It’s is an inevitable matter that every freelancer should have a set of skills that enables them to Make Money Online. If you are a freelancer then you already have some skills that bring you good jobs & projects. You can always learn more and improve your existing ones.
Also if you are new to this whole freelancer thing, you need some practical skills that give you a jump start towards online jobs and businesses. In this article, you’ll learn exactly that; the most important skills that every industry and business demands.
By knowing the most demanding skills out there, you can start learning them. If you master one or two or get familiar with a couple of them, then you will receive a job and you can make some good money on the internet. But first, let’s learn what skills are the most demanding ones right now.
Top 9 Freelancer Skills to Learn in 2021 [Video]
Watch this video from my YouTube channel if you’re not in the mood of reading an article today.
This is a Different List!
If you searched Google and got here, which it’s usually the case, then you should have seen some other articles with longer lists. I like to think (and write) logically. That is why I devised a list with items that follow a set of criteria I haven’t seen on other websites.
There are skills, for which the demands are high in the sky, like blockchain programming, AI development, robotic engineering, etc. Clearly, you can’t learn such skills over a period of a few months, even if you are the most hard-working person on earth.
Such complex skills usually require formal educations and courses that would take years. They are really demanding, I’m not denying it, but they are not something a new freelancer can learn and make money online quickly.
So if you are, for instance, a well-educated AI developer from MIT, then congratulation. Don’t waste your time here and go make some ground-breaking discovery in the field of artificial intelligence.
But if you are going to become a freelancer and make some money online or Start an Online Business, Welcome. Someone like us should have an online business to make use of AI anyway! Right?
This list consisted of skills that are easy to learn and anyone even without proper education can do it, and make a lot of money doing it! Learning these skills won’t take too long, and they are actually practical and pay good, unlike some skills that are a Total Waste of Time.
If you have read my Definition of “Make Money Online” you know what I’m talking about!
Most Demanding Freelancer Skills For 2021
Here’s the list I was talking about. To sum up, everything that I’ve been saying up until this point, I’ve used certain simple criteria to devise this list. Therefore these skills are…
- Demanding among all kinds of businesses and industries.
- Demanding on freelancers’ marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork.
- Practical and pay good money.
- Easy to learn and require no formal & long term educations.
- Can actually be learned in a couple of months.
- Suitable for everyone with all kinds of backgrounds.
Now let’s jump to the list and see what is demanded right now so we can decide which one to learn first, and enjoy the freedom of working from home as a successful freelancer.
1. Graphic Design
The inseparable part of every business is graphics and presentations. Everything from company forms, papers, business cards, presentations, to advertisements, marketing, posters, product designs, and packaging will require the work of graphic designers.
Basically, every business, company, or industry that wants to look good among its competitors, will require a graphic designer to do the work. This is without doubt one of the most demanding skill a freelancer should learn. Even freelancers’ marketplaces are full of jobs and gigs with such titles.
You can be a graphic designer. You can learn this skill in a couple of months thanks to the power of YouTube. What you should know is that there are a lot of areas in graphic designing, and it is better to master a few of them, while having a gist of the rest.
Let’s say you can master designing spectacular business cards, awesome posters, and amazing presentation slides, and learn the basics of other areas of the side. Knowing how to design office sets, web arts, banners, etc. helps you in general, and you will look like a true professional too.
What all graphic designers should, have to some extent, are creativity and ideas. You will learn how to obtain them along the way and how to think creatively to deliver better works.
Oh! One more thing. Graphic designing is not just the items I’ve mentioned (2D). You can become a 3D designer too. It takes longer to master 3D graphics, but it pays more and there is less competition for receiving a job offer.
Many 3D animation production companies, architectural & engineering firms, game developers, and movie production & visual effect firms will require 3D designers for their projects.
Besides the fundamentals of graphic design that you have to learn, getting familiar with some software is also a key factor for all graphic designers. On top of my mind, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe illustrator are the best software for 2D designing but remember if you are a good illustrator and cartoonist, you have already made yourself good job opportunities. Also, Autodesk 3D Max, AutoCAD, and Maya are the top ones for 3D designing.
2. Website Design
This is another skill that basically anyone will need for some reason. Not only businesses and companies need a website, but also people like doctors, lawyers, authors, and many others will need one at some point. On top of all, stores and shops are always interested in having an online shop on the internet.
