Top 30 In-Demand Freelance Skills to Learn in 2020

Julia Olech Last Updated by Julia Olech on November 01, 2020

Freelancing is no longer predominantly seen as a “side hustle” or way to support yourself during unemployment. You can now earn a full-time income from the comfort of your own home! As technology and easy access to the internet are making it easy to find online work, over 57 million workers in the US alone have already switched to self-employment. With the prospects of a better work-life balance, much higher pay, and more job satisfaction, the number of self-employed experts is only going to increase.

However, as good as freelancing sounds, you need to know what career suits you best and where to begin before you quit your day job. We researched every possible freelancing job out there to compile a list of the top in-demand skills so you can find your ideal freelancing role today!

Top 30 Skills to Learn in Order to Land the Best Freelance Jobs

1. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Programming

Average Annual Salary: $127,000

Average Hourly Wage: $150

Why Should You Choose Blockchain?

Blockchain is a programming language that manages and stores information about cryptocurrency transactions. However, unlike with other coding languages, it makes each entry highly resistant to external modification. This means that even though each online transaction is completely transparent, it cannot be interfered with by anyone who doesn’t own the data.

Even though it’s still a fairly new cryptocurrency technology, blockchain has quickly established itself as the #1 data-managing technique. Due to its unbreakable transaction security, companies (especially in law, finance, and logistics) are predicted to invest as much as $15.9 billion into blockchain by 2023. Luckily for freelancers, as it’s such a specific area of expertise, there still aren’t enough experts with sufficient knowledge to code and manage blockchain. That’s why, as long as you have the skills to show, you’re highly likely to find multiple clients looking for a blockchain specialist.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

It can be daunting to start learning about blockchain and cryptocurrency, especially if you don’t have any existing computer programming experience. Depending on your understanding of coding and Bitcoin, you can find an array of online courses that best suit your needs. Coursera offers a great course for beginners that’s perfect to discover the basics of blockchain and how it works.

Screenshot of a Blockchain course on Coursera

2. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Development

Average Annual Salary: $113,000

Average Hourly Wage: $74

Why Should You Choose Amazon Web Services?

AWS is the largest cloud storage provider, and it’s used by many big companies like Netflix, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Slack. In fact, The Verge reports that if you tried to block all the content stored on AWS, you’d only be left with 60% of the internet. Unfortunately, the cloud storage system is prone to cyberattacks and system failures — and every time it goes down it seems like almost half of the internet collapses.

There are two paths you can take as an AWS Architect. You’ll either work directly for Amazon to ensure as little system downtime as possible or provide cloud managing services to a range of companies who use Amazon’s online storage. Though the annual salary is extremely high, it’s unlikely one company will hire you full-time, so make sure to build a strong customer base and charge a set monthly fee.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

The AWS site itself provides a range of online courses that take you from a complete novice to a cloud storage expert. Ultimately, if you follow all the steps on the website, you’ll be required to pass a certification exam that provides you with an official certification upon successful completion.

Screenshot of an Amazon Web Services Architect course

3. Mobile App Development

Average Annual Salary: $107,000

Average Hourly Wage: $61-$80

Why Should You Choose Mobile App Development?

The demand for developers for both Android and iOS apps is ever-growing. App Annie’s 2019 report shows that in just one year, app stores recorded over 200 billion downloads while users spent a collective of $120 billion on apps and in-app purchases. As people spend on average over 3 hours a day on their phone, it isn’t surprising that businesses are focusing their efforts on showcasing their services through mobile apps.

This provides a great opportunity for mobile app developers to capitalize on their abilities and talents. Companies are constantly looking for new freelancers to design, code, and test their apps for mobile phones and tablets. This demand isn’t going to die down anytime soon either, which will allow you to make a living as a freelance mobile developer for as long as phones are an essential part of everyday life.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Developing mobile apps requires very specific coding knowledge — most iOS apps use Swift coding language, but Android apps are created in Java or C++. Knowing this, you can either choose to learn one language or both to become an expert for both mobile operating systems. If you’re not sure which language is the best for you, enroll in the Shaw Academy course, which covers all aspects of app-building, and see what interests you the most.

Screenshot of a Mobile App Development corse on Show Academy

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Development

Average Annual Salary: $94,000

Average Hourly Wage: $45

Why Should You Choose Artificial Intelligence?

If you’re fascinated by machine learning, how machines operate, and how they interact with people — you’re in luck. According to LinkedIn research, AI roles make up a majority of the top emerging positions for 2020 as a third of companies are revealing AI development plans.

Almost 50% of all businesses already use a form of machine learning, but AI is still a new concept expected to expand over time. As most AI is used to make daily life simpler, each algorithm and line of code is designed with a real-life problem in mind. It’s an extremely broad area that requires each specialist to know how to create algorithms, program working voice or facial recognition software, and even construct fully-working robots.

