18 Best Skills for the Gig Economy and Financial Freedom
By Luken Surge - June 16, 2018

The Skills That Win the Financial Freedom Game

How many of these skills did you learn in high school or even college?

Are you looking for a new direction to head in your life? Are you not drawn to the ‘traditional’ ways of living, like sticking yourself with student loan debt, or dealing with the corporate office lifestyle? There are other ways to get real freedom in your life and in your finances.

This guide will shed some light on which skills win the financial freedom game in today’s expanding gig economy.

Browse these skills to decide which is best for you to pursue your independent career. You may find you already have an interest in some of these areas or have inadvertently been practicing already!

Pick something you are good at and already enjoy. Practice it in a way that can provide value and earn income. Starting small helps you build experience, and will tie in new skills you will need to learn in the process. Start with what you are good at, and build from there.

Learning any skill takes time. But if you put in the weeks, months, or years of hard work on your own, you can enjoy freedom from student debt and corporate suffocation.

Of course, the more technical the skill the more time it takes to learn. While you deal with the learning curve, be prepared with a buffer–another job, savings, or a low cost, but less glamorous lifestyle.

Once you decide in what direction you want to go, download our free step by step guide on how to get there. We’ll help you form a two-year plan to reclaim your financial freedom, social freedom, and political freedom.

What Skill Is Best for You?

1. Content Writing & Copywriting

These are two of the easiest to break into, and fun to practice before you make much money doing it. Content Writing includes blogs, articles, social media content, and web page content. Content Writing can convey information, making conversions & sales, getting people’s attention, as well as moving people through various stages of funnels.

Copywriting is more about selling and advertising. But any good writer studies copy as well. It’s how you draw readers in. Ogilvy on Advertising is a timeless must read, and The Wizard of Ads is great for its more browsable format.

2. Graphic Design

This is a great option for those who are more creative. You’ll just need to be able to learn the Adobe Suite. There are a number of opportunities for those who are fluent in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign especially. People need logos, branding materials, promotional pieces, social & blog headers, and other web materials. Alternatively, Canva is a very good place to get started with demonstrating an ability to create designs. It has more of a drag n’ drop style and is really easy for creating all kinds of images.

3. Web Coding & Development

Don’t even bother with this if you aren’t super interested. Learn this one more leisurely if it is not something you are already good at. There are a TON of different coding languages and to make solid money you need to be fluent in more than just one or two. The first languages you will want to learn will be HTML and CSS.

4. Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing includes SEO (Search Engine Optimization), paid advertisement, and social media. More advanced areas include funnels, running full campaigns, affiliate marketing, and conversion optimization. Here are the branches of Digital Marketing that can win the financial freedom game:

  • 5. Affiliate Marketing- Growing every day, Affiliate Marketing is earning a number of savvy marketers extra streams of income, and all from selling other companies’ products. Companies offer affiliate programs where they give you a custom link to their products and if the visitor on your link makes a purchase, you get a chunk of the cash. ClickBank, for example, is a place where you can find all kinds of product and services that offer affiliate payoffs.
  • 6. Funnels- Sales, Marketing, Groups Funnels are a more complicated skill set, but one that pays. Here you “funnel” people from a target, onto a landing page that converts them to a lead, and continue them along the process until they become a customer.  Funnels are all results driven. If you don’t deliver the results, you are not only going to have problems with those clients, but it will erode at your reputation (and good luck getting any clients with a trashed reputation). You can also learn how to use sites like ClickFunnels, where you can charge to set up clients with interconnecting landing pages.
  • 7. ChatBots- Automation is huge. The newest growing branch of online marketing is ChatBot Automation. These are highly sophisticated programs that are able to intelligently answer questions and direct customer service via the live chats commonly found on company websites. But it isn’t just website bots that you can learn (and charge people for), there is also Facebook ChatBots and a number of other social sites that allow automation. Facebook has a system for setting up automated responses right on company pages. When you get really good at this, you could charge upward towards $3,000 just to set the system up, let alone the potential $1,000 a month thereafter for maintaining it.
  • 8. Lead Generation- If you can help companies generate leads you will be their hero. And they will pay handsomely for it. A lot of companies are turning to outside lead generation instead of in-house sales teams because sales are so closely integrated with online marketing these days. Lead generation now includes PPC campaigns, social media outreach, content, and the list goes on depending on the industry.
  • 9. Running Ads Campaigns- Another area of the online world that a lot of businesses just don’t have time to fool around with figuring out. A lot of time these business owners are specialized in industries that may not involve online marketing skills at all, like a mechanic, but he still needs to get listed and ranking to bring those customers in. That is where you come in. You create, set up, and manage ads for clients and when they benefit, you benefit. This is another area that is all about those results, so you need to be good at what you do before you start making promises you can’t keep or claims you can’t back up. Note: Google offers free courses as well as free certification that can be very useful in not just learning but in validating your abilities. It also helps to create a portfolio where potential clients can have an idea of what you can do for them.
  • 10. Social Media- As you know, social media is huge, and the applications for businesses are vast. The most common social sites companies use are Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Quora. All of these sites have back-end systems that allow you to post, promote, and expand your reach. Learning these back-end systems and getting really good at using them to generate traffic and leads for clients is a very valuable skill. Social Media is becoming a necessity for a lot of businesses, and industries. Playing the Social Media game also takes time and consistency, which can be something that business owners might not have. You don’t have to master every Social Media platform out there. Specializing in one or two can be just as valuable. A lot of marketers get started with Facebook and LinkedIn as they have some of the most advanced tools for lead generation.
  • 11. Video Marketing- Basically, knowing how to use videos in a number of online marketing functions. For instance, you can create videos for on-page demos, social messages, ads, and to create lead magnets or authority amplifiers. Video is a highly converting tool for online marketing and there is a way to do it. You can offer the videography services, where you go out and record clients for their videos, or you could collect pre-recorded clips to create a single piece of content. There are also a number of stock image, video, and sound clips sites that you can use to create promotional pieces. Video Marketing is good for those who have a mix of creative and technical abilities. Be prepared to learn some video editing software if you haven’t already. You can also offer presentation creation services through video marketing, which can be lucrative.
  • 12. Email Marketing- If you like to write, Email Marketing could be a good option for you. This area of online marketing will definitely require know-how in the areas of copywriting and list building. It is very important that you get proper authorization from people before using their email address to send them soliciting messages. If you are trying to get them to buy a product, you can’t just get their email from anywhere and send them random messages anymore. You need permission, and a lot of businesses don’t realize how strict this is getting. Here is where you come in to save the day. By knowing the rules on the emailing game, and by knowing how to write catching subjects and engaging content, you can help companies increase their email responses, and conversions, drastically.
  • 13. Search Engine Optimization- If you can help people rank better online then you are an asset to almost any company. This means getting a company on the first pages of top search engines and all the tricks that go along with making that happen. Copywriting will come in handy as well as anything involving Google AdWords and Analytics. This will be a result driven field though, so be good at what you do before trying to get the big bucks.
  • 14. Influencer Marketing- Do you connect well with people, but you don’t want to solve their problems? Well, you might be good working with Influencers then. Influencers are people who have a large following and they will often be willing to do shout outs for companies or people that they relate with or feel that their audience would benefit from knowing about. They will often do this for a fee and if you can get good at connecting companies with Influencers you will make a pretty good amount of cash as the middleman. You will need to learn how to get access to important people in a way that they will want to connect with you.

