“Are you available for a Skype call?”
“Can you submit your article in WordPress?”
“Please send your invoice through Freshbooks.”
These are only a few examples of instructions from clients that might leave you a bit confused, especially if you’ve never used these apps before.
What’s a freelancer to do? Learn fast.
If you’re a smart freelancer, then you know that staying ahead of the game involves adaptability and an open mind to new concepts, including online tools that clients ask you to use.Advertising
If technology scares you, then freelancing won’t be an enjoyable experience for you. Clients may have second thoughts about keeping someone who still uses fax or snail mail to send their work. But don’t worry — you don’t have to be a computer geek to learn how to use technology to your advantage. The only requirement is a willingness to learn.
So what exactly does a freelancer need to learn about the technical aspect of running a business?
Here are a few of the most common ones:
1. Content Management Systems
A Content Management System (CMS) is a web-based software that manages content for a website or blog. A popular and widely used CMS is WordPress. Over 60 million websites have used WordPress to publish content on the web.
If you’re a freelance writer or photographer, you need to have some knowledge of how WordPress works. There’s a great chance that a future client may need you to submit your articles or photos in WordPress, so it’s absolutely a must to at least know the basic functions of this tool.
There are lots of free resources online for learning the basics of WordPress, starting with the Support section of the WordPress website itself. You can also visit WP Beginner and WP101 for more useful tutorials and how-to guides. If you want more detailed walk-throughs, you can search YouTube for tutorials from web developers and designers who build websites with WordPress for a living.
2. Social Media
Using social media for business requires more focus and dedication than managing a personal account. An active social media profile used solely for your freelance business means you’re serious about your work and you take the time to share it with others.Advertising
Freelancers are expected to have a social media presence. In some cases, the number of followers you have is the key to landing a gig on top of your basic qualifications. A social community ensures clients that you are capable of building relationships online and that you understand the power of social media.
Social media tools like Hootsuite and Buffer help you schedule your posts and add all of your accounts in one place. These apps are essential if you want to grow a social media following and be more visible to prospective clients.
3. Invoicing apps
Are you still sending paper invoices to clients? Stop.
It’s 2015 and there are more than enough invoicing tools available online.
Clients are busy individuals, so you want to make their tasks easier, especially when paying you. Having a streamlined invoicing process not only makes it easier for both you and your client, it also makes you look professional and organized.
Invoicing apps like Freshbooks and Invoiceable help you create invoices in less time than it would take you to make one from scratch. Invoiceable is free while Freshbooks allow a 30-day trial after which a subscription plan is required (starting at $9.95 a month).
These apps also track your income, generate reports and link payment methods like Stripe and PayPal, which is a lot of functionality when contrasted against the average paper invoice.Advertising
4. Apps for collaboration
Let’s say you want your client’s opinion on your proposed web design. How do you show it to them and get immediate feedback?
Again, the Internet plays an important part.
You’ve probably come across one of these apps during your stint with a client, but if you haven’t, get acquainted with their functions. Pick one app, create an account and see how it works. Most of these apps will have a tutorial as soon as you sign up, so pay attention to that.
5. Apps for Internet calls
Some employers require an interview through a video call, so it’s important that you know the technical aspects of being in one. You need to master this part so you can concentrate on acing the interview itself.
If you’ve ever video chatted with a friend on your smart phone, then you’ll have no problems going on a Skype call with a client.Advertising
But if you’ve never used one before, get the app and have a trial run. Ask a friend who has the same app to try it with you.
You need a web camera, a set of speakers and microphone to make and take Internet calls, so be ready with these. Treat the call like a face-to-face interview, so dress up and look your best. It’s also best to take the call on your laptop or desktop computer and not your phone.
Learn as you go
Technology can be your most helpful and reliable ally when growing a freelancing career. If you’re not confident with a particular tool, it’s okay to let your client know that you’ve never used it before, but assure them that you will take the time to learn the basics and go from there.
Learning these online tools will reward you in the long run. You’ll be more confident in your work, gain your client’s trust and be one of the most valuable freelancers in your field.
Is there an online tool that you want to learn or have learned recently? Share them in the comments!
Featured photo credit: Mans Hands Typing On Laptop With Smartphone, Book And Coffee via stokpic.com
Last Updated on February 20, 2019
17 Versatile Work Skills That Will Gain You More Career Opportunities
When we look at a job advertisement, it can seem as though employers want an exhaustive list of experience and technical skills from their new hire.
They list desirable qualities such as ‘initiative’, ‘team player’ and ‘strong work ethic’. Those words can mean a variety of things to different people and it can be quite hard for employers to illustrate fully the combination of technical and soft skills they want their potential employees to have.
What they often want is a mix of versatile skills that make it easy for them (and you) to adapt to the changing needs and demands which occur in businesses today.
After all, adaptability and innovation are what make businesses thrive.
In today’s ever-changing environment, versatility is a mandatory attitude every working person needs to have. With the following seventeen work skills, you will not only make your employer extremely happy and confident that hiring you was their best decision, you will experience greater personal satisfaction and results.
