Artwork by: Nadiia Zhelieznova
So you’ve decided to ditch the 9-to-5 grind and step into the world of freelancing? Here are some of the best freelance careers out there.
The rapid changes in technology and increasing demand for remote working opportunities have ushered in a new era where more and more people are ditching the 9-to-5 grind in favor of freelance work. However, not all freelance careers provide more bang for the buck.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at
Why freelance jobs are the future
What the best freelance careers out there are
How you can succeed in your freelancing career
According to Forbes, the total number of freelancers in the US will exceed 90 million by 2028 and represent the majority of the workforce. The same report also states that most millennials and Gen-Z employees prefer working from home and exploring alternative sources of revenue - and this is where freelancing comes in.
If the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation are an indication of what’s to come, then it’s safe to say that freelancing is the future. A freelance career allows you to work on your own terms, anywhere in the world. All you need are certain marketable skills, a good internet connection, and the ability to organize your work schedule without any supervision.
Here’s how freelancing is revolutionizing the global workforce.
From a corporate perspective, working with a freelancer is cheaper than hiring a full-time employee. This simple cost-saving aspect has allowed several organizations to work with more and more independent contractors with a specialized skill set instead of having full-fledged departments.
Similarly, freelancing allows people to showcase their skills, get paid for their efforts, and turn a part-time gig into a long-term career.
People with freelance careers often get to choose their own projects, work on their own terms, and set their own pay scale. They negotiate with employers on their rates and, instead of working on a fixed salary, they can easily charge an amount that is fair with respect to the nature of the project(s).
If you’re working as a freelancer, you probably won’t have to sign any non-compete clauses, which will allow you to take on as many projects and make as much money as you like.
Perhaps the biggest reason why people are switching to freelancing is the flexibility it offers. Freelancers can work at whatever time best suits them. As a result, they’re never late to work and don’t have to clock in a certain number of hours to get paid.
What’s even better is that freelancers can work from anywhere in the world. This explains why most freelance content creators can often be seen working from exotic locations!
If you’re thinking about kickstarting your freelance career, here are a few options you may want to look into:
Thanks to virtual learning, there’s an ever-increasing demand for teachers all over the world, and good teachers are hard to find. If you’re good at a particular subject and enjoy tutoring kids and young adults, then freelance teaching might be a good fit for you.
Most, but not all, teaching jobs require a teaching or training certificate. These certificates also tend to be region-specific, so make sure to read the job requirements before applying. There may also be a vetting process involved, depending on the institution you’re applying to.
The list of freelance writing and editing jobs is endless. If you like researching and are good with words, then this might be your true calling. Most organizations look for prior writing samples and some experience in writing for niche industries, such as finance, marketing, and technology. The best thing about writing and editing jobs is that you don’t need to be tech-savvy. You can get started by learning how Microsoft Office Suite and Google Docs work.
Freelance editing relies on strong attention to detail. It may also involve research, investigation, and fact-checking - depending on whether you’re editing a technical document or a marketing/promotional copy.
Ever since the first website was launched in 1991, web designing has become one of the most sought-after skills. Every business needs a website, and this is where web designers come in. If an organization is cash-strapped or in the early stages of its formation, they’re more likely to work with freelance web designers than have an in-house team.
With the rapid development of technology, web designing today is much easier than it was back in the day. If you have some experience with WordPress or Joomla, there are plenty of freelance gigs you can easily find on Upwork, Fiverr, and other freelancing sites.
Even if you don’t have experience with web designing, you can take a couple of web designing courses online and get started.
Depending on your educational background and professional experience, you’re likely to see a number of freelance careers in bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation, financial consulting, and even fractional CFO positions for startups.
Financial planning is a lucrative freelance career opportunity if you’ve spent some time working at a financial institution and have some experience using accounting software tools, such as QuickBooks. During the tax season, many individuals and companies are on the lookout for tax consultants who can help them prepare their returns.
