The most in-demand freelance skills, and where to learn them

Flexible hours, the ability to choose your own workload, and the option to work from home or anywhere in the world — freelancing is employment on your terms. It’s not surprising that it is becoming even more popular. 

Not only is it an appealing way of life for many, freelancers are also increasingly in demand. Advances in technology, internet speeds and affordability of on-the-go equipment make it a more accessible way of working. 

You may be a freelancer already or thinking of taking the leap. Let’s take a look at the skills in high demand and the courses you can use to upskill. 


Search Engine Optimisation is an extremely varied discipline, but it largely involves improving a website's technical functionality, as well as its content, in order to make it as visible as possible for relevant searches. And there's always demand for those who can do the job. 

There is also a healthy appetite among businesses for a related skill: SEO copywriting. From product descriptions, meta-descriptions and long form blogs, SEO copywriting covers all on-site content, and companies are always looking to make sure their sites have the best content to improve their SEO.

You don’t have to develop these skill alone, though. Skillshare and Udemy provide fantastic copywriting and SEO courses specifically designed for freelancers looking to kick-start their career. 

Copywriting Basics for Successful Sales: Time-tested Tactics that Prompt Action (Skillshare)

Copywriting – Become a Freelance Copywriter, your own boss (Udemy)

Introduction to SEO: Tactics and Strategies for Entrepreneurs (Skillshare)

SEO 2020: Complete SEO Training + SEO for WordPress Websites (Udemy)

Web Design/Development

Companies such as Squarespace allow users – for example, small businesses – to use templates to create their own simple websites.  However, a templated approach is not likely to be sufficient for companies that want to offer a unique user experience with carefully curated landing pages, multiple domains and custom coding.

Therefore, web designers and developers still have a great deal to offer, and their skills are certainly in demand. Their experience and training allow them to make clients’ ideas reality, and suggest new directions and approaches that clients may not have thought of. They cannot be replicated by templates alone.

You can expect to bring in up to £250 per day at a junior level. Those with three to five years of experience can earn anything from £250 to £500 per day.

Here are a couple of useful courses to look at for a career in web design/development:

Introduction to Web Development – Free Online course (FutureLearn)

Web Design for Beginners: Real World Coding in HTML and CSS (Udemy)

RELATED: 8 of the best productivity hacks for freelancers | Rovva 

Virtual Administration

Most of us are familiar with office admin – but we probably think of it as just that: office-based. Virtual administration, however, can be done from home by freelancers who have skills such as inputting data, answering emails and phone calls, book-keeping and processing documents, without the need for a company to hire office space. 

As a role it’s becoming more popular, particularly as homeworking increases, and you don’t need any specific qualifications to be a VA. However, it’s important to recognise the role is more than a data entry job: it calls for essential knowledge such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint). It also demands soft skills including a positive attitude, strong work ethic, good time-management, great problem-solving skills and strong communication abilities.

Glassdoor states that VAs can earn around £30,000 a year. The more advanced your skillset, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to earn more. 

You can learn more about soft skills and people skills online for free, or sign up to a self-paced online course. For Microsoft Office training, you can refer to Youtube tutorials. For a more thorough learning experience, you may wish to look at Skillshare or Udemy, or get an online certification to set yourself apart during your job search. 
Excel for the Real World: Gain the Basic skills of Microsoft Excel (Skillshare)
Microsoft Office 2019 Bundle: Professional certification (Reeds)
Microsoft Office Essential Skills (Udemy)

Blockchain Development

When ‘blockchain’ comes up in conversation, most of us would think of its use in Bitcoin. However, blockchain technology has found its way into a plethora of industries from its cryptocurrency origins. 

In terms of skills, Edureka describes a Blockchain developer as “responsible for the developing and optimising of blockchain protocols, crafting the architecture of blockchain systems, and developing smart contracts and web apps” based around this particular technology.   

So, what can you expect to find this niche skill being used for in freelance roles? In the UK alone, there is a list of top 13 companies that incorporate blockchain in their business practices and supply chains: from Openbrix, a property management company, to Zamna, which produces software for aviation companies and governments to verify passenger information. 

Hackernoon reports that freelance blockchain developers working in London can expect to earn up to £75,000 per year because of the technical skills required, making it one of the highest-paying freelance skills in 2020. Other parts of the UK and overseas may vary. 

Blockchain Training Academy

How to Become a Blockchain Developer: A Complete Guide
Blockchain Certification Training Course

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing has increased rapidly in the past decade. We Are Social reports that the average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media everyday, while the DMI Blog states that the need for social media experts is more critical than ever. So it comes as no surprise that companies are looking to find opportunities for growth through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.  

Social media marketing can cover various duties:

  1. Creating content
  2. Managing social media platforms                                                                  
  3. Responding to customer comments
  4. Representing the brand
  5. Community management
  6. Boosting the brand’s online presence

The best courses available for digital and social media marketing do require a fee. Nonetheless, think of it as self-investment: new freelancers can earn anything up to £35 per hour, while senior freelancers earn as much as £70 per hour or £500 per day.

Digital Marketing Specialist (Simplilearn)

Digital Marketing Specialization (Coursera)

In the world of freelance, upskilling is essential to remaining competitive and achieving staying power in your career, particularly as we move further into a job market filled with uncertainty. 

As uncertain as it may be, there are still huge opportunities out there — especially in the digital market. Whether you are a seasoned freelancer or just starting out, it’s important to identify skill gaps in your sector and work on building them into your resume to give yourself every chance of standing out from the crowd.

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Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.