If you’ve got some skill…
Freelancing can be a very lucrative career choice.
Today, more companies are choosing independent contractors for highly skilled positions than ever before. You can start freelancing with a few foundational skills or bring your professional experience to a new freelancing career.
Right now, big companies love freelancers for a lot of reasons.
It helps them meet skill gaps in emerging markets and go beyond their local employment opportunities.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever for companies to work remotely with freelancers from around the globe.
You don’t need to live in a big city to get a job with your existing skills. With thousands of work-from-home positions available on Upwork (and other freelancing platforms), it’s possible to work for brands headquartered thousands of miles away.
Did you know you can make more money as an independent contractor than you might as a salaried employee?
This is especially true if you have skills that are in high demand.
But which skillset do companies need in freelance employees?
Which marketable skills are hot right now?
7 Best Freelance Jobs If You Have Some Skill
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most lucrative freelancing jobs. If you have the right skill set, experience, and education to make yourself valuable in these fields, you can make big bucks right from your home office.
Before we begin, let’s talk about what we mean by “having some skill.”
Freelancing involves competition, just like most on-site positions.
After all, you’re competing with freelancers around the world.
What does this mean for you?
It means you need to stand out from the crowd if you want to find work.
You don’t need to be the very best in your field to get the best freelancing jobs. In fact, you can start making money freelancing with the skills you’re currently learning, like copywriting or programming. As long as you’ve got the skills to do the tasks clients pay you to do, there are gigs available for freelancers with varying talents and education.
However, if you have extensive professional experience in your field, you can charge higher rates than beginners.
For example, a copywriter with extensive SEO knowledge can charge higher rates than one who’s new to digital marketing.
This doesn’t mean the newcomer can’t start copywriting as a freelancer. They can use their skills for applicable jobs, but it may be challenging to command rates as high as some of their more “niche specific” competitors.
Note that high-skill freelancing careers have fewer applicants vying for positions, but the competition is still there.
Think about it this way: there aren’t as many full-stack developers as there are front end programmers, so you’ll compete with fewer people for full-stack positions.
Some freelance positions require higher education or certifications. Others take an applicant’s experience into consideration more so than their degrees or certifications. With freelancing, having a formal education helps you compete for jobs, but it’s rarely a requirement.
Let’s look at the 7 best freelance careers that pay good if you have the skills. If you’re talented in any of the fields on this list, consider making an UpWork profile to get started. You never know how quickly you’ll find the client who launches your freelance career.
#1: Copywriting/Blog Writing
Expert hourly rate: $90+
If you read our guide to the best freelance jobs for beginners, you’ll notice copywriting is on both lists. Besides being one of the best freelance jobs, there’s a reason we list it twice.
That’s right: copywriting is an excellent freelancing career for beginners and experienced writers alike.
Because copywriting is a very diverse field.
There’s a broad skill gap between beginners and experienced copywriters. It takes a different skillset to create high-level marketing copy than it does to write simple blurbs.
Brands use SEO to increase their online visibility. It’s extremely valuable to most companies, giving them a powerful way to attract new customers.
Knowing how to write for a specific audience is crucial if you want to be a copywriter. You need to know who you’re writing to and how to address your readers.
This skill separates beginner copywriters from experienced professionals.
Highly skilled freelance writers know how to write content their audience responds to. They know how to attract new readers with quality copy.
More importantly, copywriters know how to write for computers alongside human audiences.
They know how to use appropriate keywords and phrases to rank highly in Google without “keyword stuffing.” Computers know what their content is trying to say, while human readers enjoy what they’re reading.
If you know how to talk, you have a strong grasp of the English language, and you enjoy writing, copywriting could be a great freelance career for you.
Fortunately, most freelance writing jobs don’t require any sort of formal education.
Got some good stuff in your portfolio?
That’s all you need to get started!
Check out Kathi. She is pulling in $85+ / hour without even having a college degree:
#2: Graphic Design
Expert hourly rate: $80+
Graphic design is one of the original freelance careers. Due to its nature, graphic designers often thrive in work-from-home, remote positions. They prefer freelancing to salaried employment for its flexibility.
Today, freelancers dominate the graphic design field.
In fact, it’s one of the best freelance jobs you’ll find on the web.
Sites like UpWork and Fiverr enable graphic designers to find new clients more easily than ever, showcasing their portfolios in one convenient location.
