Top 12 High Demand Freelance Skills in 2021 & Where To Learn Them For FREE!

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Freelancing is no longer a euphemism for job-hunting, as more and more workers are embracing the autonomy and potential of self-employment. On the other hand, an increasing number of companies are adding independent contractors to their roster as a way to reduce operational costs and stay competitive.

Recruiters now source talent from freelance platforms, not just for traditional roles but also for cutting-edge skills like artificial intelligence and app development. Do you know what they are looking for? These recruiters are not limiting their search to graduates from prestigious universities or professionals with advanced degrees. Instead, they want freelancers with the skills needed for the job.

You can learn these skills online, at your own pace and from the comfort of your home. With online learning, you don’t need to take out student loans or go through tedious paperwork. There are tons of online courses out there for any topic under the sun. In this article, I’ve collected the most popular ones from SkillShare, a learning platform that I highly recommend.

The best part? You can have access to all of these premium courses for FREE for 2 months! Just sign up for a free SkillShare account here.

The company has been on the market since 2010. SkillShare is rapidly growing and has become one of the most affordable online education platforms with top quality classes and celebrity teachers. The main course categories are creative arts, design, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, technology, and many more subtopics. It’s a great service for those who want to grow professionally and develop their business skills.

1. Virtual Assistant

Being a virtual assistant requires no specialized training or certifications, so it’s one of the most attractive options for freelance newbies. The potential client base is quite large: entrepreneurs, coaches, executives, authors, etc., in a variety of industries. They all need assistance with administrative tasks like appointment setting, email handling, travel logistics, and so on.

While these are relatively simple tasks, it helps to know how to provide the best value as a virtual assistant in order to maximize your earnings. Plus, investing in training will help you stand out from the multitudes of virtual assistants who are already offering similar services.

See the preview of this class

Introduction to Running a Virtual Assistant Business

2. Writing & Editing

Most people have the wrong idea about writing: an introverted genius churning out novel after bestselling novel. However, writing isn’t limited to works of fiction. Professional writers create a wide variety of content: web content, news articles, instructional manuals, scripts, and so on. And of course, editors and proofreaders need to check that all of that content is ready for readers. There’s always a huge demand for fresh content, so theoretically, writers shouldn’t run out of projects any time soon. However, it’s not enough to have good communication skills. Writers constantly need to hone their craft and improve the way they do business. So why wait for inspiration when you can make writing a lucrative habit?

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The Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit

3. Graphic Design

You’re in luck if you’re in this field, as the number of freelance graphic design jobs is expected to increase by 13% within a couple of years. Even more astonishing: the digital design sector is expected to grow by over 61% as startups and established companies hire designers who are willing to work on a project basis. It’s good to have raw talent and eye for style, but you also need a strong knowledge of design principles and best practices. And even if you’re already an experienced designer, don’t stop learning.

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Graphic Design Basics: Core Principles for Visual Design

4. Spreadsheets

Who knew that Excel would be such a useful skill? Data is king in business, so freelancers who can organize, analyze, and present data are highly sought after. And I’m not talking about ordinary spreadsheet formulas. What potential clients are looking for are people who are adept at creating pivot tables, using VLOOKUPs, and gathering valuable insights from a massive amount of data. It’s not rocket science; you can learn advanced Excel functionality in a matter of weeks. All you need is an analytical mind, an eye for details, and a willingness to take up courses like this one.

See the preview of this class

Microsoft Excel Essentials: Level 2 – For Intermediate/Advanced Students – From User To Superuser

5. Accounting & Bookkeeping

Accounting and bookkeeping are shrouded in mystery for most people, no thanks to the complex tax and business laws in most countries. While different kinds of finance software are now in the market, companies still need qualified professionals who know how to use these tools and the rules to follow. Plus, a lot of startups and SMEs would love to hand off their bookkeeping tasks so that they could focus on their core business. If you have the skills and qualifications to tackle accounting and bookkeeping, you can charge a competitive rate as a freelancer.

See the preview of this class

Accounting Fundamentals: Understanding Financial Statements

6. Customer Service

Freelancing as a customer support representative is actually a pretty good idea. It involves interacting with customers over the phone or online, so you can do it from home. You can even have this as a side hustle since some companies need customer support after the usual office hours. Customer service requires strong soft skills like communication, negotiation, and the ability to deal with emotionally charged situations. And these skills can definitely be learned.

See the preview of this class

Build Better Business Relationships – Never Lose Another Client

7. Sales

For a variety of reasons, companies often prefer to have independent sales representatives. It’s usually a more cost-efficient model especially for startups since they won’t need to invest as many resources. Another factor is that independent representatives tend to have wider networks to tap into, which in turn increases sales opportunities. Whatever their motivation, more and more companies are hiring freelancers for sales activities.

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8. Social Media Marketing

Marketing is an accepted business expense, as it is a proven way to boost business growth. Most companies employ a diverse range of channels such as content, email, SEO, and social media. Freelancers are usually asked to handle one or even all of these types of digital marketing. No one anticipated how popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram would become; now, social media marketing is considered essential in increasing brand recognition. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your feed, why not spend time learning about social media marketing?

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Social Media Marketing: Top Tips for Growing Your Followers & Going Viral

9.  E-Commerce

It’s no longer enough to have a brick and mortar store. More and more companies are offering their products and services online, and for good reason. Having an e-commerce platform means that a business can potentially sell their products to a global market of billions while minimizing overhead expenses. The good news? Freelancers are at the forefront of creating, populating, and managing these e-commerce sites.

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10. Web Development

Web development is here to stay, given how ubiquitous the Internet has become in daily life. It’s one of the most dynamic careers out there, as practitioners constantly need to reskill. As a freelancer, it’s a must to learn new languages, technologies, and trends. Today, chatbots and artificial intelligence are cutting-edge. Who knows what web development would require in the future? And if you’re someone who wishes to jump into web development, now is a good time to do so.

See the preview of this class

Understanding Web Development: A Beginners Guide to the Web

11. Web Designer

If you’re a highly skilled web designer, you can freelance for different kinds of clients, from startups to nonprofits. Web designers need to have both technical expertise and an excellent aesthetic sense. Since they craft the look and feel of web pages, their work is crucial in creating a smooth user experience online. It’s also not enough to create an attractive website design; it has to produce tangible results for the company.

See the preview of this class

Web Design Essentials: Creating Marketing Homepages That Drive Results

12. Blockchain

Originally created for cryptocurrency, blockchain is quickly evolving to suit other purposes. Some companies want to take advantage of blockchain’s secure and distributed model in different industries: law, governance, logistics, insurance, and healthcare. Freelancers should consider acquiring blockchain expertise on top of more traditional skills. Aside from being one of the trending skills this year, blockchain is expected to be in demand for the long haul.

See the preview of this class

A Guide To The Blockchain Ecosystem | PART 1 | Helping You To Understand The Blockchain

Want to learn them all? You can have access to all of these premium courses plus many more for 2 months FREE! Just sign up for a free SkillShare account here.


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  1. Charlotte says:

    The information was very interesting but hardly useful without notes on how much to expect to be paid per hour for each type of job.

    1. Chethak says:

      Hey, Charlotte. You can look up for the rates in various search engines and freelance job websites. Typically, these rates vary from place to place, from job to job and from client to client. Good luck.

  2. Amazing article, very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Shubham Kumar says:

    I am learning web development and this article very helpful for me

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