You’ve spent some time researching, weighing your options, ‘kicking the tires’ of the online freelancing world and you’ve decided to take the plunge and go for it.
First of all, congratulations… Making the decision to take on a new endeavor is potentially life changing. While jumping feet-first into anything new can be fear inducing, it’s also often at these times that we rise toward our best selves.
Now that you’ve decided to go for it and pursue building a business as an online freelancer, the next step is to figure out what skills you’ll offer.
As a new freelancer, it may be tempting at first to try and do anything for anybody, but a Jill of all trades is a mistress of none! It can also be somewhat overwhelming to try and figure out where to start and what to do.
This post will offer you some guidance regarding taking inventory of where you’re starting from so that you can hone in on what skills you can offer others. Being clear on these skills means that you’ll be positioned to deliver your best value and that is an excellent place to start!
What is your existing skill set?
The first place to start when it comes to figuring out your online skills is to take a look at what you already know how to do. For some people this may be more straightforward – if you’ve been working as a bookkeeper, for example, then it would make sense that you could utilize your training and skills and offer these as a service in an online capacity.
Cynthia Terherst, a freelance legal transcriptionist, had a background in law enforcement. She called on her skills and experience with the world of law enforcement to build a successful business and you can read about it here.
Taking inventory of your existing ‘offline’ skills may also involve some creativity when it comes to figuring out how they can translate to the online world. Really give some thought to previous jobs you’ve had, projects you’ve worked on, or activities you’ve participated in. Someone with experience working at a front desk, for example, would likely have excellent customer service skills that they could offer potential clients as a virtual assistant.
When getting creative with your existing skill set it’s also important to remember that many, many jobs that used to be offline are now being done remotely online by people just like you. Things are wide open right now when it comes to offering services online, you just need to decide what those services will be and dive in.
What are you good at?
Aside from taking a look at what you may have done in previous jobs, taking inventory of what you’re good at will also help you start that list of skills and service offerings. Maybe you’re a great writer but have never done any kind of ‘formal’ writing work, for example. Now may be the time to put that skill to use to serve others!
This is also an area where getting some feedback from trusted, supportive sources can be really helpful. It may not have occurred to you that you’re highly organized or an excellent communicator, and attributes like these can translate in to online skills like project management or customer service.
In my own experience, I was always good at grammar and punctuation and often proofread my classmates’ work, so I started my online freelance career proofreading court transcripts!
What do you love to do?
This may be the most important thing to consider when figuring out your online skills.
It’s a reality that we are typically best at what we love to do. You’re about to embark on a journey that you will hopefully be committed to and will profit from for a long, long time. As you head in to this journey it is definitely worth the time and thought to figure out what it is that gets you excited and will inspire you to approach your work with an enthusiastic and positive attitude.
You may also be heading in to the world of online freelancing because you’ve been dissatisfied with your ‘9-5’, as many people are. This is the time to create something amazing for yourself, and you wouldn’t want to invest any more time and energy in to doing work you disliked.
Taking inventory of your passions is another great opportunity to get creative when figuring out your online skills… Remember that almost anything can be translated into a service to offer others.
Rose Atwater of Rose Bakes loved cakes and cake decorating for as long as she could remember and has built a 6-figure business around her love of baking. She turned something that she really loved to do in to a very rewarding and profitable business!
After giving yourself some time and space to really think about what you already know how to do, what you’re good at and what you love to do it’s time to put together a short list of what skills you feel you can offer. The next steps? Get yourself educated (or more educated) and build that skill set!
If it’s your goal to be excellent at what you do then these are steps you’ll likely be repeating throughout your freelancing career. In order to stay relevant and offer the best service possible to others, you’ll find that continually educating yourself and honing your skills is invaluable.
There are many, many courses out there to help freelancers get focused on their skills and feel confident about offering them to the marketplace.
Love writing? Check out Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.
Want to put your great grammar skills to use? Proofread Anywhere is an excellent course to establish your skills as a proofreader.
Are you interested in transcription? Transcribe Anywhere offers some great courses in transcription, including legal transcription.
Do you love Pinterest? You can become a Pinterest virtual assistant with the Pinterest VA course.
Do you have skills you can offer as a virtual assistant? 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success is a course that has helped launch many people into successful VA careers.
If you’re skilled with numbers the Bookkeeper Business Academy course is a great place to get started.
You can also read my interviews and hear first-hand from women who have taken these courses and are currently running successful businesses doing what they love to do.
The internet is an excellent resource for researching not only what online skills you can offer, but for how to gain or better those skills. Again, as you set out on this journey it’s absolutely worth the time and effort to hone in on what skills and services you want to build your business on.
Lastly, remember that building your business as an online freelancer is a marathon and not a sprint. As you embark on and get deeper into your journey you may discover skills you didn’t even know existed and want to add to your repertoire of services. This is your vision to create – be authentic with yourself in your search for your online skills, stay flexible and whatever you do don’t give up.