Freelance jobs are becoming more and more common in today’s economy for a couple of reasons: First, people who have lost full-time jobs during the recession are increasingly trying to make it on their own by freelancing in their chosen field. Second, companies facing a money crunch are turning to freelancers because they save on the cost of benefits such as insurance and pension contributions.
While the government does not keep tallies of all freelance jobs – estimates range from 10 million to 30 million in the country – there are some fields that are particularly attractive to freelancers and can produce salaries high enough to turn a laid-off worker into a full-time freelancer. Here is a list of 10 high-paying freelance fields:
Easily the granddaddy of all freelance fields, big enough to get the attention of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimated nearly 200,000 people classified themselves as freelance writers in 2009. Salaries vary wildly, as they do in most freelance fields. However, there are plenty of freelance writers earning six figures. Another advantage of freelance writing is the number of individual specialties. This ranges from general web content – filling up websites as a way to attract traffic – to technical writing, financial writing and business writing. With this many specialties, it’s no wonder so many writing jobs continue to be available.
Another field that has grown significantly with the downtown in the economy. More and more marketing experts have been laid off and are offering their services on a freelance basis. Often, freelance marketing positions involve part-time work with a company as opposed to contract jobs for individual assignments.
Editor’s Note: I’ve got an episode of the Part Time Money podcast coming up soon which will feature a freelance marketing professional. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
Graphic and Web Design
This is an area of freelance growth where it isn’t uncommon for freelancers to work for freelancers. As people make that difficult choice to go out on their own, they realize the importance of a personal website and the need for an expert who can both design a website and occasionally make updates or fixes. Expertise in animation is increasingly helpful in this field, which is expected to grow at a 13-percent clip in the 10-year period ending in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A field where more and more companies are relying on contract workers in a number of areas, according to experts. Many of the freelance openings are for lower level positions such as public relationships specialist and public relations writer, but like other jobs on this list, those positions generally pay significantly above minimum wage.
This is another job where employers have discovered that hiring freelancers cuts costs. The freelancer is paid the same or even slightly less than a full-time employee, but doesn’t get benefits – which on average are about 30 percent of an average employee’s salary. Involves work transcribing patient histories, medical report and regular correspondence. Some freelance transcriptionists can work full-time from home while others take assignments on a contract basis and work for several companies at the same time.
Particularly as it gets closer to tax time, this becomes a freelance job in demand. Listed by Money Magazine as one of the top 50 independent jobs. Freelance accountants, CPAs, and tax consultants can land jobs by underbidding other companies or can win contract jobs for companies who don’t want to turn down work during the busy tax season.
Artists are demand in a number of different industries, from newspapers to book and software publishing to advertising and marketing companies. Computer design also requires artists along with the movie and video industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2008 that about 60 percent of the 221,000 artists in the country were self-employed.
One of the benefits of this freelance field is the number of sub-specialties. There is journalistic photography and work available by assignment or on a contract basis. The next big field is weddings and special occasions, but photographers are also needed by advertising and marketing companies.
Listen to PT’s recent interview with a freelance photographer making money to fund an adoption.
Demand for translators comes from several areas. International companies with offices in the U.S., or vice-versa, need translators who can convert business journals and other publications into other languages, as well as technical manuals and other business-related publications. Additionally, websites hoping to pick up a market share in other countries need their information translated. Most jobs in this field are performed on a contract basis.
There are an estimated 2.5 million people who earn a fulltime salary by re-selling products on eBay. The popular website attracts so many freelancers because it has 90 million active users. That’s an enormous audience. Thousands of people make a living by finding and buying discounted merchandise – either on eBay or elsewhere – and then selling the items for a profit on eBay.
What other top paying freelance jobs are you aware of?