• Advice

Are you ready for the future of freelancing?

Whether you are just starting out or you have been freelancing for a while, ask yourself: Are you ready for the future?

As a recent article in Forbes argues, the days of working hard for one company and retiring are over. In the new economy, “the more diverse your skill set, the more opportunities come your way.”

So how do you prepare?

Conduct a self-inventory to determine your level of mastery and proficiency in certain skill sets

Personally, I love writing and editing. But I have some writer friends who despise editing, and some editor friends who don’t consider themselves good writers. I find that diversification is incredibly helpful as a freelancer, but you cannot really decide what is going to work best for you if you don’t take the time to step back and conduct an honest assessment about what you are good at doing.

Do a little research.

Determine what’s hot in your field or industry. Is this a trend or is it something that is sustainable? If it is sustainable, you may want to invest your time, energy, and resources into learning more, especially if it can lead to a tangible return on your investment. For example, I am noticing more and more opportunities for freelance writers who have experience writing for the business and tech industries. Traditionally, these jobs were only viable for those with a background in technical writing. However, as the market expands, I strongly recommend that freelance writers become acquainted with aspects of technical writing. As our society becomes more technologically savvy and more industries need people to translate their goods and services into lay terms then there is a strong possibility that this skill set will continue to be in high demand.

Invest in yourself.

I am in my mid-40s and I never imagined that I’d still be interested in taking classes. Although I am not physically stepping into a classroom space, I am a student again. I find myself reading articles and books, watching Podcasts and YouTube videos, and seeking out the counsel of other writers and entrepreneurs who I respect and trust. If this method doesn’t work for you, you may want to consider taking an online course and/or taking a class at a local college or university.

Invest in a coach

This can make the difference between stumbling in the dark and entering a room with a light that is already on. My business coach and spiritual coach have helped me stay focused and avoid many of the pitfalls that often occur when entering into a second career. I, in turn, am a writing coach. The overwhelming majority of my clients are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Many of them realize that their professional and personal success hinges on their ability to effectively communicate, especially in their writing. Remember, your measurable growth is a return on your investment and if it means that you are better positioned to gain traction as a freelancer then why not?

The great news is that the freelancing ecosystem is one that welcomes ingenuity, creativity, and professionalism. Some of the decisions that you make now will determine how well you will be able to compete in this new economy.

And, as with many things, our outcomes and outputs are often determined by an initial investment of our time, energy, and resources.

Tyra Seldon Tyra Seldon is a former English Professor turned writer, editor and small business owner. Her writing addresses the intersections of race, gender, culture and education.