Choosing AI as your freelance career will not only enable you to work for high-end companies, but also allow you to write your own scripts for home-automated devices, such as Alexa or Google Home. Then, you can make extra profit by selling them on the Amazon Alexa store or Google Home app.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

To become an AI specialist, you need to be good at complex mathematical problems, know how to handle various aspects of computer science, and have a great understanding of algorithms. Udemy provides a range of courses to help you start your journey with AI, but you shouldn’t stop there. AI is a constantly developing area so you’ll have to make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news and technology in order to find (and keep) clients. It’s a big investment but it’s definitely worth it.

Screenshot of an Artificial Intelligence course on Udemy

5. Website Design

Average Annual Salary: $79,000

Average Hourly Wage: $75

Why Should You Choose Web Design?

According to an expert marketing organization, WebFX, almost 90% of customers decide to go with a competitor if a business’ e-commerce website is poorly designed. Companies are aware of this and invest millions of dollars into their designs as the general trend shows that each dollar spent on web design generates $100 in sales.

As a website designer, you’ll be responsible for researching design trends and creating exciting drafts using creative software like Photoshop. Web designers are also skilled in website-oriented coding languages, such as HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), as they often work with front-end developers to code each site.

There are 3 general specialties web designers can choose from:

  • User Experience (UX) designers craft and design sites that look appealing to visitors in order to generate more return customers
  • User Interface (UI) specialists deal with all the functions on a website (such as navigation or button placements) making them as user-friendly as possible
  • Visual design which combines the skills of both UX and UI experts

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

To start freelancing as a web designer, you need to have basic knowledge in computer programming. As a complete beginner, you can start with a detailed Codecademy course on website building that covers all aspects of UX and UI design.

Screenshot of a Web Design course on Codecademy

6. Website Development

Average Annual Salary: $75,000

Average Hourly Wage: $75

Why Should You Choose Website Development?

Due to the lack of talented web developers, experts predict that there will be over 1 million unfilled positions in the US alone by the end of 2020. This creates an enormous demand for skilled web developers, both in-house and freelance, meaning now is the perfect time to learn how to program websites.

Just like web design, web development offers 3 areas to specialize in:

  • Front-end developers focus on creating online items that directly interact with users, such as login pages, click buttons, user forms, and so on. They program everything that’s immediately visible and clickable on a website.
  • Back-end developers work on the core of each site that’s invisible to visitors. This includes the base structure of a website, databases, and servers. Back-end programmers also fix any bugs and glitches that stop a site from working properly.
  • Full-stack specialists have the skills of both front-end and back-end developers and are hired to manage the whole aspect of creating and managing a website.

Regardless of which path you choose as a web developer, you’re going to enjoy the high pay and bonuses that companies often offer their freelancers. It is one of the few freelancing skills you can learn where businesses are more likely to compete for your attention rather than the other way around. This means you’re going to get more jobs and recognition for your projects and hard work.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Even as a complete coding novice, you can easily pick up the new skills required to become a web developer. Codecademy is an extremely popular and widely-recognized learning source, and it’s even used by experienced developers. Offering courses for all experience levels, it will certainly turn you into a junior web expert with its clear explanations and interactive tasks.

Screenshot of a Web Development course on Codecademy

7. Data Analysis

Average Annual Salary: $74,000

Average Hourly Wage: $36

Why Should You Choose Data Analysis?

Data analytics is one of the quickest growing sectors on the job market, but its rapid growth has created a worker demand that cannot be fulfilled. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, there will be 2.7 million available data analyst job positions by the end of 2020 — but not enough skilled specialists to apply. This will force businesses to compete for each qualified data analyst, boosting your chances to gain enough clients and live comfortably as a self-employed expert.

As a data analyst, you’ll be compiling, organizing, and analyzing large quantities of data in order to create informative reports for each business. It’s important for each data analyst to pay great attention to detail in order to spot emerging patterns and possible system mistakes. Additionally, data analysts often work closely with web developers to create seamless data collection systems.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Data analysts combine multiple skills like business intelligence, quick analysis, and coding, so you should find a course that covers a wide range of related topics. This will save you a great deal of time that you’d otherwise spend learning each skill separately. Start with the Udacity Data Analysis course, which will teach you all about Python and SQL programming as well as show how to find patterns and insights from collected data.

Screenshot of a Data Analysis course on Udacity

8. Online Security and Ethical Hacking

Average Annual Salary: $70,000

Average Hourly Wage: $48

Why Should You Choose Online Security and Ethical Hacking?

Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2019 Cybersecurity Market Report shows that rising online threats are forcing companies to increase their cybersecurity budget, which is predicted to hit $1 trillion by 2021. Despite being a relatively recent trend, cybersecurity is quickly becoming a top concern for a majority of businesses — creating more positions and opportunities for online security experts.

