As freelancing becomes an increasingly popular way to make a living, it’s important to stay competitive in the industry. Many freelancers find themselves in crowded markets where they are competing for jobs and contracts with other highly experienced professionals.
However, there are some skills that can give you an edge over the competition and help you stand out from the crowd. I’ll go through each of these skills in detail below, explaining what makes them attractive choices for new freelancers.
7 Low Competition Freelance Skills
1. Machine Learning
Machine learning is an excellent skill for freelancers to specialize in because of its increasing popularity in an AI-driven world. Machine learning is the technology that enables computers to ‘learn’ how to better perform tasks, and it is changing the way we interact with technology.
With the rise of big data, machine learning has become increasingly important in nearly every industry, from healthcare to finance. Freelancers who specialize in machine learning are highly sought-after because they possess invaluable expertise that can help companies improve products and services, automate processes, and make better business decisions.
In addition to its prominence across diverse industries, machine learning is an excellent skill for freelancers because it is relatively new and has not been widely adopted. This means that there is a low level of competition, allowing freelancers with this skill to charge higher rates and secure more clients.
It’s Not Easy To Learn
However, machine learning requires specialized knowledge and expertise, making it challenging to master quickly. Therefore, those who take the time to learn machine learning and gain experience (or that already have it) are in high demand and can command top dollar.
Machine learning is not limited to a specific sector as it has vast applications, making it a very versatile skill to have as a freelancer. For example, machine learning can be used to develop intelligent systems, fraud detection, recommendation systems, predictive models, and natural language processing (NLP). As such, freelancers can serve a huge range of clients, irrespective of their industry or sector.
2. Blockchain Development
Blockchain development is a cutting-edge skill that is rapidly gaining popularity, making it an excellent choice for freelancers. This technology, which allows for secure and transparent data transactions, has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including finance, healthcare, and supply chain management.
With its increasing prominence, the demand for skilled blockchain developers is high and expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
But one of the main reasons blockchain development is an excellent choice for freelancers is because of its limited competition. Despite its growing significance, not many freelancers have the necessary skills to work with blockchain systems. This means that those who do possess these skills can offer their services at higher rates and secure a lucrative client base.
However, similar to machine learning, blockchain development requires a lot of specialized knowledge and expertise, which sets it apart from other types of freelancing work. This means that there is a significant learning curve involved, making it challenging for new entrants to break into the field. However, those who are willing to put in the effort to master blockchain’s intricacies will find that their expertise is highly coveted in a variety of markets.
Wide Range Of Applications
Another advantage of blockchain development as a freelance skill is its versatility. The technology has numerous applications, ranging from cryptocurrency to supply chain management, making it relevant to various industries.
Decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have risen in popularity in recent years (although the latter’s popularity did seem pretty hype-focused and has since died down), and the demand for blockchain developers is expected to continue to rise in the years to come.
Note: While it has widespread applications, blockchain development not currently the easiest skill to find clients for, as most people don’t fully understand or have a need for blockchain technology. I expect this will change in the next 5-10 years.
3. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Design
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies have rapidly emerged as transformative and innovative tools, revolutionizing various industries, from entertainment to healthcare. They offer immersive, interactive experiences that enable users to interact with digital environments and objects in realistic ways. This has led to a high demand for VR/AR designers who can create engaging, high-quality experiences for clients.
One of the significant advantages of freelance VR/AR design is that it is a relatively new field, with limited competition. The technology is still in its early stages, and not many freelancers have the necessary skill set to work with these emerging technologies.
However, VR and AR technologies have numerous applications, from gaming to education, and from architecture to virtual conferences. So, like the other skills I’ve mentioned above, freelance VR/AR designers can work with clients in various industries, rather than being stuck in one niche.
Another Difficult Skill To Learn
Successful freelance VR/AR designers must have a thorough understanding of 3D modeling, programming, and visual design, in addition to having exceptional artistic skills. This specialized skill set makes it challenging for newbies to break into the field, but those willing to put in the effort can definitely establish themselves as successful freelancers!
The field of cybersecurity has become increasingly important in recent years. With the rise of digital threats and the potential for devastating cybersecurity breaches, businesses are investing heavily in cybersecurity to ensure their sensitive data is protected. This has led to a high demand for cybersecurity experts who can provide the necessary protection and guidance to these businesses.
The need for cybersecurity experts is constantly growing, and this means that freelancers who specialize in cybersecurity can expect to see high demand for their services for years to come.
Specialized Knowledge Required
Cybersecurity is a highly specialized field that requires a significant amount of expertise and knowledge. This means that cybersecurity freelancers can often command high rates.
But to find success with this freelancing skill, you need to have a thorough understanding of various security protocols and measures, as well as the ability to stay up to date with the latest threats and trends in the industry (which is always evolving). This specialized knowledge is highly valued by businesses, hence the often high rates.
5. Data Science/Analytics
Data science and data analytics are in-demand skills that are quickly becoming popular choices for freelancers. Many industries have started to realize the value of big data, and businesses need experts who can analyze and interpret the vast amount of information they collect. This makes data science a profitable and rewarding career path for a freelancer.
