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What Are the Most In-Demand Skills for Freelancing?

Nikki WisherNikki Wisher
Nikki Wisher
Nikki Wisher

Freelancing is less of a career path itself and more of a career format. Sure, you want flexible hours, unlimited income potential, and client selection, but you need to choose a type of freelance work first.

Take an inventory of your skills based on past work experiences, education, or even personal hobbies. Now, which of those should be the focus for your freelancing? Personal preference plays a role of course but to see which freelance skills would be most profitable, let’s take a look at today’s most in-demand specialties for freelancers.

Virtual Assistance

Virtual assistants are essentially administrative assistants who work remotely. Often business owners or other freelancers will hire them so the virtual assistant can manage their daily business operation tasks while they focus on making revenue.

For example, a virtual assistant would manage any communications with their employer’s clients, maintain their employer’s schedule, manage any contracts and agreements, and more. If you have other helpful skills like writing, graphic design, or web development, you could charge higher rates.

Digital Marketing Strategy

In today’s tech-driven world, digital marketing is essential for any business, but not all businesses can or should hire full-scale marketing specialists. Instead, they might start with a digital marketing strategist.

In freelance jobs, these strategists coordinate a client’s overarching marketing strategy in addition to designing and managing specific campaigns. They often manage complex projects involving email marketing, social media, digital ads, and more.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization or SEO is the practice of making a website more appealing for search engines. It involves a variety of techniques like researching keywords and incorporating them into web content, making SEO-enhancing technical changes, build strong backlinks, and many more. Companies often hire SEO specialists for freelance work to optimize their website as best they can or provide insight into future SEO needs.

Graphic Design

Whether you’re freelancing full-time or as a side hustle, graphic design is a promising path. Companies might hire you to design their original logos and other branding materials as well as social media graphics, marketing collateral, web graphics…there’s no limit.

Keep in mind that as a freelance graphic designer, you typically need to have your own design software, usually Adobe Creative Cloud, which can be pricey. Still, the investment can easily pay for itself if you have the skills to match.

Machine Learning and AI

Artificial intelligence or AI and machine learning have been soaring over the past several years. These specialties involve using technology to continuously take in and use data to make certain improvements over time. For example, machine learning in marketing is popular today as it allows companies to learn customers’ buying habits and recommend products for their interests. Hiring freelance AI specialists allows any business to explore those options for their company.

Web Design and Web Development

While web design and web development are two separate skills, some freelancers offer both. Web designers handle the initial design for a site, including its aesthetics, features, and structure. Web developers take that design and make it happen. Because businesses need both of these if they want a successful new website, they’re both in high demand.

Accounting and Bookkeeping

When companies get busy, they look for tasks to pass off to other professionals. Accounting is often among the first on the list. A freelance accountant or bookkeeper does everything a full-time accountant would do. They manage their clients’ general ledger, tax reporting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, all that jazz. The difference is that they often have several clients because those clients’ businesses aren’t large enough to take up 40 hours every week.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to be a CPA to be a freelance accountant – most in-house accountants companies hire aren’t CPAs either. You do need specific experience in business accounting and bookkeeping, though.

Social Media Marketing

It’s probably not news to you that social media marketing is among the most popular and successful marketing strategies today, and for a good reason. Nearly 50% of the world’s population uses social media, and that includes over 90% of Millennials.

For that reason, even small business owners who do minimal marketing may hire freelance social media marketers. The more social media platforms you have experience with, the better: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and so on. Social media marketing should be skilled in all aspects of those platforms too, including influencer marketing, organic content, paid ads, videos, stories, and more.

Mobile App Development

Just about every business wants a mobile app these days, and the freelance world is stepping up to the plate. Freelance app developers have fantastic prospects for building profitable portfolios of clients. Some developers specialize in apps for a specific platform like iOS or Android, while others have experience in every platform.

Carving Your Path in the Freelance World

The freelance jobs above might be the most in-demand, but this is far from an exhaustive list. There are also countless freelancers making a living with photography, content writing, cybersecurity, event planning…if a job exists, the chances are that you could make a living doing it on a freelance basis.

Nikki Wisher
Nikki Wisher has been writing professionally since January 2015, and she's written about just about everything from plastic surgery to accounting. She took the plunge into full-time freelancing in July 2018 and she hasn't looked back since. As much as Nikki loves hopping from one topic to another throughout the day, her top specialties include health and wellness, marketing, home decor, and career development (especially for freelancers and entrepreneurs). Originally from Ohio, Nikki lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two floofy cats. When she steps away from the keyboard, Nikki loves knitting, crocheting, hiking, and enjoying her adopted city.

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