After reading this blog on maximizing freelance income, readers asked several questions. While I answered specific questions, many readers asked a pertinent question, the answer to which will require an entire blog post.
Through this blog, I will answer “How one can freelance without having a technical skill set or a specific domain knowledge?”
Although I answer each and every question through social media, emails or in person, I request you to post questions in comments so that other readers can also benefit from the answers.
Before I proceed, let me explain the kind of services I provided as a freelancer and why I chose them.
In my last job, I handled digital marketing for the organization. And therefore, digital marketing services were the natural choice for me. I registered my profile as a digital marketing freelancer. However, in 2013, Google updated its search engine algorithm that gave more preference to high-quality content in search engine rankings. This led to a flood of content writing projects on every freelancing site. Since I was in the experimenting mode on the website, I placed few bids on content writing projects and finally won the first project. As I had no formal training or experience in professional writing, I had to work almost 10-12 hours to research and write a four-page content that was worth $10. The client was delighted with work and came up with next set of projects. Over a period, I gained confidence in professional writing, and it became a great complement to digital marketing services.
Until this time, I didn’t know that content writing could also be a business. I didn’t limit myself to just content and digital marketing, but continued learning whatever came on the way.
I will write a dedicated post on learning professional writing later.
For now, let us discuss the main question: How should you choose an area of freelancing, especially when you are not an expert in any one particular field?
Based on my experience, I can only say that start with any one niche and keep learning new (but related) skills to expand the range of services. To become a successful freelancer, you don’t need to be an ‘expert’ in any one field. Rather, you have to be sincere and need to have the full commitment towards the projects that you undertake. Also, you shouldn’t just leave a non-technical project offer simply because you don’t have prior knowledge of the field. The Internet has plenty of free resources that will be useful in learning the required skills quickly. However, for this, you must have commitment and patience to work without being discouraged or dissatisfied at the monetary value of the first few projects. Remember that freelancing demands time and sincere efforts on your part. So, you should choose the kind of work that you are passionate about and love doing it. Something which, if required, you can do for 12-14 hours a day without getting bored, tired, or frustrated.
Here is a comprehensive list of skills that you can choose to begin your freelancing career.
- No or little experience needed
You can become better and efficient at anything you do consistently. So, with experience you may become an expert in Google Search. However, to start a project in searching something on Google, you don’t need to have an experience or a particular educational background. Here is a list of similar tasks that you can choose to work on when you don’t have profound knowledge about anything. If you wish to start freelancing right now, choose any of these skills and start bidding.
Click here to see the list of skills
|PDF to Word/Excel/PowerPoint|
- Some Prior Experience/Knowledge Needed
Skills that require some prior experience/knowledge, however, can be learned in 3-6 months of self-study. If you are passionate about jobs that involves following skills, it is better do spend some time for self study.
Click here to check the list
|Some Prior Experience/Knowledge Needed|
|Social Media Marketing|
3. Significant Experience/Expertise Needed
To complete projects that require any of the following skills, you should possess extensive knowledge or skills. If you want to to work on project related to following skills, you first need to learn and apply the concepts in low-risk environment. You may consider working as an intern or offering free services to validate your skills and acquire some experience before selling your services to serious buyers.
List of skills that requires significant experience or expertise
|Conversion Rate Optimisation|
|Search Engine Marketing|
- Specialized/Niche Skill
Although you don’t need to have a technical background to learn these skills, you must work on specific software/platforms to get acquainted. The list can go on and on. However, I have tried to list the skills for which freelance jobs are readily available across the internet. If you want to learn any of these platforms/applications, it is better to use trial versions and practice it before offering freelance services.
Click here to check the list
|Logistics & Shipping|
|Linnworks Order Management|
|Unit4 Business World|
|Visa / Immigration|
You can even choose to work on technical projects. However, you need to learn specific skills before venturing into the technical freelancing world. The best part is you can learn those skills easily by enrolling on any online training websites. These pieces of training are as good as or sometimes better than offline training provided by local institutes in your area. Some of the popular online training sites are Lynda, Udemy, CourseEra, etc. There are some open source technologies like WordPress etc. that you can learn by self study and its practical application. You can choose the skills based on your interest and decide a future course of action.
- IT, Website & Web Applications
Freelancing job opportunities related to hundreds of programming languages are readily available across internet. You simply need to master any programming language and get started your freelance career.
List of IT, Web & Software Skills
|Amazon Web Services|
|Android Wear SDK|
|Google App Engine|
|Google Web Toolkit|
|Google Webmaster Tools|
|Google Website Optimizer|
|jQuery / Prototype|
|Microsoft SQL Server|
|Mobile App Testing|
|NoSQL Couch & Mongo|
|Ruby on Rails|
|User Interface / IA|
- Mobile Development Technology
Mobile technology is rapidly changing the entire technology ecosystem. There are thousands of freelance jobs available for mobile technology experts. You can launch your freelance career in mobile technology by mastering any of the following skills.
List of Skills related to Mobile Development
- Designing & Multimedia
There are thousands of designers available on freelancing sites. However, the demand for quality (creative) designers still exceeds the supply. So if you have a creative bend of mind, you will do very well in design and multimedia field. All you need to do is, learn a related technology and practice it for 1-3 months. Good designers will always be in demand from all type of business from across the world.
Click here to see complete list of skills related to Designing & Multimedia
|Adobe LiveCycle Designer|
|Apple Logic Pro|
|Covers & Packaging|
|Final Cut Pro|
|PSD to HTML|
|User Experience Design|
|User Interface Design|
- Local Jobs (Mostly requires your physical presence at the clients’ location)
Following job requires you to be physically present in clients’ location. You shouldn’t look for these kind of jobs on freelance marketplaces like Freelancer or Upwork. Rather, you should get a premium listing on top local classified site in your area. In 3-6 months you should get decent number of leads from sites like JustDial, CraigList, Locanto, OLX etc.
See the complete list here
|Landscaping & Gardening|
While choosing a skill set, the interest and passion should be preferred over anything else. Don’t just jump into something because it has a lot of potential. Of course, the potential is crucial while considering the options. However, freelancing requires a lot of efforts and hard work, and if you are not passionate about the work, it can be a never ending nightmare. Depending on the time you have, you can learn any of the skills in 3-6 months. To apply theoretical learnings in real life, you may offer your services at a minimal cost. After working with a few clients, you will not only gain confidence and charge competitive rates but also help your customers achieve their goals. The critical point is, the short term hiccups and conflicts with clients shouldn’t deflect you from the long term goal. If you can manage this, the success will be entirely yours.
This post was proofread by Grammarly!
Author: Saket Kumar Singh
A digital marketer and strategist by profession, I love writing and travelling. In the past I have been a Communication Engineer, Coder, Banker and Lead Consultant. Someday I would travel to explore the world.