3 Easy Steps for Uncovering Your Most Marketable Freelancing Skill
“What could I possibly do as an online freelancer?”
That question, or some variation of it, is the one I’m most frequently asked when I speak at events, workshops, and in online training programs.
It’s certainly a valid question, but it also speaks to the doubts many baby boomers feel about their ability to compete in online freelance marketplaces. In reality, boomers are not only well suited to becoming online freelancers, in certain categories they are uniquely positioned to dominate.
The doubt and disbelief boomers feel comes from the fact that they have a hard time breaking down their occupation into marketable skills. And that’s understandable.
Many boomers, myself included, spent most of our lives accumulating, combining, and enhancing skills. And we tend to think of them as a package—a specific combination of abilities and knowledge that helped us navigate our careers.
This is different.
In online freelancing, you need to think in terms of individual marketable skills. Most boomers have at least a handful of these that they could use to earn an income between comfortable and robust. All from the comfort of their own home or from their favorite overseas destination.
The art is uncovering that handful of skills. Here’s an easy three-step strategy to help you get started.
Step 1: Get a piece of paper and a pen
Draw a line down the center of the paper.
Draw another line across the paper.
So basically, you have four empty boxes.
Step 2: Label each box with the following four titles:
Step 3: Fill in the boxes
In your career box, make a list of your professional skills. It might include extensive knowledge in fields like accounting, engineering, law, marketing, etc.
Get as granular as you can. Rather than simply writing accounting, write something like accounting in continuous flow manufacturing. Or contract law in the purchase of bulk chemicals, or marketing home repair products to new homeowners in the Southwestern U.S.
Come up with four or five very descriptive phrases.
In your life box, outline skills you may have used in non-career activities. Did you write articles for the church newsletter? Did you help coach a Little League team? Did you help the local scout troupe organize a camping trip? Did you raise twins?
Again, come up with four to five detailed descriptive phrases.
Think of hobbies, areas of interest, and passions. Do you know how to build and manage a coin collection, how to handle common first aid issues that are likely to arise at a summer camp, how to weave a wicker chair? Again, make a detailed list.
This may be the most fun category of all. We all have skills and/or domains of knowledge that don’t fit into the categories above. Something like fundraising for a local charity or the ability to handle certain animals, like horses or snakes. Also, make sure to list software programs that you know how to use.
Everything you wrote out in these four squares represents domains of knowledge that are in demand in the freelance world.
You’ve just finished the hardest part of building your portable freelance income. You can now go to the internet, look up “freelance networks,” pop in some of the words and phrases you’ve written down, and see for yourself the interesting assignments you could be taking advantage of.
Plus, you’ll find that your list of skills will grow over time. Leave the piece of paper out on your desk and periodically another thought will come to you about another skill. Add it to the list.
Why Baby Boomers Are Perfect for Freelancing
Baby boomers have more experience than any other working-age generation, making them perfect for the world of online freelancing. In fact, in the online freelancing world, they have solved more problems and delivered more completed projects than any other freelancer age group.
The reasons why clients cite a preference for working with boomers include:
1. The ability to complete work on time and meet overall project goals.
2. The ability to communicate effectively in both verbal and written form.
3. The ability to overcome challenges and come up with a new plan.
Do you want to take your baby boomer skills and knowledge and cash in on the income revolution? Start making your list and you might discover you have all the skills you need to build a flexible, portable online income.
Written by Winton Churchill