13 best freelance jobs for 2021 (and tips to get started)

In this 10-minute read:

  • What is freelancing or freelance work?
  • Best freelance jobs for highest pay
  • Top freelance jobs that anyone can do
  • How to get started in a freelance career

Freelancing is growing in popularity, and the era of the “gig worker” has definitely begun. Whether this has been the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related adjustments to the workforce, freelancing has been around since before the local “handyman” became a thing. Freelancing and it generally gives those who do it extra money on the side of their full-time job or even is there full-time job and allows them the chance to manage their own schedule. 

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the freelance industry shifted, and it now makes up about 36% of the U.S. workforce. Beyond that, 75% of freelancers who left an employer to do their freelance work full-time say they make the same or more than they did with their previous job. 

Seems compelling, right? Well, if you’re interested in getting into the freelance game, check out some of the best freelance work that you can do as you read on. 

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What is freelancing or freelance work?

Freelancing is when someone works for themselves instead of for another company. You’re basically self-employed and offering your services to others who need it. 

Freelancers can be categorized as independent contractors, temp workers with staffing agencies, gig workers, project-based workers, and even self-employed business owners. 

The beauty of freelancing is that it’s very flexible too. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job (although it certainly can be). You could freelance to supplement your income from your full-time job, do multiple freelance jobs, or find enough customers that you can do your main freelancing job full-time. 

If you just want to try freelance work for a little bit, find a job that you can do for a few hours a week and see how you like it. 

Best freelance jobs to earn the highest pay

Some of the highest paying freelance jobs you can find are based on specific skillsets. If you have a specialized skill that you can offer to customers, then you may be set to start making good money for freelance work. 

Check out these top high-paying freelance jobs. 

Contract and corporate law

It’s no secret that attorneys and law clerks can make a lot of money. If you decide to take this on your own, you could work in corporate law or help companies develop contracts and work completely for yourself rather than through a firm. 

Average pay: $75-85/hour

Best places to find freelance lawyer jobs:

Digital marketing consultant

Marketing is another industry that is very specialized and takes a lot of experience and knowledge to get the job done right. As a digital marketing consultant, you could take your industry knowledge of marketing and previous experience and translate that into helping companies better manage their digital marketing strategies. Consult on the areas you are strongest and provide best practices and methods for your clients to move forward with. 

Average pay: $50/hour

Best places to find digital marketing consultant jobs:

Search engine marketer

SEO (search engine optimization) is necessary for any business that wants to get found online. If you’re familiar with the ins and outs of Google and how to raise a website’s visibility, then you might try your hand at freelancing as a search engine marketer. 

Average pay: $50/hour

Best places to find freelance SEO jobs: 

Web designer or developer

Every business needs a website and new businesses are popping up every day. Put your web design and development skills to use to create beautiful websites for your customers. You could even seek out local businesses that need a little website help and pitch some low-cost websites to get started and build your portfolio. 

Average pay: $45/hour

Best places to find freelance web design jobs:

Programming and software development

If you have great programming skills, you could start freelancing and develop mobile apps and software for businesses. This might be one of the highest paying freelance jobs because it requires such a specialized skill set and a lot of experience to do it well. Because the industry and needs for programming varies so greatly, so does the average pay. But great programmers can make upwards of $150-$200 per hour. 

Best places to find freelance programming jobs:

Career coach

Are you good at job interviews, writing resumes, and connecting others with job opportunities? You may have what it takes to make it as a freelance career coach. This is a job you could do one-on-one with individuals who are seeking career advice and trying to get a good job. You could also provide workshops, online courses, and partner with staffing agencies for seminars. 

Average pay: $45/hour

Resources for becoming and marketing yourself as a career coach:

Financial advisor

A freelance job in finances could range from being a financial modeling expert, to a CPA, to a financial estate planning attorney. Focus on your area of expertise and find the customers that would value those skills. 

Average pay: $62.50/hour

Best places to find freelance finance jobs:

Business consultant

Business consultants help businesses improve their performance and efficiency. Have you run your own businesses before or worked in auditing capacities that allow you to create solutions for businesses? Then this could be the right freelance job for you. 

Average page: $60/hour

Best places to find business consultant jobs:

Specialized writer, copywriter, technical writer

Technically this could have been placed in the number-one spot. If you are knowledgeable in just about any given topic, or know how to research and write well, then you could become a freelance writer and make good money doing it. Have you been working in a specialized industry for a while? Find businesses in that industry and write content for them. The pay range varies a lot depending on your experience and the industry you’re writing for, but experienced writers can make well over $100/hour. 

