It is a known fact that the industry adapts itself to the changing demands and resources available at hand. Amidst the economic woes, companies are looking at cost-trimming measures. In times like this, deciding your own paycheque comes with its own set of challenges.
Your loyal client might stop giving you projects without any proper notice. Thus, planning and staying productive are two important tips for freelancers to reach their targets.
This year, remote working became the new normal – thanks to the pandemic. This made employers look at the possibilities of having freelancers onboard. Soon enough, companies opened up to exploring the scope of the gig economy.
From an economic perspective, employers save on a lot of money hiring people based on projects. One could employ across geographical borders according to their requirements. The global reach of hiring talent makes it easier to have the best people in the team.
Now, there are many freelancers, just like you. Why should an employer hire you? It thus becomes important for freelancers to update their skills according to the needs of the industry.
Tips for freelancers to stay updated
Looking to upskill yourself but don’t know where to start? Here are ten different ways you can do that. Read on!
1. Taking up online courses
Your next online course is literally one click away. From data science to art and history, you can find anything that you want to learn. Thanks to the internet, you can attend classes of world-class educators while sitting at home.
Learn about industry relevant tools for freelancers. One search will give you a number of options to choose from – paid, free, short term, long term, degree or specialisation courses. You will find these options available on various online educational platforms. Or you could just follow relevant channels on youtube and start learning.
One of the major advantages of online courses is the flexibility of time. According to your schedule, pick the time, duration and platform that suits you the best. Make notes while attending these classes so that you can refer in the future.
2. Attending webinars
Webinars are a great way to gain the latest industry insights. It gives you the opportunity to interact with senior professionals. Such webinars allow you to keep an eye on your competitors, meet prospective clients and make necessary business contacts.
Moreover, it is time and cost-effective. Usually, webinars are free or charge a nominal fee to attend. They are conducted for an hour or two, so you wouldn’t need to commit many hours into it. You can attend this from the comfort of your home.
To enhance the learning experience, make sure to keep away from distractions. Try to be interactive and don’t shy away from asking your questions. Interacting with fellow attendees is also a great way to start a conversation.
To make the most of webinars, try to note down the key points during the session. Write down a summary covering the major talking points right after the webinar ends. This will help you recall and eventually implement the learnings in the future.
3. Reading books
Trust the traditional process. Pick up books written by leaders of your industry and start reading. You might also find autobiographies and biographies to know about the journey of the ones who made it big.
Books give you a comprehensive way of learning. Not only will this help you gain the right knowledge but also improve your vocabulary and concentration. For better learning, you can highlight the key takeaways and refer to them again after a few days. All this while resting your eyes from the screen time.
4. Working on a project with your mentor
Being in the industry for a long time, they will be able to help you better. To optimise your learning, ask your mentor if you could assist them on a project. Working closely with them will give you the better of things to work. This will give you the opportunity to gain better insights directly from an experienced industry professional.
5. Assisting clients with ad-hoc work
You are well-versed with the theoretical aspect of the new skill you just learned. But what about the practical experience? Having hands-on experience will make you apply your learning more effectively.
Say, you are a content writer, can you also help your client with their social media? With the help of basic designing tools, you can extend your creative offerings. Can you also skim through data and tell them what is and isn’t working for them?
If yes, bingo! You just did the work of three people. Your client doesn’t have to hire different people. You can always charge more for the work you do—a win-win situation for both.
6. Asking for help from other freelancers
Get to know what fellow freelancers in your circle are doing. How is their business doing in the current times? What are they doing to keep up? Being in the same industry, they are more likely to relate to your struggles.
Ask them about how they solved their problems and share your questions with them. You could simply follow them or learn from their mistakes. Maintaining good relations with your fellow freelancers might also help you land the right gig.
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7. Networking with peersConnect and talk to people in your industry. LinkedIn is a great platform for finding such people. Don’t just connect with veterans but also with the freshers in the industry. Click To Tweet
Help people out with their doubts. Guide a fresher with the easy traps to avoid. This will also give you the scope to look beyond your usual work and bring some fresh and new perspectives. When connecting with seniors in your industry, make sure your introductory pitch is interesting enough for them to connect with you.
Networking will help you gain different perspectives and keep up with the changing trends. Who knows, the next person you meet might be your prospective client. So, go ahead and build your network!
8. Following blogs
Follow blogs and social channels of the successful people in your industry. By simply reading some of these, you could get a sneak peek into their journey and experiences. Keep an eye on when they share their tips for freelancers and make a note of it.
Leave a comment on their post and try to draw insights from their learnings.
9. Doing a part-time internship
This back-to-college way of learning will help you move ahead with your career. As a freelancer, you choose your work timings and usually work alone.
A part-time internship will require you to work according to the organisation’s hours. This will also give you a broader view of how teams in big organisations function. You can always add the things that you learned in your portfolio. This will also help you to diversify your profile as a freelancer.
10. Building a personal brand
Now that you have acquired the skills, time to let the world know. Leverage your social media for this. Start with writing LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram posts. Build a website to showcase all the work you have done until now.
Connect with people like you. Talk about all the things that you have learned. Share your tips for freelancers who are just starting out. By doing this, you will learn the hidden features of your regular social media sites. At the same time, you will build a community of like-minded people. Interacting with them will help you learn new things every day.
Tools Freelancers Can Use To Keep Their Skills Fresh
If you’re new to the remote working environment and want to start freelancing, one of the first things you’ll have to learn is how to leverage online resources to continuously upskill and reskill to meet the demands and requirements of the ever-changing work environment.
1. Online course marketplaces
Online learning platforms are designed as marketplaces to attract students and instructors alike. You can get access to specific courses designed and hosted by individuals or instructors. Sometimes these courses are free but the paid ones have perks related to a certificate of completion.
- Udemy offers short courses on a wide range of topics that anyone can produce. Courses primarily revolve around tech, but you can find courses on design and other creative topics as well
- Udacity offers nano degree programs in partnership with various industry experts and entrepreneurs to cover various technology skills
2. Subscription based e-learning platforms
Lately, the demand for a subscription-based model that’ll give access to programs by paying a monthly fee is rapidly growing in the e-learning space.
- Skillshare is the cheapest option of them all, allows anyone to make a course, and caters majorly to creative production (e.g., graphic design, photography, writing)
- Pluralsight is priced competitively, partners with various industry experts, and caters toward technology skills (e.g., software development, IT ops)
- LinkedIn Learning covers a wider range of topics but also has stringent requirements on which industry experts are allowed to teach on the platform
While these subscription-based companies do charge for access, they also provide free course offerings with some limitations.
3. MOOC platforms
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are online programs that are free for anyone to enroll in. Here, all content is free and open, but some let you pay for accreditation.
- Khan Academy offers an impressive catalog of online video courses on their website and YouTube that have free access. These courses are structured like traditional academia, offering courses from preschool to college providing a school and college-like experience online
- EdX started out as a partnership between MIT and Harvard to list their high-quality college and graduate lessons online. They’ve also teamed up with hundreds of other universities to provide a college-like education for free. EdX offers the option to pay for accreditation via MicroMasters, professional certificates, and degrees
- Coursera partners with hundreds of universities to offer college courses online. Coursera also offers the option to pay for accreditation in the form of professional certificates and degrees
MOOCs often partner with universities to host classes online and remember, it’s important to pay attention to the certifications offered when paying for these free courses.
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In conclusion, whether you are an established freelancer or someone just starting out, constant learning is the only way forward. This would help you achieve your goals while building a personal brand for yourself.
Do you have any tips for freelancers? Let us know in the comments.