For years, freelancing was synonymous with writing. When you heard the word “freelancer,” chances are that you likely thought of someone who gets paid to write. Nowadays, that is still very true assessment, but it is also a much broader field. Freelancers, also called contractors, comes in all shapes and sizes and work in types of different careers and fields. Thanks to the rising popularity of this type of work, frequently referred to as the ‘gig economy’ or ‘remote work’ or ‘digital nomads’ or any other number of things, you can work from home doing virtually anything these days. Now, lets dig in and explore this space as it relates to diversifying your freelance career.
Here are just a few of the different jobs you can do from home as a freelancer:
- Copywriter (obvs…)
- Social Media Manager
- PR or Marketing Associate
- Customer Service
- Virtual Assistant
- Data Entry
- Voice Over Artist
For me personally, what started as a freelance writing career quickly evolved into one that was much more varied. I took the skills (social media, Influencer outreach, marketing, public relations) that I’d learned from blogging and launching a blog-associated service biz to build a successful freelance career. You can easily duplicate this process for yourself because I guarantee you likely know a lot more than you think you do! (Don’t believe me? Check out how you can turn your blogging experience into a killer resume.)
Why Freelance Diversification is Important
You are a much more valuable freelance hire if you bring multiple skillsets to the table. Although there can certainly be value to specialization, you’ll be more likely to succeed, and thereby increase your earning power, if you branch out.
Think about this – a potential client needs to hire a blogger, email marketer, and a social media marketer. Because each role requires a specialized skillset, this client posts 3 individual opportunities on the jobs boards. Now, let’s say your experience enables you to undertake each of those tasks. Just think how valuable you become. Instead of having to onboard 3 individual freelancers and get comfortable with each of them and their abilities, this client can kill three birds with one stone, and you are that stone.
See what I’m getting at? Expand your horizons and learn how to put those writing chops (or social media skills, or design skills, or whatever it is you specialize in) to use in broader ways.
How to Crossover Your Freelance Experience
According to Upwork, the below list details the 20 most in-demand freelance skills.
- PHP Development
- Graphic Design
- Data Entry
- Content Writing
- Internet Research
- Web Design
- HTML5 Development
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
- Logo Design
- Virtual Assistant
- Lead Generation
- MySQL Administration
- Android App Development
- jQuery Development
- iOS App Development
- Email Marketing
- Customer Service
Now, let’s pair up some of these skills and see how you can use the knowledge that you already have to grow your career.
Example 1 – Content Writing + Internet Research + Search Engine Optimization
Think about it – as a content writer, you likely already spend a good deal of time on both of those other skills. In order for your writing to be effective, good research goes a long way. And in this day and age of content as king, you probably can work even the most obscure longtail keyword phrase into any article in an organic way.
Example 2 – Social Media Marketing + Lead Generation + Email Marketing
These three skills all involve talking to and engaging the target market and potential customer base of a client, and they likely all have the same end goal – generating buzz, driving traffic, and increasing sales. There is definitely a synergy between these 3, and if you are savvy enough, you can help the potential client to understand the value of combining them in one role; a role that YOU are perfect for!
Now, you have two options:
1) You can spend some time studying up on those skills that you don’t count among your specialties. Take courses, read, and practice, practice, practice. Use your own freelancer personal brand as the stomping grounds to get your hands turn and gain some useable experience.
2) Fake it ’til you make it. Have confidence in your abilities to learn on the fly and apply the knowledge you’ve already gained, and jump right in. You just might surprise yourself.
Believe it or not, these are both very valid options. The route you choose is entirely up to you and your personality. Honestly, I’m an option #2 kind of girl. It’s worked well for me so far, and I’m excited to continue pushing the limits of my skills and capabilities. I love a challenge!
Diversify or Lose Your Freelance Relevance
The pace at which things evolve in this freelancing world is harrowing. It’s important to always be planning and looking ahead so that you can keep your skills on pace. If you get yourself stuck in just one specialty, you could likely become irrelevant in the near future. Anyone that built up a business with a focus on Facebook marketing 3 years ago is dealing with an entirely different world today.
You see, it’s all about the hustle, my friends. Keep pushing yourself, growing your skills, and getting the job done!