If you’re a freelancer, there’s no doubt you have a solid creative skillset at your disposal. But have you ever thought about the hard skills that would be handy to have on top of your writing, graphic design or other creative talents? Here are the top 5 hard skills every freelancer should have under their belts, regardless of their specialisation.
Freelancing takes an awful lot of organisation. On any given day, you could be creating documents, chasing up late invoices, projecting your future workload and booking meetings, all before lunchtime. Administrative skills help you keep on top of the chaos and avoid issues like late project submissions or tax-time headaches due to a misplaced receipt.
Unfortunately, many creatives find themselves in difficult financial situations. Refining your financial management skills can help, allowing you to project your income, put away the necessary money for taxes and super, and set income targets. You may even want to work with a financial planner or tax agent to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.
If you’re struggling to take your freelancing to the next level, you could benefit from developing your business acumen. Treating your freelancing as a business will truly help your career take off, getting you out of the gig-to-gig grind. Escaping the employee mindset can be achieved through setting a routine, hiring outside help, increasing your rates, or investing in yourself, to name just a few strategies.
No freelancer can skimp on their marketing skills. Consistent marketing is what will help you break the feast or famine cycle, always enjoying a steady roster of work. Some ways to market your business include paid advertising, optimising your website, participating in online communities, pitching to potential clients, blogging and gathering testimonials. It could even be worth dedicating one day a week to your marketing efforts to ensure you’re always putting yourself out there.
Networking is a necessary evil, dreaded by many a freelancer. Luckily, networking takes many different forms these days, from online communities to lowkey gatherings. It can help to think of networking not as a way of pitching yourself to strangers, but an opportunity to participate in a freelance community. Networking helps you build valuable connections who you can collaborate with, turn to for support or even enjoy referrals from.
Freelancing involves plenty of on-the-job learning, but it’s always a good idea to preemptively and consistently work on your skillset as well. Plenty of resources exist to help you start developing freelancing skills, from bite-sized Skillshare classes* to entire diplomas in Business or Marketing. Invest a little time in yourself, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.