What is a high income skill? What are some examples of high income skills?
I’ve been hearing those questions asked more and more from people who are looking to switch careers or start earning side income in a high-paying field.
When I say high income skills, I mean skills that do not require a four-year college degree but still pay extremely well. I’m talking about six-figure salaries in some cases.
Okay, let’s get to what you came for! I’m going to tell you about the most in-demand high income skills right now, how to learn them, and more.
8 high income skills to learn in 2021
1. Digital marketing
As more and more people are living and working in the online world, digital advertising has become increasingly important for businesses. Traditional forms of marketing – like billboards and print ads – just aren’t as relevant, and lots of business owners, especially small business owners, are struggling to keep up.
I saw this when I was starting my Facebook marketing side hustle, and it’s why digital marketing is one of the most in-demand high income skills of 2021.
Let me back up for a second…
I started running Facebook ads for small businesses as a way to supplement my income while growing this site. I was completely self-taught, and in a matter of three months, I was earning more running Facebook ads for a small handful of clients than I made working full-time as a high school teacher.
I know, I know. Teachers don’t earn a lot, but I was working almost half the hours while out-earning my old teaching job.
The small business owners I was running ads for didn’t care about a fancy degree. They cared about results, and that’s the case for other digital marketing skills, like:
- Link building
- White label services
- Pay per click management
- Social media marketing
- Paid search (Google, Yahoo, and Bing)
- Content marketing
Companies want specialists right now, meaning people who are experts in specific marketing niches like the ones listed above. That might sound intimidating, but there are still paths for new marketers to break into this world.
If you’re interested in this field, I highly recommend starting with Facebook ads.
Facebook continues to be one of the best places for small businesses to find new clients. It’s an incredibly effective platform because it has such sophisticated ad targeting capabilities.
New Facebook digital marketers can earn $1,000-$1,500/month per client, and you can learn how to start a freelance Facebook marketing business with the Facebook Side Hustle Course.
I teamed up with my good friend Mike Yanda (lawyer turned Facebook marketer whose agency brings in $30k/month) to create the Facebook Side Hustle Course. We teach you how to run Facebook ads and how to find clients who need your services.
We’ve had a bunch of students hit the $5k/month income mark and a few who are now earning $10,000/month running Facebook ads.
Copywriting technically falls under the realm of marketing, but it’s such a high income skill that it deserves a separate mention.
Copywriters write words that sell, educate, and engage customers. And the highest-paid copywriters are direct response copywriters – they write words that convince people to take a specific action.
This skill requires more than just being a good writer. You need to know who your client is, learn (and sometimes create) their brand voice, and understand what they have to offer their audience. You also need to understand their target clientele or customer, identify their pain points, and then write copy that explains how your client’s products or services will ease their troubles.
A good copywriter gets people to click buttons, sign up for email lists, purchase products, register for webinars, etc. A really good copywriter can sell millions of dollars worth of products or services in a few emails. You can see why this is such a valuable skill.
Copywriters usually charge their clients a flat fee for the writing work, but then they also earn a percentage of any sales generated by their work.
3. Software engineering
What’s interesting about this career is that many of the top-paying software engineering jobs required a four-year degree until fairly recently. Now you can attend months-long coding boot camps to learn practical, real-world skills and land your first engineering job.
It’s also worth noting that software engineer is a broad term for more specific jobs like:
- App developer: Create, test, and program non-web-based software, like apps for smartphones and computers
- Web developer: Design software that runs in a browser
- Systems developer: Design and code the background processing systems
Consultants and coaches are experts in their field and help business owners reach goals and achieve certain outcomes. Entrepreneurs are willing to pay high dollar for that kind of support and expertise.
These are slightly different jobs, and that’s important to know if you’re considering it as a career path. Coaches are known for guiding their clients towards success. They ask questions and inspire their clients. Consultants offer expert-level advice. They understand their client’s problems and can help them solve them.
You’ll need a proven track record and history in your industry to become a consultant or coach. This isn’t something you can fake or learn overnight, but it’s a high paying job you can work towards.
Related: How to Start Freelancing in 2021
5. SEO specialist
A good SEO (search engine optimization) practice can help a business rank high in online search results. That means more traffic to your site and potentially more sales, which is why it’s one of the best skills to learn right now.
You’ve seen the work of SEO experts any time you search for something online. Take a search query like “best swaddling blankets.” I’m a new dad, so this is the kind of stuff I search for these days.
