Being a freelancer is one of the best jobs in the world. You get to set your own hours, work from wherever you like, and choose your own clients. It’s flexible enough for those with families and hobbies, while also having the potential to create a lot of money. Gone are the days that freelancing is synonymous with the unemployed. Now Freelancing becomes a career for many talented professionals. Many individuals are now choosing self-employment because it offers them greater autonomy and earning potential. Freelancing makes it very simple for a person to choose the type of work based on what interests and benefits them best. Moreover, companies too are starting to hire independent contractors as a way to reduce operational costs and stay competitive.
According to some stats, it is projected that in the U.S. alone, in 2027, there will be 86.5 million freelancers comprising 50.9 percent of the total workforce. The reason is that they are more cost-effective and offer specialized skills. For companies, it can be cheaper to use freelancers. Freelancers are paid a fee for their services only. They don’t receive any other benefits paid out to salaried and fulltime employees. Companies hire freelancers on project basis and end the contract once the project is over.
Here is the list of the top 10 skills that are in high demand for freelancers in 2020. Some of these skills are may not be fairly common now. But soon, the industry will need more freelancers with these skills.
1) Virtual Assistant
The name is pretty explanatory for this one. The trend of hiring virtual assistant freelancers has only recently caught on. But don’t think that being an assistant isn’t a skill that doesn’t require any training or specialization! You need to brush up on several skills under the broader term of ‘Virtual Assistant’, such as excellent communication skills. Since you won’t be meeting and discussing tasks in person, it’s vital that you understand all the information virtually to keep things running smoothly. You also need to be well-versed in executing administrative tasks such as conference calls and writing letters and emails.
Being a virtual assistant is one of the most attractive options for freelance newbies. The potential client base is quite large: entrepreneurs, coaches, executives, authors, etc., in a variety of industries. They all need assistance with administrative tasks like appointment setting, email handling, travel logistics, and so on. While these are relatively simple tasks, it helps to know how to provide the best value as a virtual assistant in order to maximize your earnings. Plus, investing in training will help you stand out from the multitudes of virtual assistants who are already offering similar services.
2) Content writer
Writing is a dream job, but not for everyone. A Content Writer handles the ideation and creation of compelling content including website copy, white papers, blog posts, social media content, and product or service descriptions. A Content Writer is responsible for adding value by actively engaging customers or stakeholders and maintaining a cohesive brand voice. Well-researched and accurate content will be produced on tight deadlines. Writer will communicate with leadership, clients, and potential interview sources. Must follow company editorial style guide. Excellent writing, spelling, and understanding of grammar are essential to the role.
And of course, editors and proofreaders need to check that all of that content is ready for readers. There’s always a huge demand for fresh content, so theoretically, writers shouldn’t run out of projects any time soon. However, it’s not enough to have good communication skills. Writers constantly need to hone their craft and improve the way they do business.
3) Graphic Design
Graphic design has a big role to play in the modern competitive business environment. Businesses need the services of graphic designers to create impressive marketing materials. These materials include brochures, business cards, websites, leaflets, stationeries and so on. An impressive and memorable logo is a basic requirement for any business to build a brand identity. Similarly, businesses need the services of graphic designers to create unique mobile apps and social media pages for business promotion. With the rise of the startup culture, there is a great demand for freelance graphic designers. This is because startups prefer hiring designers who are willing to work on a project basis.
Graphic designing needs creativity and designing skills. You need to focus on strengthening your knowledge about design principles. There are also numerous applications that you should be proficient in, like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. And for those who naturally have an eye for design, then they should hone that skill to take on freelancing projects. One important thing for freelance graphic designers is that they need to build up a portfolio for themselves. That’s what companies are going to look at and decide if they want you or not. So put together a portfolio of your top 4-6 design projects.
Data is king in business, so freelancers who can organize, analyze, and present data are highly sought after. With spreadsheets, companies have to sift through rows and rows of data to find something meaningful. That is a very time-consuming process, so they prefer outsourcing the task to freelancers. Knowing how to work spreadsheets is the one skill that never seems to go out of style.
Potential clients are looking for are people who are expert at creating pivot tables, using VLOOKUPs, and gathering valuable insights from a massive amount of data. It’s not rocket science; you can learn advanced Excel functionality in a matter of weeks. All you need is an analytical mind, an eye for details, and a willingness to learn.
