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.

Non-Technical Skills

  1. 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

Article Submission
Bookkeeping
Call Center
Customer Service
General Office
Helpdesk
Data Entry
Data Processing
Desktop Support
Email Handling
Order Processing
Phone Support
Procurement Research
Telephone Handling
Time Management
Transcription
Video Upload
Virtual Assistant
Web Search
Classifieds Posting
eBay
Internet Research
Article Rewriting
Copy Typing
Forum Posting
Newsletters
PDF to Word/Excel/PowerPoint
Product Descriptions
Reviews
  1. 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
BPO
Customer Support
Excel
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Outlook
Technical Support
CRM
Etsy
Facebook Marketing
Google Adsense
Internet Marketing
Market Research
General Marketing
Sales
Social Media Marketing
Telemarketing
Visual Merchandising
Entrepreneurship
ERP
Recruitment
Legal Research
Legal Writing
Academic Writing
Blog Writing
Content Writing
Financial Research
Ghostwriting
PowerPoint Presentation
Press Releases
Report Writing
Resumes
Short Stories
Technical Writing

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

Investment Research
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Email Marketing
Google Adwords
Lead Generation
Search Engine Marketing
Viral Marketing
Accounting
Business Analysis
Business Plans
Compliance
Event Planning
Finance
Financial Analysis
Inventory Management
Personal Development
Project Management
Risk Management
Book Writing
Business Writing
Catch Phrases
Copywriting
Creative Writing
eBooks Writing
Editing
Medical Writing
Proofreading
Proposal/Bid Writing
Slogans
Speech Writing
Translation Services
Data Science
  1. 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

Journalist
Mailchimp
Mailwizz
Periscope
WooCommerce
Translation Services
3D Printing
Buyer Sourcing
Logistics & Shipping
Manufacturing
Product Design
Product Sourcing
Supplier Sourcing
Attorney
Audit
Autotask
Contracts
Crystal Reports
Employment Law
Fundraising
Intuit QuickBooks
ISO9001
Legal
Linnworks Order Management
MYOB
Nintex Forms
Nintex Workflow
Patents
Payroll
PeopleSoft
Property Law
Public Relations
Salesforce
SAS
Tax
Tax Law
Unit4 Business World
Visa / Immigration
Xero
Grant Writing
LaTeX
Wikipedia
Brain Storming
Business Coaching

Technical Skills

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.

  1. 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

.NET
AJAX
Amazon Web Services
Analytics
Android Wear SDK
Angular.js
Apache
App Developer
ASP
Asterisk PBX
Augmented Reality
Azure
backbone.js
Big Data
BigCommerce
Bitcoin
C Programming
C# Programming
C++ Programming
CakePHP
Cisco
CLIPS
Cloud Computing
CMS
Cocoa
Codeigniter
Coding
Database Administration
Database Development
Database Programming
Debian
Delphi
Django
DNS
DOS
Drupal
Dynamics
eCommerce
Game Development
Google Analytics
Google App Engine
Google Chrome
Google Maps
Google Plus
Google Web Toolkit
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Website Optimizer
Hadoop
HTML
HTML5
Instagram
Internet Security
Interspire
Ionic Framework
Java
Javascript
Joomla
jQuery / Prototype
JSON
Kinect
Knockout.js
Laravel
LESS/Sass/SCSS
Linkedin
Linux
Mac OS
Magento
Metatrader
Microsoft
Microsoft Access
Microsoft Exchange
Microsoft SQL Server
Mobile App Testing
MySQL
Network Administration
Nginx
node.js
NoSQL Couch & Mongo
OAuth
Objective C
OCR
Odoo
Open Cart
Oracle
OSCommerce
PayPal API
Perl
PhoneGap
PHP
Pinterest
Plesk
PostgreSQL
Prestashop
Python
Ruby
Ruby on Rails
Sharepoint
Shell Script
Shopify
Shopping Carts
Smarty PHP
Social Networking
Software Architecture
Software Development
Software Testing
Splunk
SQL
SQLite
Squarespace
Stripe
System Admin
Twitter
Ubuntu
Umbraco
Unity 3D
UNIX
User Interface / IA
VB.NET
Virtuemart
Visual Basic
VMware
VoIP
Volusion
VPS
vTiger
Vuforia
Web Hosting
Web Scraping
Web Security
Web Services
Website Management
Website Testing
Weebly
WHMCS
Windows
Windows API
Windows Desktop
Windows Server
Wix
WordPress
WPF
XML
YouTube
Zen Cart
Zend
Zendesk
Zoho
  1. 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

Amazon Fire
Amazon Kindle
Android (956)
Android Honeycomb
Appcelerator Titanium
Apple Watch
Geolocation
iPad
iPhone
J2ME
Metro
WebOS
Windows CE
Windows
  1. 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

3D Animation
3D Design
3D Modelling
3D Rendering
3ds Max
Adobe Dreamweaver
Adobe Fireworks
Adobe Flash
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe LiveCycle Designer
Advertisement Design
After Effects
Animation
App Designer
Apple Compressor
Apple Logic Pro
Apple Motion
Audio Services
Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Revit
Axure
Bootstrap
Building Architecture
Capture NX2
CGI
Cinema 4D
Covers & Packaging
CSS
Design
eLearning Designer
Fashion Design
Fashion Modeling
Filmmaking
Final Cut Pro
Flash 3D
Google SketchUp
Graphic Design
Illustrator
Maya
Motion Graphics
Photo Editing
Photography
Photoshop Design
Presentations
Prezi
PSD to HTML
PSD2CMS
QuarkXPress
Stationery Design
Sticker Design
T-Shirts
Tattoo Design
Templates
Typography
User Experience Design
User Interface Design
Vectorization
Video Editing
Video Production
Website Design
Wireframes
  1. 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

Appliance Installation
Appliance Repair
Bathroom
Bricklaying
Building Consultants
Building Designer
Building Surveyors
Computer Help
Courses
Decking
Decoration
Drafting
Event Staffing
Furniture Assembly
Gardening
Gas Fitting
Hair Styles
Home Automation
Home Organization
IKEA Installation
Installation
Interiors
Landscape Design
Landscaping
Landscaping & Gardening
Lighting
Make Up
Painting
Weddings

Conclusion

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!