One of the main reasons data science is an excellent choice for freelancers is that the talent pool for such experts is relatively small. Data science requires specific educational and experience requirements that make it hard to succeed without putting in the work.
So, top performing freelancers can earn a lucrative income because of the high demand and low supply of data science experts on the market. However, like cybersecurity, many firms would prefer to hire permanent data scientists, rather than freelancers.
It Offers Flexibility
However, freelancers in data science, as long as they have access to a computer and internet connection, can work from anywhere in the world. This means you can enjoy an excellent work-life balance, work on your terms, and eliminate stress related to commutes, while still earning a good income.
Businesses in all industries are constantly collecting large amounts of data, creating an insatiable demand for data science experts who can analyze and interpret this information, turning it into useful insights. This demand is only expected to surge in the coming years as more and more companies realize the importance of big data and its impact on enhancing their operations and decision-making processes.
6. Business Consulting
Many businesses, especially small companies and startups, lack the necessary in-house expertise and resources to handle complex business challenges.
This is where freelancers with specialized business knowledge come in, providing a range of professional services, such as strategy development, marketing, and financial management. As businesses continue to face increasing competition and disruptive market forces, the need for specialized business consulting services will only grow.
Flexibility & Specialization
Another reason business consulting is a fantastic choice for freelancers is the flexibility it provides. As a freelancer, business consultants have the freedom to set their own hours and choose their clients.
They also have the option to specialize in a particular industry or niche, allowing them to focus on areas where they have the most experience and expertise. Specialization will be essential, as the whole point of hiring a consultant is for their expertise in a specific area of business!
7. UX/UI Design
Finally, UX and UI design are some of the most sought-after skills in the digital world today. With the increasing number of websites and mobile applications being created every day, the need for design professionals who can provide users with compelling and intuitive experiences has skyrocketed.
Freelance UX/UI designers have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and collaborate with clients from different industries, making for a highly dynamic and fulfilling career path. Plus, the skill set required for UX/UI design is transferable across various industries, allowing designers to explore different industries based on their interests.
The demand for UX/UI designers is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. As it becomes more difficult to stand out from the crowd, being able to design something truly valuable for users is key.
Of all the skills discussed here, this is possibly the one with the most competition. However, it also has huge demand, so it’s definitely worth considering if you think you have the appropriate skill set!
What Makes A Freelancing Skill Low Competition?
Skills that are either relatively new or have not been widely adopted by other freelancers yet are typically low competition, but the opposite can also be true. Take AI writing at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023 as an example. While AI tools had been around for a long time before this, they became much more reliable and widespread after the introduction of ChatGPT.
This meant the ‘skill’ of being able to offer AI writing services or tools, while new, saw a huge explosion of popularity. This created lots of competition between brands and creators of writing tools, even though the skill hadn’t been that widely known until that point.
Low Competition Does Not Mean Easy
It’s also helpful to look for areas in which there is limited competition due to specific regulatory requirements or industry standards. Skills that require specialized knowledge and expertise can also offer lower levels of competition as they are difficult to master quickly.
These skills are things like accounting or law services, as they typically require qualifications that take years to earn. So, while they’re arguably lower competition than, say, logo design, they’re not necessarily easy to master and make money from. They also don’t always have large potential client bases, and it can be tough to find work for them.
At the end of the day, low competition freelancing skills aren’t necessarily what you should try to learn. However, it’s still worth taking a look at some to give you an idea of the kinds of niche services you could offer that might not be as competitive as the usual suspects of logo design and content writing.
How To Choose The Right Freelancing Skill
Assess Your Skills & Experience
The first step when choosing a freelancing skill is to assess your own skills and experience. Think about what kind of work you enjoy doing and the areas in which you excel. Also consider any specialized knowledge or qualifications you may have that would give you an edge in certain industries or fields of expertise.
Research Market Demand
Once you identify your strengths, do some research into which skills are currently in high demand. You can do this online by analyzing job postings or speaking with experienced professionals in the field. Also check out freelance marketplaces to see what people in the industry offer on there.
Consider Your Goals
Freelance opportunities offer a unique level of flexibility that allows you to pursue your goals and interests on a schedule that works best for you. Think about what kind of lifestyle you want and how much money you need to make, then choose a freelancing skill that provides the potential for achieving these objectives (and obviously it needs to be one you believe you’re capable of learning).
Network & Build Connections
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, get out there and start building connections within the professional network related to your desired freelance skill. Introduce yourself to potential clients, join relevant professional organizations, attend events, and follow industry leaders on social media. All of this can help to increase your chances of success.
Which Freelance Skill Is Right For You?
Low competition freelancing skills are hard to come by, and they’re not going to be the right choice for everyone. But if you have an interest in the skills I’ve discussed above, they could be the ideal way to create a successful freelancing career for yourself!
If you’re looking for more guidance, check out my article on becoming a freelancer, which goes into even more detail about the essentials of this lucrative career path.