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These 20+ High-Demand Freelance Skills Pay You The Most

Table of ContentsUpdated Jan 23, 2024

Freelance skills are more sought after today than ever before. The days when people saw freelance skills as less important than regular 9-to-5 job skills are over.

Now, freelancing is a popular and profitable career choice, especially for many Millennials and the new generation worldwide. If you have the right freelance skills, you can enjoy the freedom of working from home, picking your work style, time, and clients, and proudly call yourself a freelance worker.

The Annual Freelancing in America Study by Upwork confirms that learning freelance skills is a wise career move. 64% of professionals with high-demand freelance skills chose this career path willingly.

Let’s explore some essential freelance skills that can boost your growth as a freelancer.

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High-Paying Freelance Skills in 2024

Here are some of the top freelance skills that are growing fast and can set you up for a lifelong career. We’ve also included tools and resources to help you learn them.

1. Social Media Marketing

Social media has dominated marketing for the past decade. Facebook led the way in advertising through social media. Then came Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Nowadays, social media marketing also involves influencer marketing, where well-known influencers promote products.

Learning social media marketing skills isn’t too hard. Essentially, anyone who knows how to promote themselves on their social media profiles can become a social media marketer.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO, or search engine optimization, is about increasing the quality and quantity of online traffic by making a website or webpage more visible to a target audience.

Having SEO skills means using the right strategies to attract online viewers and engage users on your website. SEO is key to how websites rank on Google or how videos are found on YouTube. It’s an in-demand skill because it offers advanced ways for web owners to attract the traffic they want.

3. Writing, Editing, and Rephrasing

Freelance writing is one of the most valuable skills you can learn. It’s in high demand, profitable, and can even become your own business. Platforms like Fiverr and Facebook can be places to find clients and writers for hire.

Before you know it, you could have a team of writers serving these clients. Your services can extend to writing, editing, and rephrasing, all without needing a physical office space.

The following are some of the most popular and fast-growing freelance skills that can benefit you for a lifelong career. We have also mentioned several tools and resources to help you attain them.

freelance skills

4. Photography and Editing

Instagram has become a major player for both organizations and individuals to show off their freelance skills. You’ve likely seen, or even follow, accounts of your favorite celebrities, photographers, artists, or digital editors.

Photography and editing have evolved significantly with Instagram’s filters and specialized editing tools. It’s now an excellent platform for freelance photographers to make money. You can build a community, showcase your art, gain likes, followers, and clients, all for free. As a freelance photographer, you can hone your skills and run your business on this platform.

5. Blockchain

Blockchain has gained attention mostly due to the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But it’s more than just the technology behind these virtual currencies. Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed ledger technology that ensures the history of any digital asset is unchangeable and transparent.

This emerging technology is being combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning, making it a sought-after freelance skill for remote and corporate workers alike. There are many online resources and platforms, like Solidity and Remix, offering courses and practical experience in Blockchain development.

6. Graphic Design

Graphic design is increasingly important for both organizations and individuals. With an estimated 13% job growth by the end of 2020, graphic design is one of the most desirable freelance skills to acquire.

Graphic design has evolved with new tools from Apple, Adobe, and others, becoming a vital solution for business branding and marketing. As a freelance graphic designer, you’ll find a high demand for your skills, not just in branding but also in creating merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, and keychains.

7. Excel Accounting

Excel accounting is fundamental, and it’s an excellent starting point for new accounting graduates seeking practical experience and a way to earn. This skill should be easy to pick up if you’ve studied the basics in school. Freelancing in Excel accounting is often favored by small business owners and startups needing basic accounting services.

8. Web Designing and Developing

Web design and development involve creating and maintaining websites or webpages. This field encompasses coding and user interface (UI) design. With businesses increasingly moving online, there’s a growing demand for these skills.

With Google’s continual updates, website owners seek professional web developers for efficient compliance. Fortunately, many platforms offer free resources for those looking to improve their web design and development skills.

freelance skills

9. Customer Service

In both startups and large organizations, customer service is crucial to make customers feel valued. It’s important to maintain a solid connection with customers, especially for product owners or service providers.

Customer service representatives use their freelance skills to bridge communication gaps between a company and its clients. Without them, many companies might not survive in the market.

While customer service itself isn’t a skill, the communication skills it requires are what make it valuable and in high demand for remote work. You can even work internationally as a freelance customer service representative due to the lack of time or language barriers.

10. Affiliate Marketing

Among the newer freelance skills, affiliate marketing has become recognized in the last 4-5 years for its profitability and ease for freelancers.

