What skills do I need to start freelancing?
Gone are the days when freelancers were looked down upon as unskilled individuals. Even before the pandemic hit us hard, companies had started favoring freelance talent to help in cutting costs. For companies, hiring freelancers means only hiring when the need arises. Getting an individual, who specializes in a certain skill to get the job done.
While freelancing may be looked at as working on small gigs, for some individuals, they are able to create long term collaborations spanning over years with a single client.
What makes freelancing more appealing?
As a freelancer, you’re more flexible. You are not tied down with the 9 to 5 routine. You are able to work for more than one client at any given time without creating any conflicts. And what’s more, you grow your skills and earn while at it.
If you’ve been thinking of venturing into freelancing whether due to job loss or you’re just looking for a way to achieve work life balance, you may be wondering what skills you need to be able to get in or scale your freelance business.
Whereas almost anything that can be done on a computer can be freelanced, there are certain skills that we believe are bound to help you grow your career, skills that are always in demand. This is not an exhaustive list, and we’ll keep updating it with what we believe are skills you should be investing in. and what’s more, we’ll be linking some of this skills with helpful courses to help you either learn the skill or enhance your skill set.
Writing, Editing and Proofreading
Ages ago when you thought of writing, most people associated it with sitting in some abandoned cabin in a forest writing a fictional romance novel on how the prince met the love of his life and lived happily ever after. While fictional writing is still a lucrative niche to pursue, there are other forms of writing that also pay well.
There are millions of websites that need content every single day. As a content writer, if your skills are top notch, you’re bound to have plenty of work year round. If you’re not good at article writing, but you know you sales pitches almost always convert, writing email copy, grant applications, is something you may want to consider.
Just because you’re into freelancing doesn’t mean people out there are not still looking for office type of work which involves having a good resume. Yes, specializing in resume writing can land you some great gigs. You’ll always find someone who wants their resume polished or written from scratch to help them either land their first job, or scale up the corporate ladder.
With writing, comes editing and proofreading. No one wants to send out or publish copy that has tons of grammatical errors. This can be a costly mistake that many tend to avoid by hiring editors and proofreaders.
Ask around any company and they’ll tell you their biggest spend is on marketing. It’s either the company is promoting a new product or just trying to get their name out there. This is done through various channels which include email marketing, social media marketing, and search engine marketing or search engine optimization.
Graphic and Web Design
Graphic and web design will always be here with us as long. As new products are hitting the market, there will always be demand for graphics to accompany them and a website to promote them. As a graphic designer, you’re not only limited and can work for both brick and mortar and online stores.
We all appreciate getting where possible instant support when we face an issue with a company or a product. Customer service has evolved over the years and it’s no longer limited to phone and chat support. You can also work as a social media support agent assisting your clients’ customers who raise their complaints on social media platforms.
Try as you may, you can never be a jack of all trades. As an entrepreneur, it’s okay to delegate some items on your to-do list that of less importance so as to focus on the most crucial parts of your business. And this is how virtual assistants have found a way to earn a living from the comfort of their homes. As a VA, you’ll need to be someone who easily adapts to change and willing to learn as you work. The reason being, every client’s needs are different.
Most of us will argue that majority of the population owns a smartphone with a good camera hence no need for photographers. This might be true but for some big brands and certain niches – food bloggers know this well, a quality photo makes a huge difference. And a phone camera may not give you what you’re looking for. If you own a quality camera, you may want to polish your photography skills, take a few shots and sell them online.
Not all of us are good with math. Crunching those numbers and trying to balance your income, expenses, and even filing taxes is not everyone’s cup of coffee. Yes, we do have accounting software that might help a little like Quickbooks but some things are best handled by someone in the know to avoid having a run-in with the IRS.
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned in 2020 is that in-person interaction can come to an abrupt end. But does this mean people will stop learning? Your guess is as good as mine, the world doesn’t come to a stop as long as humans are still breathing. E-learning has been a growing trend and is set to continue in the future. Instructional designers make this possible by creating those interactive videos that we enjoy watching.
Where to find matching courses for these skills
edX – over 2,500 courses to explore across different fields. The courses are available online and offered according to one’s level, from beginner, intermediate to advanced.
Coursera – you’ll find courses, certificates and degrees from world class companies and universities. Some of the courses offered include writing, grammar and punctuation among other things.
Udemy – there courses start from as low as $11.99 for lifetime access.
Skillshare – from writing, design, photography, you’ll find a skill worth exploring on this platform. They offer free and premium options.
If you have been thinking of trying out freelancing, we hope these resources will help you get started and build your freelancing career.