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One of the more popular work from home jobs is freelancing. All kinds of specialized skills can be utilized for freelancing – writing, art, programming, crafting, clerical, internet, or teaching.
So, you want to start working as a freelancer but just don’t know how? Maybe you’re already one, but would like to add to your repertoire of skills. More skills can mean more work, which means more income. But which skills are in high demand for optimum opportunity to get the most benefit?
Classes and workshops can be both expensive and time-consuming, instead I’ll show you where you can learn for free (or almost free).
Let’s look at 15 freelancing skills in high demand and where you can learn them:
1. Web Development & Design
This job entails creating and designing websites for clients. This includes customized coding to meet your client’s requests for what they want to see on their websites – such as widgets, interactive windows, pop-ups, and more. This involves more than just knowing a little HTML.
Freelance web developers can earn around $150,000 a year, and web designers can earn about $55,000 a year. Of course, this depends on how much experience you have and how much work you garner.
Now, don’t worry if you have no clue about programming or design, here’s a list of courses that are offered for free:
- CodeAcademy – Offers a variety of self-guided tutorials for learning codes like HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, and Python. They have an on-screen platform for you to practice and see your outcome.
- Introduction to Computer Science and Programming – A free self-paced course from MIT in computer programming. You’ll learn the Python language and to write small programs and how to debug them. This course includes all the video lectures, coursebooks, resources and information you need.
You can also grab a few books to read as well:
- Web Coding Bible (18 Books in 1) – Teaches all essential web technologies from A to Z. This book guarantees to transform an Internet newcomer to an accomplished web developer.
2. Writing, Editing, and Blogging
Many people have the misconception that if one can write, they can be a great freelance writer. Sadly, this isn’t true, there is much more to writing for the internet than writing that term paper back in college.
Back when I had my own blog, I would receive guest posts from “professional writers” that made me cringe. This area also extends into blogging as well.
How Do I Setup A Blog?
It’s quite simple when it comes down to it. All you need is a host and a domain name.
For hosting, we recommend using Hostgator since you get a beginner plan for just $2.75/month when you use our promo code SHARED3660 upon checkout. That turns out to be just $33 per year.
For a domain name we recommend Namecheap. A domain will cost you roughly $10/year.
Want more details? Check out our guide on the 7 steps to setup a successful blog.
These two costs together will bring your blogging costs to around $43 per year – not bad for starting a new business.
Successful beginner freelance writers can make around $24 an hour. This depends on how fast you can write and for which website you’re working with. Beginner freelance editors and copywriters make about $25 to $35 an hour.
Let’s work on improving those writing skills:
- Content Marketing Certification – Offered by the highly popular website HubSpot, you’ll learn how to create attractive content, promoting your material, repurposing your material, and everything else for your writing or blogging career.
- Writing for the Web – This free course teaches how readers read text online differently than with print. Learn how to write for your audience, keep their attention, and keep your material in line with your company’s style and “voice”.
How about some books?
- How to Write Better: Improve your writing of letters, essays, stories, articles, papers and books using quick, easy and proven techniques
- The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms
3. Creative Design
Creative designers work with your clients to create illustrations and images for them. By using computer applications and software, you develop layouts and sketches that bring their ideas to life.
This field is less technical than a graphic designer’s field. It’s more “free flowing” and you’ll work creating such things as logos, illustrations, business cards and such
A freelance creative designer’s salary is roughly $40,000 per year. This career usually requires some training in the various Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, various office programs such as PowerPoint, some web design software, and animation.
You can learn these skills at:
- Basics of Adobe CC: Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign – This $49 course from Creative Live will teach you all the different Adobe products to help with your creativity and design.
- Envato Design and Illustration Courses – A variety of design software to learn creative design, from Cinema 4D software, Photoshop effects, to animation and hand-lettering.
Want to read a book instead?
4. App Developer
App development is very hot especially for mobile platforms like Apple, Android, and Windows. You work on developing Apps as a freelancer for your clients.
A freelance app developer’s earnings depend on the number of years working, their client list, and what technology you focus on. A developer specializing in iOS apps can make around $150 – $250 an hour, while one working specifically on Android apps can make around $168 – $225 an hour.
To get to the higher end of the earning scale you’ll need extensive training, so let’s get started:
- iOS Developer – This nanodegree is offered by Udacity and you’ll learn all the steps in developing an iOS app and have several to keep for your portfolio after your course. This is a set course period (not self-paced) and is 7 months long with a price of $1,998 (which can be paid monthly or deferred until after completion).
- Developer.android.com – Google’s free developer guides to learn everything about developing your own Android apps.