Cybersecurity specialists work to protect sensitive data that’s collected and stored by a majority of online businesses. They often work closely with ethical hackers, who are employed to hack into a company’s system in order to check how well it’s protected. They then create full reports detailing areas for improvement, which are handed to security experts whose role it is to implement appropriate changes.

Both freelance roles have a large impact on a company’s level of online security and are in high demand with predictions to continue their growth in the foreseeable future.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Cybersecurity and ethical hacking are extremely detailed and challenging areas to specialize in — but they’re not impossible to learn. Cybrary’s Information Security Fundamentals course lays the basics of how online security works, providing you with essential skills you’ll need to get started in the industry.

Screenshot of a Cybersecurity course on Cybrary

9. Accounting and Bookkeeping

Average Annual Salary: $64,000

Average Hourly Wage: $35

Why Should You Choose Accounting and Bookkeeping?

According to the Small Business Report, 60% of small business owners admit they don’t know how to manage their finances and lack the funds to hire an expert full-time. This creates a niche in the market for freelance accountants and bookkeepers who often provide their services at a much more affordable price. You’ll be even more attractive to potential clients if you already have the accounting software required to carry out all the tasks.

As an accountant and bookkeeper, you’ll be responsible for managing payroll, calculating taxes, keeping financial records, and creating annual reports and financial plans for the year ahead. You might also have to deal with tax returns and fraud investigations if your client gets into trouble. The job role will differ slightly depending on your client’s needs — but these differences create a great work environment where each day varies from the next.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Accounting and bookkeeping require great attention to detail and knowing your way around numbers. ICS Learn offers an accounting course with detailed insights into what’s essential for those who want to become freelance accountants. The course has the official approval of the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT), which will increase your value on the job market.

Screenshot of Accountancy courses on ICS Learn

10. Writing

Average Annual Salary: $63,000

Average Hourly Wage: $31

Why Should You Choose Writing?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to become an author to make a living as a freelance writer. With the fast development of online media, 62% of businesses hire external talent to create content on their blogs or virtual magazines. This creates an enormous opportunity for those who know how to catch attention through the written word.

As the freelance writing world is overpopulated at times, it’s best to decide and develop the knowledge to create informative and engaging pieces in one specific area. It can be tech, history, medicine, education, motherhood, and so on — there really is no limit. If there’s one specific topic you’re especially passionate about, you’ll have no problem turning it into profit as a freelance writer.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

The good news is that to become a freelance writer, you don’t need qualifications in your chosen subject. As long as you’ve got the passion for creating content and know your way around words, you can hone your skills through a range of courses. Even if you’ve got some experience as a writer, you can try Udemy’s writing exercises to refine or develop your abilities.

Screenshot of a Writing course on Udemy

11. Editing

Average Annual Salary: $59,000

Average Hourly Wage: $25

Why Should You Choose Editing?

Research shows that 59% of customers won’t purchase a product from a company that uses poor grammar as they believe it’s linked to lower quality. The remaining 41% agreed that clear spelling mistakes and errors are a sign of a company’s lack of care and professionalism. This forces businesses to invest in editors to check each piece for plagiarism, grammar and spelling mistakes, and ensure content adheres to the company’s guidelines. Essentially, almost every piece of text you read had to undergo an editor’s check — including this one. This means that as long as writers exist, and are paid to do their job, editors will too.

To find the best fit, focus on what interests you the most and where your talents lie. Similarly to writers, there are a seemingly unlimited number of choices — from commercial advertising to fiction and poetry.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Editors are required to have immaculate grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills, and pay special attention to detail. If you decide to make a living as a freelance editor, you can start by completing the Skillshare Editing Masterclass course. It covers all essential areas for anyone looking to develop editing and proofreading skills.

Screenshot of an Editing class on Skillshare

12. Illustration

Average Annual Salary: $59,000

Average Hourly Wage: $25

Why Should You Choose Illustration?

Companies hire illustrators instead of using stock images in an effort to stand out amongst their competitors. Depending on its style, illustrations accompany a variety of articles, ads, and promotional materials both online and offline. Experts predict that illustration and animation will reach $270 billion in industry worth by the end of 2020.

A vast majority of illustrators are now self-employed or run their own design studios. That’s why, if you choose illustration as your freelance career, you should develop your own recognizable style or niche. Doing so will attract more customers interested in purchasing specific designs and will allow you to stand out amongst other artists. Your style will highly depend on what interests you the most — it may be digital designs, sketching, portraits, or watercolors. The important thing is to perfect the skill on whatever medium you decide to use.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

For complete beginners, Domestika offers a range of detailed courses that take you step by step in learning how to draw or illustrate. From there, you can build on your skills through practice and other online classes, especially on Udemy or Skillshare.

Screenshot of a Drawing course for beginners on Domestika

13. Virtual Assistance

Average Annual Salary: $57,000

Average Hourly Wage: $28

Why Should You Choose Virtual Assistance (VA)?

