Adapting to Change: 9 Freelancers' Strategies Amidst AI Advancements
To help freelancers navigate the ever-evolving landscape of AI, we've gathered insights from nine industry professionals. Their strategies range from following industry trends and understanding AI fundamentals to focusing on AI tools related to your profession. Dive into these expert tips to stay updated and integrate new AI developments into your freelance practice.
- Follow Industry Trends and Understand AI Fundamentals
- Take an Opportunistic Approach and Actively Research
- Utilize Updated AI Tools and Online Learning
- Use Several Strategies to Navigate the AI Landscape
- Be Transparent When Using AI and Track Performance
- Prioritize Self-Development and Join Online Communities
- Stay Curious and Open to New Opportunities
- Learn Through Practical Usage and Reading
- Focus On AI Tools Related to Your Profession
Follow Industry Trends and Understand AI Fundamentals
Stay updated on AI trends and developments by following industry publications, attending conferences, and networking with other AI professionals. To integrate AI into your freelance practice, identify tasks or workflows that can be automated or augmented with AI.
Experiment with different AI tools and platforms, and evaluate their effectiveness for your needs. Be open to learning new skills and adapting your work style as AI evolves.
My favorite strategy for continuous learning and integrating new AI developments into my freelance practice is to focus on AI fundamentals. By understanding the core concepts of AI, such as machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision, I can more easily apply new AI tools and techniques to my work.
I also stay up-to-date on the latest AI research and developments by reading academic papers and following researchers on social media.
Take an Opportunistic Approach and Actively Research
Most of the time, I usually take an opportunistic approach. Whenever I am facing a new project, I do some research before I design the solution.
This is usually more focused on how I can apply the techniques I already know, and it usually deals with how machine learning models can be trained, deployed, or monitored. For example, I typically deploy models using REST frameworks like FLASK or FastAPI, but lately, I have used more scalable frameworks like Ray.
From time to time, I do some active research on the topics I see on social media and websites like Papers With Code. Here, my research is usually focused on the machine learning techniques themselves, which often include a description of a new architecture. A good example here is the now ubiquitous Attention mechanism, which was not that popular when I did my PhD.
Utilize Updated AI Tools and Online Learning
As a freelancer on Upwork, I have incorporated AI tools in my freelance work. I use them for writing ad copy, generating customer avatars for clients, and even coming up with concepts for marketing strategies.
In order to keep learning and integrating new AI developments, I ensure to attend different webinars, especially those organized by the platforms that I use, such as Canva. AI is a rapidly developing field, and continuous practice is crucial.
I regularly work on AI-related tasks, whether for clients or personal projects, to keep my skills sharp. Other ways you can keep yourself updated include investing time in online courses and tutorials from reputable platforms like Coursera, edX, Udacity, and others. These platforms offer courses on a wide range of AI topics and often provide certificates upon completion.
Use Several Strategies to Navigate the AI Landscape
Staying current in AI, as a freelancer, involves diverse learning sources, networking, hands-on projects, online communities, AI news aggregators, mentorship, regular skill assessment, an adaptive mindset, experimentation, and showcasing a dynamic portfolio.
These strategies, honed over almost a decade in AI, help navigate the ever-changing AI landscape effectively.
Be Transparent When Using AI and Track Performance
I'm transparent with clients about when and how I use AI in my work. I've found that many content publishers are open to the use of generative AI when they've been briefed on its advantages.
For instance, you can direct them to Google's documentation on AI content, which states that Google doesn't care how content is generated as long as that content is helpful and shows E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust).
I also use tools like Originality.ai to measure the score of any AI-assisted content on my blog. I then track the ranking data of those posts so I can put together a mini-case study showing clients that those posts are performing well despite being AI-assisted.
Prioritize Self-Development and Join Online Communities
For me, it comes down to treating yourself like a client. It can be so easy to prioritize all of your time on your paying clients, and understandably so! Yet, if you want to maintain a stance as an industry expert, you must set aside time for your own self-development and education.
Compiling the latest industry news yourself can be time-consuming, yet joining forums and newsletters ensures that the reward for your time stays very positive.
Stay Curious and Open to New Opportunities
As a freelancer in the ever-changing world of AI, my favorite strategy for staying updated and adapting is to stay curious. While some people worry AI tools will replace traditional roles, I see them as a chance to enhance my work and help me focus on other aspects of my business.
The key thing for me is being open to trying new things. I know that not all trends will last, but the only way to grow is to stay curious and open to new opportunities.
It's not about resisting change, but embracing it and finding creative ways to work with AI tools to make my freelance work more efficient and innovative.
Learn Through Practical Usage and Reading
I stay updated on the growing AI landscape by constantly reading. From LinkedIn posts by SEO experts to OpenAI's blog, I'm always checking reputable sources for the latest news. My favorite strategy for continuously learning AI strategies and techniques is through usage.
Setting aside time to learn about Chat-GPT, Google Bard, SGE, DALL-E, and a long list of others has helped me "find their place" in my freelancing practice. Generative AI tools should be used as supplements, not replacements.
From my experience as a freelancer, gen AI tools are great for basic tasks, such as brainstorming content ideas and summarizing information. It's nice to have "someone" to bounce ideas off of when you're a one-man show.
Focus On AI Tools Related to Your Profession
There's been such a proliferation of AI tools and platforms beyond ChatGPT that it's easy to feel lost and overwhelmed. As a writer, instead of trying to master as many AI tools as possible, I focus on writing tools. I learn everything I can about them to improve my inputs and outputs.
Also, I read others' success stories (and horror stories) regarding these tools. I watch tutorials and read blogs to make sure I'm using the best tools in the best ways possible.
Freelancers are well past the point of resistance. AI tools are here to stay and have the potential to help us work better without replacing us. It's up to us to decide how we're going to get the most from AI to deliver better results to our clients.
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