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How to level up when you’re self-taught

Everyone’s career path is different.

Some people go to school for their craft, others learn on the job, and others are self-taught.

If you fall into the latter category, here are a few ways to improve your skills and level up your business as a self-taught freelancer.

Set goals

First thing’s first, you should have a few goals in place before you set out to improve your skills. With goals, you can easily measure your progress and identify milestones that have signified that you’ve leveled up. 

It’s essential for your goals to be specific so that they’re measurable. For instance, if you’re a writer and you want to improve your skills, then it might make sense for your goal to be to write every day for at least 20 minutes. Or, commit to writing a certain amount of words per day for 30 days. At the end of the set time period, you can review your writing and see how you improved and what still needs work. Better yet, share your work with a trusted peer to get an objective opinion!

Take an online course

Another easy way to level up when you’re self-taught is by taking an online course or getting a certification. 

There are tons of courses out there ranging from specific technical and creative skills to general business and freelancing knowledge. If you want to improve your craft, take courses that are geared toward what you want to be doing. 

If you want to go the extra mile, take an online course that offers a certification. When you’re self-taught, the imposter syndrome is real (even for those who aren’t self-taught) but getting certified can give you the credibility boost you need to combat any feelings of self-doubt.

Connect with other freelancers

Freelancing can be lonely, but there are plenty of opportunities to connect with other freelancers and learn from those who are also self-taught. 

There are several online communities out there for freelancers to join, whether it’s a Slack group for independents, a membership platform for a specific discipline, or even Twitter. 

Connect with other freelancers to bounce ideas off each other, ask questions, and learn new skills or processes from one another.

Learn from other disciplines

It’s easy to get stuck in your own bubble when you’re a self-taught freelancer. But to expand your skill set and experience, it’s always a good idea to learn from freelancers who have a different discipline from your own.

Many disciplines work together, so it only makes sense that to improve your own you should have a deeper understanding of how it collaborates with others. 

For example, if you’re a graphic designer, take notes on how brand strategy informs design. When you have more knowledge of where your expertise fits into an overall project, it can help you improve your craft. Do some research into other disciplines or team up with another freelancer for a project to learn by doing.

Find a mentor

No one understands your position better than someone who has already done it. 

Whether you want to level up your business or improve your craft, connect with someone who’s in the position you want to be in and see if they want to be your mentor. Don’t be afraid to send a cold DM if it’s someone who you have admired online.

A mentor can provide guidance and be your sounding board as you navigate growth on your path to leveling up.


Ready to level up your business?