One of the most obvious but very often forgotten tips on becoming a successful freelancer is learning a new language. Knowing more than one language allows you to offer a kaleidoscope of services and access to way more job offers and resources.
It’s easy as it sounds: if you know more than just your mother tongue language, you’re at a much better advantage than those who only know their primary language and are not willing to learn a new one.
If you want to bring your freelancing career to a higher level, get better-paying clients and assignments, consider learning a new language.
You may be concerned that you won’t be able to properly learn a new language for various reasons, but we want to reassure you: you can if you want.
You need to establish your goals, the time you want to spend on this, and treat it as a personal project: in this way, you’ll be able to enjoy learning a new language without feeling anxious.
Improving is key when it comes to freelancing and learning a new language is one of the key strategies to open your mind to new projects and opportunities.
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Why is it important for a freelancer to learn a new language ?
Defining the “why” is always interesting and challenging but there are obvious reasons why a second language, or even a third, can really make a freelancer’s career. Here a few:
Advance your career
A second or even third language is a significant competitive advantage that sets you apart from your monolingual colleagues. A few years ago MIT economist Albert Saiz calculated a 2% salary premium for graduates who can speak a second language versus those who can’t. The salary boost varies by language.
Boost your confidence
Learning a new language helps in boosting confidence and in feeding your brain. If you know you can achieve something, you feel more prone to try new things, also professionally.
Help to develop your skills
If you are multilingual, you can read documents and everything in another language. If you’re looking for something, your horizons will open if you know more than one language.
Form cultural understanding
If you can communicate with a diverse community, you can become an essential resource for every company.
Connect to your clients on a different level
Another language will help you open up new possibilities with your existing clients and prospects, increasing the possibilities of long-term business opportunities.
What are the most important languages to learn?
When you think about the new language(s) you would like to learn, you have to consider your interest in those languages and how, and if they’re required in the professional environment, you work.
375 million people are native English speakers, and 1.5 billion use it to some extent. It goes without saying that English is necessary and it’s omnipresent globally. It goes without saying that knowing English can boost your career if you’re not an English mother tongue. If you already speak English, you would almost be able to speak to half the world’s population!
But there are other languages that both English speakers and non-English speakers should learn to boost their careers.
982 million persons are native Chinese speakers, and 1.1 billion people know the Chinese Mandarin dialect. China’s economy is booming, and people with the Chinese language are still rare: if you learn Mandarin Chinese, you can become an attractive hire, and you can become one of the most important people in a company, despite being a contractor or a freelancer.
Around 330 million are native Spanish speakers, but Spanish is spoken by more than 420 million people worldwide. Spanish speakers are a huge demographic for companies today if we think that the Latin American market now has a $1.5 trillion purchasing power.
Japan may not be a big country, but it’s a powerful one. Around 127 million speak Japanese and knowing it opens up thousands of possibilities: Japanese is not that easy because of its writing and the alphabets, but if you can manage to learn even just a bit of Japanese, you will surely become an interesting person for your prospectives and your actual clients.
More than 150 million people speak Russian as their primary language, and with the country opening, companies are now tapping into this market to convert. Russian is also the official language in 38 territories; this meaning you can really become a valuable asset if you speak Russian.
22 countries use Arabic as their primary language: it’s a very different language from every other one, but it’s also one of the most important languages on the planet. Arabian countries are gaining popularity. Some of them are wealthy and open to international opportunities: knowing Arabic can make a lot for your career as a freelancer and bring you to a new level… without leaving your home!
India is one of the world’s largest economies, and 450 million users use Hindi: even if Indian people also speak English, knowing Hindi allows you to work for companies interested in expanding their reach to India and Indian companies interested in expanding internationally.
French is widely spoken, and it can also be declined into regional variations (e.g., Creole). The market is huge, and the competition is stiff, but if you learn French because you can offer a specific freelancing service for a specific market or niche, this is the right thing to do.
Same as above, German is spoken by fewer people than French, but companies are always on the lookout for people who speak the language. They can offer German services, considering that the German economy is one of the most prosperous in Europe and the World.
Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish are still less competitive and requested by companies: the reach is lower than the languages above, but if you manage to speak one of those languages you can become a good candidate for every company.
This list could go on and on, but take into consideration one simple rule:
Overall, less common languages are plain interesting and make you more competitive.
The Best Online Language Courses to Learn a New Language
You don’t need to go to Japan, or India or Spain to learn a new language (even if it’s great if you can!): you can do it from your home or your office, continuing to work as a freelance and expanding your horizons. These are some of the best tools to learn a new language to boost your freelancing career.
On top of this list, we credit Udemy: the marketplace is a treasure for freelancers who want to expand their knowledge. Regarding language courses, the offer is extremely vast, and the prices are affordable.
The list of language courses is almost infinite, and this is just a brief selection: visit the page with all the language courses to pick yours or choose between one of the following.
- English language courses
- Japanese language courses
- Chinese language courses
- Russian language courses
- Spanish language courses
- German language courses
Lingoda is for people interested in continuous learning with a pool of teachers from every part of the World. Lingoda is specialized in English, French, German classes, and scholars can choose their preferred package. Start exploring Lingoda by using the links below:
Rosetta Stone is one of the most famous providers for language classes. It offers courses for 28 languages, and every lesson incorporates reading, speaking, writing, and listening. You are offered two different options: paying a monthly subscription or purchase a lifetime license.
For us, the lifetime license is the best option: you become the owner of the course, learn at your own pace, and revisit the lessons whenever you like without fearing about time.
Also: the lifetime license is one of the deductible expenses you can claim from your freelancing business!
Learn UNLIMITED Languages with Lifetime Access and Activation code by email is the best package offered by Rosetta Stone: you buy it once and use it for a lifetime, so you can learn as many languages as you like, including Hindi, Japanese and Chinese.
Duolingo is one of the most famous apps Worldwide, and it offers 81 courses to learn 30 different languages. It works on Android and iOS, and it’s free to use if you don’t care about ads. It’s easy to use, and the pro version, Duolingo Plus ($6.99 per month), also offers offline courses. Despite being that successful and loved, we think it’s best to use Duolingo to practice a language you already know rather than to learn a new one because, in this sense, the app is pretty limiting and limited.
Babbel offers 14 languages, and its goal is to help people in learning phrases and words to use daily. So the focus is not on the grammar but mostly on the phrases you must know in a certain language. It costs between $6.95 and $12.95 per month and, in this case, consider using Babbel to refine your language skills or learn a few new words for your next trip, not to effectively learn a new language can use for your career as a freelancer.
Learning a second, or a third, or even more language is essential to be competitive and offer your clients and your prospects one reason more to hire you. Less common languages make you more competitive, but you could also go for the most common languages if you have a clear idea of the ideal client you would like to reach out to and the market you’re able to tackle. Online learning is effective and fun: you only need to choose the best course based on your needs and your time and start learning.
Check the language courses we’ve recommended and get ready to pick one (or more) your choice: it’s time to be brave and bold!
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