Blog Post

Selling the Multi-Skilled Freelancer

wwd_jobOnline freelancers are forced to wear many hats. From the actual work you do, to administrative and support skills, you’re responsible for everything.

It doesn’t stop there. You need to learn how to write well, so you can communicate better with our clients and have more persuasive copy on our web sites. You need to have some SEO skills, too. Learning these skills is much easier now than it was 10 years ago. There are hundreds of online tutorials, e-books and other resources that we can turn to.

As you use these new skills, you’ll eventually become good at them. In fact, sometimes you become good enough to ask yourself, “Should I try to do this professionally?”

The Advantages of Selling Multiple Skills

The most obvious benefit of monetizing all of your skills is that you won’t be putting all our eggs in one basket, so to speak. When I was starting out as a web worker, I marketed myself as a writer, a keyword researcher and a designer. As a result, I was never out of work, and I could provide multiple services to the same client.

Learning and practicing several fields can also feel fulfilling, especially if you’re in a phase where your work is getting too repetitive or feels less challenging. If you’re usually a web designer and you suddenly have an opportunity to work on developing an application, this new direction can be a refreshing change. Some of the things you learn from your new project might shed some insight that you can apply to your usual work.

With that said, trying to sell all our skills also has its disadvantages.

The Disadvantages of Selling Multiple Skills

While it may seem more sensible financially to profit from all of your skills, it’s not necessarily feasible or practical. Unless you have an assistant or are naturally organized, it will be hard to manage different projects, clients and marketing tactics across the several services you provide.

Perhaps more importantly, it’s much harder to stand out in one industry if you spread yourself too thin. By working in several different fields, you can’t commit as much time and effort to any single one of them. For example, if you spend half of your time as a social media marketing consultant, it will be hard to keep up with the other experts in that field who devote 100 percent of their working hours on it.

Even with these disadvantages, it’s rare for me to meet a freelancer who only does one kind of work. Perhaps the challenge lies in knowing how to prioritize and how to make the most out of every skill we develop.

Do you work in one freelancing field exclusively or do you have multiple streams of income? What has your experience been like?

3 Responses to “Selling the Multi-Skilled Freelancer”

  1. I’ve found that it is hard for me to find jobs now that I’m in a rural community. Most of the businesses in this area are branch plants/offices who have all their programming work done at the head office (usually in Toronto or somewhere in the US). The rest of them are too small to use custom developed software.

    I’ve been trying to develop and promote other skills that I have so that I can meet the needs of smaller businesses in the area. It does make things hard as you get more spread out, but I believe it will be worth it in the long run.