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Employers Are Paying Freelancers Big Bucks For These 25 In-Demand Skills

With the right skills and some hustle, freelancing pays like a full time job.

John Rampton

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freelancers

Want to join the freelancer revolution? Did you know that there are thousands of freelancer jobs that pay six figures?

Over the past ten years, I’ve both worked as a freelancer and hired countless freelancers, some for six-figure positions. And along the way, I’ve noticed that there are a few freelancer skills that pay more than others. Want to join the ranks of six-figure and other well remunerated freelancers?

Here are the skills that hirers are looking for:

1Natural language processing/Twilio API Development

Thanks to the emergence of voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon ($AMZN) Echo and Google ($GOOG) Home, natural language processing has become one of, if not the most in-demand freelancing skills.

This particular gig, in which you enable machines to understand human language, requires a background in computer science, artificial intelligence, and linguistics, and can command at its highest levels a salary of well over $100,000 annually.

Related: From Freelancers to Entrepreneurs: How Christine and Warren Bernard Made the Jump

2Swift development

The Apple Watch was developed using the programming language Swift. Since sales for the Apple Watch broke records during the 2016 holiday season, demand for freelancers skilled in developing this iOS app is surging, with an average salary of $85,000.

3Social media management

Social media management

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, businesses of all sizes are in need of talented individuals to implement and manage the day-to-day activities for their social media marketing campaigns.

While not as high-paying as more-tech related skills, social media managers average between $67,750 and $94,250 per year.

4Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS)

Amazon Marketplace Web Service (Amazon MWS) is an integrated web service API that assists Amazon sellers to programmatically exchange data on listings, orders, payments and reports. Since this online ecommerce site is showing no signs of slowing, there’s a need for freelancers with python skills. This also includes devops companies.

The amount freelancers can charge clients will vary depending on the scope of the project.

5AngularJS development

With this skill, you can extend HTML vocabulary in order to build either mobile or desktop web applications. Since this is the framework for dynamic web apps, the demand for this skill should continue to increase.

The average national salary is over $102,000. For a better understanding of this job, check out our programmer guide.

6MySQL programming

As the world’s most popular open-source database, this skill – which requires knowledge in web-scripting languages like PHP – can earn freelancers between $45,495 and $99,187,depending on their experience.

Related: 50 Jobs, Gigs And Side Hustles You Can Do From Home

7Instagram marketing

Instagram marketing

Out of all the social media channels, Instagram is rapidly becoming the most popular. It’s also under-utilised for anyone wanting to grow a business. That’s why the company is searching for marketers experienced with the Gram.

While there professional “Instagrammers” who are making six figures, the average Instagram marketer should expect around $15 per hour.

8Twilio API development

Those who can build SMS, voice and messaging applications on an API – specifically, Twilio’s cloud-based communication platform – are in high demand; and they can also earn up to a solid $35 per hour.

9Brand strategy

Branding is all the rage these days, which is why both individuals and companies are searching for people who can develop positioning recommendations, guide market research analysis and define brand elements and tone.

The average pay for a brand strategist is $61,044 per year.

10Business consulting

Business consultants work with clients on everything from strategy, planning and problem solving, to the development of business skills and knowledge. On average, a business consultant earns $71,254 per year.

Here are a few tips to becoming a better Instagram consultant.

11Machine learning

According to Upwork, “data science is the fastest-growing category on its site for the second quarter in a row. Machine learning moved from Upwork’s spot in Q3 to  number 12 in Q4 “but continues to see rapid growth.”

The average machine learning engineer salary is $114,826. I’ve found that some of the best engineers in machine learning are found on Toptal. It’s another place where you can both hire and get six-figure jobs.

123D rendering

3d-rendering-printing

In general, freelance designers are one of the hottest gigs around. Technology like 3D printing has become increasingly prevalent. In fact, it’s anticipated to grow from $4.1 billion in revenue in 2014 to $12.8 billion by 2018. Currently, the average national salary is around $56,000.

13Zendesk customer support

As support inquiries continue to skyrocket, customer-service software companies like Zendesk are looking for individuals to build customize experiences by placing products into existing APIs, apps and mobile SDKs. Software engineer salaries at Zendesk can range between $76,969 and $134,061. Another option would be to work with a company like Support Ninja. I’ve used that company and love its service.

Related: Top Tips For Building A Successful Business From Your Home

14Information security

Information-security analysts plan, as well as carry out, security measures to protect an organisation’s computer networks and systems,  to thwart the increasing number of cyber-attacks.

Information security analysts can charge over $44 per hour.

