Friday, June 08, 2012

Skills the Modern Freelancer Needs

Why haven't I been blogging? I've been busy freelancing. That's a good thing right? Anyway, I've found that I have a gift for creating odd slideshows and I get paid for it. Not bad a bad gig, but I had to learn a few skills to do it. So I decided to do a post on what skills a freelancer needs right now (or yesterday.)

1. You need to know a content management system.

If you have a blog, you have experience with a CMS. Quite a few companies (and media outlets) also use WordPress. Other systems include Drupal, MovableType, etc. Essentially you need to be able to take your text and put it in a database.

2. Photoshop

I don't recommend buying Adobe Photoshop ($670) but Adobe Photoshop Essentials is about a 1/10 of the price. Mainly you do need to know how to crop, cut and resize, although if you know more your skills will be appreciated -- and compensated.

3. Web Design

While you won't be expected to design a website from scratch, it helps if you at least know basic HTML tags. You definitely get more points for experience with CSS and more actual design because you can tweak the website itself. (Also, there's a quick way to create an audio slideshow, but there tends to be more demand for video.)

4. Digital Video

If you know Final Cut Pro and a CMS, you can pretty much get a job at any news station right now as an online producer. Websites also like freelancers who can produce video with their copy. So if you have the time and access to the software, learn it.

5. Social Media

It's more than just a Twitter account -- it's Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook and 15 other places you probably don't use on a regular basis. Knowing a lot about social media is a job in itself, but as a freelancer, it's up to you to promote yourself and your work. It can lead to another job. (I interviewed for an online editor position, but didn't get it. I decided to follow the guy who didn't hire me on Twitter because he was influential and a decent digital journalist. Later when he tweeted he needed a writer for a monthly column, I volunteered my services and got the gig.)