Top Freelance Jobs to Earn a Steady, Growable Income

If you think you can't make a stable income as a freelancer, think again. These freelance paths prove that if you have what it takes, you can make a shockingly lucrative living.

Once upon a time, walking away from your standard 9 to 5 for a freelance gig would’ve been deemed a high-risk move. But that’s the thinking of yesteryear. These days, it’s been proven possible to make a stable living as a freelancer. And for the highly skilled and seasoned, you can potentially make a killing.

Currently, tons of financial gurus and money-wise websites are declaring freelance “the future of work.” Looking at what the highest-paid freelancers are making, it’s not hard to see why.

If you’re considering a freelance career or even a freelance side hustle, you shouldn’t hesitate. Trust your instincts. With that said, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, what you’ll need to survive, and where your skillset is most valued. With your possible freelancing future in mind, here are the best freelance jobs for earning a steady income.

Programming and Software Developer

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Programming jobs (especially for mobile app development) are consistently dubbed the highest-paying freelance jobs around. According to Zippia, Freelance Software Developers currently earn an average salary of $87,446 per year or $42 per hour.

Due to the notably high salary, more and more people have taken up coding. However, this skill that pays the bills is not for everyone. In other words, lots of people are coding but many of them aren’t coding pros. The demand for truly great coders is high, but not all coders are equipped enough to make the big bucks. In other words, this freelance job is not for the faint of heart.

If you want to start coding, hit the ground running and take it seriously. Learn as much as you can, starting with the basics, and always stay familiarized with how coding is changing. From my understanding, it always is. Some highly skilled coders can make up to $1,000 an hour. But you’ll have to build your skills and portfolio to get there. But even starting out, some coders charge $150 per hour, and sometimes more.

Copywriters

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Not to be confused with content writers, copywriters specialize in creating clear, concise, and attention-grabbing content for websites, landing pages, products, announcements, event overviews, etc. As with most freelance jobs, the rate depends primarily on the freelancer’s level of experience, portfolio, and proven prowess.

For those who have reached a senior level, salaries can start anywhere from $14,231 to $385,332. According to Indeed, the average salary is $53,738 annually in the United States. Starting out, copywriters typically charge between $15 to $20, but it’s possible to quickly work up to charging $100 an hour. Highly skilled copywriters make over $300,000 a year.

Social Media Marketing

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Social Media continues to be a booming business. Unsurprisingly, freelance roles associated with it are bountiful and pay well pretty often. Much like video marketing, social video marketing involves creating videos for marketing purposes. While this field is newer, it’s rapidly growing. UpWork has dubbed it one of the fastest-growing, best-paying fields in the freelance realm.

The main difference in this form of video marketing is the footage is developed solely for social media purposes. With social media at the center of modern branding and the rise of video content marketing, people in this role are currently in higher demand than ever. If you consider yourself a pro at creating video content, catching an audience’s attention quickly, and you have a solid grasp of SEO practices, you might want to look into this one.

Those in Social Media Marketing can potentially earn 140k a year. At entry-level, the typical salary is around $30,000. Not too shabby!

Web Design

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For years, web design has remained a high-paying gig that’s consistently in high demand. However, getting a foot in the door as a freelancer who develops and/or designs websites can be notoriously tough. On the upside, moving up in this field can become incredibly lucrative. It’s also not terribly difficult to learn for those who are committed to the process.

Those who’ve made a living in web design say the key to success is narrowing and perfecting your skillset. Find a niche and market yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack. On average, skilled web designers make between $50,000 and $90,000.

Content Writing

Careers in online marketing and content writing continue to blossom and evolve with the internet. In fact, content writing is a more stable profession than it’s ever been in the past, especially for freelancers. Adding to its appeal, companies are seeking remote workers more often than not.

Obviously, being able to work from home broadens the job possibilities exponentially. And it’s possible to get paid handsomely, especially for those who take on contracted projects. With that said, salaries can vary drastically. Some online contributors are willing to work for free. Or rather, for the experience and the exposure. But don’t let that discourage you. If you know you’re the real deal, you can make up to $50,109 a year as a content writer.

As someone who does this one for a living, here’s my advice: know your worth, set your rate accordingly, and challenge yourself whenever possible. As with all freelance jobs, content writers must be self-sufficient, “promote” themselves by seeking projects that allow financial, professional, and creative growth, and negotiate a salary reflective of their portfolio and potential.

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Confidence is key. Going in, base your starting rate on your experience level and the current national average. While some freelance content writers make $57,674 a year, it’s certainly not the norm. The reality is, that there are a lot of adequate writers who can get the job done in a timely manner, and they’re getting hired all the time.

Many try their hand at content writing and make a living doing it. But truly gifted writers who are able to meet deadlines can be far and few between. If you’re an excellent wordsmith but you lack a degree or professional experience, don’t let that stop you. A degree can help, but it’s not what’s going to seal the deal. After all, a degree cannot show someone’s worth ethic, talent, or untapped potential.

As a freelance content writer, your calling card will always be your writing. Getting people to read it can sometimes be the hardest part. Typically, those hunting a diamond in the rough won’t do tons of digging. If they receive an overwhelming amount of applicants (and companies often do), it helps to be closer to the top of the virtual stack.

Final advice: sharpen your craft every day and keep your eyes peeled for postings. Through sites like LinkedIn, you can also sign up for job alerts.

Read More: How to Discuss Salary Expectations 101

Graphic Design

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Graphic designers are forever in high demand. Those who’ve been at it the longest sometimes charge anywhere from $85 to $300 an hour, depending on their task. Infographic design, logo design, and illustration are all in a similar vein and continue to become more sought-after. But it’s not enough to know the basics and leave it at that.

In this freelance field, those who make the big bucks must hone their skills all the time, staying current on how software and graphic design technology continue to evolve. Much like content writing, it’s important to stay sharp, focused, and versatile to make a stable income and consistently progress.

Video Editors

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According to Zippia, the top 10 percent of Freelance Video Editors are currently raking in over $70,000 per year. On top of that, the demand for those who are skilled at creating and editing film content continues to grow.

While most freelancers in this role have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, it’s not impossible to build your career without one. You just have to show potential employers you’re able to deliver and then do so.

For instance, taking on an internship or apprenticeship is a wonderful way to get your work noticed, continue learning, and build your portfolio. And who knows, you may become an integral part of the company you’re interning with and wind up with a promotion (and significantly higher salary) sooner than you anticipate.

Social Media Managers

Anyone who has a brand or a business these days will likely tell you that having a social media presence is not just helpful, it’s necessary. As we all know, marketing will forever be an important part of branding strategies for businesses. And social media isn’t going anywhere.

In recent history, social media management has evolved from something once deemed a hobby to a high-paying industry, especially for freelancers. And in line with the techy times, marketing itself continues to take on a more social and virtual way of functioning.

Looking back, social media management has only been deemed a serious (and sometimes seriously lucrative) career path for a few short years. But the social media landscape is changing all the time. So as will all freelance roles, especially those involving the internet, staying sharp is key.

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With this increasingly popular, ever-evolving freelance role, there’s a unique opportunity to seek out businesses and brands that could use some sprucing up on social media and make a pitch. Currently, social media managers are charging anywhere from $25 – $150 per hour, depending on experience level and the task at hand. And the rates will likely continue to rise.

If this freelance field interests you, remember to stay on top of social media trends. To be the best social media manager you can be (and to make the most money in the process), you must focus on more than boosting a company’s social media presence or adding hashtags. You must consistently help them move into the future.

Read More: These Jobs Have the Best Work-Life Balance

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