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  3. Can you really make money freelancing? A detailed manual
Can you really make money freelancing? A detailed manual

Can you really make money freelancing? A detailed manual

  • How to make a good living as a freelancer
  • How to set your freelancer rates
  • What is the average income of a freelancer in the US?
  • Is freelancing a stable career?
  • Key takeaways

Looking to break the chains of corporate life and set your own hours a freelancer? Uncover the keys to financial success as we look at the question “Can you make money freelancing?”

Freelancing has grown tremendously across the globe and has become a cornerstone of the modern workforce. In fact, accordingly to a recent statistic, nearly 47 percent of workers worldwide are freelancers. With the opportunity to gain more flexibility and work life balance, many people with marketable skills are drawn to freelancing with the promise of independence and the potential for financial success. But can you really make money freelancing?

In this detailed manual, we'll explore the ins and outs of freelancing and break down of the industry’s financial outlook, answering: 

  • Can I make a good living as a freelancer?

  • How do I set my freelancer rates?

  • What is the average income of a freelancer in the US?

  • Is freelancing a stable career?

How to make a good living as a freelancer

If you’re tired of the grind and looking for more flexibility, freelancing may be a good option. You can work from the comfort of your own home, pick your hours, be selective about your clients, and set your own rates.  

With 69 percent of full-time freelancers reporting to be satisfied with pay and 77 percent claiming to have a better work/life balance than traditional job holders, freelancing is an attractive alternative with lucrative possibilities. But if you’re not strategic, making good money may be a challenge. 

Before you embark on the freelancer journey, follow these tips to can maximize your income potential.

Treat it like a business

Beyond delivering quality work, freelancers must manage various aspects of their professional endeavors, akin to running a small business. This involves taking a proactive approach to client acquisition, financial management, and project delivery. By treating freelancing as a business, you can build a solid foundation for growth and navigate the gig economy to achieve financial success.

Define your niche

If you are a freelancer writer for instance, get specific on the type of writing you do. This could look like resume writing, blog writing, content writing, grant writing, ghostwriting, and the list goes on. Explore industries where your skills align, and where there's demand for your services, then position yourself as an expert in that niche.

Diversify revenue streams

Diversify your revenue streams by offering different services, securing several clients, or creating passive income streams. Consider writing an e-book, selling stock photos, or creating online courses related to your expertise as well. Keep in mind though, you will need to have the time to dedicate to juggle all the different projects, so don’t overwhelm yourself. 

Build a portfolio of your work

Clients will rely on your previous work to gauge your capabilities. Develop a robust portfolio showcasing your best projects, samples, case studies, and testimonials from past clients. A compelling portfolio not only attracts clients but also allows you to command higher rates. Companies are willing to pay higher rates for their desired outcome, so make sure you emphasize past client results. 

Promote your services

There are countless ways to promote your freelance services. You can leverage platforms like LinkedIn, attend industry events, and join relevant forums. Or, you can use online freelance platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer provide a gateway to a vast pool of potential clients. Craft a compelling profile, tailor your proposals to each job, consistently deliver high-quality work, and ask for positive reviews to attract more clients and better opportunities.

How to set your freelancer rates

Determining how much to charge for your services can be challenging. Research industry standards, consider your level of expertise, and evaluate the value you bring to clients. Don't undersell yourself; quality work deserves fair compensation. Be transparent about your rates, and make sure you clearly communicate the value clients will receive to justify your rates.

Expert Tip

Freelancers don't have the luxury of a consistent paycheck. Implement a sound financial plan, including budgeting, saving, and investing. Set aside funds for taxes and emergencies. Being financially savvy ensures that you not only make good money freelancing but also manage it wisely for long-term stability.

What is the average income of a freelancer in the US?

Although it varies based on your area of expertise, on average, freelancers working in web/mobile development, marketing, legal, accounting, and other skilled services earn $28 per hour. This rate is higher than 70% of all hourly wages in the US.

Here’s a breakdown of average salaries and annual earnings for popular freelancing jobs: 

Freelancer Job Title

Hourly Wage

Annual Salary

Writers

$30-40/hr

$42,000

Editors

$25-35/hr

$40,000

Programmers

$60-70/hr

$120,000

General developers

$50-60/hr

$100,000

Mobile developers

$55-65/hr

$100,000

Web developers

$50-60/hr

$90,000

Graphic designers

$40-45/hr

$90,000

Transcribers

$20-25/hr

$32,000

Bookkeepers

$30-35/hr

$40,000

Online marketers

$50/hr

$100,000

Photographers

$35-45/hr

$42,000

CRM managers

$50-60/hr

$120,000

Data analysts

$55-65/hr

$100,000

Is freelancing a stable career?

Almost half (48%) of all businesses employ freelancers, so there is no shortage of opportunities. However, the stability of a freelancing career can vary based on numerous factors, including fluctuating market demands, client flow, and economic conditions. To avoid the feast or famine cycle, diversify your client roster by securing contracts from various clients on different platforms, so you’re not solely dependent on one or two clients.

The key to maintaining a stable freelancing career is being proactive, adaptable, and strategic in managing your workload and finances. Those with discipline tend to create more stable and successful careers. Freelancing requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance, but the rewards can be significant.

If you’re unsure of your next career move, plan your future success, identify required skills, and bridge skill gaps with our Career Pathways service.

Key takeaways

  1. In the realm of freelancing, the potential to make money is vast, but success requires a strategic approach.

  2. Setting the right freelance rates involves thorough research of industry standards, assessing your expertise, and recognizing the value you offer..

  3. Freelance salaries can range from $40,000 to $100,000 or more depending on the industry and your skill level.

  4. Freelancing is not just about work; it's about building a thriving business that aligns with your financial goals and strengths.

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