Freelancing for Students 2017

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IPSE kicked off Global Entrepreneurship week on 13 November with our first student-specific public event, ‘Freelancing for Students’.

With the theme ‘Get prepared, get work, get paid’, the event provided students from a range of disciplines with top tips and advice about how to successfully launch a freelance career.  There were over 40 students there from 13 different universities – and they weren’t just there for the free pizza and beer!  

Organised by IPSE’s Education & Training team consisting of myself and Lydia Wakefield, it began with Lydia giving an overview of IPSE. Next, I gave an introduction to freelancing, including trends – especially among young adults – and what it means to be freelance. I also shared some of the benefits of freelancing as a student, such as the flexibility it can offer, as well as increased earning potential and work experience to add to your CV. With a loud affirmation to the student audience that ‘the best time is now’, I encouraged them to make the most of their time at university by freelancing.

This set the tone for the first speaker, entrepreneur and author Junior Ogunyemi, who raised the energy levels even further with a charismatic and motivating speech about confidence and resilience. He delivered an inspiring speech about the key lessons freelancers and entrepreneurs alike could learn from an eagle. One of the main lessons was the importance of focus – one of the eagle’s key traits, which is no less important for freelancers and entrepreneurs. He also gave the analogy of how “an eagle doesn’t get threatened by a storm: it soars above it and the storm lifts it higher”, and talked about how freelancers should do the same by turning challenges into opportunities. Finally, Junior also compared the autonomy of eagles and freelancers – both flying solo in the world.

Next up was Matt Dowling, Director of The Freelancer Club. The focus of his speech was finding work and setting rates, offering the audience some unorthodox yet practical tips on how to know your worth and set the right rate. Ultimately, he advised students against the idea of working for free, promoting IPSE and the Freelancer Club’s #NoFreeWork campaign.

Then the panel discussion gave the audience some more relatable perspectives from freelancers who shared their stories and offered general advice about the freelancing life. It consisted of Luke Nicholson, an accent coach and IPSE’s Inspire Freelancer of the Year 2017 winner, Nisha Haq, a photographer and the winner of the Aspire Freelancer of the Year 2017 award, and project manager Miranda Asher, who is also a physiotherapist and part-time PhD student.

The diversity of the panel also helped to produce valuable, insightful conversations. With Luke monetising such a niche skill, Nisha starting freelancing while at university and Miranda juggling commitments as a freelance project manager, physiotherapist and working on her PhD thesis, there was a great range of advice.

The event rounded off with a networking segment where attendees could meet other students from different institutions and disciplines – not to mention enjoying the free beer and pizza!

All in all, the event was a huge success, with many attendees saying afterwards they felt both inspired and more confident about their freelance careers.  

Meet the author

Olaitan Ajimobi

Education and Training Officer