Grab some books:
- How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time
- Apps: Beginner’s Guide For App Programming, App Development, App Design
5. Teaching & Tutoring
Teaching online can be an enjoyable career or side hustle when you have the right personality and know-how to teach.
Depending on what subject you teach and on what platform, your earnings as an online teacher can be anywhere from $11 – $30 an hour. There are many opportunities to start, from working for a specific company like VIPKid, to creating your own course and selling on TakeLessons, or Udemy.
In order to make the most money, it’s best to improve your teaching skills:
- Instructional Design: Digital Media, New Tools and Technology – Offered by edX for free, this is a 8-week long course to learn how to create your curriculum effectively as well as how to promote it. There is a certificate available for $199.
- Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language – A free course from Alison where you’ll learn all the best techniques for teaching English.
Some good reads:
6. Sales & Marketing
Working in this freelancing field is where you got to generate leads for your clients. You market their products in various ways across the internet. Marketing could be anything from email marketing, social media marketing, creating leads and website traffic, and more.
An online marketing specialist or internet sales manager can make about $42,000 a year. In order to work up to that salary amount, you’ll need some training.
- HubSpot Academy Sales Training – Offers 3 classes in inbound sales, sales enablement, and sales software. They offer several tiers of training from Free to Enterprise levels.
- CopyBlogger Marketing Email Course – Receive 16 free eBooks and 20 email lessons on internet marketing.
For your library:
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand out From The Crowd
- Boost E-commerce Sales and Make More Money: Three Hundred Tips to Increase Conversion Rates and Generate Leads
7. Graphic Design
This profession is a bit different from the creative designer field in that it’s more technical and needs more specialized.
A graphic designer can make upwards of $46,000 a year. Take these courses to get started:
- Graphic Design Fundamentals: Getting Started – Offered by Creative Live, you’ll learn all the various tools the designer’s toolkit, and it’s only $49 for lifetime access as well as a satisfaction guarantee.
- Graphic Design Specialization – A Specialized course offered by Coursera, you’ll not only be introduced to graphic design, but learn typography, imagemaking, and more. Even though this is a self-paced course it has specific sign-up dates, it costs $49 a month until you complete the course and comes with a certificate.
If you wanted to read on your own instead:
8. Brand Ambassador
Working as a brand ambassador, you’re paid to endorse or promote a company’s product or service. You create videos, blog posts, reviews, and sometimes even go to events to recommend that brand to the public.
A brand ambassador can earn approximately $25,000 – $33,000 a year. It doesn’t require much experience to start freelancing as one, but some training in persuasion, sales pitching, and similar skills would boost your success.
- Brand Ambassador Bootcamp – A free 5-day email course on how and where to start being a brand ambassador.
- LinkedIn Brand Management – Offered by the popular website LinkedIn, there’s a long list of videos, courses and more. Learn such things as brand strategy, marketing communication, and social media marketing.
How about for your Kindle?
- The Brand Ambassador Handbook: Learn How To Make Money Promoting Major Brands, Travel The World, & Have Fun!
- Brand Ambassador Guide
9. Virtual Assistant
If you already have office or administrative experience from an on-site job, it’ll be easy to transfer these skills to an online platform. Virtual assistants work on a multitude of assignments – from phone work, data entry, project management to scheduling, handling meetings, transcription and much more.
The skills you would need to learn are the various software programs to be able to work from home effectively, such as Microsoft Office, GSuite, Asana, MailChimp, Trello, Skype, Zoom, and others that your client may require you to use.
Learn to be a successful VA on these sites:
- 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success – Offered by a successful virtual assistant making $4,000 a month while also working full-time. Even though it costs $247, customers state it’s a good iinvestment.
- Become a Virtual Assistant – Offered by a virtual assistant network, this course will give you all the steps to get started from home.
Check out these Amazon books:
- Become A Successful Virtual Assistant: Learn the Business Side & Ditch 9 to 5
- The Ultimate A-Z Guide to Running A Lucrative Virtual Assistant Business in 10 Easy Steps!
10. Human Resources Manager
If you’re experienced in HR, this is a very well-paying job to take online. This field requires experience than a virtual assistant has.
You’ll need to know how to recruit, interview, advise management on policies, assist employees with internal paperwork (insurance, W2s, etc.), as well as needing an external network of other HR managers to contact and work with.
A freelance human resources manager can possibly make $43 – $55 an hour. To start working as a manager you’ll need some training:
- Human resource courses from Alison – Alison offers 21 different courses and diplomas in human resources.
- Human Resource Management – This specialization is offered by Coursera and takes about 5 months to complete. You’ll learn all the specialized skills needed as a HR manager and receive a certificate upon completion. This specialization can be paid for per course or have a monthly subscription fee of around $49 a month.