So website design and development is truly one of the skills a freelancer should learn. There are many levels to design and develop a website. Yes, programming involves, but only a little. Developing complex websites and eCommerce stores will require sophisticated programming knowledge.
Such skills are great and demanding in freelancer’s marketplaces. Besides, you can find local business owners or people who are looking to have a website or store. You can then help them and make money without knowing how PHP or Python programming language works.
By learning a few Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. you can easily create a website looking exactly like what your customer wants. Again thanks to YouTube and many resources, you can learn how to install and use WordPress, and how to make a professional-looking website.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is one of the most important skills that a freelancer or a business developer should learn. SEO is a small part of business optimization, required for companies that have online footprints (website, social media account, etc.).
What SEO means is that you have to produce content, whether written, sound, or video, in a way that search engines value and show it to people who searched a specific keyword or phrase.
For example, you are running a travel agency selling tours to Italy. Those who want to go on their vacation to Italy will probably google “Italy tours” and if you did a good job on your website SEO, Google will show your website higher on the results page.
SEO is a practice that can be performed On-page as well as Off-page. They are the two main types of SEO. In addition to this, SEO can be performed white-hat, gray-hat, and black-hat, which I’, not going to talk about it here. In general, SEO requires a set of sub-skills that are not so complicated:
- Site SEO Audi
- A/B Testing
- Keyword Research
- Competitor Research
- Internal & External Link Building
- Content Providing
- Keyword Integration
- Title & Tag Optimization
- Image & Alt Optimization
- Meta & Description Optimization
- Search and Website Statistics and Data Analysis
- Search Engine Algorithm Research
- User Experience Research & Optimization
There are more but all can be fallen into these that I mentioned. Don’t panic! If you want to learn SEO, you’ll probably learn all of these in just two weeks. Some of them, like search engine algorithm research and competitor research, are ongoing, but they are still simple and easy to comprehend.
I just learned SEO in one month, and I’m still learning new things when I accept a new job offer. I can confidently tell you that SEO is something all kind of online businesses need, and if done correctly, there will be a huge cost-saving in the long run, since some forms of advertisements won’t be required anymore.
And one more thing. SEO is no longer a practice solely for written contents. Today’s complex algorithm that Google or other search engines employ can actually understand voice, sounds, music, images, videos, and even what you say on the video. That’s how YouTube auto-generated subtitles work.
Therefore SEO is not just for websites. Social media accounts, YouTube channels, podcasts, etc. will require SEO as well. So remember as a freelancer, you SHOULD learn SEO skills and know how to perform them!
Publicity is what nearly all companies are seeking on the internet. You as a freelancer should have the proper skills to give them what they want. Digital marketing and social media marketing are the skills you need to do just that.
Digital and social media marketing both fall within the marketing category which is a complex practice of increasing sales and revenue for a company. It is a part of business development and always provides plans for promoting products and services to the general public, either offline or online.
Digital marketing covers social media marketing as well. It includes all the efforts you take on the internet and use all tools and platforms to promote a product, service, app, website, etc. Understanding the notion of digital marketing is not hard, especially if you are an active internet user and use different social networks and media to interact with your friends and family.
All you need to know as a Digital Marketer are:
- Knowing Online Medias & Networks
- Knowing All Platforms for Effective Advertisement
- Being Able to Use Online Services (surveys, analytics, graphs, etc.)
- A/B Testing
- Data Analysis and Insight
- Understanding Customers Experience (UX)
- Content Strategy
- Market Behaviors
- Negotiation Skills (soft skills in general)
- Ability to Manage & Automate Tasks
I probably can list you 100 more things required to become a digital marketer but not all are required. It is required, however, to know them briefly, which won’t take too much time. A good marketer like a business developer should know everything and master only a few of them.
Social media marketing is like digital marketing and is actually a subcategory. It promotes services and products on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. A social media marketer is someone who generally takes control of a company’s social media account and makes it better.
This is a more fitting skill for freelancers. It is more friendly with freelancers’ online marketplaces and it’s generally easier to do than the overall digital marketing. The skills are interchangeable between digital and social media marketers, but the extent of their usage would be only limited to specific social media that a company has at its disposal.
There are some additional skills involved when we talk about a freelancer doing social media marketing. A social media marketer should know how to:
- Use important social networks. (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn)
- Automate certain tasks on social networks.
- Increase followers on social networks.
- Generate leads by researching customer experience.
- Write creative titles and descriptions.
- Design attractive posts.
