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How To Learn The Top 5 Freelance Skills With Online Courses

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You don’t need a bachelor’s degree or even graduate from college to become a freelancer.

But, you do need a set of skills to offer as a service to your clients.

Whether it’s coding, writing, or even data entry, you must learn how to do the job before you can offer your services.

This guide is all about helping you develop the right skill set that you can monetize as a freelancer. Here, I will show you how to learn 5 freelance skills with the highest demand by enrolling in the best online courses to get started and master each skill.

Let’s begin.

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Can You Learn Freelance Skills Online?

Let me answer this question with a story.

There was this awesome guy I know. He’s a high school dropout. He didn’t have any fancy degrees or diplomas. Not even a college graduation. But, he had a hunger for learning.

After getting tired of jumping from one job to another, he discovered this amazing thing called the Internet. Unlike other guys of his age who used the internet to find girls and waste time on Facebook, this guy used the internet to learn things.

He downloaded eBooks, read articles, and followed a ton of online courses to learn how to design websites, write like a professional, and developed a valuable set of skills.

This guy went on to become a successful freelancer earning $5k a month, launched his own web design business, and started a couple of blogs to spread his knowledge.

Who’s this guy? Well, at the risk of bragging, that awesome guy is Me!

I’m living proof that you can actually become a successful freelancer without any experience or fancy degrees. Because everything I know I learned online!

So, to answer the question: Yes! You can learn skills online to become a freelancer. You only need to have the will and determination to learn.

Of course, you also need to know how to follow a proper course of learning to build your skills the right way. But, let me tell you one thing, the best investment I ever made is on learning new skills.

A Course Every Freelancer Should Follow

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Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course is one of the rare and most valuable online courses that I’ve ever enrolled in. And I believe it’s a course every freelancer should watch at least once.

Seth Godin is a legend in the freelancing industry. He’s a freelancer with decades of experience. In this Udemy course, he shares his experience as tips, hacks, and advice for both beginners and veteran freelancers.

In this course, you’ll learn some valuable tips on how to convince clients of your skills, building portfolios, dealing with difficult clients, find jobs, and much more. The course itself is 3 hours long and includes 87 videos.

If there’s only one course you can afford, get this one. Once you’re done with the course, be sure to check out Seth Godin’s Value Creation Master Class as well.

#1 Become A Copywriter

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Even though I had experience working at a locally published tech magazine, I had to learn everything from scratch when I started working online as a freelance writer.

$5,000 a month is a possible target for a copywriter. There are some who even makes around $250 per hour as well.

First I had to learn to write proper English. Get a grasp of good grammar. And then learn to write for online audiences. Because writing for magazines and online blogs are two different things.

I followed several online courses to learn the basics. But I also practiced the craft by developing my own blog. This combination helped me to get better at writing faster than ever and I’d recommend you to do the same.

Here are the courses you should follow to become a copywriter:

  1. Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer (Udemy)
    This course by veteran writer Shani Raja covers the basics and tactics of writing for online audiences.
  2. Editing Mastery: How To Edit Writing To Perfection (Udemy)
    In this course, you’ll learn how to edit your writing the right way.
  3. Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling Challenge (Skillshare)
    A practical class on how to write creatively.
  4. Copywriting Masterclass – Writing that Sells (Skillshare)
    An hour-long course that covers all things copywriting.
  5. Moz Advanced SEO: Tactics & Strategy (Udemy)
    Learning to optimize your content for search engines is crucial. This course covers both basic and advanced SEO tactics.
  6. HubSpot Academy Inbound Marketing Certification Course (Udemy)
    Learn how to use the inbound methodology to create blogs that generate more business.

You can also start your own blog by signing up with Medium. It’s free. Or, if you can invest a few bucks, start your own WordPress blog.

#2 Become A Web Designer

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When I discovered this great HTML framework called Bootstrap, I found myself in love with web design. I paused my freelance writing work to pursue a career in web design.

You can easily make more than $5k a month as an experienced web designer.

I learned to code and design beautiful websites using Bootstrap and user experience design methodologies. I quickly improved my skills to be an expert on designing websites.

Then I teamed up with a friend of mine to launch my own web design agency that targets local businesses. We worked in the business for over 2 years before shutting it down.

We were really good at crafting great websites but, unfortunately, we didn’t have the funds to market our business to reach more clients and the costs were a little difficult for us to handle. Eventually, I shut down the business and got back to what I’m truly good at: Writing.

Here are some of the courses (and new ones) that I followed to learn web design:

  1. Build Websites from Scratch with HTML & CSS (Udemy)
    Begin by learning the basics of HTML and CSS.
  2. Bootstrap Basics: Program Responsive Websites (Udemy)
    Advance by learning the basics of Bootstrap. This framework will make things much easier to design websites.
  3. UX & Web Design Master Course (Udemy)
    Learn how to design websites that function well and offer great user experiences.
  4. Launch A Rocket: Learn JavaScript Basics The Fun Way! (Skillshare)
    A fun and an entertaining course that teaches you the basics of JavaScript.
  5. Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners (Skillshare)
    You also need to learn how to work with Photoshop if you want to become a serious web designer. This class covers the essentials of working with Photoshop.
  6. How to Design a Website in Photoshop (Skillshare)
    Learn how to design website mockups in Photoshop.

These courses will help you learn the basics of web design. It’s up to you to take things to the next level. Keep practicing and creating websites to improve your skills.

#3 Become A Web Developer

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Web design and web development are two separate fields. Most people often get these two confused.