15R development

R is a programming language and software environment used for statistical computing and graphics, such as polls and surveys, which is commonly used by data miners. It’s supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. An R programmer can earn an average salary of $76,607 per year.

16User experience design

Both website and app designers demand to be blown away whenever they land on a website or download an app. UX designers are responsible for these tasks through the creation of products that are simple and improve the experience of visitors.

The average national salary is $87,883. I have found most of my best designers on 99Designs, it’s a great place to pick up great paying gigs.

17Node.js development

A Node.js developer is responsible for writing server-side web application logic in JavaScript, as well as variants like CoffeeScript or IcedCoffeeScript. The average salary for a NodeJS developer in the United States is $107,562.

18Bluetooth specialist

Now that the iPhone 7 has eliminated the headphone jack, expect a rapid increase in the companies searching for people experienced with this ubiquitous technology.

IOS Bluetooth QA Engineer salaries at Apple, for example, range between $130,910 and $142,567.

19Stripe specialist

As more and more businesses look for affordable and flexible options to accept payments, they’re turning to freelancers to help them build a payment platform using APIs from payment infrastructures like Stripe. Stripe specialists can charge up to $95 an hour on freelance sites like Upwork. Looking for other options? Here is a list of the top payments companies, most of which have similar needs!

20SEO/Content Writing

SEO and content writers help clients increase their visibility online, especially on search engines like Google or Bing, by creating engaging, relevant, and keyword optimised content. The average salary, nationally, is $40,951.

21Virtual assistant

Businesses are continuing to restructure and downsize. As such, everyone from business owners and managers to entrepreneurs is turning to virtual assistants to help manage administrative tasks, such as responding to emails, scheduling appointments and even handling public relations services.

The average salary is $15.56 per hour.

22Immigration law

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 6 percent job growth for all lawyers between 2014 and 2024. However, with the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding immigration under the Trump administration, immigration law is on a rapid rise. The median annual salary for lawyers as $115,820.

23Accounting (CPA)

Despite the plethora of accounting software available, the freelancer generation is still in need of accountants to better understand complex issues like tax codes and deductions.

The average national salary is $65,940.

24Photography/video editing

According to a report released by Freelancers.com, jobs for photographers have grown by about 22 percent, thanks to the fact that employers are “finally understanding the importance of high-quality pictures on their landing pages.”

The demand for video editing, in particular, saw a 19 percent increase due to the same factors that caused the increase in photography jobs.

25Voiceover artists

“While voiceover work has been around for decades, the move to digital is enabling talent to record from virtually anywhere,” CNBC has noted. “Telephony, audiobook readers, dubbing work, e-learning instruction, animation dialogue and video game voices are just some of the jobs calling for voice actors.”

A voice actor can charge such fees as $100 for a 15-second recording and $250 for a 30- or 60-second commercial, to about $3,000 per audiobook.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and has been one of the Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for the past three years. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Managing Staff

8 Ways To Upskill Your Call Centre Team Before Year-End

For South African call centres, November is the busiest month of the year, so to get in on the action, it’s only appropriate for Olico to provide a few tips on how to upskill your call centre agents.

Gareth Moutain

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As we’re heading into the 2017 home-stretch, many companies will be concerned about hitting those final sales figures. Apart from being a tough year financially, traditionally sales tend to lag behind at this stage. But there is hope.

For South African call centres, November is the busiest month of the year, so to get in on the action, it’s only appropriate for Olico to provide a few tips on how to upskill your call centre agents.

1. For sales, balance is key

A firmly held belief is that the more leads allocated per seat, the more sales that seat will bring in. That’s incorrect. Give the agent too many leads, and they will give up too easily on a call, stopping at the first hurdle experienced. Too few leads mean they might miss out on sales opportunities. Finding the right balance is essential, bearing in mind that all leads should be made the most of.

2. Improve the opening script

In a call centre environment, agents must know how to capitalise on that brief period of time to get a foot in the door. The opening script is absolutely vital, and it can be enhanced by simply adding personalisation to it. Make sure the person is greeted by their name/surname, with agents encouraged to add some energy to the lines to make it stand out from other call clutter.

Related: The Festive Season Might Be Over, But There’s No Rest For Call Centres

3. Provide the origin of the lead

Tying in closely to the above, sales will improve if agents know where the lead comes from. If the lead is from a person who responded to an email campaign, it must be mentioned in the script. Once the person knows the call is related to a request they sent, they will immediately form rapport with the call centre agent.

4. Product refresh training

Much like a car sometimes need a retouch to bring back the shine, so too do call centre agents need a refresh on the products they are selling. Products also evolve, so providing agents with a short course on new benefits, while re-emphasising the key ones, is a great idea.

