Freelancing is a dynamic environment. The gig economy is quite different from the typical corporate job landscape, where employees are often pushed to upskill. If you’re not careful, you may easily slip into a relaxed state, not minding the need to skill up because there’s no pressure. Especially when you’re consistently landing clients and earning a steady income.
The pressure to upskill might not seem as urgent, but that’s a potentially risky mindset. Freelancing is too competitive for you not to prioritize refining your skills. New tools are coming up, and industry trends are changing.
How do you ensure your relevance and maintain your competitive edge in the freelancing world? In this article, we’ll delve into four proven upskilling tips for freelancers. Ready to refine your skills and move your freelancing career ahead? Let’s go.
Upskilling for Freelance Writers
1. Enroll in Online Courses
One of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to upskill is to enroll in online courses. Online courses offer a flexible and accessible way to acquire relevant skills. Popular online course platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning, offer a wide range of courses ranging from content marketing to software development.
Numerous course providers utilize white-label solutions such as Kajabi and Thinkific to offer online courses. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you discover courses offered by a digital marketing agency, design company, or SaaS brand that interests you.
Most of these courses are designed to be self-paced and provide you the flexibility of studying from anywhere and anytime. Many of them also allow you to earn certifications, which can boost your credibility. Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer, or programmer, there’s a course tailored to your niche. Invest time in these courses to sharpen your expertise and stay relevant.
When selecting courses, prioritize those with direct applications to your freelance services. For instance, if you’re a freelance writer, consider courses in search engine optimization, content marketing, or creative writing. These courses provide knowledge that’ll help you work better.
However, it’s not just about honing your core skills. Freelancers should also explore personal development courses, such as time management, productivity enhancement, client management, and effective communication. These skills can significantly improve your overall approach to work, making you a more well-rounded and successful freelancer.
2. Attend Workshops and Webinars
Second on the list of upskilling tips for freelancers are workshops and seminars. These events are great for networking and learning from industry experts.
Also, workshops and webinars provide an interactive and dynamic learning experience. You’ll not only learn the theoretical aspect of your practice but also see real-life applications. You’re also likely to find experts sharing their insights and best practices.
Seek out industry-specific events and webinars relevant to your freelance career. You can find them on social platforms like LinkedIn. Here’s an example of a webinar hosted by Thinkific on LinkedIn:
If you’re signed up on any freelance job board, you can bet that they’ll be hosting a couple of webinars for freelancers like you.
Also, if there are particular thought leaders, professionals, or organizations that you like, look out for webinars or workshops they’ll be hosting. Tools like Google Alert allow you to see what’s new in your niche. You can simply add the topic of interest to the list and get an alert in your mailbox. Here’s an example:
Engaging in workshops and webinars also fosters networking opportunities. You can connect with fellow freelancers and industry leaders, exchange ideas, and gain valuable feedback. It may even be an opportunity to connect with prospective clients too. So, make attending webinars and workshops a regular part of your professional development.
Just to get you started, here are some webinars you might want to check out:
- Freelance Journalism
- Starting as a Freelance Journalist
- Personal Branding for Writers
- Real Talk: Networking for Freelance Creatives
- Pricing and Finances: Be Your Own Boss
You can create a calendar of webinars you wish to attend for the year to ensure you don’t miss any of those events.
3. Seek Mentorship from Experienced Professionals
Mentorship is a powerful accelerator for freelancers. Identify seasoned professionals in your field who are willing to guide you. A mentor can provide personalized advice, share their experiences, and help you navigate challenges in your freelance journey.
To find a mentor, engage in industry-specific forums or attend networking events.
Here are some forums and networking events you can check out to find that ideal mentor for you:
Another option is to reach out through professional social media platforms like LinkedIn. You can send a potential mentor a LinkedIn connection request. Be straightforward about your goal. Ask them if it would be possible for them as an expert to give you some tips on freelancing.
However, approaching a potential mentor should be akin to forging a warm connection. You don’t want to overwhelm them. Before sending that message, engage with their content first. Consume their content, whether it’s articles, social media posts, or newsletters. Show your appreciation by leaving thoughtful comments and sharing what you’ve learned from them. This public acknowledgment signals your admiration and respect.
When they host live sessions or webinars, actively participate and contribute. Your genuine involvement can be a stepping stone towards gaining their attention.
Should you eventually reach out with your interest in being mentored by them, you would have set a good foundation for a productive mentorship relationship.
When you do send them a message, be sure to keep it simple and straightforward, like the example below:
As seen in the above example, avoid being pushy when you reach out to mentors, but this doesn’t mean you have to be robotic or overly professional. A conversational tone will do just fine. Show a genuine interest in their work and share how they’ve impacted your career. You’d also want to offer something of value, maybe help them with a project they’re working on. This is just how you’ll be initiating a relationship with them.
If you don’t have access to their email address, you could use an email finder tool or simply send them a direct message to the social media platform they’re active on.
Remember, mentorship is a two-way street. Be open to learning, express your gratitude, and, most importantly, actively implement the insights you gain from your mentor. This collaborative approach ensures a mutually beneficial mentorship journey.
4. Learn from Fellow Freelancers in a Coworking Space
Working in a co-working space can be a strategic move to acquire more knowledge about the freelancing industry. A staggering 41% of people who work in coworking spaces are freelancers. They can help you expand your skill set and give you tips on how to excel in your field. You just have to offer them something valuable in return, too.
For example, if you want to be a freelance SEO expert in the B2B industry, you can ask an already-established B2B SaaS SEO freelancer to explain to you the ins and outs of the industry. In return, why not offer them some tips on copywriting or on how to engage with different clients, if that’s your expertise? It will be a win-win situation for both of you.
There are many coworking spaces you can frequent so you can interact with your fellow freelancers and learn from them. Do a quick Google search of coworking spaces in your location, and you’ll get a list. In the US, here are some of the coworking spaces you might want to check out:
Be proactive in seeking out these opportunities to network with fellow freelancers. By taking the initiative, you can ensure continuous improvement and upskilling, qualities highly prized in the competitive freelancing landscape.
Upskill Now! 🚀
In the competitive career environment, upskilling is not optional—it’s a necessity for freelancers. That’s why we shared these foolproof upskilling tips for freelancers.
To recap, here are some strategic ways to improve your freelance skills. Embrace online courses, attend workshops, seek mentorship, and consider working in a coworking space to learn from fellow freelancers. Remember that learning is a continuous process, don’t turn down the opportunity to gain new knowledge, no matter how little it seems.
Overall, your professional development is an investment in your freelance success. Stay proactive, adapt to industry changes, and watch your freelance career thrive. Good luck!
About the author
Baidhurya Mani is the founder of SellCoursesOnline.com. He regularly shares tips, tools, and strategies to help creators and entrepreneurs build a successful online course business.