We’ve all sat and wondered what it would like to write our own job description. Working for yourself is the dream, especially if it means you can work from home each week. If this sounds like you, then you might be one of the millions of American workers that have left traditional jobs to pursue a freelance career.
The digital age has ushered in a new way by which we live and work. It’s no longer always necessary for employees to drive into a physical office. Taking the leap to a freelance career is a big deal. This is especially true if you aren’t even sure what sort of skills you might have to offer prospective clients.
In this article, we’ll break down some of the most popular self-employment ideas. We’ll also share how your current skillset could translate into a new career.
Identifying a Career That’s Right for You
You may associate freelance work with a specific industry, but there are endless possibilities for building your career. Below is a list of some common freelance options, the types of businesses you might work with, and some of the more common compensation ranges for each.
Common Earnings Range: $49,000 - $55,599 (ZipRecruiter)
More and more companies are turning to freelancers for their graphic design needs. This allows them to select freelancers who best fit their style and can deliver graphics that truly represent their brand. If you already work in graphic design, you can use your portfolio to demonstrate your abilities, experience, and unique style. Freelance graphic designers can find jobs on online job boards, through referrals, and by reaching out to your existing network.
Writing or Editing
Common Earnings Range: $39,000 - $52,999 (ZipRecruiter)
For some, prioritizing creative output is an important part of the freelance experience. Freelance writing may the right fit for you. Content writers create content for a variety of outlets, including magazines, business blog posts, websites, and more. Similar to graphic designers, freelance writers can find jobs by pitching to potential clients and reaching out to their existing network.
As a freelance writer, you will be able to define your niche as a writer. This will allow you to cater your writing to the audiences and subjects that inspire you. If you have a knack for grammar and spelling but don’t really think of yourself as a writer, consider proofreading or copyediting. Businesses and other writers are always looking for editors to proofread their content before it is published or printed.
Common Earnings Range: $36,000 - $45,999 (ZipRecruiter)
The days of dropping your kids off at the neighbor for some after-school tutoring are long gone. Instead, parents are placing their kids in front of the computer to get extra help with their school work. Online tutors provide students with direct support for school subjects through special software and video chat.
Common Earnings Range: $29,000 - $41,499 (ZipRecruiter)
If you’re multilingual, odds are there is someone who could use your assistance with a professional translation. In today’s global economy, accurate translations are essential for international businesses, their employees, and their customers. You might be responsible for translating or interpreting anything from meetings to business documents to websites.
For a job like this, you’ll likely need experience in translating. You may also need a college degree in your chosen language, as demonstrated accuracy and clarity are critical.
Common Earnings Range: $37,500 - $46,499 (ZipRecruiter)
Corporate events, weddings, large birthday parties, and conventions are just a few things that event coordinators are responsible for. Event planning professionals organize and manage all aspects of large events. This includes helping select the location, food, decor, entertainment, lighting, and more. Events can send you across the country or the world, giving you the freedom to travel.
Doctors in offices and hospital settings dictate their notes about patients. A medical transcriptionist types these dictations so that the memos can be added to the patient’s files. Though transcribing may sound easy, this option will require a degree or certification. You will be dealing with intricate medical details and terms.
Common Earnings Range: $23,500 - $35,999 (ZipRecruiter)
If you have experience in leadership or motivational speaking, you might do well in a career as a life coach. Life coaches work with individuals to help them accomplish their goals, overcome obstacles in their life, and make the changes that they want to see.
There are even niches within the life coach profession— relationships, career, academics, religion, health, and more. Be careful not to label yourself as a coach and start working with clients if you have no experience. There are industry licenses and certifications that will train you to help others properly.
Common Earnings Range: $36,500 - $44,999 (ZipRecruiter)
Many jobs within marketing can be done remotely and on a freelance basis. You won’t be tied to any one company and might be hired to undertake or consult on specific marketing projects. Companies bring in freelancers to help with public relations, search engine optimization, advertising, social media, and more. The skillset, experience, and education required will depend on the specific job you’re aiming to get.
Web and Software Development
Common Earnings Range: $93,000 - $126,999 (ZipRecruiter)
Many smaller companies rely on the work of freelancers to keep their websites up and running. In fact, one in every four web developers is self-employed. Most software developers work for one employer but may be allowed to work remotely.
Though it might not be technically a freelance job, remote customer service work can offer many of the same benefits as working for yourself. Traditional customer service call centers are on the decline as companies are allowing their customer experience teams to work remotely. You’ll perform much of the same work as a traditional customer service associate. This includes answering phones, responding to emails, chatting with customers, and maintaining accounts.
Before Starting Your Freelance Career
Shifting to self-employment is not that different than starting your own brick-and-mortar business. You’ll want to start by doing some research on challenges related to your industry so you can start building your business plan.
- The Financial Aspect of Freelance. When you’re your own boss, you are also in charge of managing your business’s money. Make sure you understand the best practices for keeping your finances in order.
- Getting Clients. Your ability to generate clients is at least as important as your rates. Network with those in the industry and research how they attract clients. This will give you ideas on how to grow your own client list. Eventually, word of mouth referrals will follow.
- Building Your Network. Start to make connections early on in your freelance career. You never know when other freelancers in your personal or professional networks will be able to help you find work down the road. These freelancers can also help teach you the ropes as you begin your own freelance career.
As a freelancer, you’ll have the power to work at your own pace. For 51% of freelancers, this is reason enough to stay in the career. These people claim that no amount of money could ever entice them back into a traditional job. If you agree, then full-time freelance might be right for you.