Companies, both large and small, are constantly looking for ways to grow their business while staying cost-effective. As hiring virtual assistants can reduce operating costs by as much as 78%, business owners look for freelance specialists online. The reason behind such big savings is the fact that VAs have a seemingly unlimited skill set. They are responsible for a range of tasks from essential admin and customer support to working on marketing campaigns and designing websites. This often means that companies can hire just one person for multiple roles instead of sourcing each role separately.

If you decide to work as a VA, you don’t have to limit yourself to one industry either. Each industry differs slightly in what tasks you’ll be assigned, so you may want to try a few different ones to find which area of work interests you the most. For example, working as a VA in a finance company could require carrying out accounting tasks, but an assistant in a fashion business would be more likely to liaise with stakeholders instead. Once you know your strengths, it’ll be easier to market yourself appropriately for each industry.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Each VA needs a quite varied skillset in order to offer competitive services. This includes a basic understanding of admin software and excel spreadsheets as well as great time management and attention to detail. All of that and more can be acquired by attending online classes, such as the Pitman VA Diploma course.

Screenshot of a Virtual Assistant Diploma on Pitman Training

14. Video Editing

Average Annual Salary: $57,000

Average Hourly Wage: $27

Why Should You Choose Video Editing?

If you’re not interested in shooting videos, but still find working with moving images fascinating, you should consider venturing into video editing. Video editors are quickly becoming one of the most sought after professions as 93% of businesses saw an increase in customers after posting a video ad on social media. That’s why marketers are now rebranding and focusing more on posting short, informative ads in video form to generate sales. This is especially true for any business active on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

As a video editor, you’ll be provided with raw clips and videos which your clients will expect to be montaged together in an engaging and attractive way. The role comes with a great deal of pressure as your end product must entice viewers into making a purchase. Make sure your editing style matches each project to ensure maximum client satisfaction (and increase the possibility of being hired again).

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Compiling audio, video clips, and sound effects isn’t as easy as it may seem at first. Luckily, most video editing software can be mastered quite quickly with the right resources. YouTube is a fantastic free resource that offers hundreds of videos with step-by-step editing tutorials for each piece of editing software available. If you’re looking for a detailed course to gain more in-depth knowledge, Skillshare offers a fantastic Adobe Premiere Pro class that’s perfect for beginners.

Screenshot of an Adobe Premiere Pro editing course on Skillshare

15. Graphic Design

Average Annual Salary: $55,000

Average Hourly Wage: $26

Why Should You Choose Graphic Design?

The graphic design market offers a tremendous variety of projects to take on. With 73% of companies investing in designs on their websites and social media posts, freelance opportunities have never been more apparent. With the right skills, you’ll be able to work on projects in marketing, web development, user experience design, and corporate communications, just to name a few.

Additionally, freelance graphic designers usually report being happier due to the constant use of their creativity. The available career paths offered in design also regularly push creatives out of their comfort zones and require them to regularly adjust their methods and techniques. This brings a lot of challenges, excitement, and extreme job satisfaction when each project is completed.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Before hiring you, potential clients will likely base their decision on your portfolio rather than your educational background. However, to build a strong portfolio, you’ll need to become an expert in at least a few Adobe design programs. There are many great digital design courses on Skillshare that make an excellent starting point for beginners as well as more advanced designers. You can also find various detailed training videos on YouTube free of cost. While you won’t get a certificate of completion, those videos are a great quick resource if you need help with your designs.

Screenshot of a Graphic Design Masterclass on Skillshare

16. Copywriting

Average Annual Salary: $55,000

Average Hourly Wage: $25

Why Should You Choose Copywriting?

Copywriters have the power to make a company memorable with the use of creative catchphrases and content that can generate sales. Think about McDonald’s with “I’m lovin’ it” permanently embedded in everyone’s minds, or KFC’s “finger-licking good.” A copywriter’s job isn’t limited to coming up with just a few words though — they draft engaging emails, blog posts, and product descriptions that convince consumers to click ‘Buy.’

Statistics prove that copywriting is one of the few sectors that is in high demand regardless of what the state of the economy is. This implies that, as long as you’ve got the skills, you’re highly likely to quickly climb the salary ladder as a freelance copywriter.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Creating content that sells requires great skills in the art of persuasion. It’s a talent that can be learned quickly, but remember to keep discovering new techniques to keep up with the evolving consumer market. You can choose from hundreds of specialist sites that offer free and paid courses, such as The Creative Copywriter Academy’s copywriting class.

Screenshot of a Copywriting course on The Creative Copywriter's Academy

17. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Average Annual Salary: $53,000

Average Hourly Wage: $100

Why Should You Choose Search Engine Optimization?

SEO marketing is another very specific branch of digital marketing that requires freelancers to ensure that a client’s website shows up on the first page of a Google search. Consumers are more likely to use Google to research services and products prior to making a purchase, but 67% of all link clicks go to the first 5 results. This means that companies that don’t rank high enough miss out on potential customers.

Even though an increasing number of companies are investing more money in their SEO rankings, the general number of experts in the field is still quite low. If you want to avoid the fierce competition in digital and social media marketing but still enjoy the marketing world, SEO will create the right opportunities for you.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

To become an SEO specialist, you’ll have to have an in-depth understanding of how search engines work and how to use this knowledge to drive online traffic. Moz offers an SEO Learning Centre that’s a good resource for beginners and experienced marketers alike. Start exploring the world of SEO by reading the Beginner’s Guide and build upon your skills from there.

Screenshot of an SEO Learning Centre and courses on Moz

18. Excel Management

Average Annual Salary: $53,000

Average Hourly Wage: $25

Why Should You Choose Excel Management?

Since its release in 1985, Microsoft Excel has become indispensable in almost every business possible. The software is used by over 750 million people in the world, but only a small percentage of them are certified Excel experts. Those specialists are in high demand at the moment — and with the continuous growth of the Microsoft spreadsheet program, this skill is only going to be more sought after.

Even if you struggle to find enough clients to support your freelance lifestyle at first, you’ll be able to earn money by providing one-to-one Excel online classes. It’s a popular choice for those who don’t have much corporate Excel experience but still want to share their expertise as a self-employed specialist.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Acca Global is a world-renowned accountancy firm that offers an official Microsoft Excel certification course. Completing it will help you stand out amongst other Excel specialists leading to higher chances of getting hired by renowned companies. It’ll also equip you with an extensive understanding of the program’s formulas and how to use them in every situation.

Screenshot of the official Microsoft Excel certification course on Acca Global

19. Social Media Marketing

Average Annual Salary: $50,000

Average Hourly Wage: $50

Why Should You Choose Social Media Marketing?

There are approximately 3.8 billion social media users worldwide and each one of them is a potential customer to any company active on the internet — but only if its products are marketed properly. In order to grow in popularity and revenue, businesses of all sizes must showcase their services online and they do this by hiring skilled social media marketers.

Social media marketing is a perfect choice for those who get bored easily as no two days are ever the same. As a social media marketer, you’ll be creating online campaigns designed with a target audience in mind. Each campaign will be completely different depending on what your clients need, so you’ll need to keep your creativity at the highest level.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

The trick to becoming a successful social media manager is to know the ins and outs of how each social media platform works. Udemy offers a wide range of highly-rated online social media marketing courses that will equip you with enough knowledge to start offering freelancing services. However, to apply for any project or role, you still need to create a portfolio with examples of social media styling, success stories, and so on. This will show companies that you’ve got the skills and experience to drive traffic and generate sales.

Screenshot of a Social Media Marketing course on Udemy

20. Independent Sales

Average Annual Salary: $48,000

Average Hourly Wage: $23

Why Should You Choose Independent Sales?

As over 90% of all customer interactions take place on the phone, it’s not surprising that companies are moving from in-house sales representatives to freelance sales experts. The main focus of the role is exactly the same: make as many sales as possible — but you get to do it from the comfort of your own home.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Having previous experience in the field and an existing client network makes it easier to become a freelance sales representative, but it’s not a necessary requirement. You don’t need any specific qualifications or certificates. As long as you display a can-do attitude and an eagerness to work, many companies will be interested in hiring you as their sales representative.

21. Videography

Average Annual Salary: $46,000

Average Hourly Wage: $30

Why Should You Choose Videography?

Often perceived as just camera operators, working as a videographer is much more exciting than just positioning shooting equipment in the right place. Freelance videographers work with businesses and individual clients to capture their creative vision in video form. The projects range from shooting short ads and promotional clips to creating training videos, or even documentaries. This variety of projects is predicted to create a much bigger demand for videographers with experts predicting a 12% industry growth until 2026.

At the beginning of your videography career, you’ll have to create an extensive portfolio that will help you get a first gig. The initial projects may be rather small and less exciting, but as you gain experience, you could even find yourself working with big TV stations, movie studios, and popular corporations.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

As a videographer, you’ll need to know your way around various camera equipment. While you can find courses about shooting professional videos using your iPhone, a majority of clients will expect you to own the appropriate recording equipment. You can learn the basics of cinematography on Skillshare — but keep continuously building upon your skillset to match your clients’ needs and provide the best quality work.

It may also be beneficial to start practicing videotaping by shadowing other, more experienced videographers. This is typically an unpaid experience, but doing so will allow you to learn exceptional in-field skills. Not all videographers are willing to take on an intern, so start networking and creating relationships with experienced professionals as soon as possible.

Screenshot of a videography course on Skillshare

22. Photography

Average Annual Salary: $41,000

Average Hourly Wage: $32

Why Should You Choose Photography?

People are more inclined to remember visual images rather than text. This is especially visible on social media, where promotions that include photos rather than videos or links get 352% more engagement. That’s why almost 70% of companies have plans to increase the use of photography in their promotions — and with that, hire more freelance photographers for their projects.

