Attention Freelancers: You Should Be Paying Attention to These 4 Trends

Freelance jobs
Eelke under Creative Commons

I’m a writer, so when I hear people talk about freelancing, they’re usually talking about freelance writing.

Before technology made remote work possible in virtually every industry, writing was one of the few common freelance jobs. (Virtually — did you catch that?)

But that’s changing.

As technology makes it possible and interest in workplace flexibility and autonomy grows, so do opportunities for freelance work. A recent report from the gig site Freelancer reveals some industry trends that might help you find your next client.

Freelancer’s quarterly Fast 50 report lists the top 50 fastest-growing keywords in freelance jobs listings on its site. Here are our top takeaways:

1. Creativity Dominates

Core software languages still dominate freelance job listings, but creative jobs are on the rise.

The report shows several of the fastest growing job keywords are related to creative projects like video and photo editing, fashion design and illustration.

These keywords were in the top 10 fastest-growing in Q3:

  • Photography tops the list with 22% growth.
  • Video editing was third on the list with a 19% increase.
  • Branding came fifth, with 16% growth.
  • Fashion design was seventh, with 13% growth.
  • Photo editing was number eight, with 12.8% growth.

Calls for hard skills saw sharp drops in job listings on the site: algorithms (-42%), statistics (-40%), mathematics (-37%) and computer security (-37%).

Want to sharpen your creative skills? Check out courses on your favorite subject at Udemy.

2. German Language Skills Are More Necessary

Jobs with German language skills rose heavily at 22% from the previous quarter.

This surprised us, especially when we saw the call for Spanish language skills rose only 1%. So it doesn’t seem due to an overall rising need for bilingual speakers.

The report suggests it could be due to Brexit. Germany has been trying to lure companies away from the UK since the latter voted to leave the European Union.

It calls Berlin a “European hub of innovation” and points to a 30% increase over 12 months among users in Germany.

Learning German could make you worth more money in the U.S., too. Research has shown the language skill correlates with an average 4% higher pay, according to Money magazine.

In case you didn’t pick up German in high school, check out these 13 resources to learn a new language for free.

3. Virtual Assistant Jobs are Growing

Virtual assistant demand rose 18% over the previous quarter, coming in at number four on the list.

Becoming a virtual assistant is a smart way to work for yourself and set your own schedule, without necessarily running your own business. You’ll get to work from home and put your organizational skills to good use.

If you’re interested in this kind of work, check out these seven in-demand skills for virtual assistants and eight sites to find open VA jobs.

4. Content is King (Promotion is… Queen?)

Content creation and promotion skills still dominate in the freelancing world. Even if you don’t want to be a freelance blogger, your knowledge of blogging tools could help you earn some cash as a freelancer.

Blog install, Amazon Web Services and Google AdWords all grew between 11-13% in Q3, landing in the top 10 fastest-growing keywords.

Content writing, SEO, internet marketing, link building, Pinterest and WordPress all grew over last quarter, as well.

These skills are all focused on one thing: growing a blog.

If you know your way around WordPress and hosting sites, try marketing your skills to help small business owners and new bloggers set up their sites. If you’re comfortable with AdWords, SEO or link building, help an owner grow their existing blog’s audience.

Want to learn more about these skills? Read our ultimate guide to starting a blog.

Your Turn: Are you a freelancer? What unique ways have you found to earn money?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post,, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).