Skills Needed to Become a Freelancer
People often ask me, "Pao, what skills do I need to have to become a freelancer?"
Whenever I get this question, I always reminisce about how I started as a freelancer. I also asked this myself several times. To become a freelancer, you need to have two very critical sets of skills. Lose one, and you will take the longer road to becoming a successful freelancer.
The first set you need to have is the core skills or the necessary ones. It helps you with the pre-application phase of your freelancing career.
Some of the core skills include the following:
Writing is one of the most important skills you should acquire. It is the starting phase of your online career. When you apply for an online job, what is the first you do? You create cover letters; you write why you are a good fit for the job; you answer questions related to the job in the form of writing. Even before you get to an interview, the client will read what you have to offer.
Want to get paid what you are worth? Then negotiation skills is another you should master. If you are going to be a virtual assistant and the client says he will pay you a dollar per hour (okay, I am exaggerating a little), will you accept it doubting you might not have another job offer? Will you reject it fearing that it might be the last? Or will you negotiate to the rate which is best for the both of you?
If you start working with a client already, you should never forget to communicate with him regularly. It can be done either through a video conference, chat, email, etc. Even if your client wants you to work independently, he seeks to get a regular update on what is happening with your job.
Your Specialty Skill
Now, this is a tricky one. I know you have lots of skills to be proud of, but you have to focus on just one set of similar skills at a time. Having one specialty skill instead of multiple specialty skills sets you aside from competitors. If you have multiple specialties, other may think that you are too busy honing your other specialties at the same time.
The second set of skills you need to have is the supporting skills. Though I will not dig deep into it since this depends on your specialty skill, so I am going to tackle how you can choose your supporting skills appropriately.
To get the second set right, you need to analyze your specialty skill carefully. Say for example you specialize in writing, what supporting skills can you have? Are you good with copywriting, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) writing, creative writing, etc. Think of the additional skills you can offer in addition to your main one.
Always remember that there is no magic formula when it comes to success in freelancing or any other ventures you may have. What's important is your attitude to go on despite all the challenges you will face.