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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.

That’s it.

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.

2. Design

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

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  • Advertisement design
  • Illustration
  • 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:

Canva for Beginners – Graphic Design Theory Volume 1

Canva for Beginners – Graphic Design Theory Volume 2

Adobe Illustrator CC Tutorial – Training Taught By Experts

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.

4. Programming

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…

  1. Don’t have enough work to warrant a full-time position.
  2. 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
  • Games
  • 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…

  1. Don’t have any sort of digital marketing strategy in place, at all.
  2. Have no idea how search engines work.
  3. Don’t understand how having a social media presence can benefit them, let alone how to actually execute one.
  4. 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

Voice Over Freelancing

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
  • Audiobooks
  • Television / movie / short film characters
  • Game characters
  • Narration
  • 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!

Conclusion

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,

James McAllister

 

Summary:

Review the main points of this article in the SlideShare below. Feel free to embed this on your site, use it in your organization, and share it with others! All I ask is that you give credit! (Download links are available from SlideShare’s website, which you can access by clicking the LinkedIn icon)

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of JamesMcAllisterOnline.com. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on JamesMcAllisterOnline.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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  1. Great tips James,
    truly, master just one of these skills and you’re set for life. You will never be out of work, as long as you plan to freelance your whole working life.

    I agree with niching down as a freelance writer.

    I remember I listened to a podcast with Brian Dean as a guest, and he said how in a beginning he was a copywriter specializing in writing long-form sales letter.

    And that because he was writing just those and nothing else, he was able to charge much more than the average writer. And was getting new work all the time, as there was a perception, that he must know to write DAMN good sales letters since that his thing.
    Very clever and counter-intuitive.

    Most people think that you need to cover everything field there is to have the best shot at landing a gig.

    Not true.

    Thanks for linking to my site James, I appreciate it:)

      (Quote)

    1. Hey Nikola, thanks so much for stopping by!

      Copywriting is one skill I really want to master this year. I’m reading through the book ‘Breakthrough Advertising’ right now which is often considered to be one of the best that there is, and I’m already learning a lot where I can optimize further. It’s no surprise that it pays so well from a freelance perspective.

      You’re absolutely right about niching down, so many people overlook this, but it can really separate somebody out from a pool of more generic candidates. Experts in a given area are overpaid for their work, most others are underpaid. This is just the reality of the marketplace, especially when pitching bigger clients.

      Happy to link to your site Nikola and appreciate you being such a great example for us!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Multiple Failed Businesses? Here’s What To Do Differently Next TimeMy Profile

  2. Hi James,
    This is one of the finest articles which I have read so far. You write really good. I have been looking for freelancing jobs but unable to clear the level so through your article I got to know the exact skills that are must in a freelancer. Now I got to learn some new skills such as voice error, photo, and video editing.

    Keep sharing such informative articles.

      (Quote)

    1. Hey Rahul, good to see you!

      Glad to hear that you liked it, and I appreciate your kind words. Even getting jobs as a freelancer is a skill that must be developed, but it gets easier over time as you learn to refine your pitch, and also receive referrals from satisfied clients. I’m happy that this article was able to help you and I look forward to hearing about your future successes!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…5 Steps To Building A Better Connection With Your FollowingMy Profile

  3. Hi James,

    You can’t be wrong with these freelancing skills. However, since I’m in the freelance writing niche, I took special note of niching down as a copywriter. Copywriting is a fantastic freelance writing niche that will make you more money than you can imagine. For example, a copy you spend about an hour writing can fetch you $300. Do the maths, and you’re in for serious money.
    Thank you for sharing.

      (Quote)

    1. Hey Moss, that’s awesome!

      Copywriting is definitely something that can attract top-tier rates. Every business needs it and while it does take some time to truly get good at copywriting, this increased barrier-to-entry means that there’s less competition than more generalized forms of writing.

      As you rightly point out good copywriters can fetch hourly rates in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And best of all, the work makes the company a lot more than that, meaning they’ll be happy to hire over and over again.

      I appreciate you sharing your experience here!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Entrepreneurs: Quit Wasting Your Time And Money Obsessing Over These 5 ThingsMy Profile

  4. I totally agree with this article. The most important investment that I’ve ever made in business has been in myself. I’ve always been good art Graphics design, but I put all of my resources into my designs.

