What does it mean to have financial freedom? Fundamentally, it means the amount of active income you have should exceed your living requirements and commitments.
So, how does one go about increasing active income? Simply put, by boosting the visibility and viability of your business ventures, regardless of whether you work for a company, manage your own, or are a freelancer.
To that end, here are six skills – broadly speaking – that will prove crucial. Do note, however, that acquiring these generally does not happen quickly; rather, these are usually developed and nurtured over time.
1. Technical skills
This typically refers to one’s ability to deliver certain work tasks, based on one’s education, apprenticeship, and experience.
For example, to pursue a career as an accountant, one might go about obtaining ACCA qualification. But would you then automatically be able to teach accounting, or write books related to the subject? Not necessarily.
You might then need to acquire the appropriate technical skills in relation to content creation, in this case, teaching and writing.
The more technical skills you have or can acquire through upskilling, the more avenues are available to you to obtain active income.
2. Sales skills
You can be the best cook in town, but if you start a restaurant without knowing how to sell your food and publicise your business, you wouldn’t go very far.
The ability to sell includes generating quality leads, building rapport, being proficient in sales presentations, following up on and closing deals, and providing after-sales services.
Those who are able to effectively market their products or services – and, pertinently, themselves – are likely to be more successful in their business endeavours.
3. Communication skills
If you are an employee, you need to communicate and coordinate well with your superiors, colleagues, and multiple external parties such as clients, suppliers, and distributors.
In managers, these skills are crucial to ensure you have a happy, productive team that will enable your business to meet its goals and, in turn, make money.
Relevant with point No. 2, good communication skills are crucial for marketing oneself and conveying one’s vision and values. Plus, those who are self-employed will need such skills to make a good impression in their interactions with others.
4. Leadership skills
One aspect of being a good leader is the ability to attract various talents, motivate them to work towards a common goal, and take ownership and responsibility when problems or challenges arise.
A CEO will likely need a higher degree of leadership capability if he or she has 1,000 employees under them compared with the boss who leads five employees.
In short, the more you can lead, the more you could earn.
5. Financial skills
This means being proficient in raising capital, budgeting, investing, and protecting your wealth through estate planning.
Some of these will naturally be picked up over time in the course of your profession; others need to be learnt through self-education (reading, watching video tutorials, and so forth) or training.
You can also consult with others who are more experienced and qualified in the field, such as licensed financial advisers, to pick up invaluable skills and knowledge.
6. Adaptability skills
Digitalisation plays a big part in this. A few decades ago, it was common practice to advertise in print or on radio or television – so-called “traditional media”.
These days, there has been a shift to platforms such as social media and Google. And we are already starting to herald the age of newer technologies: cloud, artificial intelligence, blockchain.
As such, as business owners and content creators, you need to be able to remain relevant in the marketplace, or risk being left in the dust.
This article first appeared in KCLau.com. Ian Tai is a financial content writer, dividend investor, and author of many articles on finance featured on KCLau.com in Malaysia, and ‘Fifth Person’, ‘Value Invest Asia’ and ‘Small Cap Asia’ in Singapore.