Affiliate marketing involves selling products for a company or entrepreneurs, driving online traffic and engagement on their web pages. You earn commissions based on your success with the official affiliate links provided. What’s great about affiliate marketing is that you can involve others and benefit as the cycle continues.

11. Wellness Coach and Therapy

Mental health has been a growing concern for nearly a decade, with increasing awareness and acceptance of mental illnesses. This has led to a higher demand for wellness coaches and therapists, as people prioritize their mental health.

To become a wellness coach or therapist, you typically need a psychology degree or similar qualifications. If you have the right education, you can start a full-time career as an online virtual wellness coach or therapist.

12. Tutor and Teaching

Online teaching, tutoring, and academic assistance have become popular professions. Tutors can help students with school work, check assignments, and even conduct parent-teacher meetings virtually. There’s a demand for such teachers because online assistance allows for a personal connection, making it comfortable for both tutors and students.

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13. Branding

Branding might seem like a complex idea, but it’s really about understanding the difference between a product and a brand. A product can be generic, but a brand sets it apart and connects it to a specific company. Branding is the concept and image that come to mind when people think about a particular product.

For example, all water might look the same, but we have preferences for different water brands, like Aquafina by Pepsi or Dasani by Coca-Cola.

14. Bookkeeping for SMEs

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often operate on tight budgets and need to manage even basic operations affordably. This creates opportunities for freelancers skilled in bookkeeping.

When smaller startups can’t afford advanced accounting software, they prefer to hire someone with the necessary skills. Bookkeeping involves recording financial transactions and is vital for business accounting.

Freelancers in this field don’t need to be on-site. They can organize financial data remotely.

15. Budgeting

Budgeting is creating a financial plan to control an individual’s or organization’s financial transactions. This skill involves making efficient budget plans by examining weekly, monthly, or annual spending and sales. The goal is to help individuals and organizations manage their finances more effectively.

Soft Freelance Skills to Learn

Richard Conn, Senior Director at RingCentral, emphasizes the importance of soft skills in freelancing. These skills are crucial for gaining and impressing clients, offering insights, and enhancing performance. Regardless of your hard skills, these soft skills are invaluable for securing and retaining clients.

Freelancing success often hinges on the right attitude, which includes emotional intelligence. The skills listed below overlap and collectively shape a successful freelancing persona.

Here are the eight key freelance soft skills to develop:

1. Collaboration

For freelancers, teamwork is essential, even though they usually work independently. They must be able to collaborate with other freelancers, such as a developer working with a graphic designer on a website.

Freelance writers often collaborate with other writers, and in the corporate world, collaboration is crucial across various settings and with diverse groups.

Teamwork enhances success. A freelancer who can work independently and as part of a team is more likely to succeed than one who can’t collaborate. It’s important to be self-motivated and not require constant monitoring.

Collaboration is a critical professional skill, encompassing networking as well. Maintaining existing relationships and forming new ones with clients, freelance colleagues, and through online marketplaces is essential.

Learning to collaborate, especially digitally, can be challenging. Utilize freelance tools like social media, email, instant messaging apps, website builders like Squarespace, and video conferencing tools to improve communication.

Effective collaboration can leave lasting impressions on clients, showing you as a freelancer who values teamwork and peer interaction.

best freelance skills to learn

2. Adaptability

The 2020 pandemic showed us that change is always around the corner. Being able to adapt quickly is a key to success in any field, and this is especially true for freelancers. Stay flexible in your work and ready to adjust to market changes. Being rigid won’t get you far. If you’re talented and want to stand out as a freelancer, you need to embrace change.

Don’t be afraid to compromise or find a middle ground. This shows that you respect others’ opinions and can impress clients with your willingness to listen and not be stubborn. Adapt to different clients’ needs. Some will trust your expertise, but others might insist on their way. Balancing your standards with what pleases the client is crucial for successful freelancing.

3. Negotiation

Negotiation is a critical skill for freelancers. You’ll need to discuss various matters with clients, like your rates, deadlines, and other details. Often, these negotiations happen over email or on freelancing platforms like Upwork, which can be challenging and time-sensitive.

Your finances as a freelancer depend on your negotiation skills. Aim to find a balance where both you and your client feel satisfied. A good negotiator listens well, leaves their ego aside, empathizes without getting overwhelmed, expects compromises, and is always prepared.

4. Problem Solving

Problem solving is vital in most professions, and it’s a skill that freelancers need to apply in various contexts. For example, imagine you’re a web content developer tasked with increasing traffic to a new website through SEO, competing against established players for keywords.

Approach such challenges calmly, considering options like relevant keywords and alternative traffic drivers. Problems might seem daunting at first, but breaking them down makes them manageable. Be ready with backup plans and creative solutions. Tackling problems effectively often involves thinking outside the box.

