Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Freelance job ideas are all around you. If you can do it, you can freelance it. It’s true. Every single skill you have can be packaged into a money-making service business.
For example, I have freelanced as a:
- Pinterest Pro
- Virtual Assistant
I’m no expert in these areas. However, these simple skills are time consuming so many professionals opt to outsource them. That’s where I stepped in. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you.
But, before we jump into popular freelance job ideas, let’s look at what it means to freelance.
What does freelance mean?
To freelance means you sell work or a service to clients or companies. People who freelance are often called “freelancers.” Freelancers are free (see what I did there?) to work for different companies or clients at the same time. They are not committed to a single employer. Simple, right?
Why choose freelance?
There are a lot of reasons to choose freelance work, including:
- Flexible schedule
- Job security
- Total control & freedom
- Work-life balance
- Remote work
In a FlexJobs study, the most popular reason workers opted to freelance was freedom and flexibility. In fact, a whopping 70% of workers said freelancing offered better work-life balance.
Other reasons to choose freelance over employee include:
- No office politics
- Greater productivity
- Time and money saved
- Bad local job market
- Caregiver responsibilities
- Health or disability
As you can see, freelancing is an attractive alternative to traditional office jobs. But, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.
As a freelancer, you are self-employed. With the freedom of self-employment come responsibilities you don’t have as an employee. These are considerations you need to know before freelancing. For some, they just might be deal breakers.
When you freelance you:
- Pay your own taxes
- Must find clients
- Are in charge of invoices/payments/bookkeeping
- Need to purchase health insurance
- Work on a per project or hourly rate
Essentially, you are a one-person show. You find clients, pitch your services, set rates, create contracts, and collect payments all while completing projects and managing workflow.
This way of working doesn’t work for everyone. But for people who desire complete flexibility, total control, and greater income the benefits of freelancing greatly outweigh the cons.
Freelance Job Ideas
Now you know what freelancing is (and isn’t). From here, you can pick a service to sell. Remember, your bread and butter when freelancing are your skills. The more skills you have the more money you can earn.
As you begin to brainstorm your service-based business, consider services that are in-demand.
Technically, you can sell any service (just check out these weird services on Fiverr). However, you will only earn money on services that actually sell. So, look at industries with plenty of opportunities to market skills and sell services.
15 Top Freelance Job Ideas
The rise of Virtual Assistants (or VAs for short) demonstrates the value in virtual office help. Both individuals and companies know VAs increase efficiency which saves time and money.
Even better are the number of services you can offer (sell) as a VA. So, no matter what you know, you can market your knowledge to others as a virtual assistant.
2. Accounting & Finance
Remote finance roles for freelancers include tax preparation, record keeping, payment posting, and more. Many finance freelancers help clients create invoices, collect payments, and organize the flow of money coming and going.
According to Entrepreneur, bookkeeping is the most profitable online business. In fact, bookkeepers earn as much as $80/hour with super low overhead (operating costs). As far as freelance job ideas, this is quite lucrative. Freelance bookkeepers keep track of general finances and produce statements used by businesses to make important financial decisions.
4. Computer & IT
It’s no surprise to find Computer & IT work in a list of freelance job ideas. This industry includes such a broad array of services covering programming, design, and everything in between.
5. Customer Service
You don’t have to sit in a call center all day to work in customer service. Plenty of freelancers sell customer service skills virtually via email, chat and phone. Customer service pros answer general questions, troubleshoot issues, solve common problems, and provide support to end users.
6. Data Entry
As far as freelance job ideas, data entry is one of the most popular. Many freelancers enjoy data entry because it does not require phone work. Keep in mind, data entry is a basic skill. Pay for data entry is low.
7. Education & Training
Online education is common today. That means plenty of freelance services to sell. Tutor, essay writer, admissions rep, and curriculum creator are just some options.
8. Graphic Design
Graphic design is everywhere. Logos and business cards are popular services to sell. However, freelance graphic designers also make images, marketing materials, and visual elements used by businesses and brands.
Healthcare might not seem fit for freelance job ideas, but the popularity of virtual healthcare options has changed that. Now, freelancers can directly help healthcare workers as typists, insurance billers, payment collectors, and more.
Recruiters work with job seekers to place them in their perfect role. Since most job searches (and hiring) takes place remotely, this industry has soared in popularity for freelancers. Virtual freelance recruiters can work with multiple companies to scour social media, scout talent, and convince professionals to apply for positions.