Best places to find freelance writing jobs:

Note: The pay for any of these jobs can vary a lot. You may make well over the average or might not be able to get companies to pay you the average. It’s all in how you market yourself, what the market is like locally for your services, and what your customers’ needs are. 

Best freelance jobs that anyone can do

You don’t have to have years of experience, a degree, or even any special skills to make it as a freelancer. There are tons of jobs out there that anyone can do while providing the benefits of being your own boss and managing your own schedule. 

Check out these freelance jobs.

App-based driver

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for Uber or Doordash? As a driver for any of these app-based driving companies, you would be an independent contractor, setting your own hours and only working when you want to. It’s a great side gig to earn some extra cash, and if you really enjoy it you could even make it work full time. 

Just visit the website for the delivery/driving service that you want to work with in your and get started today. 

A few important tips:

  • You will need a working vehicle (in some cities you can even ride a bike) and a driver’s license
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • You’ll need to consent to a background check for most services

Virtual assistant

As a virtual assistant, your job could vary between several different responsibilities, from data entry to customer support. Many business owners opt to hire freelancers for the simpler tasks that are difficult to keep up with on a daily basis. That’s where you come in. And if you do it well, you could be looking at a long-time career in the virtual assisting game, particularly if you get good experience and can land some larger clients. 

Check out Upwork for some good beginner freelance jobs for virtual assistants. 

Transcribing services, transcription

Can you type 60+ words a minute? Do you enjoy typing? Then you might be the perfect candidate for a freelance transcriber. There are tons of transcription services out there that are always hiring freelancers to help with their workload. A good freelance transcriber could make anywhere between $15 and $30 per hour. 

Check out these sites that hire freelance transcribers:

Writing, editing, proofreading

If you know how to write and research well, then you could easily become a freelance writer. The more specialized and experienced you are, the more money you can make here, but anyone can become a freelance writer if they are good with grammar and putting sentences together. And the beauty of this is that businesses in all industries need writers. You can find a topic that interests you and start applying for jobs. 

Resources for starting a freelance writing career:

How to get started in a freelance career

If you are ready to dive into the world of freelance work, congratulations! We hope you enjoy it! Here are some helpful tips as you get started that will help you better define your services as a freelancer and start getting clients. 

  1. Choose a niche. You can explore different areas of expertise in the beginning, but really nail down the industries that you enjoy working in and get a ton of experience to build up your repertoire in that area. Becoming the expert will make you a much more desirable candidate for new clients. 
  2. Define your services. As you can see, there are a ton of things you can do as a freelancer. But similarly to choosing a niche, you’ll want to define your services to those that you can really excel at. This is how you’ll make more money in the long run and get really good at what you do. 
  3. Know your ideal client. Become familiar with your ideal client. What problems do they need solved? What will your ideal client be willing/able to pay? Can they afford to hire you? Are there specific demographics that your ideal client meets? Knowing this will help you market yourself as a freelancer. 
  4. Start marketing yourself as a freelancer. Use as many outlets as you can to start marketing yourself. Create a portfolio website that you can send to potential clients. Update your LinkedIn profile to show your experience as a freelancer and describe yourself in such a way that appeals to businesses that are hiring freelancers. Create profiles on freelancing sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and more. 
  5. Start freelancing before quitting your day job. This is important so that you can really test out freelancing before diving all in. Find out if you like it and get some good gigs started before dropping your main source of income. Once you get more experience freelancing and can supplement your main income with it, then you’re ready to go all in. 
  6. Continuing growing your skills and acquiring new clients. Keep up on your skills and the changes in your industry. Staying sharp will help you become the best in your field so that you can continue to grow your client base. 

If you start your own freelancing gig, make sure you’re getting good online reviews and keep your email marketing game strong

Your word-of-mouth reputation is everything when you are a freelancer or run your own business, and today that all happens online. You may consider trying our reputation management software to encourage your clients to leave valuable feedback for you online. 

Once you have a list of former and potential clients to market to, use email marketing to make sure they keep you top of mind for their next job.

Womply has a simple platform that allows you to monitor and respond to reviews in a timely fashion, and send helpful email follow-ups, reminders, and marketing messages to grow your client list. Sign up for Womply Free to learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights.

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