Gone are the days when people needed a degree in marketing to prove their mettle in the cutthroat world of branding. Today, most freelance digital marketers are skilled in content creation, photography, and videography, and have some knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO).
As a freelance digital marketer, you’ll get to work with different brands to increase their outreach and social media presence. You can also create your own social media presence on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms; craft educational and compelling content in your field of expertise, and get lots of brand endorsement deals from large corporations.
The global content creation market is expected to cross $47 billion by the year 2032.
Businesses today are investing a fortune in developing mobile applications that provide their customers with a one-stop shop for all their needs. App developers are among the highest-paid freelancers in the world, with some earning a six-figure income.
If creating iOS and Android apps is something you enjoy, why not turn it into a freelance career? You’ll probably need a portfolio of some of the apps you’ve developed in the past and some stats on how well those apps have performed.
Like all other freelance projects, you may have to start with some small gigs. Eventually, with enough small projects under your belt, you can move on to bigger stuff.
Broadly speaking, you will require three types of skills to secure freelance gigs and become a full-time freelancer.
Your technical skills relate to the specific profession you’re applying to. For example, if you’re looking for freelance videographer gigs, your technical skills may include video editing skills and proficiency with Photoshop and different camera equipment. Similarly, for digital marketing projects, you can focus on your experience with email marketing, lead generation, SEO, pay-per-click marketing, and ROI measurement.
Even with an abundance of technical skills, you will need a couple of soft skills to make it into the freelancing business. If you’re new to freelancing, you will need to rely on your communication skills to scout for and secure orders, negotiation skills to bargain on your rates, and team-building skills if you have to collaborate with other freelancers for a project.
Unlike technical and soft skills, ancillary skills aren’t that crucial, but they’re still nice to have. These could be your passion, interests, hobbies, or anything else that you can leverage to secure some freelance work. For example, having a good sense of humor could work to your advantage, especially when you need to break the ice with someone who has a project for you.
Securing one or more freelance gigs may work well in the short run, but you’ll need to do more if you want to work as a freelancer in the long haul.
Some of the top-earning freelancers in the world have one thing in common - they are all ambitious, driven, and self-motivated. As a freelancer, you need to be reliable, willing to go the extra mile, and adept at communication. You should be able to plan your work and schedule accordingly and try your best to stick to the deadline.
The global business landscape is constantly changing and, as a freelancer, you need to adapt to those changes. There may be instances where the scope of a project might change midway or the client decides to go in another direction. Similarly, the ‘same’ type of job might vary from one client to another.
Like most other professions out there, you will need to update your knowledge with time. For example, if you’re working in web development and a new, groundbreaking web design tool is released, you may need to learn about this software if you want to expand your client base and keep getting more gigs.
In the digital world, reputation is everything. Make sure you’re delivering on your promises, not setting any unrealistic targets, or delivering substandard work to raise the ire of your clients. Even if your client is requesting a lot of changes, you will need to focus on your communication skills to handle the situation without tarnishing your reputation along the way.
With the onset of COVID-19, a looming economic recession, and the shift to a work-from-home model, many people are turning to freelance careers as a means to make some extra income and pursue their passion.
Freelance careers work best for individuals who want to work on their own terms, prefer working outside regular office hours, and are willing to forgo fixed monthly salaries in exchange for higher payouts on successful project completion.
Not two freelance jobs are equal. Some freelance professions are in great demand and pay more money compared to others. Make sure to do your research, find out which profession offers the highest pay, and then make the final decision.
Some freelance jobs require specialized education, skill sets, professional experience, and a solid portfolio. For other types of freelance work, you can get started without having prior experience.
Once you’re in the world of freelancing, the next step is to stay relevant, focus on your communication skills, and maintain a solid reputation with your clients to secure more projects.
Asad's writing expertise lies in the fields of HR and marketing—putting him in the unique position of understanding the job-search process: both from the side of the applicant, and the side of the hiring managers. With this valuable blend of perspectives, he’s able to help his clients position themselves as top candidates for their desired roles.