20 Ways Design Students can Earn Money and Gain Experience Freelancing

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As a design student, you should be focused on developing the skills you will need to succeed as a professional designer, and gaining valuable experience. After all, don’t you want your resume to have the real world experience employers appreciate? Freelancing is a great way to do this. Not sure where to begin? Here are 20 ideas for freelancing opportunities that will help you develop your design, time management, sales and marketing, and artistic skills.

  1. Creating Art for Local Businesses

Local businesses are often looking for art made by local artists to display in their stores. If you have a small coffee shop, for example, in your town. Ask if they would like to purchase some or your art for display, or if they would like to commission a piece. Another option is consignment. They may be willing to display your pieces for sale.

  1. Photography and Videography

If you have developed these skills as a student, or simply through creative pursuits, you may be able to offer your services to small businesses, folks planning weddings on a budget, and even stock photo websites.

  1. Social Media Consulting

Nearly every company has a social media presence, or they want to create one. Unfortunately for them, many businesses do not know where to begin, and they cannot afford a full-time strategist. You can use your writing skills, and eye for design to help companies set up blogs, keep their Facebook pages active, and create or select new content for sharing.

  1. Interior Design

Someone who is completing a redecorating project on a budget, usually cannot afford to hire a professional interior designer. However, they can often afford to pay a design student for consultation on issues such as color selection, use of space, and use of texture.

  1. Landscaping Design and Labor

If you invest just a little bit of money in a landscaping design software package, you can use your eye for design to help people create beautiful outdoor spaces. You get real-world experience, and they get design help at a fraction of the cost. If you’re willing to do some of the labor, you could earn even more money.

  1. Developing Apps

If you have great computer skills, consider using them to develop a few inexpensive apps that you can market to fellow students.

  1. Promotions and Marketing

There are many opportunities in this area. You can design business logos, flyers, and other marketing materials for small businesses. You can also profit from using your social media presence to get people to attend events and patronize businesses.

  1. Working at Events, Fairs, and Festivals

Look for music festivals, art fairs, and even carnivals. Then speak to the organizers about their needs and your talents. They may need help with designing flyers, help with the event website, or simply someone to man an arts and crafts booth.

  1. Contributing to Online Newspapers and Magazines

If you have layout and design skills that have application in the world of online publishing, smaller publications may be willing to pay you for these services.

  1. Creating and Running Art Programs for Schools, Daycare Centers, and Community Programs

Do you work well with kids? Why not spend one or two days each week working with them on art projects, or teaching them about computer animation?

  1. Teaching Computer Skills

If you are skilled in software packages such as GIMP, Photoshop, or even Microsoft Paint, there are people who would be willing to pay you for a few educational sessions. You could potentially build up a decent list of clients from recommendations.

  1. Selling arts and Crafts Online

Do you make jewelry, paint, or create any other type of tangible artwork? If so, you might wish to consider following the lead of many others by selling your creations via websites such as etzy.

  1. Writing

Do you have a blog with a significant amount of followers? Are you active in your local creative community? Why not contact your local paper and offer to write a weekly or monthly column about creative events and topics?

  1. Website Design

Even if you don’t deeply technical web development skills, you can use your design skills to help business owners who are attempting to roll their own websites make better decisions when it comes to the look and feel of their web pages.

  1. Secret Shopping

This is another option that may not tie directly with design, but it will help you develop some useful skills while earning a bit of money. In order to become a mystery shopper you must have great time management skills, and you must be able to market your services to businesses in your area.

  1. Refurbishing Furniture

College students are known for their ability to take used and abused furniture and repurpose it. There is money to be made in combining creativity, artistic skill, and resourcefulness. Why not take a few pieces of furniture, repaint, refinish, and repair them. Then you can sell them on Ebay or Craigslist.

  1. Party Planning and Operation

Planning and throwing parties for both children and adults is an excellent way for a design student earn extra money and develop their people skills. Here’s a bonus. This is a great opportunity for students to design and market their own party invitations, banners, hats, and more.

  1. In-Home Organization

Though not directly related to design. Busy people with disposable income are happy to pay other people to get their homes organized for them. Employers appreciate organizational skills no matter which position they are looking to fill.

  1. Making and Selling Customized Shoes, T-Shirts, and Other Items

Tie dying, air brushing, and screen printing are great ways to build a reputation in the creative community, and earn a bit of extra money.

  1. Designing Promotional Items for Local Musicians

If there is a decent music scene in your area, try to make some contacts. Attend a few shows. Like a few bands on Facebook. Then, offer your discounted services to bands who are looking for someone to create logos, flyers, CD cover Art, and merch.

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