The importance of learning new skills to diversify your freelance career

The importance of learning new skills to diversify your freelance career

An experience with a client of mine highlighted to me the challenge that we as Freelancers, or indeed any micro-biz service provider, can have in keeping abreast with new skills.

I don’t suppose you know anything about pay per click campaigns, do you?” She asked, “Would be great if you could handle this for us.

Firstly, let me say that I think it is important to be honest about the skills you do or do not possess. When a client decides to launch a PPC, they expect to see a profitable ROI on click throughs – this is not something that you can fake if you don’t have a clue (and thankfully, I do).

However, I do think that it raises an interesting dilemma for both client and service provider.

Often, small businesses like this one (10 employees) will have a small band of trusted freelancers who help them out from time to time. My client has often lamented to me how difficult it can be in finding someone trustworthy to work along with, or how frustrating it is when someone starts a project only to complete it badly if at all. It is both an investment in time and money that her business can ill afford. When a client finds a freelancer who works reliably and seamlessly along with their in-house team, not surprisingly, they want to hang on to them.

For us as freelancers, this provides an excellent opportunity to grow with our client and where scope exists, to learn on the go or at the very least brush up on our skills.

As freelancers, we’re often asked to tag a service on to the one that we are already providing. It’s likely far easier for the client to do this than hunt around for someone new. In the scenario I mentioned above, the PPC is to supplement a copywriting project that I am already working on – the two go hand in hand.

I do think that if you are asked to do something you cannot comfortably and reliably do yourself, you should recommend someone else – which incidentally, is a great way to expand your network of trusty freelancers whom you can call upon in an emergency (and they will likely recommend you to others too).

However, it could well be an opportunity for you to learn a new skill and diversify your career. In fact, some people thrive on learning under pressure in this way. You could say that committing yourself forces you NOT to fail. After all, you wouldn’t want to let down your client, would you?

I expect the vast majority of us have had to hit the ground running in this way. And frankly, in today’s economic climate, it strikes me as essential for keeping a steady flow of income.

What do you think?

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