Be multiskilled.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m mediocre at many things. I can make presentations, design visuals, write basic HTML code, develop a website on WordPress, write video scripts, and such miscellany. Now, I don’t really sell any of these services, because well, I’m mediocre at them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t come in handy.

For instance, knowing how websites are built helps me write content that doesn’t piss developers off. Having an eye for design helps me keep all of emdash’s brand visuals consistent. Each new skill strengthens my core skill. So, if you’re freelancing or setting up your own business, learn skills on the periphery.

Some I suggest:

  • Writing: Whatever your business, learn to write well.

  • Design: Get a sense of shapes, colours, balance, contrast etc.

  • Presentation: PPTs are everywhere. Learn to make yours distinct.

  • Number crunching: Get on a spreadsheet, process some basic data, insert those pivot tables. And when you’re comfortable, perhaps even learn to write a macro.

  • Language: If you’re bilingual (most Indians are), exercise your second language skills.

  • Learn the tools: Mailchimp, Photoshop, Canva, Hubspot, Google Analytics etc. are useful in my line of work. Find those that your community uses.

  • Taxes: You need to know your taxes, even if you don’t do them yourself.

  • Coding: Some practise of writing code will help you work better with any technology.

Don’t let yourselves be overwhelmed. Just do a little bit every week, and a little better each time. You’re not becoming an expert, you’re just getting your toes wet.