18 Best Skills for the Gig Economy and Financially Freedom

Via The Daily Bell

The Skills That Win the Financial Freedom Game

How many of these skills did you learn in high school or even college?

Are you looking for a new direction to head in your life? Are you not drawn to the ‘traditional’ ways of living, like sticking yourself with student loan debt, or dealing with the corporate office lifestyle? There are other ways to get real freedom in your life and in your finances.

This guide will shed some light on which skills win the financial freedom game in today’s expanding gig economy.

Browse these skills to decide which is best for you to pursue your independent career. You may find you already have an interest in some of these areas or have inadvertently been practicing already!

Pick something you are good at and already enjoy. Practice it in a way that can provide value and earn income. Starting small helps you build experience, and will tie in new skills you will need to learn in the process. Start with what you are good at, and build from there.

Learning any skill takes time. But if you put in the weeks, months, or years of hard work on your own, you can enjoy freedom from student debt and corporate suffocation.

Of course, the more technical the skill the more time it takes to learn. While you deal with the learning curve, be prepared with a buffer–another job, savings, or a low cost, but less glamorous lifestyle.

Once you decide in what direction you want to go, download our free step by step guide on how to get there. We’ll help you form a two-year plan to reclaim your financial freedomsocial freedom, and political freedom.

What Skill Is Best for You?

1. Content Writing & Copywriting

These are two of the easiest to break into, and fun to practice before you make much money doing it. Content Writing includes blogs, articles, social media content, and web page content. Content Writing can convey information, making conversions & sales, getting people’s attention, as well as moving people through various stages of funnels.

Copywriting is more about selling and advertising. But any good writer studies copy as well. It’s how you draw readers in. Ogilvy on Advertising is a timeless must read, and The Wizard of Ads is great for its more browsable format.

2. Graphic Design

This is a great option for those who are more creative. You’ll just need to be able to learn the Adobe Suite. There are a number of opportunities for those who are fluent in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign especially. People need logos, branding materials, promotional pieces, social & blog headers, and other web materials. Alternatively, Canva is a very good place to get started with demonstrating an ability to create designs. It has more of a drag n’ drop style and is really easy for creating all kinds of images.

3. Web Coding & Development

Don’t even bother with this if you aren’t super interested. Learn this one more leisurely if it is not something you are already good at. There are a TON of different coding languages and to make solid money you need to be fluent in more than just one or two. The first languages you will want to learn will be HTML and CSS.

4. Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing includes SEO (Search Engine Optimization), paid advertisement, and social media. More advanced areas include funnels, running full campaigns, affiliate marketing, and conversion optimization. Here are the branches of Digital Marketing that can win the financial freedom game:

