Successful freelancing is all about turning skills into a product that you can sell to clients. However, there are certain skills that make money more reliably than others.
Of course, it’s totally possible to carve out a profitable niche as a freelancer with a highly specialized, specific skill set. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’ll certainly have an easier time finding new clients if you have an easily marketable skill.
So what are the skills that make money consistently? Let’s have a look and find out:
1) Software Development
The Age of Information has created an enormous demand for freelance IT professionals who can develop new software for their clients’ businesses. As companies across all industries grow increasingly reliant on software solutions, this need continues to build exponentially.
In fact, the job market analytics firm Burning Glass has found that programming jobs are expected to grow at a 12% faster rate than the market average. Since more and more companies now choose to outsource their software development projects to freelancers rather than hiring full-time programmers, the need for freelance software developers can reasonably be expected to grow even faster than this.
2) Web Development
Today, almost every company – from a small family-owned business to a massive corporation – has a website. The ability to reach new customers online is simply too lucrative to ignore, no matter what industry a company is in. Furthermore, people just don’t take companies without websites that seriously nowadays.
Great websites don’t create themselves, however. While there are tools and platforms (like WordPress) that allow people with no web development skills to put a website online in just a few hours, the quality of these websites can pale in comparison compared to those built by a professional web developer. If companies want their website to stand out from the competition, hiring a professional is an obvious choice.
This, of course, creates a high demand for freelancers with web development skills. Companies typically choose to hire a freelance web developer for a one-time website project, rather than bringing on a full-time employee.
3) Persuasive Writing
One thing the modern internet has created is an enormous need for content. Content marketing remains one of the most effective ways for companies to improve their SEO ranking and market their products and services to prospective customers.
One of the skills that makes money in freelancing is that of persuasive writing. Whenever a company publishes new content, they do so with a goal in mind – to sell a product, to encourage shares on social media, to attract new leads, and so forth. A freelancer skilled in persuasive writing knows how to create copy that subtly encourages those who read it to take a specific action. If you can do this, you have a highly marketable skill. (We have a case study from someone who does this here).
4) Social Media Management
Social media has changed the way companies interact with customers almost as much as the internet that gave rise to it. Effectively managing multiple social media profiles in a beneficial way is a unique and specific skill.
If you know how to navigate the ever-changing trends of social media, interact with customers, publish timely content, and manage the day-to-day operations that go into handling a company’s social media marketing efforts, there are plenty of companies that will pay you well for your skills. We have a feature dedicated to becoming a social media virtual assistant here.
5) Graphic Design
Written material isn’t the only type of content that fills the world wide web – visual content plays an equally important role.
Anytime a new company is formed, they immediately have a need for artwork such as a logo and graphics to include on their website. Since these are one-time projects, hiring a full-time graphic designer is rarely a practical solution for most firms. This creates a good demand for freelance graphic designers who are able to complete these projects on a “per-project” payment structure. Strong design skills are skills that make money for plenty of freelancers.
6) Search Engine Optimization
Publishing a well-designed website full of perfectly written content and attractive graphics doesn’t do a business much good if nobody ever sees it. In order to get a website in front of as many potential customers as possible, companies typically rely on search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO professionals stay abreast of the constant changes in SEO practices and help to optimize websites so that they appear higher in the search results for certain searches. If you have the skills to bring large amounts of traffic to client websites using SEO, those skills are sure to be in high demand.
7) Computer Aided Design
Most of the time, if a company wants to design a new product, they must first create a 3D rendering of it using computer-aided design (CAD) software. CAD is a skill that’s taught to most engineers nowadays, but if a company doesn’t have in-house CAD skills, then they need to hire a freelance CAD specialist for such work.
There is no shortage of demand for CAD specialists across the engineering and manufacturing industries. A recent skills survey shows a shortage of CAD professionals in both permanent and freelance markets.
8) Video Editing
Video marketing is seen by many as the new frontier of online marketing. It’s a field that many companies don’t yet take full advantage of. As such, video editing proficiency is one of the skills that makes money in the freelance world right now.
As more and more companies begin to recognize the value of video marketing, the need for freelancers who can create professional videos is becoming more and more pronounced. If you have the skills necessary to create animations and edit videos, you may be able to cash in on one of the latest and most promising trends in digital marketing.
Globalisation allows companies to work with suppliers and market to customers all over the world, rather than just those that are located in their home country. However, there is still one significant obstacle to overcome when a company goes global: language barriers.
By helping companies translate documents and other written copy into multiple languages, freelance translators can help companies grow their business all over the world. As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected, this is a skill that will continue to grow in demand. We recently posted a detailed guide to becoming a freelance translator.
In the earlier days of the internet, cybersecurity was primarily the concern of large corporations. Today, businesses of all sizes can find themselves as the targets of cyber attacks and data breaches.
As with software development, job outlook experts have concluded that there are too few cybersecurity professionals to meet the current demand, let alone the future demand. This means that if you know how to secure a company’s data and IT infrastructure, you have one of the most valuable skills that make money in the modern freelance world.
Do you lack the skills that make money?
Just because you don’t have the right skills, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn them! If something on this list appeals to you but you need training, check out these articles: