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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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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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How The Digital World Has Impacted HR

Here are a few ways in which HR has changed.

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Almost every conversation that happens within a business environment is around growth and how technology is changing the way we do business. With few industries left untouched, the digital world has radically changed the way individuals work, creating an even bigger demand for real-time experiences.

The HR department deals with an influx of messages and emails on a daily basis, so in order to make things easier, digital has introduced a variety of different online tools that have certainly helped set the tone for the future of organisational management. With employee cultures, engagement and productivity being a few of the most important topics circulated internally, HR has a fundamental part to play in getting existing employees to adopt a digital mindset that supports this new-age culture.

The quicker businesses take advantage of technology to manage performance, make the hiring process easier and give people access to their own personal information, the quicker it will separate traditional workplace thinking from today’s thinking.

Here are a few ways in which HR has changed:

Cloud computing and online apps

With previous admin and other HR tasks being done by hand, cloud computing has now made everything faster and simpler. Professionals now have access to the latest online tools that will help streamline processes and allow individuals instant access to their own personal information without having to ask for it. This also speeds up the process and takes a lot of extra, unnecessary work off HRs shoulders.

Related: Is Leveraging Your Resources Getting The Job Done Properly?

In the upcoming years, companies can expect cloud-based HR systems to become more automated and mobile friendly. This means that HR and management will be able to access employee payrolls, CV applications and more, with just the click of a button.

People analytics

One of the many benefits that digital has created for HR is the availability of employee data. More companies have started using online applications to monitor employee performance and company productivity. HR departments have started tracking employee behaviour and patterns through their selected app, making employee feedback easier and more efficient. If any employees have complaints, questions or queries, logging these requests online will make it easier for HR to deal with, considering the amount of content they receive, every day. This will also help them to make more effective decisions.

It’s no secret that a company’s most valuable asset is their people, and when looking to motivate employees, track employee training and individual performance or set up a training programme, then online is the way to go. By having a more holistic understanding of your people and how they’re performing, HR can better support a culture of feedback, engagement and motivation. This kind of approach will also enable employees to better align their personal goals to bigger business objectives.

Real-time feedback

Because the digital age has created the impression that things can get done quickly, in real-time, employees feel the need to give and receive feedback with an instant response. Real-time evaluation is much more effective for something that needs to change than an annual or quarterly review would be.

If new procedures, policies, meetings or activities get announced, employees can immediately give their feedback on a specific topic or outcome. This will also help you know when to make changes both within the organisation and with employees. For example, employees who don’t measure up to their KPI standards can be subjected to additional training or can be let go in favour of someone else who can come in and do the job better than they do.

Related: What Happened To The Workplace? How To Make It More Human

AI, VR and AR

Gone are the days where robots, VR and AR were simply jargon used among tech geeks. These terms have officially made it to everyday conversations, between business owners, employees and HR leaders. Virtual Reality (VR) which can be identified as a recreation of reality, is now being harnessed by companies in their training activities, as well as Augmented Reality (AR) which enhances technology. These elements are starting to become far more integrated into internal activities, helping employers engage better with employees, making activities more interactive and fun.

While many advancements have been made to the HR department and even HR management courses at colleges, there are countless others to look forward to. New tech innovations are introduced every day, creating even greater opportunities for businesses to align their goals with HR.

Professionals will need to keep up to date with the latest trends and develop their own strategies to stay within the path of progress. Much like all things digital, we all have mixed emotions when it comes to new trends but in order for companies to stay relevant, they will need to adapt their company goals to meet these challenges. Technology is only going to keep moving forward.

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A Culture Of Discipline Critical For SMMEs To Thrive

Employees are the heart and soul of every organisation, especially for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).

Thabang Rapuleng

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Employees are the heart and soul of every organisation, especially for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). As a result, the implementation, as well as enforcement of clear workplace policies and practices is critical to the success of these companies.

With South African Labour Law as strict as it is, we are still finding a significant number of SMMEs that do not have any formal policies and procedures, which increases the risk of these companies not complying with labour laws.

This is often as a result of SMMEs not having the necessary manpower or finances to have fully-fledged human resources (HR) departments. It can therefore be a common occurrence to find SMME owners at the helm of HR divisions.

An owner-run HR department will also not necessarily be overly familiar with labour laws. The company will often do something that is “good for business” but not advisable in terms of the law. This could lead to poor decisions being made and could be detrimental to the future of the company.

Related: 3 Steps To Find And Keep Top Talent In Your Business

Poor communication of policies and procedures is another area of concern for many SMMEs, resulting in employees often being unaware of HR policies and making them likely to infringe on these policies. New employees may also find it difficult to adapt to the business and employees could end up losing what could have been a valuable asset to a growing business.

A culture of discipline is essential

Discipline with regards to the enforcement of policies must be considered as a day-to-day management function, rather than a once-off or ad hoc event. This approach will ensure an issue is resolved before it spirals out of control.

For example, if an employee takes an extended lunch break, and the employer allows it to happen, it will send a message to other employees that this is perfectly acceptable. Employers will soon find other employees adopting a similar approach, possibly resulting in a large-scale disciplinary process. If the employer took the time and initiated a disciplinary discussion with the one employee, it would have communicated to other staff that this type of behaviour is not tolerated, avoiding a potentially bigger issue.

This is not just an issue in SMMEs. CDH often finds large corporates also struggling to maintain discipline on a day-to-day basis. In some cases, corporates tend to wait until an employee has made a significant mistake or serious act of negligence before intervening.

Record-keeping is your ally

Keeping a record of all disciplinary matters is an essential part of creating a culture of discipline in the workplace. It is critical that all verbal and written warnings are recorded and kept in the employee’s file.

Related: Servant Leadership – Will You Serve?

Under South African Labour Law, an employee must always be allowed to state his/her case in all disciplinary matters, irrespective of the seriousness of the infringement.

Before the employer issues a verbal or written warning, the employer must notify the employee of his/her infringement. The employees must then be given the opportunity to state their case and if the employer is not satisfied with their explanation, the employer may then legally issue the warning.

For more serious matters, which verbal or written warnings will not solve, you must follow more formal steps, such as disciplinary hearings. However, if you maintain a culture of discipline on a daily basis, you will rarely have issues escalating to such a degree.

Correcting an overall workplace culture is far more difficult than rectifying a small incident. When an employer has to correct an entire culture that is deeply entrenched in their business, the process can be more expensive and take much longer.

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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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