  • 5. Affiliate Marketing- Growing every day, Affiliate Marketing is earning a number of savvy marketers extra streams of income, and all from selling other companies’ products. Companies offer affiliate programs where they give you a custom link to their products and if the visitor on your link makes a purchase, you get a chunk of the cash. ClickBank, for example, is a place where you can find all kinds of product and services that offer affiliate payoffs.
  • 6. Funnels- Sales, Marketing, Groups Funnels are a more complicated skill set, but one that pays. Here you “funnel” people from a target, onto a landing page that converts them to a lead, and continue them along the process until they become a customer.  Funnels are all results driven. If you don’t deliver the results, you are not only going to have problems with those clients, but it will erode at your reputation (and good luck getting any clients with a trashed reputation). You can also learn how to use sites like ClickFunnels, where you can charge to set up clients with interconnecting landing pages.
  • 7. ChatBots- Automation is huge. The newest growing branch of online marketing is ChatBot Automation. These are highly sophisticated programs that are able to intelligently answer questions and direct customer service via the live chats commonly found on company websites. But it isn’t just website bots that you can learn (and charge people for), there is also Facebook ChatBots and a number of other social sites that allow automation. Facebook has a system for setting up automated responses right on company pages. When you get really good at this, you could charge upward towards $3,000 just to set the system up, let alone the potential $1,000 a month thereafter for maintaining it.
  • 8. Lead Generation- If you can help companies generate leads you will be their hero. And they will pay handsomely for it. A lot of companies are turning to outside lead generation instead of in-house sales teams because sales are so closely integrated with online marketing these days. Lead generation now includes PPC campaigns, social media outreach, content, and the list goes on depending on the industry.
  • 9. Running Ads Campaigns- Another area of the online world that a lot of businesses just don’t have time to fool around with figuring out. A lot of time these business owners are specialized in industries that may not involve online marketing skills at all, like a mechanic, but he still needs to get listed and ranking to bring those customers in. That is where you come in. You create, set up, and manage ads for clients and when they benefit, you benefit. This is another area that is all about those results, so you need to be good at what you do before you start making promises you can’t keep or claims you can’t back up. Note: Google offers free courses as well as free certification that can be very useful in not just learning but in validating your abilities. It also helps to create a portfolio where potential clients can have an idea of what you can do for them.
  • 10. Social Media- As you know, social media is huge, and the applications for businesses are vast. The most common social sites companies use are Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Quora. All of these sites have back-end systems that allow you to post, promote, and expand your reach. Learning these back-end systems and getting really good at using them to generate traffic and leads for clients is a very valuable skill. Social Media is becoming a necessity for a lot of businesses, and industries. Playing the Social Media game also takes time and consistency, which can be something that business owners might not have. You don’t have to master every Social Media platform out there. Specializing in one or two can be just as valuable. A lot of marketers get started with Facebook and LinkedIn as they have some of the most advanced tools for lead generation.
  • 11. Video Marketing- Basically, knowing how to use videos in a number of online marketing functions. For instance, you can create videos for on-page demos, social messages, ads, and to create lead magnets or authority amplifiers. Video is a highly converting tool for online marketing and there is a way to do it. You can offer the videography services, where you go out and record clients for their videos, or you could collect pre-recorded clips to create a single piece of content. There are also a number of stock image, video, and sound clips sites that you can use to create promotional pieces. Video Marketing is good for those who have a mix of creative and technical abilities. Be prepared to learn some video editing software if you haven’t already. You can also offer presentation creation services through video marketing, which can be lucrative.
  • 12. Email Marketing- If you like to write, Email Marketing could be a good option for you. This area of online marketing will definitely require know-how in the areas of copywriting and list building. It is very important that you get proper authorization from people before using their email address to send them soliciting messages. If you are trying to get them to buy a product, you can’t just get their email from anywhere and send them random messages anymore. You need permission, and a lot of businesses don’t realize how strict this is getting. Here is where you come in to save the day. By knowing the rules on the emailing game, and by knowing how to write catching subjects and engaging content, you can help companies increase their email responses, and conversions, drastically.
  • 13. Search Engine Optimization- If you can help people rank better online then you are an asset to almost any company. This means getting a company on the first pages of top search engines and all the tricks that go along with making that happen. Copywriting will come in handy as well as anything involving Google AdWords and Analytics. This will be a result driven field though, so be good at what you do before trying to get the big bucks.
  • 14. Influencer Marketing- Do you connect well with people, but you don’t want to solve their problems? Well, you might be good working with Influencers then. Influencers are people who have a large following and they will often be willing to do shout outs for companies or people that they relate with or feel that their audience would benefit from knowing about. They will often do this for a fee and if you can get good at connecting companies with Influencers you will make a pretty good amount of cash as the middleman. You will need to learn how to get access to important people in a way that they will want to connect with you.

15. Website & Landing Page Building

An area that is becoming a necessary tool for all industries, website building is a critical skill with more clients hitting the market every day. But it can be complicated. Like Digital Marketing, websites involve a lot of different parts, from the front-end components to the back-end. Creating websites can be good for those who have a mix of talents or are naturally drawn to integrating moving parts.

Websites require some coding knowledge, design understanding, and maybe a little copywriting. Be sure to learn the difference between websites in general, and specific landing pages. For example, websites are often multiple pages and landing pages are just a single page. A website is the calling card of the business, with all of the important information you might want to know. The landing page has one goal: getting those conversions. They often feature one product or otherwise one main conversion goal per page.

16. Course Creation

Let’s face it, public schools are failing to educate the next generation of workers, and colleges are too expensive… and also not that great at preparing people for the current job market.

Industries are therefore offering online courses, and there is a lot of room for getting involved in the creation process. Either you could take your expertise and turn them into courses that others can benefit from, or you can build courses for other companies.

This is a good option for those who actually have an interest or passion in teaching, training, or general learning environments. There are sites like Udemy and SkillSharethat get you started in creating your own courses. Webinars are the new hot thing: virtual seminars and courses that can be live or pre-recorded.

Be aware that there will be a learning curve and you will need time to learn all the parts of creating courses and webinars before getting started working with clients. There are technical components like finding sites to host your attendees, setting up email automation for confirmations and reminders, presentation building if you want slides, and video production if you want pre-recorded videos.

17. Coaching & Mentoring

Are you good at helping people, but in a more personal way than customer service? Do people gravitate to you for advice or direction? Or do you have a bunch of life experiences, professionally or personally, that you feel you could help others overcome similar challenges?

Being a Coach might be a route for you to consider. Coaches help people see their challenges from different perspectives and discover new directions. They offer accountability and organization for reaching goals. Mentors are the ones who have a skill, system, technique, or something of value related to their experience that they help others learn to reach new levels in their lives or careers.

If you have a set of experiences or expertise that you feel that you could help others with, you can get started coaching immediately. This is one industry that actually doesn’t require any specific kind of certification to conduct business.

But like the others, be good at what you do. Get to the core of what coaching is and how it really works. Make sure you are truly providing value before charging people for your services.

18. Virtual Assistant

This is a good option for those who don’t feel like the technical route is for them, but still want financial freedom. If building complicated systems doesn’t attract you, you can always consider being a Virtual Assistant. One of the newer roles emerging in the remote world is Virtual Assistants, who help with an array of tasks from lead generation, account management, to customer service and more. Basically, all the people using a skill on this list to build a business will need an assistant, and it is a great way to build skills without having to lead a company.

Now it’s time for you to decide for yourself. When you know what it is you want, and what it looks like, you can start taking the steps to achieve it. That means investing in yourself and going against the grain. In the long run it will be worth it.

Once you decide the right direction, let us help you build a two-year plan to move from where you are now, to a life of freedom.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.

This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It’s not as hard as you think…

Identify. Plan. Execute.

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end times prophet brushhog Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:21 Permalink

Sign up for night classes at your local junior college.  HVAC, Electrician, Welding and Plumbing training are all offered.  Tuition is nearly free and if you can consistently pass a drug test, you will get a job and the opportunity to start your own business down the road.  And BTW, if women want to close the wage gap, this is a good way to get equal pay.  Got your Gender studies degree from Yale with a minor in Lesbianism as an undergrad?  You are perfectly prepared for a career as a plumber.  Enroll for free since you have no other career prospects and carpe diem!

It bugs the hell out of me seeing how the MSM talks about minimum wage not being a living wage.  If you are only making minimum wage, your work hours are not at all limited to 40.  Hell, I have been working 80 hour weeks for most of my adult life, but then again, I am not making minimum wage.

In reply to by brushhog

techpriest Utopia Planitia Sun, 06/17/2018 - 19:55 Permalink

90% of those are 1-click Wordpress installs by someone who doesn't know what they are doing. They usually charge $25 an hour. It is very difficult to tell if the person you are "paying to learn" will actually learn and go beyond that phase. Some do, many don't.

Also, never try to save money by contracting out to an Indian IT company. Or worse, and Bangladeshi company. I have stories about folks who did that, and one of my Indian developer friends refuses to hire Indians when he needs a job done right.

In reply to by Utopia Planitia

techpriest Peterman333 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 22:58 Permalink

If they are up front about it and charging $20 per hour its fine, but what gets me are the ones who charge $100+ per hour and do not know anything beyond templates.

If you need this kind of work done, ask the designer the following to see if they really know what they are doing:

1) Will the code be kept on Github, Bitbucket, or your own Gitlab? Why did you choose this? (these are services that store code and prevent epic fuckups)

2) What is your backup strategy? (they need to account for the code, database, and files)

3) How do you deploy code? (If they don't have a way to roll it back, and they don't test first, you have a disaster on your hands, especially with Wordpress)

4) After you are done building, what is the long-term maintenance plan? (in other words, did they account for what it will cost you two years from now?)

Finally, as a bonus ask if they have written anything for a major code project. It takes actual chops to do that.

In reply to by Peterman333

techpriest Luc X. Ifer Sun, 06/17/2018 - 19:51 Permalink

If you want to die of hunger then go in web development - seriously, this is the most stupid piece of advice inserted here.

My business is in web development, so I will share the big secret:

Do not, DO NOT work on one-off websites with a project budget of less than $10,000. At most, you do this only if you are building a portfolio and are doing it on the side, but run from these jobs as fast as possible. For some reason the people only willing to pay $800 for a site simultaneously expect $80,000 in functionality, another reason to run, and run quickly.

The money is in building a web-based software platform that accomplishes *one, at most a few* specific tasks very well, and charging subscriptions. This takes more time to learn than building one-off Wordpress sites, but having several people paying you $200-500 per month to maintain what is essentially one site will turn into 10, then 20, then 50+ people paying $200-500 per month each, giving you enough income without the project overhead. You can usually afford the "virtual assistant" at that point too.