Apart from commercial photography, freelance photographers can also branch out into wedding imagery, studio photoshoots, fashion projects, and more. It’s particularly useful to decide which area suits you best prior to advertising your services to potential clients. This will attract the right clientele and entice them to return if they like your particular style.

Besides selling their services, self-employed photographers can sell their images on e-commerce sites like Etsy, or as stock photos. This helps them earn extra money on the side and get recognition online — which may lead to gaining even more customers.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

In order to become a photographer, it’s best to find a course that covers not only capturing images but also image editing skills. While it’s only just a start, the photography masterclass on Udemy lays the foundation you’ll need to begin. From there, you can move on to finding your own unique style and get to know an editing software to amp up the quality of your images.

Screenshot of a Photography Masterclass course on Udemy

23. Translation

Average Annual Salary: $40,000

Average Hourly Wage: $26

Why Should You Choose Translation?

There are over 7,100 different languages across the world and if you’re fluent in more than one of them, you have a good chance of becoming a successful translator. Globalization continues to power the ever-growing demand for language experts in companies in every sector. Even with the growth of AI services, translating software isn’t very accurate and is prone to mistakes. This means that now more than ever is the best time to swap your corporate career for freelance translation without compromising on your earnings.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Unless you’re bilingual with fantastic writing skills and expert knowledge in a specific field, you’ll need an official translation certificate before you can apply for any remote work. While many companies expect the translators they hire to have a university degree, it’s not necessary in order to find clients — as long as you show you’ve got the right skills. An extensive online course, like the Working with Translation course on Future Learn, is enough to satisfy plenty of businesses looking for a translator.

Screenshot of a translation course on Future Learn

24. Career Coaching

Average Annual Salary: $40,000

Average Hourly Wage: $20

Why Should You Choose Career Coaching?

People spend approximately 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime, but according to a global survey conducted by Gallup in 2017, only 15% of full-time workers are happy with their job. This means that over 75% of the world’s employees feel like they’re wasting their time in positions that don’t fulfill them, but don’t know how to change it. As more people confirm their increasing dissatisfaction with work-life balance or a career choice, the field of career coaching is experiencing an unbelievable popularity boom.

As a career coach, you’ll help people improve their general quality of living by working to pursuing their passions, not just to pay the bills. The field can be highly competitive, but it won’t ever stop being in high demand due to increased work-related stress and lowered living standards.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Many people fail at the first hurdle by thinking that anyone can become a career coach. In order to succeed, you need to have knowledge of how the job market works and how to help your clients get the positions they’re interested in. Going through a career coaching course on Udemy will give you the best basic skills you need to begin coaching, but remember to constantly build upon your skill set to stay competitive.

Screenshot of a Career Coaching Certification course on Udemy

25. Audio Transcription

Average Annual Salary: $35,000

Average Hourly Wage: $17

Why Should You Choose Audio Transcription?

According to Buffer’s online statistics, 85% of videos posted on Facebook are watched without the sound on. This indicates that companies who use video marketing without captions on social media lose out on a vast majority of online attention. To broaden the possible outreach, marketers and companies worldwide are now accounting for transcribers in their budgets.

If you can speak more than one language, you can market yourself as a transcriber and translator all-in-one. It’ll open up a world of completely new opportunities and increase your chances of landing extra jobs. This also pays a lot more than only creating subtitles in English as it’s a much more specific skill.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Although you don’t need an official qualification to become a transcriber, you’re required to have immaculate English grammar and punctuation skills. If your English needs some work, it may be a good idea to sign up for a Step-by-Step Transcription course on Udemy before you start reaching out to companies.

Screenshot of a transcription course on Udemy

26. Voice-Over Acting

Average Annual Salary: $33,000

Average Hourly Wage: $35

Why Should You Choose Voice-Over Acting?

‘Voice’ has been dominating the media and our daily lives for most of the last decade, and it isn’t slowing down in its popularity anytime soon. With podcasts, e-learning courses, and online video advertising booming, research shows a 900% increase in voice-over demand. Voice actors are needed to narrate videos, audiobooks, intros, movie trailers, video games, and many more.

Even if you think your voice isn’t good enough to create voice-overs, unique tones and accents are even more in demand than typical voices. A distinctive sound is also going to help you stand out more during auditions and is more likely to be remembered by the audience.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Having a voice isn’t enough to make a living as a voice actor — you need to know how to use it in different situations. You’ll have to learn how to manipulate your voice according to your project which may seem daunting at first. However, with the right course (such as Udemy Voice Training) you can quickly master the skill.

Screenshot of a Voice Training course on Udemy

27. Delivery Service

Average Annual Salary: $27,000

Average Hourly Wage: $13.50

Why Should You Choose Delivery Service?

