Do You Need a Degree to Be a Freelancer?

Do you need a degree to be a freelancer and secure clients?

If you’re like me, it was drilled into your brain that you could not be “successful” in life without a college degree. For older generations, getting a good job meant security and the chance to have a good life. A college degree was essential to that plan.

But that’s not the case anymore. Do you need a degree to be a freelancer? Do you need a degree to be a writer? Do you need a degree to start your own side hustle and find success?

No, you don’t.

As this Entrepreneur article suggests, there’s a lot they don’t teach you in college that you can learn easily on your own.

Results Over Qualifications

Why don’t you need a degree to freelance? For this simple reason: Prospective freelance clients care about results far more than they care about qualifications.

This isn’t always the case when you’re looking for a full-time job. Look at most job descriptions, and there’s almost always a “four-year degree” requirement. But that same company will hire a freelancer who knows how to get results, whether or not that freelancer ever stepped foot on a college campus.

Why? Beats me.

I do have a college degree. I even have a graduate degree. Have those degrees ever helped me secure a freelance job? No.

And this theme of results over qualifications can be informative as you look for freelance work.

How to Apply for Freelance Jobs: Focus on Results Over Qualifications

I’ve been freelancing on platforms like Upwork for more than 8 years now. I’ve also hired some freelancers on Upwork to help with various tasks. Do you know the mistake most freelancers make when applying for work? They focus on their qualifications.

“I have a degree from so-and-so university and a million years experience freelance writing …”

No one cares. This is a good approach for getting clients to skip right over your application altogether.

Instead, talk about your approach to the work and how it delivers results.

Talk about the specific results you’ve delivered for clients.

Make recommendations on how the project can reach its full potential.

Your college degree is irrelevant in the freelance world. Clients want to know what you can do for them. Which is a great opportunity for freelancers and potential freelancers who don’t have degrees but who are committed to getting results.

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