However, you cannot get to this point unless you have been coding for a few years already, in multiple languages. Knowing HTML/CSS is a prerequisite but has no real value - unless you have a portfolio were you draw the Simpsons with CSS (or something equally challenging).

In reply to by Luc X. Ifer

Baron von Bud techpriest Sun, 06/17/2018 - 21:33 Permalink

Screw coding. I did that for two decades from C to Cobol to RDB systems. No more gunslingers allowed; all teams and women and watch your tongue.

I'll tell you a great business. Installing water heaters. A plumber can buy one for $500 and the total cost to the customer is typically $1200. A gold mine. Installation might take 2hrs. The MezoAmerican who did my heater told me how it worked knowing I was too old to ever compete with him.

In reply to by techpriest

techpriest Baron von Bud Sun, 06/17/2018 - 22:51 Permalink

If you have a reasonable book of business that can work. Regarding "no gunslingers," this is true with big corporations, but since the SJWs can't get anything done, the same corps bring in contractors to do their job for them, or outsource to other companies who take care of them for a service. This is the space I live in, and I agree that full time in a corporate office sucks.

My own dream is to learn xeriscaping and consult for that. IMO cities aren't investing adequately for future water needs, and pensions will also inhibit that investment, so I expect the entire mindset around lawns to change over the next 20 years. I am planning to be out of the coding space in about 10 years, so it's be a nice second career.

In reply to by Baron von Bud

Peterman333 end times prophet Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:08 Permalink

Eh, saw a few women back in the electricians trade when I apprenticed there for a while. It's hot, no AC is installed yet, dirty, not a place for a woman that I have seen, i saw one there and every guy on the job site (new municipal bus depot) was staring like they'd never seen a woman before. Maybe turd herding or painting would have more women.

In reply to by end times prophet

s2man Sat, 06/16/2018 - 22:04 Permalink

I decided to drop out of the corporate life to sharpen knives and scissors.  Small investment, six months practicing, identified a couple of complimentary add-ons to offer, working on business forms/cards/lit now, and should be hitting the road this week. 

Wish me luck.  Short-term disability runs out soon, along with all other benefits.  So I need a gig right away.

Pernicious Gol… s2man Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:03 Permalink

Contact various women's clubs that meet in somebody's home. Contact home marketers. Tell them while the ladies are playing bridge, or having their Avon or Tupperware party, you could be outside sharpening their knives, scissors and whatnot. Be willing to work at night; lots of garden clubs, dog clubs, cat clubs, gun clubs meet at night.

Contact party supply houses that rent inflatable bouncy houses. Co-market with them. Pay for the party invitations mentioning your services sharpening knives outside while the kids are in the party.

Learn how to sharpen surgical instruments. Not all are disposable. Walk into OR managers' offices, and contact office managers of surgeons who have ORs in their offices. Telephoning will get you ignored. Walk in the door, talk to the receptionist and give her your card or flyer.

Once they're happy with you, offer to schedule the next visit at the meeting 6 or 12 months from now. Make it a regular part of their calendar.

In reply to by s2man

vaporland s2man Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:53 Permalink

move to london, I hear there's lots of knives and pointy sharp objects waiting...

seriously though, good luck, at least you won't be suffering in a cubicle or whatever they imprison the working class in these days.

it occurs to me you could also sell knives as well, for those who have sharpened one too many times.

In reply to by s2man

pump and dump Sun, 06/17/2018 - 04:07 Permalink

This dude doesn't know shit about the real world. The high demand jobs are in skilled labour. No one wants to really work. Every one wants those jobs cause they do not want to have to do a hard days work. Affiliate marketing is not even a job. Good luck trying to find work in a depression with those skills.

indygo55 pump and dump Sun, 06/17/2018 - 07:35 Permalink

Yes. I don't see 3D modeling and CAD/CAM in there although you could call it programming. It's a skill that is and will be in high demand going forward. I can't find a soul to replace me doing that anywhere that is looking. They are all employed in high paying jobs. It is so important for 3D printing and all kinds of part production. Real things for real people. Sooner or later someone has to make a part for something. 

In reply to by pump and dump

Nick O'Teen indygo55 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

This is a great skill to have and will always be in demand as long as there is any manufacturing activity.  Not many young people coming into this field.  What I think is even better is CNC machine tool service.  I know several people who used to be service technicians for a machine tool company, then went out on their own, and they are all doing very well.  The machine tool builders typically charge $150/h to dispatch a service technician, plus all travel expenses.  The customers are happy to pay that, because they are loosing more than that not having the machine running and producing parts.   