- Use keywords & hashtags effectively.
- Manage different (usually several) social network accounts.
- employ soft skills. (negotiations, customer relations, conversation skills)
That’s all I know, and I think it’s a pretty comprehensive list of skills involved in both digital and social media marketing. If you know anything more that could come in handy, leave a comment down below and I’ll add them to this list.
5. Writing & Editing
This is a pretty useful skill that everyone already has but only a few really know what it actually is. Writing and editing are skills for which there is a lot of demand on freelancers’ marketplaces.
If you have good creative writing skills, know grammar well, and how to edit texts, then your already in business. With such skills, you will also need to know, to some extent, about SEO that I explained earlier.
Many freelance jobs you’ll find about writing and editing will directly concern either writing a well SEO optimized content for some website or editing one by optimizing its on-page SEO. Therefore we can say that search engine optimization skills and writing/editing skills have some sort of relationship when it comes to writing content for websites.
Other job opportunities for freelance writers and editors are ghostwriting books, articles, papers, reviews, etc., or editing them. Amateur writers who want to publish their books on Amazon (or hardcover publication) should meet certain criteria in their work.
Since they are amateur, they will look for someone who can properly edit the book and make it ideal for the required criteria. If you want to be a good writer and especially a good editor, it’s better to be familiar with such criteria as well, so it will be you to the rescue when a novice writer wants his/her book edited for publication.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be English. Local businesses and companies all over the world and across all languages will require writers and editors. Learning English as a second language is great if you aren’t a native speaker of English because it will bring you a lot of opportunities from all around the world, and not just your country.
I am a native speaker of the Persian language since I’m originally from Iran, but I also learned English as a foreign language and used it to get a lot of projects and jobs overseas. It also helped me get my first job, back in 2008 I think, as an international communicator for an Iranian company.
“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”
This is a brilliantly written piece of Rolls-Royce advertisement published in 1958 in The New Yorker. It was written by the father of advertisement, David Ogilvy, and it is the example they will show you in any copywriting course you might attend.
David Ogilvy could simply write “This is a quire car. Go and buy it!”, but instead, he wrote this brilliant title that actually gives you the feeling of how quite new Rolls-Royce is. You can actually sense the silence when you are driving with it on the road at 60 MPH. Isn’t it cool, advertisers can do this to us with just some words?
Copywriting is the practice of writing for the purpose of marketing, promotion, and advertisement. I like to define copywriting as extra-creative writing, in a way that you can change people’s minds about something. There are a lot of examples of copywriting. They are always around us in all ads we see online or offline.
Copywriters write a price of sentence, title, ad, inspirational quote, or ask an essential question that tempts people, either online or offline to do a specific thing. It could be buying a product, watching a video or movie, trying new software, app, or service, joining a club, cause, or a newsletter, etc.
Copywriting is an inseparable part of every marketing campaign. All companies, businesses, and industries will need a copywriter for their business. Even if there is no marketing and advertisement in question, companies still need them for the purpose of writing catalogs, brochures, website banners, and user manuals.
Usually, most creative writers can become a successful copywriter. There are many courses to take and many books to read about copywriting that can help you in this way, but in the end, creativity and writing skills play a major role in such skill. If you are one, then there’ve never been more demands for good copywriters than before.
But don’t be afraid of how much copywriting can be difficult. It is certainly not something you can learn and master in a few months. It will take years of experience to write a piece of text that changes people’s minds into buying something, that maybe they don’t even need. But you can always practice and study. This could be one of the best skills a freelancer could learn in the long run.
7. Photography & Videography
When I’m talking photography and videography skills for freelancers, I don’t really mean to shot outstanding portraits of celebrities or film a Hollywood scene. What I mean is to know the basics and shoot some photos or videos (or both) that can be sold as a stock resource.
To learn these skills, you don’t need to be creative like a writer or a film director, not you need to have the best equipment to take a crystal clear image. All you need are some photography tips on YouTube, a camera (an iPhone camera is more than enough), and ideas.
You can take a look at stock photo websites like Shutterstock or iStockphoto to know what is a good stock photo. Head out and start taking some pictures. It’s that easy. Trust me on this one, you don’t need a high-end DSLR and a big lens to shoot a stock photo.
I started taking photos as a hobby back in 2008 or 2009. I used my phone camera, and back then, they were 5 Megapixels max. I just photographed for fun. I didn’t even realize that I could sell my photos online.