15. Website & Landing Page Building

An area that is becoming a necessary tool for all industries, website building is a critical skill with more clients hitting the market every day. But it can be complicated. Like Digital Marketing, websites involve a lot of different parts, from the front-end components to the back-end. Creating websites can be good for those who have a mix of talents or are naturally drawn to integrating moving parts.

Websites require some coding knowledge, design understanding, and maybe a little copywriting. Be sure to learn the difference between websites in general, and specific landing pages. For example, websites are often multiple pages and landing pages are just a single page. A website is the calling card of the business, with all of the important information you might want to know. The landing page has one goal: getting those conversions. They often feature one product or otherwise one main conversion goal per page.

16. Course Creation

Let’s face it, public schools are failing to educate the next generation of workers, and colleges are too expensive… and also not that great at preparing people for the current job market.

Industries are therefore offering online courses, and there is a lot of room for getting involved in the creation process. Either you could take your expertise and turn them into courses that others can benefit from, or you can build courses for other companies.

This is a good option for those who actually have an interest or passion in teaching, training, or general learning environments. There are sites like Udemy and SkillShare that get you started in creating your own courses. Webinars are the new hot thing: virtual seminars and courses that can be live or pre-recorded.

Be aware that there will be a learning curve and you will need time to learn all the parts of creating courses and webinars before getting started working with clients. There are technical components like finding sites to host your attendees, setting up email automation for confirmations and reminders, presentation building if you want slides, and video production if you want pre-recorded videos.

17. Coaching & Mentoring

Are you good at helping people, but in a more personal way than customer service? Do people gravitate to you for advice or direction? Or do you have a bunch of life experiences, professionally or personally, that you feel you could help others overcome similar challenges?

Being a Coach might be a route for you to consider. Coaches help people see their challenges from different perspectives and discover new directions. They offer accountability and organization for reaching goals. Mentors are the ones who have a skill, system, technique, or something of value related to their experience that they help others learn to reach new levels in their lives or careers.

If you have a set of experiences or expertise that you feel that you could help others with, you can get started coaching immediately. This is one industry that actually doesn’t require any specific kind of certification to conduct business.

But like the others, be good at what you do. Get to the core of what coaching is and how it really works. Make sure you are truly providing value before charging people for your services.

18. Virtual Assistant

This is a good option for those who don’t feel like the technical route is for them, but still want financial freedom. If building complicated systems doesn’t attract you, you can always consider being a Virtual Assistant. One of the newer roles emerging in the remote world is Virtual Assistants, who help with an array of tasks from lead generation, account management, to customer service and more. Basically, all the people using a skill on this list to build a business will need an assistant, and it is a great way to build skills without having to lead a company.

Now it’s time for you to decide for yourself. When you know what it is you want, and what it looks like, you can start taking the steps to achieve it. That means investing in yourself and going against the grain. In the long run it will be worth it.

Once you decide the right direction, let us help you build a two-year plan to move from where you are now, to a life of freedom.

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