Here Are the Most In-Demand Freelance Skills for 2018

Jan 22, 2018 | Jessica Ogilvie

Whatever your freelance jam is right now, most of us could use a boost to the bank account whenever possible. You might be working on a book, or building up your Etsy site for dog sweaters, or gearing up to open a tiny-but-adorable café in an upcoming market; but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time out to do some extra work on the side. A side hustle for your side hustle, if you will.

Or maybe you want to just focus on a high-earning freelance career right now, and that’s all you’re in it for. If so, we salute you! Either way, here are some of the fields you might look into; these are among the most in-demand areas for freelancers right now, and if you strike while the iron is hot, you might just be able to stack up some serious caysh.

Writing and Editing

As the interwebs gets bigger and better, websites need to keep filling up their sites with more and more clever, well-written words. That’s where you come in! Content creation simply means writing good articles for sites in a timely (very timely) manner. That might mean whipping out a post every day, or turning around a couple of posts a week. The pieces might be long or they might be short; the key is that if you really want to build your brand this way, make sure they are consistently compelling and well-done.

If content creation isn’t your jam, consider looking into copywriting. Sounds similar, but it’s actually pretty different. Whereas content writing will have you generating cohesive articles, copywriting tends to be shorter and punchier; think advertising copy, social media zingers, and mass emails or alerts. You might also look into business writing, or B2B (business-to-business) writing. This includes things like annual reports, newsletters, and profiles of company bigwigs.

If you have any of these skills and are also wise in the ways of SEO, well then, you’re sitting on a virtual freelancing goldmine.

All Things Digital

It should come as no surprise that industries are heavily on the lookout for people with specialized computing skills. Upwork, a company that posts freelancers’ profiles for businesses to search, notes that some of the most enticing job skills in the gig economy at the moment include Final Cut Pro X, vulnerability assessment/penetration testing, and even artificial intelligence.

Final Cut Pro X is the latest iteration of a popular video-editing tool, vulnerability assessment/penetration testing looks into how vulnerable companies are to hacking or phishing; and of course, artificial intelligence is saturating every part of our lives, from ridesharing apps to digital assistants.

You might be more surprised to find out that website-building is still in just as high demand as it has been for years (apparently, even the most independent among us haven’t picked up the ball on learning the simplest of online marketing tools). While anyone can build their own website through services like Wix or Squarespace, not everyone wants to, has the time to, or is confident enough that it won’t come out looking like a modern-day rendering of Atari.

Graphic Design

No company is complete without its brand, and graphic designers are always in demand for that reason. This type of branding extends to everything from websites to logos to business cards to social-media accounts, and in an ever-more-saturated market, most companies are champing at the bit to find creative people who can set them apart visually. Employers will likely want to know what tools you use to create your designs (even if they don’t understand those tools themselves); Forbes reports that Adobe InDesign was the number one fastest-growing skill in Q3 of 2017.

Remember that if you are marketing yourself as an ass-kicking graphic designer, you’ll need to have a website that reflects it.

Social-Media Marketing

It sounds kind of quaint next to all the other digital jobs, doesn’t it? But yes, social-media marketing is still just as important as it was three years ago, and for folks who aren’t digital natives, it can seem daunting (the idea of ruining your company’s brand in 140 poorly-chosen characters is enough to bring even the most confident of managers to their knees). This might mean simply populating a company’s social-media feeds, or it might mean creating and implementing more thorough strategies and reporting back to higher-ups about their results.

Some companies might be interested in hiring you for Instagram marketing alone, as it’s quickly becoming the most popular social-media channel. This might include being deeply familiar with all the tools on Instagram, knowing how often and when to post for maximum engagement, and knowing how to create and disseminate hashtags.

Whether you’re learning some of these skills for the first time or gathering your decades of experience to launch into the freelancing headfirst, just know that there is a world of opportunity there, should you choose to accept it.

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