5) Customer Service
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of a company’s success. And to ensure such satisfaction, several companies provide 24/7 support. This means they’re always looking for customer service representatives who are willing to work at odd hours, usually after the regular 9 to 5 workday. So if you’re willing to most likely work through the night, this might just be the one for you. It involves interacting with customers over the phone or online, so you can do it from home. You can even have this as a side hustle since some companies need customer support after the usual office hours. Customer service requires strong soft skills like communication, negotiation, problem-solving ability and ability to deal with tricky situations and difficult clients. And these skills can be learned.
6) Accounting & Bookkeeping
This is one of the more anxiety-inducing areas of business, and most entrepreneurs would rather hire a specialist than deal with it on their own. For many business owners, keeping books is tedious, boring, and downright confusing. That’s why freelancers who enjoy doing it are in demand. For many small and medium sized businesses, the decision to relieve themselves of their bookkeeping tasks is a major milestone. Allowing for a qualified professional to step in and take over these tasks gives the management team an opportunity to focus more on the day-to-day activities, and on their business to the next level. While there is plenty of accounting software available, still tax codes and deductions remain complicated and incomprehensible for most, keeping accounting an in-demand skill.
As a freelance accountant, you will have to carry out mundane tasks such as supervising, examining and recording the cash flows of your client. All this work can become boring after a while. So only opt to freelance in accounting if you’re excited about it. Otherwise, you’ll start to regret it after a point. Freelancing in accounting and bookkeeping requires great attention to detail. Moreover, you’ll need to be extremely punctual in regularly updating the books so you’re ready for tax day. If you’re great at setting and then sticking to a budget, then you should look for bookkeeping opportunities.
7) Web Designing
Web designing has been ruling the freelance job market for quite some time and its position will remain unchanged over coming years. This is again due to rising e-commerce worldwide. Businesses small and large that do not have a significant presence on the Internet will find survival difficult in coming years. Hence, there is a rush of sorts to have one or more websites.
Further, web designing is a freelance skill which is in demand right now due to the fact that buying a domain name, website hosting and other essentials is fairly inexpensive nowadays. Other than businesses, a lot of high net-worth individuals also open websites as their personal blog or for fanfare outreach.
8) Web and Mobile Development
The increase in global e-commerce has made it crucial for almost every business to mark an online presence. Further, the Internet opens up immense vistas for businesses small and large to grow and flourish in newer markets around the world.
As a result, there is a huge demand for web and mobile developers. Web and mobile development is an integral part of the digital and online marketing community. As e-commerce grows, web and mobile developers will find themselves increasingly in demand. This is also due to the widespread use of smart-phones to access the Internet and various services such as online shopping, mobile banking, and others. Hence, there is also a demand for app developers. Almost every online function through smart-phones is conducted through apps. Anyone in this field will find their freelance skills in demand right now.
9) Social Media Marketing
Marketing is a widely recognized necessity for every business. Most of business owners say marketing is the most important expense to grow their business. An effective marketing strategy will comprise of a holistic multi-channel approach including email, content, social media, automation, and search engine optimization (SEO). Freelance marketers are often skilled in most or all of these channels, are often more efficient than in-house marketing teams, and at times even for a lower cost. Social media experts are in high demand after writers, web developers, and SEO consultants. It’s the most outsourced job these days. One can either offer to be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, or a LinkedIn expert. Additionally, an individual can also offer a combo of social media marketing services — for example, Facebook + Twitter, and so on.
The social media marketing niche offers excellent opportunities for earnings to a freelancer. As long as one brings sales-driven traffic, he is guaranteed to be busy for months to come.
10) Blockchain Development
If you understand blockchain and know how to use the technology the future is yours! The good news is that blockchain promises to be so much more than just a way to get cryptocurrencies to work. Right now, most tech industry giants–like Google, IBM, and others–are looking into it and trying to figure out how to apply it to the financial and cybersecurity sectors. Moreover, blockchain has a great future in other fields such as smart contracts, identity management, cross-border transactions, and more. Since there don’t exist enough Blockchain experts so far, there is a huge opportunity here for freelancers.
Figure out if there’s one aspect you’re good at or want to stick to. One thing you have to keep in mind is that each skill has its own set of challenges. Some require knowledge of several software applications, whereas others simply need someone who’s detail-oriented and whatnot. So don’t dive in blindly into a skill without reading up on it a little. If you end up choosing the wrong skill, you might feel a bit overwhelmed.
Now that you have a whole list of skills that are high demand in 2020, it’s up to you to select your niche.