As a graduating senior, I’ve heard the dreaded question “what are you going to do after graduation?” about 100 times. As an English major, people always assume I want to teach. But, what I really want to do is write.
While graduate school is forefront in my mind, the professional world isn’t far behind. As an English major who doesn’t want to teach, the professional world looks much different for me than for many others in my field. To jumpstart my career, I’ve decided to enter the world of freelancing.
Freelancing means I can work for or at multiple companies at a time rather than be permanently employed by one company. While this provides me some freedom to choose who I work for and what I write, it’s also a much less stable career.
To increase the likelihood of getting hired, a freelancer must put a big focus on branding. I’ve had a blog for a while now, but I had to rebrand the entire thing to suit my freelancing business. And, as any beginning freelancer would tell you, it’s scary jumping into a world of professionals when your own experience is limited.
Beginning freelancers must be willing to highlight their strengths and their past work, even if they don’t feel the slightest bit prepared to enter the professional world. I’ve had to do extensive research – What do I charge my customers? How do I find customers? How do I make sure I give them what they need? – and be willing to fight the insecurities that come with beginning a job so that I don’t jilt myself in the process.
While I’ve had a lot of fun rebranding, typing up my “hire me” page, signing up on freelancer sites and making fun flyers, I know that the hard part has yet to begin.
Graduating and entering the professional world is scary. Through this experience, I’ve learned to recognize the fact that I have the skills I need to start this freelancing business. I’m a beginner, but as the cliché goes, everyone has to start somewhere. Believing you have what it takes is the first step you take into the professional world.
Maggie Marshall is a senior English major from Tulsa, Oklahoma.