I have discussed the disadvantages of an aspiring freelancer being a "one-stop shop," or a generalist. Now I'll cite several feasible ways to turn a few of your skills into a specialty.
The following is not an exhaustive list, as all of us are unique and may have had different experiences with clients, so feel free to include anything that may be helpful to you.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- After a year or two of working as a freelancer, take a good look at the variety of projects or assignments that you've accepted and submitted. Ask yourself, "Which of these did I enjoy doing the most? Which gave me enough challenge to stretch me, but were within my capabilities?" After a thorough evaluation, pick no more than three skills that you'd like to cultivate.
- Look online for free tutorials or webinars that are centered specifically on teaching participants to hone their skills.
- Attend seminars and workshops that are related to improving your skills. Seasoned facilitators are usually trained to instruct students with greater depth and breadth.
- Read books about writing effective emails, as the ability to communicate and negotiate with your clients has been proven to be priceless in freelancing.
- Improve your manner of speaking over the telephone, especially if you will allow clients to inquire by calling you up. Prepare a list of questions that are intended for clarity of your clients' desired results for the project. Keep your list inserted in your phone book.
- Get in touch with a non-profit organization or groups who rally behind a cause and volunteer your time and skills. Don't worry about not getting paid. The experience that you'll get and the ties that you'll form with people will be far worth than any amount of money in the long run.
- Create a website by looking into one of those free web hosting sites, like Wix (click here) and Weebly (click here). Make sure to spell out your complete name and provide adequate information about your services. Double check your contact information for accuracy.
- Start your own blog, where you can share tips with online readers or discuss any interesting innovations in your field. Having your own blog can also qualify as a credential when you bid for projects in freelancers' websites.
- Get in touch with other bloggers who write about topics that are similar to yours, and ask if they're interested in a guest blogging gig. They can submit one or several blog articles, and you can return the favor by writing a review of their blogs. This is a cost-effective way to gain wider exposure in the blogosphere.