Freelancing and Earning while in college

So, one day my friend and I decided, “Let’s make money”. It was mostly boredom that drove us to that decision. The lack of stimulation in college. We wanted to take on something challenging.

We had no idea, on where to start or what to do. Of course, we thought we were special snowflakes, but in reality, we both were just average college students.

I knew some coding so, we got a little excited and decided, “Let’s start a company to automate people’s boring tasks”.

Looking back at it now, there was no real clarity on what problem we were trying to solve. We didn’t know who had those problems nor how to solve them.

We just thought we were special, and that our idea will somehow make us money. Terrible mistake.

Just because you have a hammer, does not turn every problem into a nail

We started brainstorming about all the different problems that people faced. “No platform for people to share ideas on”, “Surveys were too boring” and so on. Then we realized most of those aren’t actual problems. They are problems which we made up because we have the ability to solve them.

This was a bitter realization. All our ideas were revolving around what we knew we can do. And we just made up problems that never actually existed or bothered people in the first place.

The solution to it was just learning to share your ideas with people, allowing them to critique it. Many of your precious ideas will die. Let them. The ones that come out of the trial of insult will come out stronger than before.

Many have this notion that people steal ideas. First off, ideas aren’t really that valuable to begin with. It’s the execution that matters. And secondly, if people really like your idea, they would want to help you rather than start on their own from scratch.

Most of our ideas will be looked upon like it’s crazy anyway. So, the rule of thumb is to tell everyone about your ideas. And don’t take it personally if someone says your idea is really bad. Sometimes it’s actually just a bad idea. But the other times, it’s just people not being able to see through what they already know. If you believe that’s the case, then keep working on it anyway.

There is a subtle difference between talking about our ideas and bragging about what we are going to do next. Never speak about what you are going to do next. Our brains mistake it for actually doing it and doesn't feel as motivated to do the task.

Sharing an Idea:“What do you think about a social media platform for teachers and students?”

Bragging about what you are going to do: “I am building this social media app for teachers and students. I am almost done with most of it and I just need to make a cool looking notification system.” (In reality, you actually haven’t even started working on it.)

Notice how many “I”s are there in the second case. When you see yourself starting a lot of sentences with an “I”, you know you are bragging.

Make people who are smarter than you work for you

When we started off, I did almost all the work. I learnt new techniques to develop websites, to build apps. These were skills that were needed to solve real problems. There is this honeymoon period after you learn something new. You feel like you are on top of the world. Like nothing could beat you. That you can learn anything to do anything. I worked almost all the time. building new websites for clients, fixing bugs, talking to prospective clients.

Then, after a while, you just realize how what you know is just a small droplet in the sea. You sober up to reality. Then comes another realization that hurts the ego that you built up during the honeymoon phase.

No matter how much you learn, there will be someone who can do the job better than you, faster.

No matter how hard you work, you may not really get better at the job than them. This is because while you have so many things to handle and learn, these people mostly loved doing their job and are disproportionately great at doing that one thing.

Now here comes the tricky part. You need to swallow that ego and accept that they are better than you. And that you need their help. They are more than willing to help because they love doing it, and because it’s their playground.

Learning how to deal with these people is sometimes hard. But you need to seek their help. Here are a few points on dealing with people way smarter than you.

  1. Let them know how valuable they actually are.
  2. Appreciate them for doing something right, rather than criticize for doing something wrong
  3. Trust them with the task at hand and give them full control over it
  4. Make it feel like the idea is theirs

Do not work for money

So initially, when we decided to make money, we wanted to do just that. Make money. But then, you realize that’s not the best attitude to actually make money.

It’s like how when you really want to sleep, you can’t. Or the fact that most hedonists aren’t actually happy.

The time and energy we have to do work are limited. We have to decide what work is important for us. The first realization is to delegate work to people smarter than you. But there is a more fundamental aspect to it.

Why are you doing what you are doing now?

In our case, solving problems was actually what drove us. We wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. Money wasn’t the reason we wanted to work. We were happy about our first project where we made a little money, but we thought we actually helped people. It felt good.

Money clouds our perception most of the times. Makes us make bad choices. It made me do really silly things. I bought domains for cheap knowing some club or committee in our college would want it later on and tried selling it to them for a higher price. Not only did it make me feel bad, but also I was looked upon like a barrier in their way.

When people feel you aren’t there to help them, but rather just to make money, they don’t hire you. So, you don’t make money.

The better attitude that will help you make money is to find what you like doing and try to help out people genuinely. Not only will they be grateful, they will hire you the next time they need the job done.

To get started with freelancing, just go out there and see where you can help people. Many people need help with the following:

  1. Content writing
  2. Graphic design
  3. Social media marketing
  4. Web development
  5. Blogging

These are tasks that almost any college student can do. Help them out for free first. Then slowly start charging people for your services. Learn to get better at it in the process.

And just by the way, if you require any technical assistance for your next big idea from our team, or would like to join us check out at




Interested in data-driven healthcare. Founder and consultant at Medblocks.

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Sidharth Ramesh

Sidharth Ramesh

Interested in data-driven healthcare. Founder and consultant at Medblocks.

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