11 Freelance Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well


Freelancing seems to be the new "in" thing. Whether you're considering going freelance full-time or using it to supplement your income, choosing your field is important. Not only do you want to choose something, preferably, in which you have some experience and training, but you want to make enough money to make the job worth your time.

I've found that a lot of people think that freelancers don't make much money. The truth is, about half of all freelancers made between $25,000 and $75,000 in 2015. You can live on that, and even support a family on the higher end. And if you're adding that to your regular income, it's quite a boost.

If you want to make that much, though, you need to be smart. Here are some of the best paying freelance careers around, and some of them might surprise you! (See also: 8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs)

1. Marketing

Have a background in marketing? You could make between $46 and $52 per hour working freelance. You'll probably be involved in forming overall strategies for brands, utilizing social and other forms of media, and working on relationships with customers. Find a company that loves you, and you may have a flexible, long-term job.

2. Voice Acting

Have you always wanted to act? Or maybe people keep telling you that you have a wonderful voice. Either way, consider getting into voiceover work as a freelancer. You could earn up to $72 per hour. A lot of companies are trying to use more videos in their advertising, because people seem to respond to video better than to print, so this is also a growing industry.

3. Recruiting

Do you enjoy looking for new talent? Consider taking your skills as a recruiter into the freelance world. Many business are finding that it's more cost-effective to hire a freelancer or a freelance team to find new hires, rather than doing that in-house. It's nice for you, too, because you can make an average of $46 per hour.

4. Programmer

Computer programming is one of those things you can do from anywhere, as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection. If you already know how to program, it's even better for you, because you have experience and a portfolio. But even if you're just starting out, there are a million places on the Internet where you can learn to program. Once you're ready, you can make about $60 an hour as a freelance programmer.

5. Infographic Design

Do you like design? Consider specializing in infographics and make up to $65 per hour. Infographics are all the rage lately, because people love to see their information — particularly stats — rather than just reading about it. The more complicated the information, the more helpful it is to give people a way to visualize it. Study popular infographics, try a few, then search for jobs where you can apply your new skills.

6. Writing

It seems like everyone has something to say these days, and most people don't have enough time to say it. That's where the freelance writer comes in. Whether you focus on financial writing, advertising, blogging, or something else, good freelance writers can make about $55 an hour, depending on the assignment. Do beware, though: there are many, many low paying freelance writing gigs out there. Hone your skills and do your research so you don't end up making a lot less than you should.

7. Search Engine Optimization

Whether you have the skill set already or not, consider becoming a search engine optimization specialist. Even just starting out, you can make up to $50 per hour. And when you make a name for yourself, you can make even more. Get started by doing some research in the field, to see if it's something you're interested in.

8. Translation

If you're lucky enough to know two (or more) languages, there are translation gigs out there for you! Translating to and from Korean pays well, as does Spanish-English translation, but there are opportunities for almost every language combination you could have. Make anywhere from $25 to $40 an hour, depending on the task, your skill level, and the languages involved.

9. Legal Work

If you're trained as a lawyer, you can make quite a bit of money working freelance. Patent lawyers can demand $112 per hour, intellectual property lawyers up to $120 an hour, and run-of-the-mill legal consulting pays about $70 an hour. Even if you don't practice law all the time, if you have the training and the certifications, it can be a lucrative freelance career.

10. Internet Security

All of the big data breaches that have made the news mean that freelance Internet security specialists are in demand, and can make over $50 per hour. If this is something you already know a lot about, why not pick up a gig or two and see how it goes? And if it's not something you already know, it might even be worthwhile to consider learning it, if you want a freelance field that isn't going to dry up anytime soon.

11. Photography

Sometimes, it seems like everyone and their mother wants to set up shop as a freelance photographer. But if you like the work and you're good at it, there's no reason not to give it a go. After all, professional wedding photographers often start at around $2,000, depending on the market. Once you're well-known, you can charge even more. As a bonus, some wedding photographers even get invited to exotic destination weddings. Score!

Are you a freelancer? What kinds of gigs have you gotten? Share with us in the comments!

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Guest's picture

I am a recently retired high school English teacher with superb writing skills. Does anyone have any advice on how I can put this to use?

Guest's picture

Dear Linda,
You possess two important skills; why don't you combine it for enriching others' knowledge while benefiting out of it?
You could start writing guides for school/college syllabus books or develop other usefull content. This is as satisfying a job as a good paying one too.

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