Freelancing on the Internet is a continuously growing field, with new members jumping into the pool every day – and while they learn to swim, experienced freelancers continue to learn new strokes. Those fields most in demand shift all the time as new technologies evolve, existing platforms become more popular, or one type of business becomes more in vogue. Today may be ruled by social media and video content, while yesterday, today, and tomorrow are quietly led by email marketing.
If you are a freelance specialist or a virtual assistant, you’d probably appreciate some guidance on the hottest fields emerging in 2018. Luckily, I’ve got just that info for you! I’ve put together a list of 7 in-demand freelance fields that you may wish to focus on – expand your offered services, land more customers, find more gigs, and increase your rates!
As you’ve noticed if you’ve been to any news or lifestyle sites recently, video is king of the growing trends. You see it in the short, bright videos demonstrating how to make Pinterest-worthy food and crafts to pop-out microsegments from news hosts on the latest breaking news. As more companies and even individuals (like bloggers!) get hip to video, they’ll need someone experienced with video production to make sure their own content is presented professionally and attractively. This is an excellent skill set to brush up on or add to your 2018 freelance offerings.
While you won’t necessarily be doing direct filming as a remote video assistant, there are plenty of other parts of the job that can be done online. You can help your client source stock video and do post-production with video editing software. You might contact, coordinate, and contract with actors or interviewees on behalf of your client. You could even write any necessary scripts, provide captioning, overlay text, source sound effects, or any number of other small parts that go into creating video content. And let’s not forget uploading videos to YouTube and making them SEO-friendly.
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Project management is one of those big, sexy freelance gigs that can net you a big, sexy fee. If you have fantastic organizational skills with a flair for working with many different people in a coordinating or leadership role, you should absolutely try on the hat of being a Project Manager. Projects may range from organizing an open house event (and advertising for it) to creating a marketing campaign from scratch to helping a blogger launch a webinar. You’ll need to efficiently multitask, communicate effectively, negotiate well, and be familiar with the project’s industry to succeed in this role.
As a project manager, you can expect to nurture a goal from infancy to completion, so be bold! Services you may offer include project conception (defining both project and timeline), setting deadlines and a timeline for deliverables, recruiting and negotiating fees with separate subcontractors (for graphics design, event catering, prototyping, etc.), ensuring deadlines and quality requirements are met, and keeping detailed and accurate records and books on the project. There’s tons of advice out there on successfully managing a project, but one of the most important things to remember is this: to succeed, don’t bite off more than you can chew or let clients bully you with scope creep. Clearly define a project in writing at the beginning, and set a reasonable timeline for completion.
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Social Media Manager
Social media management is one of those easily-performed remote positions that’s not going anywhere any time soon! It’s also a fantastic focus for freelancers, and I’ll tell you why: small businesses and entrepreneurs need the exposure of a well-executed social media presence, but many lack the time to learn the lingo and quirks and best practices for each major social media platform. You can make it your business to know which industries should be active on which social media outlet – like jewelry-makers can benefit from being on Instagram, while a crafter should absolutely be on Pinterest. Person-oriented brands should keep a lively Twitter account, while any small brick-and-mortar store should leverage Facebook in their advertising. If you have a penchant for social media, you know what I’m saying!
When it comes to the type of services you might offer as a Social Media Manager, it mostly comes down to copywriting, formatting, and scheduling. You should be able to write engaging copy that converts into brand interaction (likes on Facebook, RTs on Twitter), use the most relevant and on-trend hashtags for various industries, create appropriately-sized and appealingly-designed images or video, know how to most efficiently spend an advertising budget, and so forth. One of the great things about this job is that your personal social media accounts – if they’re successful and professional – could be part of your portfolio!
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Facebook Ad Manager
Speaking of in-demand social media skills, Facebook Ads are hot right now. Every business owner wants them, and very few know how to run them profitably. Meg Brunson had been working at Facebook and was confident she had the skills to fill the need she saw day in and day out, and her family could sure use a little extra cash. Couldn’t we all? She set up a little online shop on the side and the rest is history.
Within 12 months, Meg’s Facebook Ads business was earning her more than she made at her day job. Not only that, she was able to support her family of six when her husband unexpectedly lost his job in August. The best part? Meg was able to get started with very little investment. She used her knowledge and experience. Her only initial investments were a domain and hosting for a website. That’s a modest enough outlay to make this freelance gig a viable option for most!
Around half a million businesses are started each year in the United States – and many of those are small businesses founded by entrepreneurs who may have a lot of enthusiasm but not all the skills necessary for running a business. Like keeping the books! While accounting software today can make bookkeeping fairly easy, many people still just plain need help with the numbers. Especially if the thought of math makes them ill. This is great news for all you freelancers with mad math skills or accounting certifications!
This field is great for offering various packages to clients, covering items such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, creating P&L statements, reconciling accounts, making payment arrangements, filing taxes, financial analysis, and more. Just be prepared to quadruple check every bit of freelance financial work you do, and consider bookkeeper insurance.
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Have you ever noticed how much of a content-focused society we are? Once you start looking, you’ll see content-writing jobs everywhere. Corporations need employee handbooks and training materials written. Small businesses need website copy to put their best retail face forward online. Brands need engaging copy for all their social media accounts, while small businesses from attorneys’ offices and CPA firms to microbreweries and professional painters need SEO-seeded posts for their blogs. There’s content all around you and, if you can write, why not make some of it yours?
While you can easily find content mills out there to offer your services to, I don’t recommend them: coming to content writing as a virtual assistant or polished freelancer is usually a better-paying business. You can advertise your subject specialties and keep a curated collection of your best clippings to attract work. In general, plan to offer services such as: blog posts, how-to articles, white papers, SEO-optimized content, metadata for content, ghostwriting, social media updates to link to content, and anything else your writer-brain can dream up to market.
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Email may not be the flashiest kid on the Internet block anymore, but it’s still the absolute best method for engaging with customers (or followers) and making sales. That’s because email is an active process – a person must be interested enough in what you’re doing to subscribe to your mailing list. Every time you send an email, you’re reaching out to a curated collection of people who have already engaged with you. They want to be entertained or informed by you; they want what you’re selling, whether that’s information or product. And sending an email? It’s the most cost- and time-effective method of reaching your audience/market.
Of course, crafting emails that people won’t just ignore in the Promotions tab of their Gmail account (or allow to drown in their spam filter, unnoticed) is a specialty all by itself. You need a sound strategy and good presentation skills to put together a successful email marketing campaign – and, if you’re good at those things, offer your services to others! Become the Queen of Constant Contact or Mailchimp, write and edit newsletters, create and implement drip campaigns, consult on sales funnels, implement automation features – build a business around emailing marketing in 2018. It can grow!
Where to learn more:
- The complete Mailchimp Email marketing course
- Email marketing to increase affiliate leads & commissions (Aweber)
- Email marketing masterclass (Aweber)
- Email sales funnels (Clickfunnels)
- Copywriting mastercourse
I hope your brain is buzzing now with all the skills you have to market and the value you can offer clients in 2018! With all the legitimate work offered remotely these days, it’s an exciting time to have your own freelance or VA business – you just need to stay focused on what’s in-demand, sharpen your skills, and go after what you want.