    So when I opened my my e-commerce store selling my t-shirt designs I wasn’t making any sales. I thought to myself how can this be look at how good my designs are. But I didn’t know how to do all the other stuff SEO, email marketing, Google ads, Facebook ads, and everything else that is needed to be successful with a e-commerce business.

    So I started reading blogs, books, watching videos and educating myself. I’m not where I want to be with business but I’ve learned that diversify my portfolio in my knowledge of e-commerce businesses has been very helpful and my continued growth and

      (Quote)

    1. Hey Chad, that’s great to hear and I appreicate you sharing some of your story here.

      You’re right that design is only one piece of the puzzle. I’ve taken a look at your website and agree that your designs are quite good, you have a great cause that you’re supporting and it’s organized well. As you mention, the next step is to figure out how to make your offerings known, demonstrate their value, and convert visitors into buyers.

      It’s a different skillset, but one that’s important too. Of course, the fact that you seem to have great products will help out as well.

      I look forward to watching your store grow as time goes on!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Entrepreneurs: Quit Wasting Your Time And Money Obsessing Over These 5 ThingsMy Profile

  5. Being a remote freelance provider means that you’ve already extended your reach beyond your local in-house position, and are ready to take advantage of the exponential increases in outsourcing opportunities in the global marketplace.

      (Quote)

  6. Hi James,
    Great post! I’m drawn to what you say about writing because one of my side hustles is copywriting, which I learned from the great Ray Edwards of Copywriting Academy. It’s a great earner because as you rightly pointed out, when you write good copy, you make money for your client. And because great copy always translates into something tangible (such as sales, sign ups etc.) it is easier for the clients to pay what I call good money 😊
    I also love what you say about coaching. It’s a great way to earn income particularly for those who have an email list. With email segmentation, you can easily market your coaching services to your list.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Off to share on Twitter!
    Best regards,
    Pedro

      (Quote)

    1. Hey Pedro, it’s good to see you!

      Honestly I should have put copywriting in its own category because it is an insanely great money maker for those that master it. The fact that it’s tied to something tangible justifies business owners to spend good amounts of money on it. For a while, copywriting was one of my biggest expenses paid to freelancers for my baby product brand. A great copywriter is worth their weight in gold.

      Agreed with the points about coaching as well and really anybody that is building any sort of brand should have a mailing list – making coaching a clear monetization channel. Best of all, it can be combined with many others – on here coaching is often upsold after selling one of my courses for example.

      Anyway, really appreciate your insight Pedro and I hope you’ve been well! Look forward to talking more soon.

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Multiple Failed Businesses? Here’s What To Do Differently Next TimeMy Profile

  7. These Tips are very good and important for them who want to be a good freelancer. These Tips are very good and useful. Hope these tips are very useful for future. Thanks

      (Quote)

  8. Hello James,

    Great & Important Information for all Freelancer!!! I have read this article. Here has clearly explained of Freelancing. I love the Jobs. And I’m a level 2 seller of Fiverr. So, it’s very important for me and my Business. Here have 1 tip of writing skills of Freelancing. Design is a major part of any development. The most popular works of video editing. Programing can give your better life in the future. Can you make marketing then you can income the platform? Voice over and cash is the most popular side for Freelance. Overall it’s a great experience to read this blog.

    Thank You!!!
    –Nipu

      (Quote)

  9. Hey James,
    Thank You for this.
    Well, I think ‘Design’ is one of the ‘Evergreen’ skills.
    I’m not a designer. I mostly do Social media marketing and my experience, I learned that without design, no marketing would ever exist.
    Because I lost a huge amount of clients, just because I failed with my design skills.
    I literally left a lot on the table.

    Now I’m learning Photoshop and Illustrator.
    Hope I’m not too late at all.

    Thank you

      (Quote)

    1. Hi Nimesh! You’re right, design is one of the skills that will help you make money for years to come. This one in particular is a great one to learn because it’s not likely to be replaced or automated any time in the near future.

      As you point out, it helps with many other roles as well, such as social media management – especially today when so much of the content we consume today is visual!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…The 7 Pillars Of Exceptional Customer ServiceMy Profile

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