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When it comes to developing new skills, some skills are more valuable than others.
While we all wish we could make money from home without actually putting in long hours, this often isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, we need to make some money straight away, and we don’t have months to wait before revenue starts to come in.
This is where freelancing shines.
Freelancing is one of the greatest businesses to start in 2019, because it’s so straightforward. You do work, and you get paid.
However, it does require you to actually have a marketable skill in the first place. A skill that employers are actually looking for, that adds value to their business in some way.
In this article, we’re not just going to cover the most common freelance jobs available online, but we’ll also cover the most in demand freelance skills that employers are looking for.
By doing this, we ensure that any time spent developing these skills is well worth it, and you won’t have to spend too much time actually looking for work.
Let’s get to it! Here are the most profitable, high-income skills to learn if you want to make money as a freelancer.
1. Writing – But Niche It Down
Freelance writing is one of the most popular freelance skills to develop, but this also leads to a huge problem – it’s crowded.
Even very talented writers may struggle to find work, and the rates for freelance writing aren’t the best.
This is simply due to supply and demand. Writing isn’t something that requires a lot of additional study to begin freelancing, which has led to a large amount of freelance writers marketing their services.
The solution to this problem is simple, however. You’ve got to niche down further.
What this means is that you shouldn’t market yourself as just a ‘freelance writer’. You should focus solely on a specific format, or a specific subject.
For example, a writer that markets themselves as the, ‘world’s best blog article writer on aviation’ or, ‘one of the top romance short story ghost writers’ is far more likely to get paid higher rates.
This will lead to less work overall, but it will also lead to higher paying work when you do manage to find a job.
Building a personal brand and blogging about your area of expertise is a recommended strategy to help attract clients in this area.
As a freelancer, you and your services are the product. It’s no different than selling an eBook, a course, or a physical product you have to ship.
Draw the right attention to your work, and clients will fight over you!
Bonus tip: If you’re looking to develop writing as a skill and you’re looking for a specific area to go into, I highly recommend exploring copywriting. It’s definitely a different skillset, but good copywriters can demand very high rates due to the fact that their work directly leads to revenue for their employers.
Like writing, there are a lot of different directions you can take with design, which each one of them being potentially very profitable:
- Logo design
- Advertisement design
- Merchandise design
- UI / UX design
- Marketing materials design (website banners, graphics, pamphlets, posters, etc.)
- Product packaging
- Photo editing / enhancement
And many others!
Fortunately, mastering one of these skills will make it easier to branch out to another one later on. This makes design a great choice if your long-term goal is to own some sort of agency, with additional freelancers working underneath you.
If you’ve never done any design work before, it’s worth exploring the different options in detail, as they will all be handled a little bit differently. Once you’ve identified your area of interest, you can begin studying and pr acting in that specific area.
Fortunately, Udemy has courses on very specific areas of design, which I have personally used to help grow my own design skills, as well as train the designers that work for my companies.
A few courses I recommend in particular are:
3. Video Editing
Similar to design work, video editing can be a very profitable, and very rewarding job if you develop a valuable skillset in this area.
With video content becoming increasingly important to brands, you can be sure that demand for freelance video editors will rise in the coming years.
Marketers need talented freelancers who can put together all of their clips, in a way that invokes the feelings that they’re going for, and effectively execute the company’s vision.
Additionally, as companies build a recurring and regular video content strategy, they tend to stick with a small number of freelancers for their projects, in hopes of maintaining a consistent feeling and style within their brand. This means that video editors tend to get a lot of recurring work, and do not have to spend as much time looking for new clients.
One of the most difficult freelance skills to develop, but also one of the most profitable is some form of programming.
The world runs on code, and this is only going to become more true as computers and technology play an even larger role in our lives. The right software can automate so much, and hold so much power, it’s no wonder that companies are willing to pay big bucks for people who can do this job.
At the same time, many companies…
- Don’t have enough work to warrant a full-time position.
- Can’t be bothered to learn how to program themselves, which can take quite a bit of time.
This means that the rates for this type of work can be astronomically high, due to the higher barrier-of-entry, and the value it can provide to a company.
I learned this first-hand, when I decided to pursue programming myself. I was looking for a new skill to learn while I was bored one night, and had no idea that it would turn out to be so valuable.
It completely shocked me.
