork for future business classes to build off of.
I learned a lot of really great information in all of those foundation courses; a lot of great information that has helped me become a more business-oriented freelancer. I learned various ways on how to market myself and what to focus on when I do market myself, how to keep accounting books, the basics of the economy and pricing, how to determine which investments were best in the long run, and how to be a great manager and a great boss. For those reasons, and many more, I highly recommend student freelancers to take at least the basic business classes offered by your university.
Take some time to review your business departments’ class offerings and see if they offer any type of basic business classes. Also look to see what minors they offer. Typically most minors will only add a semester and a half of classes onto your schedule. In my opinion, an additional semester in school to help me get a running start on how to run a business compared to years of trying to figure it out for myself I think is way worth the extra time.
Every university and school curriculums are different, so taking time to evaluate what they offer and what will be taught in those classes is key. Most business professors will be willing to sit down with students and discuss the types of material they teach in their classes. Take the opportunity to visit with these professors and ask questions.
I have found that these business classes have helped me in many more ways than just my freelancing. A lot of the principles they teach in the principles classes I took helped me in my other classes as well. Business and entrepreneurship takes a lot of critical thinking and problem solving, but so does design as well. The skills you learn in business classes could make you a better student in your primary major by approaching those subjects with a different light or several different points of view. I have found that my design classes have gotten a bit easier thanks to some of the marketing and management classes I have taken. I learned how to take my designs to the next level and really focus on a target market, and I learned how to work and manage in groups, which has helped tremendously when group projects are due.
Even if you feel as though you may have all the business skills you need, it is worth at least the effort to check out what your school offers in relation to the classes and minor offerings they offer. Something might peak your interest and help you out in your freelancing as well.
Have you taken any business classes while in school? How have they helped you with your freelancing?