We are always encouraged to learn a new skill. Since school we’ve been taught to learn to be able to earn (a catchy mantra).
Wandering through the web, especially during 2020 the year of the lockdown, we’re not just heartily reminded how rubbish daytime TV actually is but how many weird and wonderful ways there are to take up a hobby or learn something new. Now we’ve entered 2021 it’s a great time to use all the resources available and look to learn a profitable new skill, and make 2021 the year to learn and earn.
This thought-provoking wander down the internet’s rabbit hole, passing the paths of many unsuspecting finger twitchers who entered the rabbit hole years ago, begun conjuring up thoughts of new skills.
New skills to learn, with new money to earn. Whether you’re in your millennial twenties, fabulous forties or swinging sixties, you’re never too young or old to learn something new.
So here we reveal the best most profitable skills to learn in 2021 and why:
Revealed – the 5 Most Profitable Skills to Learn in 2021
At the top of our list is copywriting. ‘Hang on buddy!’ – you may be shouting at your laptop – ‘writing doesn’t make a great living!’ you continue. Not wishing to ad-lib your reply I’ll start by saying this is less about novel writing and more about sales copywriting.
If you’ve ever wandered around the web clicking on an intriguing headline or statement, you’ve just been ‘copywrited’. Often great copywriting can be confused with click baiting (the art of making someone click on a link where the content doesn’t quite match the promise of the headline) but copywriting is much more powerful.
Business owners are rarely great copywriters. Some are though and the one’s that do stand head and shoulders above their competition.
Take Neil Patel for example. Neil Patel’s business is search engine optimisation. He teaches people how to grow their website and attract visitors by optimising the website for search engine and visitors. No question about it, Neil knows his stuff – BUT SEO concepts haven’t really changed too much in over 15 years.
Neil has grown from obscurity to SEO guru in a couple of years. This perhaps less to his knowledge (although it’s sound) and more due to his copywriting skills. His headlines are second to none. They grab the users intrigue. He manages to write the very headline you yourself have pondered and desperately want the answers to. He answers clearly, with example and in an engaging way.
Copywriting is an important skill in 2020. The best copywriters will stand out in the crowd and encourage visitors, an audience and more importantly followers. Neil Patel through his knowledge of SEO and his copywriting skills to stand out in a saturated SEO industry, has become a multi-millionaire at a young age.
Learn great copywriting skills and you could either build your own guru empire in your niche or industry, or you could write for businesses and help them build up their audience.
Writers are easy to find, good copywriters difficult but great copywriters are very difficult to find – and when you do, they charge heavily for their services.
If you feel you have a literary talent and want to explore how this could be developed for the media and business world, then sales copywriting could be the next foot on the ladder for extra money and a second income.
Next Steps: I’d serious recommend investing in the classic book How to write a good advertisement – A short in copywriting , although written in the 1960’s it’s still so relevant today. The first section of the book gives great examples of headlines that worked in publications back in 60s, and you’ll notice how many of these exact same techniques are still being used on mainstream media articles today!
No profitable skill post could be written without the inclusion of coding I’m afraid. Years ago the recommendation was to get in to web coding, such as HTML, PHP and CSS. Really though those days are gone. Web builders such as WordPress and Wix mean people can build small business websites without needing to know a line of web code.
HTML, PHP and CSS still have their place but the buzzword in coding skills at the moment is Python. Python is a relatively simple programming language to learn, but very powerful.
If you’ve heard of ‘big data’ or even machine learning, then Python won’t be too far away. If you’ve ever wanted to be able to take data and automate a process, then again Python’s your man.
For example, you could build a small program that creates a Magic 8 Ball app for take away choices. Families randomly hit a button and the Magic 8 Ball will randomly provide a take-away choice in a fun way. It’s a novel idea for an app (if you build this let me know lol).
This is a tiny simple example for such a powerful programming language but basically the point here is this programming language can help you build programs and applications to help, make efficient, automate and learn.
You can even build more complex programs including machine learning, which starts to learn from the data it’s given to make better choices. Machine learning has only really started in the business world but will become the next big thing in the next 5 years.
Machine learning is nothing new. IBM built a machine learning program (called Deep Blue) which famously beat Chess champion Gary Kasparov in the 1990s. This match has always had its controversies, but recent machine learning Chess programs have become so sophisticated that even World Chess Champions can’t quite understand the reasoning behind the moves the computer makes, but always comes out victorious.
Anyway, I have seriously digressed. It’s a fascinating topic but more fascinating is the skills this programming language can provide can give its student a new understanding, and ability to see how those skills can be applied in the real world to help business and make money.
Next Steps: I’d highly recommend this free 4.5-hour Python course on YouTube called ‘Learn Python – Full Course for Beginners’ which is shown below. I’d also recommend checking out the Fiverr Python page to help get an understanding of the services people are offering and the type of earnings you can achieve.
Bear in mind that Fiverr is on the lower end of earnings, as it competes heavily with countries where cost of living is much lower, and so are prices. If these hourly rates and extra income amounts are enticing, it’s a great low-cost way to start providing some services and making money from your new skill.
