7 Tools for Collegiate Entrepreneurs Looking to Gain Real-Life Experience

“The gig economy is a new composition of how people are making money and structuring their employment.” — Stephanie Leffler, CEO of OneSpace

What’s been the biggest recent change in how we find jobs?

Traditional methods, like spending Sunday mornings digging through “Help Wanted” ads, have practically disappeared.

The Internet has obviously played a massive role, from Monster.com to Craigslist and LinkedIn. But it’s also important to note that there’s been a tremendous shift in what employers and job candidates are looking for …

Enter: The “on-demand economy” or “gig economy.”

The reality is that many job seekers—especially students—are tired of feeling trapped in cubicles for years at a time. They want more freedom and flexibility to fit their lifestyles and aspire for more control over how they’re employed.

The college student market has untapped potential and tech companies are buzzing about the opportunities available to both employers and the young job force.

Students can make money quickly and easily, while employers can get work done through an efficient hiring process that helps them complete specific projects in short timeframes.

The fact is that more and more people are growing weary of the traditional, nine-to-five job environment, from both sides of the cubicle.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at seven tools collegiate entrepreneurs can use to gain real-life work experience:

1) Glydr

Companies like Glydr have jumped in to provide a quick and timely solution, realizing that there aren’t any services currently providing a combination of internships and gig economy services to students.

It’s a ripe opportunity as students seek paying positions with flexibility and the opportunity to advance.

2) Upwork

If you’re a freelancer, then you’re no doubt familiar with Upwork, one of the biggest job boards on the planet. Although income potential tends to be on the lower end of the scale, it’s a great source for students who want to build skills and a portfolio while getting experience as service providers.

3) Guru

Guru is another online job board with a very similar business model to Upwork. Finding gigs can be competitive, but you can find a range of writing, web development, legal gigs and more.

4) TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit isn’t your typical job board and is primarily known for delegating chores, like picking up someone’s dry cleaning or putting together their future. Still, you can find more traditional online gigs like graphic design if you search the site.

5) Skype

It might not be the first example that comes to mind when it comes to the gig economy, but Skype is an incredibly useful tool used in many freelance and online businesses.

With Skype, there’s no need to drive to the office or waste time with endless emails. Many gig economy providers use Skype for paid consultations and coaching, which is a perfect fit for everyone from pat-time designers to marketers.

6) Skillshare

One of the biggest challenges for college entrepreneurs is a lack of marketable skills because you haven’t used them in a professional environment (yes). That’s why low-cost online education platforms like Skillshare are so valuable.

You get access to over 17,000 classes in everything from business to technology from people with real-world, in-the-trenches experience.

7) FreshBooks

Last, but not least, every budding entrepreneur needs a way to get paid. While Paypal and Stripe are great tools for accepting payments, other sites like FreshBooks are designed specifically with freelancers and the gig economy in mind.

One of the best features is its invoicing software, which makes it easy to collect payment and look professional at the same time.

The Future of Work

“Entrepreneurship is connecting, creating, and inventing systems—be they businesses, people, ideas, or processes. A job is the act of following the operating system someone else created.” — Taylor Pearson, Author, The End of Jobs

If you grew up a Baby Boomer, the world of employment was quite different. Getting a job usually meant working at the same company for most of your life until you retired in your 60s.

That world is disappearing, day by day, due to a myriad of factors, like technology and globalization. More importantly, to any college-age entrepreneurs trying to figure out where they fit in in this new world and economy, the main thing to remember is this:

You have a choice.

And you have more choices now, than ever, which can feel both liberating and overwhelming, because you don’t know what to do next.

Luckily, the tools are here for you to use, but it’s up to you to take the first step.

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