Graphic designers play a very important role and many companies. They help brands create an image that resonates with their audience. Without the right graphic design team, a company may find it challenging to attract new customers or create visuals that serve their brand.
As an experienced graphic designer, that’s where you come in.
Graphic designers help brands create imagery that makes them stand out from the competition.
You may know that people are more likely to recognize a logo or a color scheme than a brand name, due to human psychology.
This shows you the objective importance of quality graphics for a brand.
Think about it: how often do you associate a logo or a color scheme with a certain company? Picture red and yellow “M.” Did you picture McDonald’s?
Whomever designed the iconic McDonald’s arches helped the brand grow into what it is today. If they had hired another designer, who knows which logo we might associate with one of the world’s largest fast food restaurants.
Simply put, jobs are always opening for graphic designers. If you have a degree in graphic design or an Adobe certificate, you’ll have higher chances of winning positions, but formal education isn’t required for most freelance graphic design jobs.
As an experienced graphic designer, you can charge more than $85 an hour on UpWork, I mean, check out Amanda:
To get your first graphic design job, an exceptional portfolio should be enough to help you stand out. That’s one of the great things about graphic design as a freelance career: your skills will speak for themselves.
#3: Email Marketing
Expert hourly rate: $80+
Email marketing started in the early stages of the internet, when sales representatives learned how to leverage email as a powerful marketing tool.
Today, email marketing is one of the most lucrative freelance careers you have the skills.
Most brands use email marketing to promote their products. If you see a lot of promotional mail in your inbox, think about who wrote that content; as an email marketer, that could be you.
Right now, email marketing is invaluable to brands around the world. It helps them convert site visitors into customers and one-time shoppers into repeat buyers.
With the right email campaign, you can help a brand increase its revenue significantly and create powerful brand awareness that drive sales.
It sounds complicated, but it’s easier than you think. If you already have a background in marketing, email marketing could be extremely easy to learn.
To be a successful email marketer, you need to be a good writer. The words and phrases you use should attract prospects, offering solutions to their problems.
You don’t need a formal education to succeed as an email marketer, but a business or marketing degree can look nice. To succeed, you should know effective ways to generate leads, increase revenue, and strengthen relationships between a brand and its customers.
As an experienced email marketer, expect to earn between $80 – $125 an hour (or more) for your services. As with most freelancing careers, the more time you invest in email marketing, the higher rates clients will pay.
Just check out Greg:
#4: Social Media Marketing
Expert hourly rate: $60+
If you look at today’s marketing trends, you’ll notice most businesses recognize the incredible value of social media marketing.
If you use social media, you know how brands use it to connect with their audiences and achieve more awareness.
As social media marketing becomes increasingly important for brands to succeed online, so do effective social media marketers.
If you post on social media a lot, you probably think social media marketing is easy.
If you like posting on social media, learning to be a social media marketer will be a breeze for sure.
Unlike some forms of marketing, social media marketing is all about creating conversations with communities. Brands use social media marketing to connect with potential customers on a more intimate level then they would with billboards, television ads, and similar marketing channels, so knowing how to relate to audiences is crucial.
If you’re good at conversation, you may be a successful social media marketer.
As a social media marketer, you should know how to plan posts according to a strategy. You should learn what makes posts succeed on social media, and why some content succeeds more so than others.
Your primary goals are to turn fans into customers and customers into repeat buyers.
To do this, you’ll need to help the company you work for establish positive, influential brand awareness online through social media channels.
Social media marketing salaries range from $20 to $50+ an hour, depending on your specialty and your experience. Stephanie here has been raising her rates consistently and is now making $60 / hour!
Expert hourly rate: $80+
When you hear the word editor, you probably think of editors for newspapers or magazines. In reality, there are many different types of freelance editors businesses employ to fill various roles.
For example, video editors are in high demand. Thanks to the increasing popularity a video marketing on the web, brands need video editors to make their video marketing strategies come to life.
As more brands use YouTube (and other video hosting platforms) to promote their brand with engaging visual content, they need editors to make it happen.
Blog editing is also in high demand. If you have a strong grasp of the English language, you have a keen eye for correcting content, and you understand today’s best SEO practices, you could be a valuable editor for bloggers.
If a company has in-house publications, they may hire freelance editors as well. These publications are often published at monthly or quarterly periods, and do not require full-time editors. For these reasons, companies often outsource their in-house editing positions to freelancers as temporary or contract positions.