Robot integration / programming is another good one.  

My advice to young people is to go work for a machine tool builder in service or applications for a few years, get to know the job thoroughly, build up relationships with customers, then eventually go independent.  No college required.  This has worked out extremely well for me.  The only downside is travel.  

In reply to by indygo55

CNONC Nick O'Teen Sun, 06/17/2018 - 14:55 Permalink

You are correct.  Industrial machine repair and service is a money maker.  My focus is on industrial process heat, like boilers, thermal fluid heaters and process ovens.  If you can accurately and quickly troubleshoot a machine and repair it, first time every time, 100 to 185 dollars an hour, from the moment I leave the house to the moment I get back, with all expenses marked up 10%, and all parts marked up 35 to 60% is possible, and nobody complains.  They write the check with a smile. 

In reply to by Nick O'Teen

Proofreder CNONC Sun, 06/17/2018 - 16:15 Permalink

Even better, limit your customer base to reliable, select, well-financed organizations, like health clubs, or hospital-affiliated rehab groups; anywhere Treadmills, mechanical exercise stair-steppers, rowing machines, etc. are used.  Curves is my example.

The fitness machines all break or need regular maintenance or calibration, and all are pretty simple repairs FOR THE EDUCATED.

However, after getting established, it's really hard to find good help.

In reply to by CNONC

snblitz indygo55 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 16:41 Permalink

I started out my early career doing CAD design (AutoDesk), but then spent most of my career in software design. 

As a hobby I have a few 3D designs on OnShape (back when it was free) and thingiverse (mostly using FreeCad).  I am also mildly familiar CNC program design.

I really no longer enjoy software development due to the "agile" development methodology so popular these days.

Is there any remote work for CAD design?  Where does one look for it?


In reply to by indygo55

CNONC Anarchyteez Sun, 06/17/2018 - 15:00 Permalink

Duct tape?  I wrap it with a filthy napkin from a old bag of fast food and secure it with electrical tape wrapped so tight that the affected appendage turns white and clammy.  My RN wife is appalled, but I retain all appendages I was originally equipped with.  Leaving work due to injury is most unmanly.  It also means admitting you screwed up.  I am not sure which is worse.

In reply to by Anarchyteez

Mazzy pump and dump Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

If you can come fix my drippy toilet where the seals are starting to corrode, I've got a check just waiting for you.  Either that or I can sling some wire, put up new lights for you, etc. etc.  It's a trade-off: you won't touch electricity and I don't want to fuck around with water.

Lots of money in the building trades and there's a huge shortage of people who don't look and act like complete dregs.

In reply to by pump and dump

NoPension Mazzy Sun, 06/17/2018 - 21:32 Permalink

I’m 55. This week, by myself...I built a set of brick steps and a small piece of sidewalk. The young clients just had to have it. It’s too small for the big boys, too complicated/ skilled for the handyman types. $3500 cash, net. Got a nice tan and shed a few pounds  to boot.

In reply to by Mazzy

Kidbuck pump and dump Mon, 06/18/2018 - 03:02 Permalink

Skilled labor is greatly under appreciated and misunderstood. The cult of compulsory "education" in The United States looks down on all professions except "formal" education. Leftist College professors, which account for 90% of all professors, have a world view that they pass on to their students, especially their students that go on to become school teachers or politicians. They view themselves at the apex of a pyramid of intelligence and importance with the artists and novelists on the next highest tier and the doctors and lawyers just below them. The professors view the skilled trades and the unskilled manual labor as the base of the pyramid. 

However, most skilled auto mechanics, plumbers, electronic technicians, and carpenters are smarter and better educated than half the college professors I've met. Most children beyond the age of 15 could profit by working towards aquiring a trade. Half of the kids on college tracks in highschool don't belong there. They have no interest or aptitude for the abstract ideas of the liberal arts or math and science nor in doing the reading and writing (and thinking) that is required to master them, and they never will have these skills no matter how many years they avoid the real world and stay in school. Trade schools and apprenticeships could help lots of these young people get a good start in life.

In reply to by pump and dump

techpriest HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 20:25 Permalink

Copywriting refers to writing sales copy. Like any other industry if you are very good at what you do (you understand how to communicate to customers, in this case), you will do well, but that industry is kinda like the stock trading industry, where the money is not in the actual work so much as teaching people to attempt the actual work.

The entire article is just saying "get good at sales." And if you are an independent contractor of any kind, sure. Otherwise, you are going to depend on another company needing you to do sales, and again the article is saying you aren't getting a job, just a 1099 gig that might pay.

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0