A web designer is a person in charge of the frond-end side of a website where user interface and graphical part of a website development takes place. A web developer is someone who’s in charge of the back-end side of a website. Such as creating algorithms for website functions like checkout systems, membership areas, dashboards, etc.

Veteran web developers make over $1,000 an hour.

Web development work is more difficult than web design. And the courses you should follow will depend on the type of web developer you want to become. These are some of the basic programming languages you should learn to become a web/app developer.

  1. The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 (Udemy)
    An all-in-one 30-hours long course that covers the basics of web development. It offers the best value for your money.
  2. Python and Django Full Stack Web Developer Bootcamp (Udemy)
    Python is known as one of the easiest programming languages to learn. It’s also a must-learn for building web apps and back-ends.
  3. Ruby on Rails in 30 Days: Build Your First Web App (Skillshare)
    Learn by doing. This course will teach you Ruby with a test project.
  4. Learn and Understand NodeJS (Udemy)
    You’ll need this programming language to build web apps. But get some knowledge of HTML and Javascript first.
  5. Git and GitHub Bootcamp – Learn Step by Step (Udemy)
    This course will help you with basics of Git and command line.

Continue learning according to the path you’d like to follow as a web developer. Be sure to check out more courses on edX.org and Udacity.

#4 Become A Graphic Designer

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Graphic design is fairly easy to master. I know this because I used to work at an advertising agency. I mostly did ad and banner designs at this agency as the lead designer. It was fun and pretty easy, too easy actually. I often got bored on the job.

You could make $85 an hour as a professional graphic designer. Logo designers make even more.

However, just like with copywriting, you do need a little bit of creative juice to become a great graphic designer. These courses will only help you learn how to use the software and the tools to get started. The rest is up to you.

  1. Basics of Photoshop: Fundamentals for Beginners (Skillshare)
    This class will help you familiarize yourself of Photoshop. Keep following more courses to advance your knowledge.
  2. Fundamentals of Illustrator (Skillshare)
    This class covers the basics of Illustrator.
  3. Learn the Ins and Outs of Illustrator (Skillshare)
    Take your Illustrator knowledge to next level with this class.
  4. Intro to Graphic Design: Color Theory (Skillshare)
    Understanding how to use color properly is crucial to designing beautiful work.
  5. Logo Design with Draplin: Secrets of Shape, Type and Color (Skillshare)
    Learn the ins and outs of logo design.
  6. Design a Logo in Modern Style (Skillshare)
    A more practical class for learning logo design.

Get a subscription to Skillshare (first 2 months free). The site is packed with lots of creative classes made for logo design, drawing, and design. It’s way better and cost-efficient that buying individual courses on Udemy.

Once you get your way around the apps, start practicing and perfecting your skills. Use portfolio sites like Behance and Dribbble to showcase your designs.

#5 Become A Social Media Manager

become-social-media-manager

A social media manager is someone who takes charge of developing the different social media channels for a brand or a company. It sounds easy, but it actually takes a lot of work. In fact, it’s one of the high-demanding and high paying freelance jobs in the market today.

There are social media managers out there who make around $70,000 per year.

In order to become a social media manager, you should learn how to work with advertising in different social networks, learn to design branded graphics using Photoshop, curate content, and more.

These online courses will help you get started:

  1. Intro to Your Business Social Media Strategy (Skillshare)
    This class covers the basics of creating a social media strategy.
  2. How To Start a Social Media Business (Udemy)
    This extensive course will teach you everything you need to know about getting started as a freelance social media manager.
  3. Facebook Ads for Beginners 2017 (Udemy)
    Facebook ads are an important skill you must master to grow your following quickly.
  4. Facebook Ads: How to Reach 8000+ People With a $3 Ad (Skillshare)
    This class teaches you how to cost-efficiently target audiences on Facebook.
  5. Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World (Skillshare)
    Gary Vaynerchuk gives some valuable advice for beginners in this valuable class.

Another great way to learn quickly is to make a list of your competitors and study how they post content and grow their following on different social networks. Also, get familiar with the right tools for scheduling and delivering posts with less effort. CoSchedule is a tool worth checking out.

Over To You

You must be willing to make an investment to learn the skills. Because most of the best online courses aren’t free. Keep in mind that it’s an investment you make for your future career.

Don’t lie to yourself thinking that you can’t afford it when you spend hundreds of dollars on Starbucks and Netflix every month. Try to go a month without Netflix or postpone buying that expensive dress you’ve always wanted and invest that money in learning the skills you can use to make more money.

Stop making excuses. Go learn something new!

Note: All Udemy courses you have to buy individually and you’ll have unlimited access to each course after purchase. Skillshare is a subscription based service, which means you’ll get access to all 15,000+ classes on the site for just $12 a month.

Image credit: freepik.com

Roshan Perera
I’m Roshan Jerad Perera, a freelance writer/blogger and the founder at FreelancingHacks.com. My goal is to help other people get started in freelancing and guide them toward a successful career and financial freedom.
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2 Comments
  • Viral Jun 25,2017 at 12:41 PM

    Yo man! Awesome read.
    I have book marked the info.
    But I also have question so far…

    I am actually looking for becoming a freelance BDE. My concern is that is it ok to mention in my profile summary that I have got a good team to get the clients’ project done. Or it’s a bad strategy to begin with.
    Please help me with this.

    Thank you in advance.

    Viral soni

    • Roshan Perera Jul 5,2017 at 2:16 PM

      Hi Viral,

      It depends on whether you’re applying for jobs as an agency or an individual. But, make sure you can prove the skills of your team before mentioning it to your clients.

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