What can you do to offer your clients and widen the base of companies placing contracts with you? Constantly developing your skills helps to keep a competitive edge over others in your sector.

In this article, we will look at Upwork’s recently released list of the fastest growing trends and most valuable skills for freelancers to stay in demand in 2018.

Technology tops the list

It’s difficult to remember a time when we didn’t have instant access to information in our hands 24//7. We live in a technology driven society and if you want to succeed as a contractor, it’s important that you keep your skillset up to date with the demands of the market.

Tech-focused skills have been extremely valuable for freelancers for many years now and this will only increase further as time goes on. Topping Upwork’s list of the most important skills a contractor can possess in 2018 was Blockchain.

This technology was originally created as a way of transferring cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin from one place to another. However, more recently, web developers and tech-savvy entrepreneurs have found clever new ways of utilising Blockchain for other important tasks; including tracking the ownership or source of documents, tracking digital and physical asset locations, and more.

Whilst demand for skilled Blockchain experts has increased significantly, there are still not many contractors who possess the knowledge and ability to apply Blockchain to a project on the job market. Providing services such as this on a freelance basis offers, therefore, a real upside potential to boost your business.

In fact, according to Upwork, more than half of the talents which have experienced an increase in demand this year are technology-based. That means, by expanding your technological knowledge and capabilities, you can start winning contracts from some of the most highly sought-after clients in the industry.

You may want to consider this Blockchain and Bitcoin Fundamentals course from Udemy, or this Machine Learning on Google Cloud Platforms training through Coursera.

Keep on the pulse of AI

As a successful contractor, you know how important it is to stay flexible and move with the trends of both your own and your customers’ industries.

Whether you work in finance, law, security, or any other sector, artificial intelligence is going to change the way your clients do business. It is believed that automation through AI will affect as many as one in five jobs across the UK by the 2030s.

This monumental change brings with it a significant opportunity for you as a contractor; mastering the fundamentals of artificial intelligence such as augmented reality, machine learning, and AI chatbots to help your clients remain competitive across all parts of their business.

You can sign up to beginners’ courses in AI through providers such as Udemy, Lynda, and edX.

Marketing genius

If you offer marketing services to your customers, you’ll know how vital a solid brand message is to a business’s success. More and more companies are now turning to outside experts to give their brand the edge it needs to beat the competition.

That makes now the perfect time to hone in on your content creating skills, through training such as the Fundamentals of Content Marketing with Skill Share or Advanced Content Strategy through the Chartered Institute of Marketing. 

And another interesting area to expand the range of services your business offers is video. Video is quickly becoming the most popular method of delivering content among many companies.

Some of the most in-demand skills Upwork found were subtitling, voiceover work, and artistic direction. You may be interested in training courses such as Voice-Over for Video and Animation and Video Editing for Beginners.

The real value of multidimensional skills

Executive vice president of staffing and services firm Collabera, Hemin Shah, says that “the ability to apply what they know and make it relevant will prevent obsolescence and create a longer shelf life for many of the contractors.”

By constantly adding to the range of services that you offer to meet new emerging techniques in your industry, you can ensure you provide your customers with the know-how they need while increasing your take-home pay and maintaining a competitive advantage.

We can help

If you’re a contractor and would like to know more about the optimal ways to reduce the amount of tax you pay, speak to your Sunny accountants today. Please call us on 01623 559 362 or email us on [email protected] for professional tax advice and guidance.

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