5. Objection handling

Closing a sale through the telephone is hard work, and call centre agents must be made aware of all the tricks of the trade to seal the deal. If a consumer is not keen, sell harder. If there are regular excuses, find their counterpoints. Is the client’s home language isiZulu? Find the agent who can help. Give them a reason to stay on the phone.

6. Stick to the appointment

Time is money they say, so if the person requested a call back on a specific time, make sure the appointment is kept. Customers don’t respond well if a time slot was missed and yet another call catches them at a bad time.

Related: Why Tyra Banks Cold-Called Zappos’s Tony Hsieh

7. Improve quote ratios

It’s easy – more quotes mean more sales. If the potential customer is provided with a quote, the chances of them converting to a sale is considerably more certain. Where the problem comes in, is guiding a lead through the call to be able to quote. For call centres this means tailoring the script to elegantly move from “Good morning, Mr. Williams,” to “Our life policy will cost you R350 per month”.

8. Incentivise!

With the holidays and Christmas coming up, everyone needs that extra cash, that’s why the time is now to really incentivise sales. Big paydays for agents and teams who sell the most will provide the kindling needed to get those sales fires burning.

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Managing Staff

How To Avoid People Leaving Your Company

How can entrepreneurs ensure a better business model to limit the impact of high staff turnover in these environments?

Joel Stransky

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If your business requires a call centre or service centre environment the chances are that you will find yourself faced with a high staff turnover (attrition rate) versus other departments in your business.

The main reason is a generational issue as these environments are increasingly being staffed by members from the Generation Y cohort, also known as Millennials, with digital natives from Generation Z looming on the horizon.

How can entrepreneurs ensure a better business model to limit the impact of high staff turnover in these environments?

Related: 11 SA Entrepreneurs on What They’ve Learnt About Managing Staff

Understand why staff turnover is high

Firstly, technology innovation regularly introduces new skills and competencies that staff is required to learn, while also creating some degree of uncertainty with regard to what the future holds in terms of job security.

Secondly, the call centre or service centre environment is often considered a stepping stone to other career paths, and is seldom viewed as a long-term job prospect.

Thirdly, the perceived lack of career opportunities, coupled with other challenges such as low levels of stimulation; a tough sales-based environment, and hierarchical management structures1, all make the call centre a unique and complex environment where staff has a short lifespan.

Talent acquisition

As an entrepreneur, anticipating and proactively addressing talent issues requires a focused acquisition strategy. Finding ways to better predict performance alongside traditional methods of assessing candidates has become a top priority. And it is not only about whether new hires have the skill-set to perform in the role but also do they fit into your company culture.

Traditional assessments such as psychometric testing can deliver some insights about potential employees, but the reality is that these tests only accurately measure between 16 to 20% of key performance predictors.

Related: How To Keep Your Sales Staff Focused On The Future

In addition, the skills required in a modern multi-channel call centre are varied as staff need to engage via various mediums such as social media and email, not just over the phone.

Companies therefore need the ability to match core competencies/skills with the job role, while also ascertaining both written and verbal skill sets.

As such, it has become increasingly complex to assess which candidates will be a good fit for the call centre environment when relying on traditional assessments alone.

Understand your talent to manage staff turnover

Once hired, the ability to understand your employees and track their talent lifecycle can help to identify early warning signs of discontent and consideration of leaving, which is highly beneficial to your business.

There are technologies today which allow you to do just this. By understanding your employees better you can intervene to hopefully address their concerns and secure their continued service, or plan for the attrition to ensure a smoother transition by finding a replacement before they leave.

It is important to limit the financial impact that empty seats in a call centre can have on your bottom line as it limits the risk of sales targets not being met, and helps ensure that customer engagement and satisfaction goals are not compromised.

Related: How To Know If You’re Focusing On The Wrong Types Of Staff Skill Enhancement

Boost performance

By better understanding call centre employees, your managers will develop more robust strategies to boost both workforce performance and job satisfaction, which is of particular importance to Millennials.

By understanding employees better, career planning and progression can also become more focused by aligning skills or helping to identify weak areas that require improvement. This personal development will help employees feel like they are growing and advancing.

Today entrepreneurs have access to technology, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are being used to support a stronger talent acquisition and staff development business model.

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These 4 Types Of ‘Nightmare Managers’ Are Scaring Employees Away

You don’t have to drive to the local cinemaplex to see “It,” to see monsters in action. Just check your workplace.

