What is Upskilling and Why Freelancers Should Do It Too


In an incredibly competitive job market, it helps to have an edge over fellow freelancers. But with companies moving increasingly toward digital operations, do you have the right skill set to meet their requirements? Upskilling as a freelancer is the key to remaining desirable as the workplace evolves, and this post will show you how to do it.

Companies can now access a much wider pool of potential job candidates, while those looking for work can connect with employers literally at the touch of a button. This is why upskilling is no longer seen as something “nice” to do for your career but is gradually becoming necessary.

This is even truer in the case of freelance work. As a freelancer, you have extreme flexibility when dealing with selecting your standard working hours, working location, and even rates. On the flip side, you are probably faced with a much broader range of potential competitors.

Want to stay productive, focused, and committed to your freelance career? Then, learn all there is to know about upskilling for freelancers.

Understanding the concept of “Upskilling” as a freelancer

In a nutshell, upskilling means to continue learning new skills, and refining existing ones, to apply those skills to your freelancing career. In the context of freelance work, upskilling helps you remain competitive, desirable, and productive, regardless of your specific industry and how many direct competitors you might have.

Freelancer Study 2022 - Successful Freelancer
Freelancer Study 2022 – Successful Freelancer

In the latest freelancer study, 40% of freelancers agreed that further education is particularly important to succeed as a freelancer.

Freelancers are aware of that, that’s why 31% of freelancers invested time in further education for themselves to cope with the effects of Covid-19.

Upskilling as a Freelancer: Some Examples

There is a lot you can do to upskill as a freelancer – here are our top three examples.

1.    Attend Online Courses

From Coursera to The Open University and everything in between, taking an online course is not only super-easy (and, sometimes, free) but it’s also a fantastic way to upskill in a flexible, personalized fashion. Online platforms like these offer a vast array of courses, which means there will certainly be something that suits you.

Maybe you’re getting started in web development and want to nail your next website development proposal template. Or you might be a UI/UX designer who wants to move into front-end development (or vice-versa). Certain skills are in particular demand currently, such as JavaScript and CSS programming, social media marketing, and building Shopify stores.

Once you have completed your course and gained your qualification, you can add it to your resumé or portfolio and jump to the top of the candidate list when you next apply for a job.

2.    Keep Up with the Latest Industry Trends

Whether you are a freelance graphic designer, creator, writer, or anything else, you’ll want to always stay in the know when it comes to the latest and best trends in your industry. Some things that can help you with this are:

  • Following social media influencers
  • Reading highly rated industry blogs
  • Getting a magazine or e-mag subscription
  • Listening to industry-related podcasts 

To make sure that you are genuinely keeping up with (and understanding) what’s going on, remember to have a dedicated notebook or e-notebook. This will enable you to take notes, write down questions, and jot down ideas and thoughts on how you can apply those trends to your circumstances.

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If you’re a freelance writer, you might want to research popular subjects like e-commerce and crypto-currency. It’s also helpful for writers to learn about SEO, since most companies will want articles and blog posts to be optimised for search engines. Meanwhile, in the world of web development, app-building skills are in demand as businesses tap into the trend for mobile browsing.

3.    Participate in Networking Events

Now that the face-to-face meetings and events have resumed consistently, you must seize these opportunities to engage in some good, old networking. Sign up for the next industry-related seminar, conference, or speech, and stick around when it’s finished so you can interact with both your peers and some of the most exciting leaders in your industry.

Do you prefer (or need) to stay at home? Thanks to VoIP telephone systems, you can hop on a webinar from the comfort of your couch. Make sure you turn your computer mic back on when the Q&A session starts, and fire away any questions that might help you gain greater knowledge of your industry.

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re going to work remotely, as the majority of freelancers do, you should make sure you’re confident in using the necessary comms technology such as video meetings, file-sharing apps, and chat platforms. Take time to understand the systems used by the different companies you work for, to avoid any delays in submitting your work.

The Top Three Benefits of Upskilling as a Freelancer

So, how exactly can upskilling help your freelancing career? Let’s find out below.

1.    It’s Fulfilling

In life, we thrive when we feel satisfied with what we’re doing – both on a personal and a professional level. When you gain new skills, you achieve exactly this: a boost in self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall mental health that can translate into better performance, motivation, and dedication to your freelance career.

2.    It Helps You Compete Better

Imagine that you are a business owner looking for a freelance professional to provide their expert skills on a high-profile project. If you were reviewing a series of candidates, you would surely prioritize interviewing those who have the most relevant skills, qualifications, and experience, right? Well, if you keep upskilling, you can boost your competitiveness against other candidates, no matter how good they are.

3.    It Supports Higher Earnings

As we mentioned earlier, freelancers generally have a great advantage: they can set their rates. These, though, need to consider a series of factors, including your experience and expertise. With upskilling, you can allow yourself to stretch those rates a bit further, as you will be bringing something a lot more valuable to the table.

Ready to Take Your Freelancing Career Forward?

The practice of upskilling requires you to keep learning and refining skills that can generate a wealth of benefits for your professional (and personal) life. Regardless of your specific industry, if you are currently freelancing, you can, and should, consider upskilling regularly.

It’s so much easier than you think: from taking an online course to attending in-person or virtual events via a cloud PBX phone system, from networking to reading industry blogs and listening to podcasts, there is plenty you can do to progress in your freelancing career. The benefits can be remarkable: higher earning potential, better personal and professional fulfillment, and increased competitiveness.

Truly, upskilling should be a no-brainer for any professional freelancer. Will you be considering upskilling, too? Let us know in the comments!

Jenna Bunnell

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways— even content on topics such as VoIP telephone systems. She’s also written for domains such as Spiralytics and Versapay.

By Jenna Bunnell

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