Now, some Amazon reads:
- Human Resources Kit For Dummies – Learn all the new human resources laws and updated forms and contracts and everything needed as a HR manager.
- The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results – Great guide on attracting and keeping top employees.
11. Internet Researcher
Working as a web or internet researcher is an easy job for freelancers to do. The different tasks include answering surveys, filling out forms, taking polls, data mining, information verification and so on.
An internet researcher, depending on where they live, can make around $31,000 to $77,000 a year. Even though it seems to be an easy job, it helps to improve your process in order to finish assignments faster and thus make more money.
- Internet Research Course – A free course by BlueSquirrel teaches you various tools for internet research, source citations, presenting your research, and more.
- Internet Research – Offered by Potential, this course teaches different research internet research sources, memorization skills, optimize different media types to mine information, and more.
Add these books to your resource library:
A freelance photographer is one of the most popular freelancing jobs, but the better photographs you can take, the higher your profits. Even though many smartphones now have a variety of filters for snapping photos, a professional camera can still outdo them.
A freelance photographer can possibly earn $25 an hour, depending on your specialty – event photography, personal sessions, wildlife, and nature, urban, etc.
There’s more to being a photographer than “point and shoot”. Learn how to improve your photography skills with these free courses:
- Basics of Photography: The Complete Guide – A free series from LifeHacker has 5 different lessons on understanding yoru camera to editing photographs.
- Learn Digital Photography Basics – A variety of video lessons offered by BluPrint with a $7.99 a month streaming plan.
13. Customer Service
There is a variety of customer service remote jobs available out there – anywhere from giving technical support to helping shoppers with their shopping.
Remote customer service representatives make anywhere from $15,000 to $32,000 a year, depending on how much technical background you have and the company. Most companies provide online training for their specific platform, but it doesn’t hurt to learn some skills as well:
- Customer Service Training Course – This free course is offered on Alison and only takes 1-2 hours to complete and get a certificate too.
- The Guide to Becoming a Top Performing Live Chat Agent – A free download from Comm100 that gives you 12 tips to communicate effectively as a chat agent.
- The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide: How to Connect with your Customers to Sell More!
- Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet
14. Audio & Video Production
With so many companies and people wanting to create videos and podcasts but lacking the skills to effectively produce attractive creations often hire outside sources to clean these up for them.
A freelance audio and video producer earn anywhere from $12 to $60 a hour, all depending on experience and clients. To make more money it helps to have more training:
- Video Editing Training and Tutorials – a variety of tutorials offered by Lynda on editing, software and more. You get one free month and then it’s $29 a month after that.
- YouTube Audio and Video Production – Professional Basics! – Offered on Skillshare and it’s 9 videos on microphones, editing, backdrops and more.
If you rather grab a book instead:
15. Social Media Manager
Now, just because you have many social media accounts, doesn’t always mean you’d be a great social media manager. You’ll need to know effective communication, the various platforms, and software to manage the various posts.
A social media manager can make an average of $50,000 a year, depending on whether you’re with a company full-time, part-time, and the volume of duties you’re expected to complete.
Again, training in the various platforms greatly increases your earning potential:
- Social Media Management – Complete Manager Bootcamp – Offered by Udemy for $149 (but can be less if you wait for a sale). Learn everything about starting your own social media management business.
- Social Media Certification Course – Offered by HubSpot for free and includes 8 courses with a number of videos each.
Stock up on these books:
- The Social Media Management Handbook: Everything You Need To Know To Get Social Media Working In Your Business
- Social Media Manager Now: Become a Better Social Media Manager in Ten Weeks
I know I only listed 2 sites and 2 books each profession, but there’s actually many sources available in each area with different depths of study. You just need to do a simple search online to find them, be sure to do your research and pick one that suits your needs.
Many of these freelance skills in a similar field can be combined for maximum potential of earning and work opportunities, for example:
- Freelance writer + Brand Ambassador + Internet Researcher
- Web programmer + App developer
- Photographer + Audio/Video Production + Brand Ambassador
- Creative Design + Graphic Design + Sales & Marketing
- Virtual Assistant + Customer Service + Social Media Manager
The possibilities are endless, and you don’t even need to limit to similar fields either. It does help to have an interest and passion in that field, otherwise you’ll burn out quickly.
Next, a great resource for finding free (or cheap) courses for any freelance skill is Udemy. You simply enter a skill you need into the search box then filter the results for the free ones. You can also take some of the paid courses as well, but wait for a site sale and grab them when the price is low.
Lastly, do your research before signing up for a course – go over the syllabus, read reviews from other students, and look at the instructor’s background. Remember you get what you pay for – free courses although free, may not be the right prospect for you.