If you want to know about the most in-demand skills for freelancers today, then look no further than Freelanzr. We’ve not only outlined what those skills are, but we’ve also provided a roadmap for how to get them.

We are all acutely aware of one of our modern day’s most frustrating dilemmas: you need experience to get a job, and you need a job to get experience. Sometimes the best way to get that experience is simply by applying for a job, being honest about your limitations, and perhaps adjusting your rate so the client is more likely to choose you. That can be risky, however, and if you’re just starting out then it might be difficult to get hired.

Here is a list of the most in-demand skills right now, and where you need to go or what you need to do to learn them. If you’re not having much luck getting jobs, then use your free time to gain experience. You don’t need a contract to start learning how to do something new—but you will need discipline, patience, and the desire to learn.

1: CODING. A recent post from CNN’s website[1] suggests that coding, or some other manifestation of tech-savvy competence, is the most in-demand skill right now. Cloud computing, mobile and app development, and data mining are just a few of the most popular skills listed from LinkedIn’s analysis. Knowing HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, etc. isn’t just fun—it’s rapidly becoming a necessity. If you want jobs developing websites or UX, you need to get started immediately.

That’s great to know, but how do I get started?  Sites like CodeAcademy, Khan Academy, Coursera, and MIT OpenCourseware help you develop these in-demand skills, as computer literacy is increasingly becoming essential to contemporary labor. Use your free time to check those sites out. Play around with a free site like WordPress to get a feel for what you need to know.

2: DESIGN. Some companies and clients don’t want to spend money on the exorbitant rates that some advertising or media planning agencies charge, and are eager to outsource their projects to freelance designers. If they like your work, a one-off job might even become recurring!

That’s great to know, but how do I get started? If you can afford it, then we recommend purchasing a subscription to Adobe Creative Suite. They charge you a monthly fee depending on what subscription you choose, but the pay-off can be worth it if you develop and refine your design skills. Download Adobe products and play around with them.

Keep a notebook with you at all times, and draw ideas for logos or website layouts. Take pictures of shirts or people or art that inspire you. Think about your favorite brands, or popular brands, and figure out what they’re doing right. Pay attention to every website you visit: what do you like about the site? What do you hate? What would make it look better?

3: WRITING. Writing is a crucial skill that’s present in just about any and every job out there. Writing, however, is sometimes overlooked. Some people think they’re good writers but really aren’t, and some people simply don’t know how to write to particular audiences or effectively communicate their ideas, desires, and opinions. Even if you’re an amazing writer, you can still learn how to do better. There is ALWAYS room for improvement.

Writing is something you’ll need to do for the rest of your life. If not for your freelancing career, then learn how to write and how to write well to make yourself a more well-rounded person who can explain how they feel, tell stories, and connect with other humans. Improving your writing skills can help you get jobs editing, ghostwriting children’s books, curating blog posts, sending out emails and other administrative tasks—the list is truly endless.

That’s great to know, but how do I get started? READ! Read, read, read. The best way to learn how to write is by reading as much as you can as often as you can. Pay attention to what kinds of things you like to read, and things you don’t. What do you find appealing? Off-putting? Effective, or incoherent? Humorous, or unprofessional? Read the news, read books, read, read, read. We recommend setting a goal to either read a book a week, or at least 30 pages a day.

Keep a journal, online or otherwise, and log your thoughts and feelings for the day. Explain what you did, how you felt, what you want, what you didn’t like. Your writing will only get better if you actually WRITE. Keeping a journal is not only a great idea for refining your writing skills, but also it can be a great way to keep track of all of your ideas, sources of inspiration, or experiences you want to remember.

Even maintaining a strong social media presence can bolster your brand and help refine your writing skills. Set a goal to make a Facebook post a day describing your thoughts on the upcoming collection, or Tweeting a joke every day.

[1] http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/05/news/economy/job-skills-in-demand/

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