Andre Lavoie

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Things that go bump in the night, monsters hiding under the bed and terrifying clowns called “It”: These are the things nightmares are made of. But for some employees, the scariest part of their day isn’t a movie; it’s dealing with bad managers.

While no one sets out to be a bad manager, this scenario happens and all too often. In fact, one in two employees surveyed by Gallup in 2015 said they had left jobs to get away from a bad manager.

Since managers are the main sources for employee motivation, productivity, happiness and retention, one who’s a “nightmare”  can wreak more damage than just unhappy employees. Even with today’s technology and resources, managers continue to make major mistakes – and that can hurt the bottom line at the same time it costs companies quality employees.

The solution? Be aware of the habits that could make your managers a nightmare, and don’t get tangled in that web to begin with.

Related: Fighting Sleep Is A Losing Management Strategy. Let Your Employees Take Naps

Here are four examples of managers who haunt employees long after the workday has ended – and how to avoid becoming one:

1The poor “people” person

A manager who doesn’t interact well with people sounds like an oxymoron, but these individuals exist. When someone who doesn’t work well with others is in charge of a team, the entire company dynamic becomes derailed.

One of the biggest things that suffers is free-flowing communication. OfficeVibe’s August State of Employee Engagement report found that 31 percent of employees polled wished their manager communicated with them more frequently.

Unfortunately, however, a manager categorized as a “poor people person” may actually be uncomfortable communicating and dealing with critical employee situations.

For some managers, this type of bad management style will be easy to avoid. However, others will have to overcome their natural tendencies to stray away from social situations. This means that leaders have to assess personality types and understand which people skills that certain managers lack may need improving.

The best place to get information is from your current team members. Because they may feel they’re being put into an awkward situation, you might offer an anonymous survey. Ask how frequently your employees would like to speak with management and in what format, and whether they feel management is opening up and communicating with them on the level they need.

2The self-involved manager

Quality managers have a knack for motivating their entire team toward one end goal – the company’s mission. While this is accomplished by setting and pursuing personal and company goals, good team leaders know how to invoke passion from employees and help them succeed on every front.

The self-involved manager, on the other hand, has no awareness of anyone’s goals but his or her own. This is why the incidence of managers taking credit for their team’s hard work and not empowering employees happens all too frequently.

Self-involved managers may seem successful due to their ability to hit goals and make the numbers move, but that’s all they’re interested in.

For managers who want to improve, a good place to focus on is the greater good of the company. In this regard, managers need to know exactly where employees stand with their individual goals, the nature of their personal missions and where they picture the company moving to.

Ignoring this kind of detail about employees may make managers seem self-involved, and employees will quickly lose trust in their leadership.

Sit down for weekly meetings or create an online chat room where managers and employees can come together. Make this a safe place for all to share their personal goals or discuss where they hope to see the company in a few years. Offer advice, step-by-step guides or continuing education courses to help employees reach their greatest potential.

Related: To Have An Innovative Company, Let Your Employees Take The Reins

3The overly involved manager

This type of manager often wears a mask of popularity and is frequently involved in a small company or startup. “Overly involved” doesn’t simply refer to the micromanager who has to be in on every project, opinion and decision. Overly involved managers take things a step further and try to meddle in every aspect of their employees’ lives.

While it is important to care about team members as more than just employees, there is a fine line between being a caring manager and becoming a close friend. Going beyond that point can make employees uncomfortable and even make it difficult to manage them.

Employees, meanwhile, may appear to like this type of manager, but his or her inability to successfully lead and manage will eventually cause the team to feel stagnant.

Rather than focusing on getting employees to like them, managers should look at what boosts those employees’ productivity, motivation and passion. Knowing what makes them tick inside and outside of work will help bosses lead their teams to victory. Remember to keep things professional in order to maintain employees’ respect for management and the company.

4The indecisive manager

These managers are infamous for being hard to please. From their perspective, they’re simply putting the company’s best foot forward and perfecting employees’ projects and tasks. But being unpredictable makes for a scary workplace situation. Employees are left feeling uneasy, apt to second-guess themselves and overly critical of co-workers.

Related: What Are Your Employees Doing When You’re Not Looking?

Once indecisive managers become known for their lack of predictability, morale and creativity get thrown out the window. Employees need to feel safe in their working environment, especially with the person who is reviewing and assessing their final products.

So, loosen the reins a bit and have employees take control of their projects. When necessary, post guidelines in a shared drive, like Google Docs, to offer direction when employees need it, and don’t forget to always be available for questions.

It’s okay to make small changes to these guidelines, but don’t jump in and change them too frequently. Let team members know they can always expect a supportive and guiding hand from management when needed.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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