1. Know What You Want but More so Why You Want It
Employers need to sense you have a solid idea as to why you are a fit for their role and their organization. They need to sense you have your own sense of purpose.
However, it can be a double-edged sword to say you know exactly what you want to achieve and gain if you are successful in your application and interview.
Some employers can perceive this as arrogance; your needs first, theirs second. What employers are really looking for is your internal sense of knowing that potential to join their organization is a winning combination for both of you.
2. Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution Skills Save Money, Lost Productivity and Efficiency
Can you agree to disagree? Can you evaluate without passing judgment or at least be self-aware of your own biases? Can you put these aside to find solutions for the betterment of the team?
Employers look for versatility in soft work skills that bring peace, lower stress and contribute to creating harmony. If you have ways with words to help heated arguments reduce to a simmer so there is space for compromises, negotiations and reasoning to take place your employers’ respect for you will jump at least tenfold.
Peace-making skills are invaluable in changing workplace culture, particularly toxic ones. Any good employer knows a strong in-house negotiator will save them thousands of dollars in engaging an external mediator.
3. Know How to Set and Reframe Your Own Goals
Much research has documented that when employees have a clear purpose, mission and goals, they are more likely to be highly productive. They are less likely to flounder around in many directions nor be busy and not produce results that matter.
Employers know well that employees who develop their own goals and can align these with those of the company are more self-driven, self-sufficient and take greater ownership for performing their role.
And the benefit is not only to the employers. You personally will find greater personal satisfaction from achieving targets you have chosen to set yourself. Everyone wins!
4. Great Time Management and Organization Skills Make You Highly Productive
Being able to exercise versatility with these work skills needs no explanation. Great time management does not mean multi-tasking. It actually uses more brain power and reduces effectiveness.
Having great skills to prioritize your activities and demands, being able to assess how long things might take you to address are planning skills which greatly aid effective and better execution.
Working in harmony with your colleagues’ timetables makes for better teamwork and workflow plus a less stressed environment.
In today’s working world, any strategies for reducing stress-invoking opportunities are like finding golden nuggets. Your employer will want to hold on to those for dear life!
5. Be a Flexible Team Player by Being Able to Change Roles When Required
Employers will be looking to see how flexible a team player, a potential employee could be.
If you are a natural leader, being a better team player might, in fact, mean you stepping down from the helm and encouraging someone else to exercise and step into their leadership potential.
It might be more beneficial to your employer to play the role of Indian as opposed to the Chief in certain situations. Stepping into different positions on your team not only helps you grow but also the rest of your team.
Employers relish having a versatile work team which can adapt and is ready and willing to play different roles, even if uncomfortable when crises happen.
6. Initiative, Self-Motivated and Driven
When you have your own internal reasons for looking to undertake a role your motivation is driven by something sizzling inside of you.
There is a personal drive and desire for the satisfaction you will experience when you meet a certain target that no other person will be able to give to you.
When you can genuinely identify and demonstrate your own personal connection to the role’s objectives and the greater goals of your employer’s business, they will see you have an internal drive that they don’t need to whip and flog to keep the momentum going.
Any employer will be grateful they just need to help navigate you and support you with the right tools and network and off you go.
7. Be Confident but Not Arrogant
Imagine if you were conducting initial telephone interviews with shortlisted candidates and one of the questions they asked was:
“How long would it be until I’ll be eligible for a pay rise or promotion?”
There is a significant difference between being confident and arrogant. Employers are not looking for confidence purely in you being able to perform every aspect of your role at gold star level.
It comes with being comfortable to say you don’t understand, you have made a mistake, you need support, further training, acknowledging what your limits are and being willing to risk stepping outside your comfort zone.
When you’re a new kid on the block, respecting that you may need to learn to walk before you can run is essential. Unless it is your job to start making significant changes from day one, chances are you’re going to create enemies if you’re so confident your new methods and ideas should replace existing processes.
8. A Positive Attitude
Demonstrating positivity as a work skill that will truly win over your new employer is about being genuine and actively applying strategies which look for the glass half full.
Recruiters and employers are not dumb. They can easily see through short-term bright smiles, nervous giggling and general ‘you just need to think positive’ statements.
In the face of grueling challenges, employers are going to look much more favorably on that candidate who can acknowledge the negative features of a situation but still encourage another solution-focused perspective to be adopted.
Even better, if you can use language effectively to demonstrate how you have adopted a positive perspective and helped turned around a tough situation.
It is one thing to have a positive attitude but your potential employer will see you as a superhero if you can show them how you have successfully applied it.
Take a look at these tips to learn more about staying positive:
9. You Are Resourceful but Know the Value of Asking for Help
There is nothing more unproductive (let alone frustrating) than that person who simply asks out loud a question to their team when they could simply have Googled the answer.
Or worse still, they have a manual at their fingertips which has the answer to their question…they were simply too lazy to look for themselves.
Be that person with Sherlock Holmes as their middle name who sleuths like a dog after a buried bone. You can research and turn over stones to discover and learn what you need but you also are able to ask for help and assistance when you need to.
