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What Are the Most In-Demand Skills for Freelancing?

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Updated June 2021

Which freelancing skills are most in-demand right now? Where should you invest your time if you’re in the process of making a career pivot or heading back to the workforce after being home for any stretch of time. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this post.

As a stay-at-home mom, you have enough on your plate. Really. Truly. I’m right there with you. You may have kids at home, student loans (yours or theirs), a mortgage, a car note (or in my case, a car that I’m trying to keep alive until I pay off said student loans), retirement goals, a vacation fund, a holidays savings account that needs a little love, and all kinds of adult-y, life stuff.

Your Skill Set Matters If You Plan to Make Money

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If you’re new to freelancing, it’s smart for you to know going in what the most in-demand freelance skills actually are so you don’t end up spending 3 months mastering Microsoft Excel when NOBODY cares.

I’m big on telling freelancers that you don’t look to fill a position. You look to fill the work that’s left undone by someone leaving a position or by a company having to eliminate a position. The work usually doesn’t go anywhere – it still needs to be done. But instead of hiring an employee to do it, companies will often bring in independent contractors (freelancers like you) who can do the work WITHOUT having to officially be hired into the position.

So…

So, I checked out data released by Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Fiverr of the top 100 freelance skills needed by companies in 2021 to give you an idea of the types of skills that have been most in demand for the past year or so. I think you’ll be kinda surprised by some of the options.

If you’re not sure what some of these things are just yet, not to worry. I’m actually going to cover most of these at one point or another. Just an FYI, since there’s a growing need for technical skills, I dropped some of those skills in the management column because there were more technical skills in-demand than business management skills

The Upwork 100’s Most In-Demand Skills

AdministrativeCreative + MarketingTechnicalManagement
Administrative supportSocial media marketingMachine learningLinkedIn
recruiting
Virtual assistanteBooksNET CoreTechnical recruiter
Email marketingFirebaseCustomer retention marketingData analytics/storytelling
Bank reconciliationPresentationEmbedded systemsResearch
Accounts payable managementData scrapingElectronic
design
Interviewing
Project
scheduling
Technical documentationDevOpsSourcing
SlackAudio editingAutomationBusiness planning
Data
visualization
Video post-editingData miningCertified Public Accountant (CPA)
Data entry3D designSystem administrationTax preparation
Google Tag
Manager

Adobe Premiere Pro
AutoCADInterior design
Accounts receivable managementMotion graphicsDatabase design
Budgeting and forecasting
Usability testingDigital marketingC developmentFinancial accounting
Lead generationProduct descriptionsRedux for JavaScriptCircuit design
eLearningSearch Engine Optimization (SEO)DockerAccounting
Bookkeeping3D renderingShopify developmentProduct design
Amazon Web Services (AWS)InfographicsPostgreSQL administrationMedia relations
Internet researchSEO writingASP.NETStartup consulting
Google DocsAdobe After EffectsZendeskBranding
Amazon S3Link buildingMagento 2Postgre SQL programming
Data entryVideo productionArchitectural renderingMicrosoft Windows Azure
AsanaInstagram marketingPythoneLearning
Web scrapingAnimationElasticsearchArchitecture
English grammarSquarespaceAWS LambdaOffice Management
Appointment settingLanding pagesSalesforce App DevelopmentLegal Services
Personal AssistantsGoogle Analytics & Search ConsoleGoogle Cloud PlatformSalesforce app development
`

Just for the sake of kicks and giggles, let’s lay the groundwork for a few of these skills so you understand why they’re on the list.

In-Demand Skill: Freelance Writing

You may have noticed that several of the top 100 entries like Romance writing, product descriptions, and link building are freelance writing gigs. So, I want to kick things off with freelance writing.

I’ve spent more than a decade as a freelance writer. There are tons of different ways you can earn money writing, and that’s because as Gary Vaynerchuk says, every business is a media company now. That means even the tiniest companies are in a position where they always need to be creating content!! Like, always!

So, whether you’re writing creative content, copywriting, penning emails, or WHATEVER writers are in high demand.

In-Demand Skill: Editing and Proofreading

No piece of writing is perfect until it goes through the fire of editing and proofreading. This is why editors and proofreaders are also in high demand. A survey showed that 59% of customers link lower quality to companies that use poor grammar or spelling mistakes on their website. So, a lot of business owners employ the services of editors to be a second set of eyes edit and proofread their contents. The same goes for authors and writers.

So, if you still have your Strunk & White lying around and you remember everything you learned in high school about English grammar, you, my ear, have a marketable skill.

In-Demand Skill: Infographics

Another top freelancing skill that you can count on to help you earn a consistent income is graphic design, specifically designing infographics. Infographics are visual stories, usually used to share statistics and data in an interesting way. Actually, I had one created on work-at-home jobs for computer-savvy moms that you can check out here.

Over the last two years, I’ve overseen the creation of more than 100 infographics because infographics are informative, valuable and shareable.

Fun fact: 73% of companies and startups continually invest in visual content to put on their websites and use for other marketing purposes (like link building). So, if you happen to have design skills or you’re just really great with a design tool like Canva or Photoshop, creating infographics may be your jam.

In-Demand Skill: Instagram Marketing

Another much sought-after freelancing skill is social media marketing. As of 2020, there are 3.8 billion social media users across the globe, and a billion of those are Instagram users. For many companies, Instagram marketing is the perfect way to introduce people to their products and keep a finger on the pulse of consumer demand.

What does a social media marketer do? Lots. You would create online campaigns, send out emails, build funnels, create social media content all targeted to get a certain segment of social media users to take specif actions. So, to win with this one, you have to be a bit of a social media ninja.

In-Demand Skill: Virtual Assistance

The administrative support team is a crucial part of any organization. If you’re working as a freelancer to provide administrative support, you’ll usually get hired as a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are the hands and legs of companies and businesses. They typically work remotely and aid with all kinds of different administration tasks. Sometimes virtual assistants will have specialized skills. More often than not, they are there to provide administrative support to entrepreneurs, teams or companies as needed.

There are agencies you can join that specialize in putting VAs to work. Or you can try gig platforms like Upwork where the need for VAs seems to be neverending. Likewise, you need a basic knowledge of excel spreadsheets and admin software. All these can be learned from the many online classes available.

In-Demand Skill: Video Editing

I recently heard Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s head of… everything say that the shift to video is as important as the shift to mobile. Think about that for a sec. Think about how frustrated you get with a restaurant whose menu isn’t visible on your phone or when a company website gets so tiny it’s unreadable on your phone.

Video is a BIG deal. Video gets people’s attention and helps them remember what they saw, which is a good thing for brands who are working so hard to add video marketing to their marketing arsenal.

This is why the demand for video editors is on the rise. Video editors make the videos we amateurs shoot on our phones look way more amazing. They are responsible for magically turning a raw video clip into engaging and attractive video content. No easy task and it requires actual skill and experience to do.

But here’s the thing – a lot of people have gotten so used to doing it for their own Instagram posts and they don’t even realize it’s a marketable skill. If that’s you…

Which Ones Are You Thinking About Offering?

Okay, so I know the list of the 100 most in-demand freelance skills is hefty, and there’s a lot to consider. But look at it this way – this searchlight on freelancing ensures no mama has to ever go hungry, and we’re no longer at the mercy of ur 9 to 5 jobs. And so from the confines of your home, you can do what you love and what you’re really good at while getting paid for it.

I’m going to use The Upwork 100 as a baseline for the different skills and gigs we’ll talk about. These skills are in high demand and when cultivated, they promise to fetch you a steady stream of income.