Social Media Management and Marketing
Most businesses have a website today but almost every business has a Facebook or other social media presence. Unfortunately for most small business the time to upkeep their channels becomes a struggle and some end up a ghost town. Only suitable for the rare visitor who leaves quicker than they arrived.
Social media is all about communication. It’s all about what’s happening now. Visiting a business social media account to find it hasn’t been updated in a month is a clear sign to stay clear.
This is why social media management has become a bit of a secret booming business. Small to medium businesses (also known as SMEs) are outsourcing the writing and management of their social media channels to experts.
This allows them to keep in communication with their customers and potential future customers whilst being able to solely focus on running their business.
Writing and updated good social media posts can take time. The same can be said for monitoring new subscribers and followers, as well as those leaving. Add in the time to reply back to questions and comment on post thread replies – and multiply this across different channels (like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc…) and you could easily spend 2-3 hours a day on social media!
Managing social media requires a great understanding of the social media platform, as well as good understanding of your client’s business, but also a great customer service attitude.
If you can combine this with a good copywriting skill (see first item on this list) you could take on the complete social media management for a number of clients and build up a great freelance business for yourself.
You could easily charge £30 per hour or more for your time. If you took on just 5 clients part-time working just 2 hours per day, over a month this could add up to an extra £1,800!
Next Steps: If you’re interested in becoming a social media manager take a look at our Become a Freelance Social Media Manager and make money post for a complete guide on the subject.
Starting a New Online Business
Although you may not consider this a ‘skill’ as such, what you need when starting your own business is a multitude of skills.
You need to know about business plans, product sourcing, price setting, cost-price analysis, marketing, advertising, customer services, social media etc…
Each one a skillset on its own. The more you can bootstrap and do yourself, the less you’ll have to pay for the expertise of providers. In the early days of a start-up cashflow is so important, which is why you’ll see business founders working 19- or 20-hour days trying to manage everything themselves.
If you’ve every dreamed of starting your own business, and have time on your hands, understanding the basic skills of each element is a great way to start. Best to get an understanding of each which may save you from needing the services of others, and importantly prevent you making costly mistakes in the early days.
Next Steps: You could try taking a ‘How to start an online business course’ course, which will give you the fundamentals of starting a business, and in this course will also show you step by step in a video tutorial how to build your own small business website for free!
Online Course Creation
Last on the list, but certainly not least, is to create your own online course. If you can pour a skill or knowledge you have into an online course, you could build a course today that continues to earn a passive income for years to come. This really is considered to be one of the most profitable skills to learn today.
Udemy, one of the most well-known course providers on the web, is a place where such good course providers are making a serious amount of money. The very best providers are making £100k+ per year.
You can create a course to teach someone anything, but of course it needs to be a subject people are willing to pay money to earn. Often, it’s easy to overlook some of the skills and knowledge you yourself already have.
If you have managed to achieve, build, create or know something others are currently paying to learn – and you feel you have a good teaching style and manner – creating a course could be the very thing for you.
In fact, on Udemy you can take a course which helps you build a course to sell on Udemy!
When creating a course, you need to think of a syllabus. What are you going to teach and how can you do it in a way that a student can learn in their own time by reading content, listening to audio, following presentations and watching videos.
Your course can be delivered as written, through a presentation (using software such as Microsoft PowerPoint), using a video that gives an onscreen walkthrough or you in front of a camera delivery the course in a video your students can download and watch in their own time – or a combination of all of these.
Your course can also include quizzes and certificates.
Once you have created your course you can either sell through a course platform such as Udemy or Teachable – or you can build your own website to sell your courses direct.
Udemy is a great way to get started as they also market your course to their audience. Earnings are though low, and as most Udemy sales happen through their regular £10 per course sale, you may only find you earn as low as £2 per student – but if your course takes off you could easily grow to 30,000+ students without having to necessarily find an audience yourself.
Teachable, although has a free version, really does requires a monthly subscription for using their service in a decent way, which starts at £39. Teachable also has no audience so you have to find students yourself by building your own audience (through channels like Facebook, YouTube or an email subscriber list etc…). The benefit though if you get to keep all your earnings – so if you price your course at £79 you get to keep the whole amount.
Next Steps: If you’re not sure how to put together a course, you could learn how. Take a look at Phil Ebiner’s Learn Online Course Creation – although don’t pay the £199.99 price, signup to the Udemy newsletter and wait for their sale (which runs at least once a month). During the sale this course can be bought for around £10!
This post will be kept up to date as new skills become in demand. Learning a new skill should be fun. It’s not really worth learning something to simply follow and earn the money. If you don’t enjoy learning your new skill, you won’t enjoy providing your new skills to clients and customers. 2021 really could be the most suitable time to learn a profitable skill.
Make use of your time for the better. With many of having more time in 2020 than we knew what to do with, it did teach us one important fact – and that is the sheer and vast number of free ways to learn, be taught, gain a new profitable skill and by using those new skills you’re able to start crafting a better life for yourself.
Pick something that interests you and the learning and earning is all part of the fun!