Another broad industry for freelance job ideas is marketing. A marketing professional can sell services as a social media moderator, content creator, paid ads specialist, and so much more.
12. Mortgage & Real Estate
The pandemic had a hand in changing the world of real estate. Now, almost all phases of purchasing a home and getting a mortgage is done online. You can find a home, take a virtual tour, apply for a loan, and sign closing documents as long as you have an internet connection!
That means there are plenty of freelance job ideas for real estate professionals. Some options are title researcher, notary, property description writer, database searching, and schedule coordinator.
13. Project Management
Project managers oversee a project from start to finish. Their job is to help projects come in on time and under budget. As a freelance project manager you can create a budget, schedule project milestones, coordinate meetings, and assist everyone working on a project to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
14. Therapy & Coaching
Online therapy is in the spotlight right now thanks, once again, to the pandemic. In-person therapy isn’t practical or available to everyone, so teletherapy has steadily increased. Of course, you need to be a mental health provider to sell traditional therapy services.
However, you can become a coach who works alongside clients to help guide them in their journey. Popular freelance coaching offerings include career coach (like me), life coach, wellness coach, finance coach, education coach, and more.
15. Writing & Editing
You don’t need to be a novelist to offer freelance services in writing and editing. Writing jobs are widely available as blogger, copywriter, grant writer, SEO writer, and ghost writer to name a few. Editors and proofreaders are also popular freelancing professionals. Authors, businesses, brands, and bloggers all need outside eyes to make sure their content is cohesive and free of errors.
I’m a numbers nerd. Statistics and facts are my jam and I love sharing them to help remote job seekers pick the right path for them. Here are eye-opening facts for aspiring freelancers:
- 57 million Americans are part of the gig economy
- By 2027, freelancers are expected to number around 86.5 million in the US
- In 2019 outsourced services (read freelance) was a $92.5 billion market
- In 2020, 36% of workers freelanced full time
- Freelancer income increased 22% from 2019 to 2020
- 58% of freelancers reported feeling optimistic
- Half of freelancers earn the same or more than their office counterparts
- 89% of freelancers have better work-life balance
- 65% are happy with work (compared to only 55% of non-freelancers)
Clearly, freelancers are happy and thriving! You too can join this ever-growing group of remote workers by taking freelance job ideas and turning them into profitable service-based businesses.
From Freelance Job Ideas to Freelance Business Owner
Remember, it takes work to get started as a freelancer. In the beginning, you spend a lot of time pitching your services and figuring out how to navigate your new way of working.
Without guidance, it’s easy to get lost. Fortunately, you can find support to transform skills into a thriving freelance business.
Resources for Freelance Job Ideas
You don’t have to (and definitely shouldn’t) jump into freelancing alone. Below is a list of recommended resources for aspiring freelancers, like you.
My friend, Phon, over at Edit Republic teaches you how to start (and scale) your own editorial business. Her free masterclass shows the steps you need to take to transform a love of reading into a freelance business.
Learn the profitable path you can take to become a bookkeeper. Bookkeepers.com offers a free workshop to learn how you can start a digital bookkeeping business — the most profitable business on the planet.
I’ve used FlexJobs over the years as a source for reliable remote jobs, including freelance work. At this moment, there are 935 freelance jobs posted on this popular membership site. It’s well worth the fee to access the site. Check out my FlexJobs review to learn more about this trusted job search site.
Caitlin at ProofreadAnywhere started her career as a proofreader and now she teaches others how they too can proofread for profit. Her free 76-minute workshop is a great place to start when one of your freelance job ideas is proofreading.
Fully Booked VA
Gina at Fully Booked VA is an inspiring advocate for virtual assistants everywhere. She started her own VA business, scaled it, and now teaches others how to do the same. A good starting point is her in-depth post on how to become a virtual assistant.
Freelance Job Ideas for You
This is just a short list of 15 freelance job ideas in popular industries. There are plenty of other options out there. Before you freelance, do your homework.
Head over to Upwork (a large freelance marketplace) to see the Job Categories and Descriptions.
Read the book, The Freelancer’s Bible, by Sara Horowitz. And then browse Freelancers Union (also created by Sara Horowitz!). There you can find insurance, community, discounts, and tools to make freelancing simpler.
Remember, millions of people freelance full time. When you freelance, you join a community of supportive pros. It’s intimidating to change the way you work, but when you freelance you’re never actually alone.
PS This post contains affiliate links. Check out my disclosure statement to learn more.