Discover how to earn a great living from freelancing.

Starting out as a freelancer can be tough for many reasons. Therefore you want to make sure that all your time and effort is spent building a freelancing business that provides a high income.

You probably already know that though, as most people start freelancing for that exact reason - to make money.

That being said, just picking the highest paying freelance sector and learning them skills won't guarantee you will achieve that income. Within each freelance sector you will find varying levels of skill and experience, each with different pay levels. A beginner web developer will earn far less than an experienced expert in the field.

Factors which will influence your pay include skill, experience, quality of work, portfolio and ultimately how well you can sell yourself.

With that in mind however, knowing what market and freelancing sector has jobs that get paid well can help your decision when planning a freelancing career.

If you are interested in making a high earning and steady income, here are the jobs that earn the most in the freelancing world.

(1). Developer (coder, programmer)

Unsurprisingly at the top of the list is programming. Coding is currently one of the most in demand skills in the world. Every business in the world will have a requirement for a skilled developer, either directly or indirectly. Where some companies might have a project that requires someone who can code, others will use services and software created by a programmer.

Web development and mobile app development tend to pay the highest for freelancers. The reason for this is that coding is a skill that takes time to learn, and even more time to master. You will find a large pool of average coders who can make websites, but not many who can take on larger more complex projects. Therefore if you want to earn the most, becoming a very skilled and experienced developer will put you highly in demand.

Niching down will allow you to charge more, becoming an expert in a particular field of development. From experience this is absolutely the way to go.

Obviously you won't be able to start charging large amounts right away. It may takes years to build up your skill level, portfolio, reputation and client base. The rewards however are very worth it as you could end up charging over $200/hour.

In 2020 blockchain developers are most in demand according to this article by CNBC. This might be a great niche to start focusing on if you want to earn high.

Other niches worth looking at:

  • Shopify development
  • Angular JS development
  • Swift development
  • Machine learning

(2). Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing managers help build out and execute digital marketing campaigns. Creating ads which are then distributed through "influencers" with large followings on social media.

This kind of marketing has exploded in 2020 and become a mainstream tactic with many businesses turning away from traditional advertising to use influencers, and others making it a large part of their sales strategy.

With the potential to earn over $100k a year this is definitely a freelancing sector worth getting into if you are interested in being paid well.

Learning how to strategically post and promote a companies brand and content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest while using influencers to drive traffic is something that requires a mix of skill and experience.

The best way to get this knowledge once you have learned marketing fundamentals is to work with clients with smaller marketing budgets first. Slowly building you way up to larger and larger clients and budgets. This will allow you to build experience and also a portfolio of influencers you can use to help with marketing.

(3). Copywriter (content writing)

Online marketing is massive to businesses. Marketing methods like sales funnels and inbound marketing to name a few, have helped copywriting become one of the highest paying and in demand fields for freelancers.

A quick look online and on job boards and you will find freelance writers earning well over $5000 a month and some over $500 a day.

Copywriting can also be quite varied. Blogging, writing sales pages, content marketing and even writing guides can all be part of a copywriters day.

Luckily you don't need a masters degree to become a writer, and can easily teach yourself if willing to put in the time. You also don't need to have much technical knowledge or equipment, simply a laptop and an internet connection. This makes it one of the most accessible freelancing sectors to get started in.

(4). Website Design

The first thing to say about the web designer market is that it is REALLY crowded. Why? It's easy to learn web design and start creating websites - especially with frameworks like Wordpress.

Simply learning to design websites is not enough, you will very quickly find it is a race to the bottom on pricing.

If a clients brothers son can create a website in his free time, why pay you a large sum of money? Great question. The answer is to FIND A NICHE.

I speak from experience. Finding a niche in the field allows me to make well over $5000 a month (and sometimes a lot more). The best way to find a niche is to look for work, even if the pay to not great to begin with. This will allow you to build up a client base. You can then look at your current and past clients over a period of time and work out what one particular element of web design they all need and become an EXPERT of that.

eg. Shopify theme developer or Fixing broken Wordpress plugins

(5). Social video marketing

A relatively new freelancing sector is social video marketing. In 2019 UpWork listed it as one of the fastest growing skills for freelancers. Demand for experts who can develop social media marketing strategies that leverage video to increase customer engagement with a brand is at an all time high.

Content such as unboxing videos are becoming popular and if viral can be hugely successfully for businesses.

With pay rates of over $150 an hour this is a very lucrative freelancing skill to have. Learning to create video content for TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube is not the only skill to social video marketing. You will need to know how to optimize them for SEO, and also how to craft a viral video that audiences will want to watch.

Another area showing huge growth is live videos on Facebook and Instagram. Knowing how to utilize live videos to grow businesses will bring high paying projects your way.

(6). Graphic Design

Everything we see online and even offline needs a graphic designer. One of the core freelancing sectors, it will always be in demand.

It is however a "creative skill". Unfortunately although anyone can learn the technical abilities required to become a graphic designer, you will require a creative eye for design. Some people will find this easier than others. If you are naturally very creative and choose to learn freelance graphic design you could earn well over $100 an hour.

If you are less creative, factual graphics like infographics are very in demand. Other areas you can focus on as a graphic designer include logo design, icon design, website theme design, printed graphics and also illustrations.

(7). Video editing

Platforms like Youtube, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram mean that video editors are hugely in demand and the freelance sector is growing.

Businesses need help creating videos for marketing and if you are good at putting together clips and creating great looking and sounding content, this could be the freelancing career for you.

Video editing is a skill that can be self taught and although it would help to take a few courses, many don't. Many video editing freelancers have no formal training and make over $80,000 a year. Experienced video editors can make around $120,000 a year.

This freelancing sector also allows you to be very creative with varied work. If you enjoy creating content, this future proof freelancing sector is worth looking into.

(8). SEO

Search engine optimization is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. It is absolutely critical in helping websites get seen.

Businesses will use SEO to get their content ranked on Google, and get traffic on to their website. Knowing how to research and deploy keywords and optimize content for search engines is a VERY in demand skill.

The downside is that learning SEO is quite involved. You will need to take courses and learn a lot of terminology and skills to be able to deliver results. That being said, the income potential for a freelancer with a track record of delivering SEO driven results is massive.


Hard work

The one skill that you will absolutely need no matter what freelancing sector you choose, is hard work. The internet is flooded with get rich quick stories of people who learned a simple skill and became millionaires over night. That does happen, but to 0.00001% of everyone who tries.

For the rest of us, hard work and perseverance is the key to having a lasting and abundant freelancing career.

Don't try and learn a skill just because it might pay well. That is a quick road to burnout. Choosing a freelancing sector you enjoy and that challenges you is very important.

To become the BEST at something, you need to want to put the time in regardless of income. Be patient. You will not become a top earning freelancing in weeks or months, it takes years.

Think long term though. If you work hard to become the best in your field, well paying projects will come your way.

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