The skills you need to be a freelance editor depend on which type of editing you want to do. If you want to be a video editor, you should know how to use the most popular video editing software to craft powerful visual messages. You should understand what makes video content successful for marketing.
As a blog editor, your job requires correcting more than spelling and grammatical mistakes. A blog editor looks for ways to improve content’s search engine ranking, and they should have a strong understanding of today’s best SEO practices to edit the content accordingly.
Similarly, the education you need to succeed as an editor depends on your field. If you want to be a blog editor, an English or marketing degree can be very helpful. If you want to be a video editor, a communications degree can help you compete with other applicants.
However, a degree is optional to succeed as an editor. Like most freelance careers, prior experience speaks for itself. Your main goal is to show your stuff when you apply to editing jobs, showing brands you will deliver the quality content they expect.
Appropriate rates for editors depend on their field. Video editors can make $100+ an hour, while copy editors can earn $75+ an hour with the right experience.
Like Jean here. She is totally booked out and her posted rate is $80:
#6: WordPress Development
Expert hourly rate: $100+
Right now, WordPress is one of the most popular web hosting platforms on the internet.
And understandably so: WordPress makes it easier than ever to create a website and start a blog with minimal technical experience.
That being said, there’s more to WordPress than meets the eye.
A brand can set up a website with one of WordPress’s free or paid templates. Or they can make a custom designer. Either way, they will likely need some help.
As a WordPress developer, you’ll create and implement websites for brands using the web creation tools WordPress provides. WordPress hosts more websites each year than any other service, so you’ll find thousands of brands looking for WordPress developers.
You’ll need to manage front end development, crafting the elements users interact with. A WordPress developer creates website layouts, adds visual content, and adjusts certain factors with HTML and CSS.
You may manage back-end development, too. Back-end development happens on the server side, controlling how a WordPress website works behind the scenes. If you do back-end development, you’ll work with databases and servers, using code languages like .NET or PHP.
Ultimately, the right WordPress development niche for you depends on your preferences and your experience. If you market yourself correctly, developing WordPress sites can be one of the highest paid freelancer positions.
You don’t need post-secondary education to start developing WordPress site. Any certifications you have in web development or WordPress will help you compete with other applicants, although your portfolio will largely speak for itself.
If you’re an experienced WordPress developer, you can charge $60 / hour or more for your services. Like Nick here. He has boosted his rate to $75 / hour
Expert hourly rate: $250+
Why limit yourself to WordPress development?
Other than the obvious reasons (like establishing a niche), you might consider applying for broader programming jobs if you’ve got the skills.
For example, Swift developers are in high demand to create iOS apps for iPhones, iPads, and more.
General web developers are in high demand, too, as some of the highest paid freelancer jobs on UpWork. Although WordPress is the most popular hosting platform in the world, brands still demand developers who create content for other hosting platforms, too.
If you want to be a professional freelance programmer, you’ll need extensive knowledge in the field. You need to be fluent in at least one or two programming languages, applicable to the fields you’re applying for.
For example, you should be fluent in HTML and CSS if you’re applying for front end programming jobs, or Python if you’re developing applications.
If you have a computer science degree, it can help you stand out from other programmers when you apply for jobs. However, a thorough portfolio should be enough to help you land your first client if you got the skills it takes to succeed.
Programming wages vary, but experienced developers can charge as much as $250 an hour if they’ve got what it takes. Don’t believe us? Check out this UpWork profile and see it for yourself:
If you want maximum career flexibility and great hourly rates, freelancing can be a perfect career choice.
Before you start your freelance career, think about which field you thrive in. Are you an excellent writer? Are you great at video editing?
- Some Basic Time Management Skills Every Freelancer Needs
- Thoughts Like This Will Make You Become A Top Rated Freelancer
Think about fields in which you have professional experience. If you want to be a programmer and you helped your college develop an iOS app as part of a term project, include it in your portfolio! If you want to be a copywriter and you write for fun as a pastime, use it to prove your skill when you apply for careers.
By analyzing your skills and your professional experience, you can find a freelancing career that suits your lifestyle. If you’ve got existing skills and experience, it’ll be easier to start your freelance career then if you began without foundational knowledge.
Fortunately, tools like UpWork make it easier than ever to find freelance jobs in fields that apply to your skillset. You’ll find clients who need a wide variety of help, from writers to marketers to editors and more.
If you’re a freelancer, how did you decide which were the best freelancing jobs for you? Was it easy to get started? What are your tips for new freelancers who are getting started?
Let us know in the comments below!