As a freelancer, you do all of the roles in your business that would traditionally be allocated to different employees. You are your own finance, marketing, admin, sales and client management departments. This means you build up a bundle of freelance skills which makes you very valuable to clients. Oh, and we tend to have a real thirst for learning and knowledge (where was that when I was at school?) so we’re constantly developing and growing our freelance skills. This basically makes us the ideal employee (but, y’know, freeeeeeee).
Anyway, here are ten of the skills you develop as a freelancer, and a few bonus skills that come with them. Can you think of any more?
- Negotiation skills. Especially when discussing prices. Bonus: learning to be assertive and say no when it’s not right).
- Networking skills. We’ve had to overcome those nerves and rock up to a networking event to talk about what we do. Bonus: confidence talking to strangers, public speaking and developing the perfect pitch
- Project management. Working with multiple clients makes us excellent project managers. We know how to plan out, budget for and execute a project to the best of our abilities. Bonus: even the most disorganised of us becomes more organised, with better time management skills.
- Basic accounts. Even if you hire an accountant, you’ll still have to get your head around the basics of your accounts. Bonus: developing a better eye for detail, and a stronger awareness of budgeting.
- Marketing. Nobody knows about your business until you get marketing it, so freelancers become pros when it comes to promoting it using a variety of methods. Bonus: We’re also open to trying lots of new methods and tools, and tend to be more pro-active as a result.
- Social Media. Work from home, on your own? Social media not only allows you to promote your business online, but also to build up an online support network. As a result, you probably know a lot about social media. Bonus: With your fingers on the pulse, you’re often with the trailblazers when it comes to trying out new social media technology
- Tech Support: Whether your e-mail has crashed, your website is having a wobble or you want to find a tool to schedule your meetings more effectively, you’ve learned how to work out basic tech problems – or at least delve into the support forums. Bonus: You also develop a LOT of patience when dealing with tech, and learn how to have back up options.
- Copywriting: Even if you’re outsourcing your copy, there’s a good chance you’re still doing a little of your own copy – whether it’s your tweets or About page. Chances are, you’ve also done quite a bit of research on how to get the most out of your copy too. Bonus: That improved grasp of the English language isn’t just limited to your business. E-mails to your friends and family are about to get interesting.
- Design: Thanks to tools like Canva.com, creating your own graphics has never been easier. Which means that we can design our own blog post images, infographics and even logos. Bonus: You’ll also develop a better awareness of complimentary colours etc. Expect your house to benefit from that too!
- Sales. Ick. That word makes me feel icky. But inevitably freelancing makes you a better salesperson, even if it’s not in the traditional way. Bonus: Salespeople are very good at spotting opportunities, so don’t be surprised if you become more open to opportunities in general, whether chatting to someone at a party who potentially could be a client, or offering your social media services in a local shop when you realise they don’t have Facebook. Hell, you could even find yourself jumping at opportunities outside work.