As much as 9.7% of Singapore’s resident workforce in 2020 identified as self-employed — the highest in 10 years! This proves that more and more people have embraced freelance and independent contractor jobs in Singapore.
So, why not start early? Doing freelance jobs as a student will help you gain experience on top of earning some extra pocket money. Who knows, you may also end up becoming an entrepreneur yourself.
Below, we will discuss the type of marketable skills and where to find freelance jobs for students in Singapore. We will also discuss some red flags to look out for when freelancing online.
Marketable freelance skills for students in Singapore
When it comes to the type of skills marketable for a student freelancer, the sky is pretty much the limit. To save time, here are our top three marketable skills that may land you freelance jobs in Singapore and beyond:
- Visual Arts
This is by far one of the most popular categories for online freelancers, especially for students. Whether you are skilled in illustrations or graphic designs, the visual arts category has lent itself to the success of many student freelancers. And why is that?
First, there is little to no formal education or training required. You may learn all you need to know by browsing online, watching YouTube videos or through coaching platforms like Udemy.
Next, it takes little investment and business expense. If you are a traditional illustrator, all you need is paper and your creative medium of choice (pen, pencil, paint and so on), or a tablet and pen tablet for digital artists.
Finally, you can do it from almost anywhere since the equipment you need is pretty easy to carry around.
Jobs in this niche include: commissioned illustrator, cover book illustrator, comic book/manga artist, logo designer, book layout designer, poster designer, web designer and so on.
Another lucrative niche to consider as a student freelancer is writing. Fancy writing romance fiction online? Guess what, there is a market for it. Perhaps nonfiction is your jam? You can be successful writing for companies as well.
To start, all you need are good writing mechanics (grammars, punctuations and so on) and a flair to weave words to make impactul or meaningful sentences while taking into account the purpose of your piece of writing.
Jobs in this niche include: online novel writer, ebook ghostwriter, game scriptwriter, article writer, blog post writer, technical writer, copywriter and so on.
As the smartest country in Southeast Asia, it is little wonder why teaching is a niche targeted by many Singaporeans.
Unlike the previous niches, this one actually requires you to prove that you have the expertise in the subject you are planning to teach.
That said, you do not have to be a straight A student to teach. As long as you have a proven track record in fields such as art or music, you can apply to become a tutor as well.
Jobs in this niche include: English tutor, math tutor, science tutor, music teacher, drawing teacher, art and drama teacher and so on.
Marketing your freelance skills as students in Singapore
Below are some places to market your freelance services as a student:
- Freelance websites
One of the biggest problems students face when using freelance websites is the minimum age requirement. UpWork and Gigworks, for example, require their users to be 18 years of age. Thankfully, there are some companies that allow users below 18 to work on their platform. Fiverr is one such website, where the minimum age is 13.
Simply make an account by following each platform’s rules and getting all the verification done so you can start earning.
- Buy-and-sell platforms
Platforms like Carousell or Etsy have gained popularity as the place to market your freelancing services. To start offering your service, all you need is to create an account and start posting your gig.
- Social media
Have you ever thought of offering your freelancing services on social media such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Well, many people do and get quite successful.
Consider creating a business account on these social media and market yourself according to each social media’s etiquette.
- Your own website
With a website, you will look more professional and get your own leads by way of SEO positioning or words of mouth.
Red flags in freelance jobs
Like any kind of job, there are scammers targeting freelancers as well. Here are some popular scam methods in the freelancing world:
- Cash before work
If someone wants you to pay them before offering the job, you need to stay as far away as possible from them.
This is a very popular scam for new freelancers where a “client” claims to be a recruiter from a respectable company, but who requires you to pay a sum of money to “book your slot”. Once you make the payment, they will become unresponsive and run away with the money.
There is also a different variant where you are offered a job to help an e-commerce company or affiliate marketing that has a similar modus operandi.
Remember, if the job offer is legit, there will be no need for you to give a single cent to these “recruiters”.
- Free samples
What is wrong with a little free sample, right? After all, you might use it as part of your still-growing portfolio. Unfortunately, this is the argument used by a lot of scrupulous clients to get free work from you.
Instead of simply using the free samples to gauge your skills, they may take your finished piece, tell you that they go with someone else and then use your piece for their own gain.
We would suggest asking for a paid sample instead or, if not possible, deliver your piece with a prominent watermark.
All freelance platforms have their own Terms of Services (ToS). New and unverified clients who ask you right away to communicate on apps like Telegram without a proper contract in place (or those who ask you to take the business off-platform) may just be ignorant, but they may also do so because they want to circumvent the rules placed to protect you!
Always practice vigilance and report the job posters if they are persistent or clearly trying to scam you.
We hope this article is helpful in your quest to find your freelance job as a student in Singapore. Happy freelancing!