Whether you work as a content writer, designer, or programmer, freelancing certainly has its appeal. Being able to set your own hours and work from home while also earning a competitive salary is a dream-come-true for most. Make it happen with these tips to keep your skills updated.
According to Small Biz Trends, 71% of freelancers stated that freelancing as a full-time career option is more and more viable, especially in 2021. Data published by Medium also indicates that 45% of freelancers are skilled professionals who provide programming, marketing, IT, and business consulting services to their clients.
Being a freelancer is more than just creating an online profile and waiting for clients to knock on your doors. It’s about being competitive and learning as much as possible in order to appeal to your industry’s expectations. With that, let’s dive into what you can do to keep your skills updated as a freelancer regardless of the specialization you chose to pursue.
5 tips to keep updated:
1. Keep up with your Industry through Online Courses
The appeal of freelancing lies in how versatile the career path really is. You don’t need formal education in programming in order to become a freelance programmer. You do, however, need to have intimate knowledge of the industry, its trends, and contemporary client expectations. One way to keep up with these elements is through online courses and continuous learning.
Platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Lynda offer a wide variety of courses created by industry professionals and freelancers such as you. These courses can teach you new technologies, skills, and practical techniques while also giving you the opportunity to earn certification to add to your resume. The upside of online courses is that they are as flexible as freelancing– you can learn as much or as little as you want daily. Using a dedicated time tracker while going through online courses will ensure that your time is well-spent and that you achieve your daily goals successfully.
2. Listen to Freelancing Podcasts
Depending on the type of freelance work you do, you might be inclined to listen to something in the background. Podcasts are a great way for you to fill the background while also learning a lot about freelancing. These are online radio shows hosted by a variety of professionals who discuss the latest trends in freelancing or your own niche.
Websites such as iHeart, PodBay, and Player FM offer a mix of podcasts for you to listen to, especially when it comes to industry-specific shows. The great thing about podcasts is that they are free, and you don’t require any additional equipment or software to listen to them. You can learn more about freelancing while you walk to the store, exercise, or use a project management tool to organize your latest project.
3. Maintain your Soft Skills
Regardless of whether you’re a software developer or a copywriter, your communication skills will come into play sooner or later. Once you get in touch with a client, you will need to sell them on the idea that you are the person for their project. Your soft skills will often determine how successful you will be at acquiring new projects or collaborating with other freelancers in your industry. That is why you should maintain and improve your soft skills in your spare time. You can do so in a number of ways, including attending online seminars, doing sales exercises with friends or family, or writing sales pitches.
Check out Subjecto for their repository of flashcard and essay samples to get a good sense of how you can communicate your thoughts more effectively. Soft skills also extend to effective time management, organization skills, and your ability to work with others. Volunteering for an NGO or offering pro bono work to a local charity can significantly improve not only your soft skills but a reputation as well. Use your free time in a smart way and hone your soft skills as much as you can before a client rolls around.
4. Network through Social Media & Forums
One of the best ways to keep your skills updated as a freelancer is to simply be in touch with your peers. Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn offer a range of dedicated groups filled with likeminded freelancers. Depending on your expertise, you can establish a presence on Behance or GitHub to gain exposure and talk to potential future colleagues or clients.
Reddit is also a very good place to find freelancers such as you and learn more about the industry through discussions. Do as much as you can to create an online presence under your name so that people know about you. If you live in a somewhat developed city, you should also look for a freelancing hub and spend some time there chatting and working. Freelancing is about networking as much as it is about actual projects and deliverables – go out there and let people know more about you.
5. Review Past Projects & Learn from Them
Finally, you can learn a lot from your previous projects by reviewing them. Take some time to go through the work you did and see if you can spot any mistakes. Think back to your workflow and how it could have gone better. We are often able to spot glaring omissions in hindsight, and analyzing past work is a great way to do just that.
You can also look for outside opinion by posting snippets of your work on the aforementioned social media groups for your peers to comment on. An outsider’s perspective can help you spot even more possible improvements which you would have otherwise overlooked. The same applies to you – you can comment on freelancers’ design or code and gauge whether or not you could have done a better job. Compare and contrast your work to others in the industry and try to grow with each new project you work on.
Life-Long Learning as the Freelancer’s Norm
A freelancer’s learning process is never really over. As soon as you think you’ve got the gist of your industry figured out, new trends and technologies will appear on the market. Freelancing is a great career choice for people who like to learn new things and share that knowledge with others online. Do your best to keep your skills as updated as possible, and the right clients will always come knocking with new projects to work on.
About the author:
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer. Kristin runs her own FlyWriting blog. You can find her on Facebook.
How to keep your skills updated as a Freelancer?
- Keep up with your industry through online courses.
- Listen to freelancing podcasts
- Maintain your soft skills
- Network through social media and forums
- Review past projects and learn from them