Just in 2020 alone, over 2 billion people placed an order of some kind online, and each order needs a designated delivery driver to hand it over to its owner. Many courier companies are now hiring freelance drivers to provide a more cost and time-effective service — a trend you can use for your own benefit.

Becoming a delivery driver allows for more flexibility and freedom when it comes to choosing your working hours. Unlike most other freelance positions in this list, couriers usually don’t have to race to meet deadlines or compete for customers. They often work with already established ride-sharing or food delivery companies, but they still decide on their own schedule. Using a popular business also ensures you’ll have plenty of work, whenever you want to.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Provided you have a valid and legitimate driving license, you don’t need any certificates or qualifications to start your freelance delivery business. Simply download one of the available delivery apps, like Uber Eats or Deliveroo, and you’ll be ready to go straight away.

Screenshot of the driver sign up page on Uber Eats

28. Tutoring

Average Annual Salary: $27,000

Average Hourly Wage: $20

Why Should You Choose Tutoring?

Teaching in schools usually involves low pay, a lot of overtime, and often, minimal job satisfaction. With the average 1:16 teacher to pupil ratio in regular schools, it isn’t surprising that over a quarter of students are now looking for private online tutoring. It allows children to learn from the comfort of their own homes while you don’t have to leave your living room. With the benefits of personalized one-to-one teaching support, you’ll quickly be able to see the progress your students are making, bringing you a tremendous amount of pride. Finally, online tutoring will pay you a lot better than teaching at a school as any overtime you work can be billed by the hour.

Even better, as a freelance tutor, you don’t have to actively search for clients on your own. Many self-employed teachers use third-party agencies that already have a database filled with pupils. All you’ll need to do is register and wait for the right students to contact you. If you decide to use online tutoring companies, remember that they’ll take a certain percentage of your earnings in order to run their business.

Don’t worry if you aren’t a qualified teacher either — you can choose any subject you’re an expert in. People across the world look for tutors that provide classes on a range of topics, including cooking, photography, writing, and more.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

Regardless of what subject you choose to tutor in, it’s a good idea to learn how to make each lesson engaging and enjoyable. Udemy offers an ultimate guide to tutoring that will show you the basics of teaching and starting your own tutoring business.

Screenshot of a tutoring course on Udemy

29. User Testing

Average Hourly Wage: $10-$20

Why Should You Choose User Testing?

You’ve probably stumbled across poorly designed websites more than one in your life — only to never go back to them again. In fact, research shows that as many as 70% of online companies fail because of unattractive layout and bad user experience. That’s why user testers are a crucial part of any business’s success. User testers get paid to find existing bugs and glitches and share their thoughts on existing platform usability.

User testing isn’t simply reserved for small companies either, as many online corporations, including Twitter and Airbnb, consider user experience feedback to be of the utmost importance. This means that you may find yourself trying out new features on various popular platforms before they’re ever released to the public!

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

You don’t need to complete any courses to become a user tester. Of course, some tests will require you to have at least a little computer programming knowledge, but a majority let you test their features as a regular user. All you need to begin is a working broadband connection and a laptop with a microphone and possibly a webcam. Registering on many user-testing sites, such as User Testing, is completely free.

Screenshot of User Testing home page

30. Survey-Taking

Average Hourly Wage: $5-$35

Why Should You Choose Survey-Taking?

Online surveys help businesses shape their approach to customers and the market based on the responses gathered. However, research shows that only 2% of regular customers are willing to fill in a survey forcing companies to find alternative solutions. This gap in the market has enabled third-parties to get involved and offer people money in exchange for sharing their personal opinions.

Unfortunately, due to its low pay, freelance survey-takers use it more as a side job than a full-time role. It can be great if you’re looking for an easy way to add more money to your budget but struggle to find much spare time. This makes online surveys extremely attractive to students, stay-at-home moms, and retirees.

Where Can You Learn the Skills?

A fast internet connection and a laptop or phone will allow you to start earning money right away. Remember to always make sure you use legitimate and trustworthy platforms to avoid scams. Sites such as Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, and PrizeRebel are the most popular amongst all survey-takers and make a great starting place if you want to fill in easy questionnaires.

Screenshot of Swagbucks home page

6 Things to Consider Before You Dive In

While being self-employed comes with many advantages, such as setting your own hours and lack of a strict dress code, freelancing can be challenging at times. So, before you swap your day job for freelance work, you should be aware of the drawbacks that come with being self-employed.

1. Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Freelancing is like starting your own business — it won’t bring you a lot of revenue straight away. While many freelancers earn more money than those in regular employment in the same field, they had to work hard to make it happen.

This is usually directly linked with your experience. Beginners and entry-level freelancers can’t expect to earn the average salary at the start. It takes years of experience, networking, and skill-building before you can call yourself a successful freelancer. Luckily, with each passing year, you can raise your rates and, at some point, you might even surpass the average pay — bringing home a much larger paycheck.