I’m more likely to click on one of the articles on the first page of results, and more likely to buy from one of those sites too.
There are different kinds of SEO practices – on-site, off-site, local SEO, and technical SEO. You can become a specialist in any one of those areas, but some of the highest pay SEO experts help businesses build a comprehensive SEO strategy using all of those.
I actually have a stellar SEO expert consulting for me. He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever worked with and worth his weight in gold.
With his guidance, I’ve been able to hit some milestones in terms of where some of my articles rank in Google, and I’ve seen an increase in my income because of it.
6. Creating online courses
Okay, so you need to know a skill really well to create an online course – this is what you’re teaching your students – but I believe that creating successful online courses is a skill in itself.
Successful course creators do more than just teach skills. They help their students apply them outside of the educational setting. They also know how to market their courses, which course platforms are best to use, and how to provide continued value to their students, like with a coaching component or online group.
To give you an idea of what you can make, one of my readers started teaching online graphic design courses three years ago. It was slow at first, but she’s now making around $50,000-$80,000/month.
What’s even more impressive is that she does this all while working from home and raising three kids under the age of six. That’s incredible.
7. UI/UX designer
These are newer jobs in the tech industry, and it’s a little confusing for the uninitiated. Let me explain:
- UI (user interface) designers focus on the way a product is laid out. They design each screen or page that a user interacts with.
- UX (user experience) designers are concerned with how the product feels. They ensure a logical and intuitive flow from one step to the next.
You’ve encountered the work of UI/UX designers anytime you open an app and move around in it. For example, a personal finance app that can logically connect the different facets of your financial life – like your net worth, account balances, debt, etc. – from screen to screen. That’s what UI/UX designers do.
Like software engineering, you can attend boot camps or certification courses to educate yourself. Some of these courses and boot camps help you build a portfolio that you can show to potential employers.
8. Trade skills
All of the jobs I’ve mentioned mean sitting in front of your computer for most of the day. But I know not everyone wants that kind of job.
If you want hands-on work, there are several high-income trade skills you might be interested in:
- Concrete mason
- Extraction worker
- HVAC technician
- Dental hygienist
These jobs all require some kind of training, but it’s often on-the-job paid training. There’s a lot of room in these fields to either work for a company or go out on your and start your own business.
How to learn these high income skills
There are different ways you can approach these skills, and the best place to start is with free online resources. With free online resources, you can get a sense of whether or not you’re really interested before making a big investment.
There can be free online courses, blog posts, and YouTube videos. Search for the top people in these fields and learn how they got their start.
From there, you can invest in a paid course. A lot of the top-quality courses come with some kind of coaching component and/or offer job placement support.
Some of these skills, computer engineering and trade skills specifically, will require more formal training. So start researching what that looks like and talk to people in the industry about the best options.
More high income skills to consider
Next to the jobs and skills listed above, there are other skills – sometimes called soft skills – that can really help you succeed in any field.
I prefer to call these transferable skills or professional skills. Basically, these aren’t skills rooted in one profession or another. They relate to your attitude, work ethic, and intuition. Besides always producing high-quality work, this is the stuff that really stands out to clients and employers.
This is being able to adjust and control your tone and style no matter who you’re talking to. It’s understanding how to convey your message clearly and concisely and listening to the needs of others.
Even if you’re not in a leadership position, this is an extremely valuable skill. It means you can make quick and effective decisions. You can communicate effectively, motivate those around you, and are an excellent problem solver.
This is taking ownership and pride in your work. You’re accountable to your employer or clients, willing to make improvements, and really care about the success or failure of the projects you work on.
A good problem solver can identify an issue, approach it with a cool head, and come up with a logical or creative solution. Sometimes you’ll need to rely on others to help you find a solution, or you may have to take the lead and be responsible for the solution on your own.
After 2021, I think flexibility is something we’ve all gotten a little better at. It’s not always fun to have your plans change and bend, but knowing how to quickly adapt will serve you well in any profession.
What are the most profitable skills? The final word
The overarching theme of this list is finding your place in the growing online world.
These are all learnable skills in 2021, but I think the easiest one to break into is Facebook marketing. I say that because I’ve watched complete beginners run successful ad campaigns and scale their businesses in a matter of months.
The most successful people in Facebook advertising, or any of these other fields, have transferable skills I mentioned in that last section too.
It takes time to learn all of this stuff, but if you’re looking to switch to a higher-paying career, it’s worth the hustle.