5. Time Management

Time is a freelancer’s most valuable asset, especially when working on an hourly basis. Meeting or beating deadlines can demonstrate excellent work ethics and make clients more likely to rehire you.

Managing your time effectively is key to handling multiple clients and meeting their deadlines. If a deadline might be missed, communicate with your client in advance. Utilizing the right communication tools can help you stay in touch with clients. Plan your schedule well to avoid last-minute rushes.

best freelance skills to learn

6. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Being able to communicate well is crucial for freelancers, especially since most freelancing happens online. It’s essential to engage clients effectively in a world where communication often relies on acronyms and specific jargon.

Freelancers need to clearly explain their services and their value to potential clients. Good writing and speaking skills are key to success. Since communication with clients often happens through email or text, strong writing skills are a valuable asset. Be confident in your language skills for effective communication.

These skills are not just useful in negotiations, but also when creating reports, presenting your work, or in regular meetings.

7. Patience and Positivity

Freelancing can be challenging. There might be days with no new work. The important thing is to keep going and continue searching for the next project. There’s plenty of work out there.

Sometimes clients may be slow to respond. Don’t lose hope; instead, try pitching on various platforms and growing your network. This requires patience.

Staying positive can be tough, especially during slow periods or when feeling overwhelmed by deadlines. However, maintaining a positive attitude is more about mindset than skill. Approach each project with optimism; it can significantly improve your work quality.

Showing clients you can stay positive and focused, even during tough times, is crucial. While it’s not always possible to be upbeat, focusing on what you can control and working to improve those areas first is a good strategy.

best freelance skills to learn

8. Stress Management

Burnout is a big issue for all kinds of workers, including freelancers. One major challenge with freelancing is the lack of structured work hours and leave policies that organizations typically have.

Freelancers often work from home at their convenience, which can lead to working even when they’re sick, as they generally don’t have paid time off. Since payment is based on completed projects or hours worked, taking a holiday means losing income.

Dealing with freelance burnout is tough. Working non-stop can do more harm than good. Too much stress might force you to take a long break, which can affect your reputation among other freelancers.

Remember, it’s a competitive field, and clients can easily find another freelancer. To avoid this, take care of your health, work only as much as you can manage, and organize your work schedule. Make sure to take weekends off and spend quality time with your family.

best freelance skills to learn

When building your freelancer profile, there are key skills crucial for the business aspect of your freelancing career. These go beyond your technical abilities and the soft skills already mentioned. They’re not exactly soft skills, but they’re essential business knowledge areas for a successful freelance business.

1. Accounting

As a freelancer, you’re in charge of your own finances. You’re both the CFO and CEO. It’s important to understand how to invest your profits, manage your taxes, and grasp concepts like demand forecasting to grow and maintain your business. Demand forecasting helps with planning and organizing your schedule.

Learn about financial management, so you don’t have to outsource your accounting work, which can be costly. Consider using a freelance accounting tool for assistance.

2. Marketing

As a freelancer, you’re fully responsible for earning your income each month. This means you must spend a significant amount of time attracting clients. Convincing clients they need your services is a critical skill.

The freelance market is expanding, leading to both more opportunities and competition. Your clients have many freelancers to choose from, so you need to stand out quickly.

Develop marketing skills and a bit of salesmanship to make your pitch convincing. Utilize social media like LinkedIn or Instagram for visibility. Having a search engine optimized website also helps clients find you easily. Exposure is key to attracting as many clients as possible.

3. Management

Being your own manager is what separates an average freelancer from an outstanding one. Managing your time, workload, and setting long-term goals are all important.

A successful freelancer knows their business direction for the next few years. Stay a step ahead by planning your future.

With technology at your fingertips, like project management tools, online courses, social media, email, and cloud phone services, you have plenty of resources. As your own boss, continuously look for ways to improve your services and maximize productivity and growth.

Go Forth and Earn As a Freelancer

Freelancing is becoming a popular work trend, and many in the new generation are leaning towards freelancing as a way to make a living.

You can start freelancing with little to no experience, allowing room for trial and error. Use the freelance skills mentioned in this list to master the art of freelancing and potentially earn well.

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Written by Alex Skinner

at Millo.co

Alex Skinner is a Content Strategist at Millo and a founder of Keystone Digital Services. A man of the people, Alex, is a: binge watcher, music creator, basketball player, food cooker/taster, party hoster, conversation starter, and a deep cut reference maker. Want to talk about anything? Talk to Alex.

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Reviewed & edited by Preston Lee, Editor at Millo.

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