I spent $10 on a Python programming course, and within a month I was able to transition 2 people in my company to different roles.
How much were those pieces of software worth to me? Tens of thousands of dollars!
All of this being said, there are certainly many different types of programming worth exploring, each with its own things to keep in mind. The demand, style, and learning requirements will all be different depending on what type you choose to pursue. Some examples include…
- Web design
- Mobile application programming
- Front-end web development
- Back-end web development
- Enterprise software
- Database-related work
- Data science work
That being said, programming skills are highly transferable. If you master one programming language, it is much easier to learn another later down the line. This will only make you more valuable to a potential company looking to hire you.
However, things evolve quite quickly in this area, meaning that learning will have to be an ongoing process. However, programming as a whole is certainly a future proof skill you’ll be able to benefit from for years to come!
5. Some Form Of Marketing
You would be surprised how many businesses out there…
- Don’t have any sort of digital marketing strategy in place, at all.
- Have no idea how search engines work.
- Don’t understand how having a social media presence can benefit them, let alone how to actually execute one.
- Know all of this, but simply aren’t bothered to invest the time in marketing their company online.
This is where you can become a huge asset and make great money, all while building your own skills in the process.
When I first started offering marketing services to clients, I did so at a very low fee for the simple sake of learning.
I wanted to look for patterns across different industries, and gather personal data that I could use to become a better marketer and a better entrepreneur.
Over the years, this knowledge has become even more valuable to me than the money I earned from the work.
If you have a natural passion for marketing, I highly recommend going all-in on one specific area, and pitching clients straight away (as long as you can actually deliver the results, of course!)
Some freelance marketing skills you may consider looking into include…
- SEO / Link Building
- Social media marketing
- YouTube marketing
- Content marketing
- Brand strategy
- Marketing consultation
If you’re looking for an example on how to market freelance services, please check out my friend Nikola Roza’s website – who specializes in SEO services.
6. Voice Over
Like video content, audio content is on the rise as well, which has led to an increased demand for voice over work.
This is often to accompany video content, but it doesn’t have to be.
Voice actors are also being hired for things such as…
- Radio advertisements
- Podcast intros
- Television / movie / short film characters
- Game characters
- Event commentary
Additionally, the going rates for work like this is quite high! Top voice actors are charging more than $1,000 an hour for their work.
Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into voice acting than simply reading a script.
However, if you’re able to build a client base in this area, it’s very likely that the recurring work will be more than enough to cover your expenses.
You will want to invest in a nice recording setup and perhaps some training, but this investment can pay for itself very quickly.
If you’re worried that you have a strange or abnormal voice… don’t be! My research has shown me that having a unique aspect could help you stand out and actually get more clients, who are looking for a specific style and feeling for their work.
7. Tutoring / Coaching
Last but not least, we have tutoring and coaching.
This does not have to be for any specific area, and may simply be for whatever you’re an expert in. However, having a skill that people are willing to pay for certainly helps.
A few examples include…
- Helping people find their ideal nutrition plan
- Preparing people for college admission exams
- Teaching singing lessons over Skype
- Helping someone learn English, or another language
- Guiding someone through a large personal project
There aren’t really any limitations here.
That being said, unless there is a lot of demand for what you have to teach, it may be a better idea to focus on building a personal brand in your niche instead.
For example, creating a website similar to this one where you share your insights and expertise – then sell one-on-one tutoring to your readers.
This way, you have a group of potential students that you already know may be interested in your services, that you’re able to market to and get in front of over and over again.
Additionally, you could build an entire monetization strategy that goes beyond just coaching, but includes options such as affiliate marketing or releasing your own courses.
There are a lot of options, and this is something that is definitely worth considering!
Freelancing is one of the easiest ways to begin making money online, which is why I always recommend trying it out – regardless of where you’re at in life right now.
You set your own rates, and you only have to do work you agree on. The downsides are low, but the potential is very high.
By learning one of the 7 skills mentioned within this article, finding work to be done should not be too difficult. These skills are in demand, and employers are actively looking for dedicated freelancers just like you to fill these roles within their company.
I hope that this article has shown you some of the options available, and I’d love to hear which one of these you’re considering pursuing further.
To your success,
Freelancing Skills Infographic
To summarize, here is an infographic covering the most profitable freelancing skills this year. Webmasters, feel free to use this on your site (just please give credit!)