Any employer will relish that person who looks to discover the answers to their own questions first before reaching out and asking for help.
Hesitate to ask for help? This article may just change your mind:
10. Emotional Intelligence Creates a Harmonious Workflow
Despite the level of seniority of your role having a strong ability to handle emotions is fast becoming an essential work skill (and also life skill).
It is even more desirable for any employer when your work skill set includes the ability to detect, adapt to and have skills in managing certain emotional patterns of others you need to work with, manage or report to.
So much time, energy and productivity is lost due to individuals’ lack of skills in this area. Any manager who can see you possess and can demonstrate such versatile work skills will think they’ve won the managerial lottery!
You can learn how to improve your Emotional Intelligence from this article:
11. Be Able to Adapt Your Learning Style
There is no real evidence that using preferred learning styles actually increase the rate at which we learn nor the effectiveness of certain styles.
However, being able to make changes to what we are given to learn and adapting it to suit our needs and preferences does help us settle into a new work transition sooner.
We also need to recognize that even though we feel uncomfortable learning a new skill a certain way, it might actually be the way we need to receive it to cement the learning. It is also likely that our new employer only knows or has a budget to deliver training in a certain way.
Either we can choose to adapt or resist but we know for sure the latter is not going to benefit to anyone.
Want to find out what your learning style is? Take this quiz:
12. Flexible Leadership Style
Dan Goleman has conducted extensive research on different leadership styles, emphasizing that being versatile to switch between different styles (e.g. authoritative, coaching, affiliate, coercive, pace-setting) and knowing when to do is a fundamental skill for any leader.
Being able to change your style to lead other people is as important as how you lead your own role responsibilities.
If you want to be a better leader, these books are great resources:
13. Incredible Communication Skills That Actively Listen and Give Clear Messages
Strong and effective communication across all mediums takes time, life experience and highly developed intuition.
Knowing when to use email, a face to face conversation or telephone discussion is one thing. Another is to use words which emotionally connect and influence the receiver to accept, hear and heed your message.
Great communicators know that it is their responsibility as much as the receiver for good communication to take place. However, they also know that the receiver may not feel this is the case.
When you can listen equally, be sensitive to read between the lines to hear the message of ineffective communicators and can respond kindly with inspiring, equalizing and encouraging words, your influence and general likeability as a new addition to your employer’s team will develop in leaps and bounds.
These books are also nice resources to learn effective communication:
14. Accountable, Responsible and Dependable
We’ve all worked with people or managers at some point who lay external blame the instance something goes wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, making mistakes and owning up to it is a highly desirable and versatile work skill that gains loyalty and understanding particularly when mistakes occur.
Owning up to errors early allows both yourself and the business to recover quickly and shows you’re willing to take responsibility to continue forward on when you have stumbled.
When you illustrate you can do this, you build your employer’s trust and faith in you.
15. Exercise Proactive Self-Awareness
Self-reflection is a highly empowering work skill that contributes greatly to becoming better and performing better.
When you actively look for the achievement, celebrate your success and look for pockets of where mistakes you have made can be corrected you improve faster, become more effective and make your work easier.
When you start to look at your own errors, receiving feedback from your employer about the same errors can feel far less confronting and having corrective conversations is easier, transparent and far less stressful and emotional.
You naturally increase your resilience and make life easier for yourself and your employer if you conduct regular self-check-ins and keep your employer updated.
Here’s how to practice self-awareness:
16. Apply a Problem-Solving Growth Mindset
When faced with a problem or challenge, your ability to activate a growth mindset is a highly versatile work skill employers love. Not only are you able to reduce the pain and anguish that a fixed mindset can sustain but your ability to remain open to possibilities to find different pathways or ideas is refreshing and helpful.
If your thought patterns automatically ask: “How can we?” or you often think “there must be a way”, you will only contribute to creating growth opportunities for your organization and inspire others to think the same way.
Learn more about developing a growth mindset here:
17. Be Teachable
If you have ever tried to teach someone a new skill or technique and they keep reverting back to traditional ways that are familiar to them, you might have become frustrated to the point of giving up.
Don’t be that person who’s stuck in tradition which no longer serves the business. Whether you are entering a new environment, learning new software or negotiation skills, know that all employers need people who are open to being taught.
Innovation is a core concern of every business. Innovation means change and change means doing something different.
Stay Versatile and Keep Learning
Technical skills can often be taught. Ray Croc illustrated how well a systemized franchise can dominate the planet. Over 36,000 McDonald’s establishments around the world are run by managers barely in their twenties!
Soft work skills, however, take time to develop, learn and confidently apply.
There is a key combination of work skills that would make any candidate employer’s dream. However, the essential factor underlying all of these work skills is versatility.
Equip yourself with these 17 work skills, stay curious and keep learning; and you’ll always nail the job you want.
More Resources About Career Success
- Master These 15 Skills for Success to Get Ahead in Your Career
- The Most Critical Career Advice that Helps You Climb the Career Ladder
- 12 Tips on Sharpening Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch
- 17 Work Related Skills to Equip Yourself with for a Successful Career
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com