Freelancer skills – 4 tips that will help you stay competitive
Freelancer skills are in high demand, and with the right set of skills, you can build a great career being your own boss. But we have said it before and still do: You need to be great within your field of competence and you need to be able to convince your clients that you are.
If you want to stand out from competing IT freelancers, it is important that you constantly build on your existing knowledge and keep improving your freelancer skills. In other words, make sure to always stay updated on the newest trends and tendencies within your field of expertise. In that way, you make sure to be one step ahead of your competitors, and one step closer to landing your next freelance project.
And actually, it does not take much effort to improve your freelancer skills. If you just invest a bit of time every day, you will slowly but surely improve your knowledge and skills. So, are you ready to learn? Let us have a look at which initiatives you can take.
1. Improve your freelancer skills on online learning platforms
The digital revolution has paved the way for many different online learning platforms. Online courses might be the easiest way for you to learn about a new topic or add to your existing knowledge. You might find that many online courses start on a beginner’s level. But many platforms also offer in-depth courses within thousands of topics that will help you specialise your competencies even more. Depending on your field, you will find lots of online courses that can improve your freelance skills. Platforms like Codeacademy, Coursera and edX provide free courses on all kinds of topics, such as coding languages, digital leadership, agile project management and much more.
A great thing about online courses is that you can take a course whenever you feel like it. If you experience less busy periods, we therefore strongly recommend you to spend your time educating yourself.
You can also explore the many opportunities for reading scientific literature online. You will find several online databases that offer plenty of reading material that will add to your existing knowledge. Among others, Github has a large database of hundreds of programming books that users can read for free.
2. Embrace networking
You have probably heard it before, but a good network can be key for improving both your freelancer and personal skills. In today’s globalised world, it is easier than ever before to connect with like-minded persons from all over the world. Spend your spare time on professional networks and communities, where you get the chance to interact with loads of people that engage in the same field as you. Here, you will have the chance to exchange knowledge and tips, while you also will keep updated on the latest topics that you really should know about.
Use online groups and communities to get daily inspiration and input within your field of competence.
But believe it or not, sometimes it can be nice to meet people face to face as well. As an example, meetups have successfully gained footing within networking. At Meetup, you can find meetups, where people just like you are eager to learn and meet like-minded individuals. Furthermore, you might find it interesting to go to public presentations, workshops or other events that help you boost your knowledge.
No matter what, increasing your network has never been easier and people are waiting to their share ideas, knowledge and experience with you. And who knows, maybe your next client is also around?
3. Always ask for feedback
As a freelance IT consultant, self-knowledge is key to further improvement of your skills and therefore you should never feel afraid to ask customers for feedback. Undeniably, it is a good thing to know what your customers expect from your, and with proper feedback, you will gain a better understanding of how you fulfil your customers’ expectations. Feedback from projects you have finished will help you to always keep improving on future projects. As a freelancer, you might find it hard to point out exactly which skills you potentially can improve on. Therefore, use your feedback constructively and listen to critique points, and fix them from one project to another. With feedback, you have an easily accessible tool to measure your strengths and weaknesses – don’t forget to use it!
4. Find a mentor
It can prove very beneficial for your freelancer skills to get a mentor that can guide you through your field of competence. A mentor is a highly experienced professional that offers advice and guidance within a given field. Especially, if you recently have started up as an IT freelancer, it can be a good thing to seek advice from a mentor that has lots of experience in the same field as you or with freelancing as such. As we mentioned earlier, you should never underestimate feedback. A mentor will continuously give you competent feedback and provide you with guidance. If you don’t know how to get in touch with a mentor, simply just ask one. Many leaders are willing to share knowledge and experience with upcoming professionals. The worst thing that can happen, is that you get a no. But remember that mentors provide guidance voluntarily and spend a lot of time on the responsibility that follows a mentorship. Do your research of a potential mentor properly and make sure you have the time and dedication to actually be a mentee.
So, remember to never stop learning and always be curious. With an open mindset and an eagerness to learn, you will automatically attract new knowledge that helps you to be exceptional within your field of competence.
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