Teenage Freelancers: I’m In Favor

I have a teenage cousin who’s working retail, a teenage sister who hostesses at a restaurant and a whole list of other teenage relatives working the standard jobs available to teenagers.

The more I think about it, though, the more I want to direct them to freelancing. I know that freelance writing may not be the right opportunity for most of them — though one of my cousins is a knock-out writer — but I’d like them to explore freelancing as designers, computer help, or whatever else their skill set might suggest. I’ve come to the conclusion that freelancing might just be a better opportunity than most of those character-building jobs typically offered to teenagers.

Teen Job Dilemmas

Teenagers need a lot of job flexibility, especially if they’re getting ready to head off to college. The calendar most schools follow is enough to make the average employer cringe. And between finals and papers, most teenagers are a little worried about over-committing themselves.

Freelancing makes most scheduling issues a little easier to handle. Sure, an all-nighter or two might still be in order, but a freelancer doesn’t have to find someone to cover her shift the night before a big test. As teenagers head off to college, it’s pretty rare that they can keep a job through all the schedule and location changes. The flexibility of freelancing can come in handy through those issues, as well.

Drawbacks to Freelancing

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to freelancing. Issues like the absolute importance on time management may be an obstacle that the average high school student is still struggling with — tossing a few freelance assignments into the mix may not always be a good idea.

On the other hand, though, freelancing can teach some skills that will stand most teenagers in good stead through high school, college and career. And the idea of having at least the start of a business before even thinking about college — I’d like to think that would be a major asset to my cousins and sister. I’d never say that it’s the perfect opportunity for every teenager, but I’ve been trying to make sure that my relatives at least know that it’s an option.

3 Comments

  1. Gavin Nachbar   •  

    I cannot be more happy that you blogged about this.

    My name’s Gavin Nachbar and I am a teenage freelancer myself. I worked on Elance for years doing admin assistance and freelance writing, and could not be happier with the outcome. I was paid to do work that improved on skills that I use all the time now.

    I read this blog now because I am actually looking for an agent to represent a book I want to write about teenagers and freelancing.

    Being a freelancer as a teenager is nothing short of a dream job, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Gavin

  2. thursday   •     Author

    @Gavin, Congratulations on your successes. Have you considered pitching your book idea directly to a publisher? There are several smaller presses that focus on printing books for teenagers — and they generally accept unagented submissions.

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