Taking that into consideration, you probably shouldn’t quit your day job as soon as you decide to try your luck at freelancing. That way you’ll still have the financial security of a regular monthly salary while using your free time to make yourself known as a self-employed expert. It’ll take a lot of time and effort, but if it makes you feel more fulfilled then it’s worth every second.

2. Social Interaction Can Be Scarce

Deciding to work remotely almost completely removes you from the social space. You don’t get to have a chat with your coworkers during lunch breaks and there’s no one to gossip with or complain to about horrible bosses. Instead, you’re presented with your own company, so be prepared to become your own best friend!

Chatting to yourself in the mirror is certainly an option, but to avoid feeling isolated, try to schedule regular coffee dates with your friends or even take yourself out for lunch. After all, you decide on your own schedule, so as long as you get the work done, you can treat yourself to some social time out of office.

However, there may be periods when you’re so swamped with work that you aren’t able to go out and socialize. A great way to complete your projects and enjoy social interaction at the same time is to find another freelancer to co-work with. It’ll give you an opportunity to get out of your home and network with like-minded people who will keep you motivated and focused on your tasks. You can even join a co-working space near you and rent a desk in an environment that highly resembles a regular work setting.

3. Setting Your Hours Isn’t Easy

Many people choose freelancing as a way to escape the 9-5 working schedule, but setting your own working hours isn’t always simple. As no two days are ever the same, you can’t always predict how much time you’ll spend working each day. Clearing your schedule one day to go to the beach may mean that you’ll have to work 12 hours the next day or over the weekend.

Additionally, many self-employed workers find that they can never just switch off. Even if they finish working for the day, their mind keeps gravitating towards open projects they still have to finish. This leads to a constant build-up of stress and feeling burned out.

As there isn’t one perfect solution that applies to every freelancer, you’ll have to find what works best for you. Just because a certain schedule helps one person keep up with their work, that doesn’t mean it’ll do the same for you. It’s a trial and error method that will help you discover your most productive time of the day and utilize your downtime for relaxation.

4. Productivity May Fluctuate on a Daily Basis

Working from home often means slouching in your PJs with a laptop on the couch. After all, there’s no designated office space to use, so you can work from any spot in your house. However, working in an office can push you to do your tasks even when you don’t necessarily feel motivated. Without that space, it’s easy for any freelancer to find themselves browsing Instagram for 2 hours instead of finishing projects.

The amount of work you get done in a day depends mostly on how you feel. One day you may feel extremely productive while the next morning you could struggle to draft a basic email. It’s important to recognize and accept that this is a natural process that happens to everyone. As a freelancer, you’ll need to work to find a balance between meeting deadlines and scheduling unproductive downtime.

5. Freelancing Doesn’t Offer Work Benefits

Employment often comes with a range of staff benefits, like a retirement scheme, health insurance, or paid holiday leave — freelancing doesn’t offer any. Due to the nonexistent employer-provided extras, you’ll need to budget for your own sick days, vacations, and even insurance. You’ll have to include emergency funds in your monthly budget to account for the times when you may not be able to work.

This could be considered one of the biggest drawbacks to freelancing. Depending on your chosen field of work, you may be giving up a high percentage of your earnings to pay for insurance and medical coverage. Make sure to calculate your potential income and expenditures required to keep you safe and healthy before you make your final decision.

6. Money Management Is Essential

Many freelancing paths allow you to build a database of regular and returning customers, which usually means a fairly steady inflow of cash. However, a common way of attracting new clients is to do the first job on an ad-hoc basis, which means you may or may not get paid for the work you do for that client. Therefore, you’ll have to be prepared for the possibility that there might be some months when you don’t earn any money at all. With the fluctuation of working hours, your final monthly check also goes up and down. You’ll need to be smart about how you spend your money and how much you need to save to survive.

How to Beat Competition and Get New Projects Every Time

Analysts predict that 80% of people across the world will switch to self-employment by 2030. If the self-employment trend keeps gaining that momentum, you may soon be competing with 7.5 billion freelancers across the globe. This means that in order to earn a living, you’ll have to stand out from the crowd. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and commitment, but following the steps below will help you outshine a majority of other freelancers.

Anyone Can Become a Freelancer — So What Are You Waiting For?

If you’re considering freelancing but you’re questioning if you’ve got what it takes to be successful, the answer is always yes. Swapping your day job for a freelancing career can be an overwhelming change, but it can also be very exciting. Self-employment offers you a chance to turn your interests into profit, which then increases your job satisfaction. At the same time, you’ll get a better work-life balance, higher salary, and an opportunity to network with some of the most talented people in your chosen field. While freelancing will require a lot of commitment and hard work, with the right approach, nothing can stop you from succeeding.

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Julia Olech
I am a writer, blogger, and technology geek. I love discovering new gadgets that make life easier and more fun. Passionate about online privacy and safety as well as browsing the Internet without limitations.