I bought a small camera later but by the end of 2010, I purchased a Canon 60D DSLR, that I still have and it still works even after 10 years and more than 50,000 photos. I’ve only used the standard lens kit, and never bought any fancy equipment to take photos or even a new camera since a lot had been rolled out since then.
So when you watched some videos to learn what is ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and all the other photographic terms, decide what to shoot. Got the ideas? Good! Now choose a time of the day when there is good light so you won’t end up with noisy photos. Grab your camera and go out to shoot some good stock photos.
When you took good photos, and you have to do this every few days, go back home. Choose the best photos, edit them a little, play with brightness, contrast, colors, etc., just don’t add any watermark if you want to sell them online. In the end, submit them to a stock photo marketplace (or to all of them) and make money.
Just remember the factors that lead to more sales are:
- Suitable titles, descriptions, and tags.
- Large size, at least 4000px by 3000px.
- Sharp images with minimum noise.
- No excess editing & filtering.
- No watermarks.
- Regular uploads.
Also, you have to check with the marketplace to see what kinds of photos can’t be sold there (like images with brands, logos, and company names visible), and what kind of photos require releases (generally, photos where people’s or models’ face are visible). You have to check the quality criteria too to make sure your submissions won’t get rejected.
Photography is not only for shooting stock photos and selling them online. You can learn some tips for product photography. Local markets that are selling their goods online usually need a photographer to take some good photos of their products.
Apart from product photography, other areas can also land you a lot of good jobs and money. Industrial photography, architectural photography, food photography, and events photography can be good freelancer skills to make some good money.
It is a bit hard to compete in stock photography markets. If you got a good camera and a sturdy tripod, take stock videos. There is a lot less competition in selling stock videos and the prices are a lot higher, although quality criteria are also higher.
You can learn photography while you are doing something else. What is good about it is you can go anywhere and have your camera with you. If a good photo opportunity came up, then take some photos to sell online. Learning the basics of this skill for a freelancer, which is enough for stock photography, takes a month or two. Plus you don’t really need those expensive gears, and it’s a fun hobby too.
8. Video & Audio Editing
One of the top demanding skills in many freelancer marketplaces is video & audio editing. There are a lot of YouTubers and podcast creator that need help with the editing of their contents. Many of them are either too busy to edit videos & audios themselves or don’t have the required skills. It’s mostly the former that forces them to outsource the task.
There is not much to say about editing video or audio (or both). Jobs posted online usually simple editing with a few ready-to-apply filters and adding some texts. What you need to learn is not complicated visual effects and industry-grade video and audio editing.
The basics are not much and you can learn then in a matter of a week. Best, but also simplest, video editing software that I know, and use, are Adobe Premiere & Camtasia. For audio, you can use Adobe Audition or Audacity. Latter is open source and free and is considered a professional audio editing software.
To sum this up, learning these two skills, video and audio editing is not hard. Anyone with a basic knowledge of computers can make it in a week, or maybe two. The result on the other hand is great because the market is always filled with offers requiring these skills from a freelancer.
9. Translation & Transcription
Translation and transcription skills are also demanded by many individuals and firms. There is a good market for such jobs on the internet. Many famous translation firms usually outsource their tasks on Upwork and Fiverr. Many individuals need translators too.
The technical issue here is that you have to know a second language if your first is English, or English if your first language is something else. If you search, there are a lot of local companies and firms that require someone who knows English.
Translation & real-time interpretation for their foreign guests or business trips abroad, speaking and writing for international communication, and general language knowledge for the R&D department.
Besides that, transcription is also required. There are always demands for transcribing audio and video, and create subtitles for videos, maybe for the purpose of translation or presentation.
In general, these are good skills to learn if you want to do some freelancer works. Translation, however, is a bit more complicated but can be achieved by taking language courses and watching educational films.
I’ve just written 4,700 words up to this point. I can continue writing even more than 10,000 because there are much more skills that you can learn and you can use to make money online. The issue here is time, which I’ve explained a lot about the Notion of Making Money Online.
I will continue updating this article and will add more items every now and then. Remember to bookmark the page and check it out once in a while to see if anything new is added.
If you want to add anything to this list, tell me in the comments. Also, tell me which skills in this list you want to learn first. Leave a comment down below and ask any questions you might have.
Also don’t forget to share this article on social media, because if it helped you, it will defiantly help others too.
Thanks & good luck!