There are so many freelance careers out there to choose from that sometimes overwhelm of ideas can be a problem.
I mean, I have a confession to make. Life is pretty good. I’m doing work I enjoy, with clients I love.
At the time of this writing I’m living in Quito, Ecuador, having put down roots (at least for a while until this whole COVID-19 thing gets sorted out and it’s safe to travel again!).
But … I LOVE trying new things.
And I’m kind of a serial entrepreneur so hardly a week goes by that I don’t have a new idea for how to make money. But alas, I am only one person, and I can’t do it all.
I do get jealous though, seeing new freelance careers pop up day after day for some motivated freelancer to make their fortune in.
Or I get sad watching friends that I know could make great money online totally missing these opportunities, preferring to bang their heads against the walls that traditional jobs put around them to cage them in.
NOTE: This post originally contained 5 freelance careers but was updated to 4 in 2022. The 5th one used to be driving organic traffic using Pinterest, however that platform has become consumed by ads and I no longer feel it’s a great area to get into.
Great freelance careers I’d recommend
Then, I brightened up realizing I could share these freelance careers with YOU, internet friend, in the hopes that you take these free ideas and run with them.
Because the money is just sitting there, and if I’m not going to be making it, I hope that you will.
So, without further ado, if I was starting today and looking at freelance careers to jump into — with just my wits, a computer, and wifi, here’s what I would get into.
4. Client gen
Wondering what this is? Well, I just made it up. The name anyway. But perhaps you’ve heard of lead generation or “lead gen” for short?
That’s where you go out and try to attract total strangers to a product or service. Typically, then the sales guys or gals take over and try to convert these leads to buyers.
That’s not my point here. My point is simply that’s where I thought of the name: client gen.
I was helping a student of my freelancing course the other day and realized how some things that are super simple for me are absolutely terrifying to others.
He’s looking for new clients and wasn’t sure how to adapt the $200K pitch I give away (for free) to clients in his field.
We whipped right through it together and I realized that, well, I’m pretty damn good at pitching!
And because my track record is so good — I got YES responses on 6 of the first 9 pitches I ever sent out and was off to the races with my freelancing career — I’m not at all afraid of pitching new clients.
I’ve got swagger, but not the fake kind — the kind born of knowing that I do good work, I work with awesome clients, and I value myself and my time. There’s no fear there.
So, if I was starting all over today, I’d make that into a business. (Freelance careers don’t have to be established with a written job description like you’d get in a normal 9-5. No way! You’re free to make up your own ideas.)
My targets would be other freelancers (ideally in high-paying fields like FB advertising) who need steady work coming in but are afraid (or don’t have time, or energy, or a system) to go out and find new clients.
I’d swoop in and show them how working with me would equal a steady stream of amazing clients.
I’d get to know what they do inside and out, research their ideal clients, then put together pitches for them to send out.
Instead of coaching them, I’d actually DO the work for them, providing them with customized pitches for each client, and writing up responses for them, setting up the calls, etc.
If you can find things that people hate to do, and you don’t mind doing it (or even better love it and are good at it) there’s money to be made there! Very successful freelance careers often start out this way — just taking things off other people’s plates.
3. Social media management
Let me start by saying I loath social media. Let me add to that by saying that I totally use it. Why? It’s too valuable a business tool for me to NOT be on it.
Though I do dream of the day when I can “peace out” and leave it behind.
(But of course, I also dream of retreating to a peaceful cabin in the woods to write my memoirs so … ) Social media isn’t going anywhere. And companies big and small need someone to manage their social media accounts.
You guys, there are soooooooooooo many terrible social media accounts out there. Many companies know they should be doing it but there are just so many other pressing things they’re focused on.
If you can swoop in and show them why they need it and how you can do all of the work for them, many will jump at the chance to be making progress on it without actually working on it themselves.
Small businesses are great targets here because they are always looking for more customers and more brand recognition. If you can get either or both of those for them, that’s a huge help.
Even if they complain that people don’t buy from seeing them on social media, having a solid social media presence can build something important called social proof. A brand that has 15K followers seems more legit than a brand with 2K.
From experience just the other day, I was experimenting with switching to a new social media tool called SkedSocial.
Even though the tool appears to do everything I need, I was seriously hesitant when I checked out their Instagram and saw they barely had 1000 followers (at the time of this writing). What kind of social media tool that claims to have over 10,000+ brands using them only has 1000 followers on Instagram? It gave me pause before buying.
And this is why social proof can be powerful.
(Before you call me out on it, yes, I don’t have very many Instagram followers at the moment. Yes, I know I should be building more social proof. Yes, I feel like I don’t have time for it. Prime opportunity for someone to swoop in and help me out…)
This brings me to my last point …
Showing up and taking a task that’s important off of a business owner’s plate will ensure you always have clients. And social media is an ongoing task so you can lock in long-term clients and have great stability.
Plus, it ranks highly as one of the easiest freelance careers to get into because there are so many terrible freelancers out there who have no idea what they’re doing.
2. Advertising on the big networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google).
Anything that helps your client make more money is going to allow you to charge more money. So if you’re not particularly leaning toward one skill over another, why not take a look at making yourself an expert on one of the various advertising platforms.
Personally, I’m not passionate about any of these. But I’m a businesswoman and I’ve hired advertisers in these areas to do work for various clients over the years. I’ve seen what they charge! And I like a lotta zeros on my invoice.
Becoming skilled in any one of these platforms will mean that you can make lots of money, and again, lock clients in for ongoing work. You don’t just start an advertising campaign overnight, nor do you dabble in it for 3 days!
I have a client who has worked with a FB and Instagram ads agency for about 2 years, and a Google ads freelancer for over a year. They keep delivering results, and we keep working with them.
Advertising is also huge because of its great potential for the client to make money (and thus for you to charge high rates).
If you work on a FB ads campaign that makes the client $15K, they have no problem paying your $3K fee. Many times, this type of field doesn’t have hourly rates but rather flat rates. So you might charge a client $3K a month, regardless of how many hours you’re putting into what you do. The client is paying you for results! They don’t care whether it took you 4 hours or 40 hours to achieve those results.
If you’re really open to ideas here, I’d also recommend keeping an eye on what happens in the future with WhatsApp advertising.
I’d never used WhatsApp in the USA but in the years since I’ve been living abroad, it’s become as natural as breathing. And with 1.5 billion users in over 180 countries, it’s got to be just a matter of time until they figure out a way to slap ads onto it.
1. Tik Tok Strategist
This is one of the hottest freelance careers at the moment. I got so excited about this opportunity I went ahead and created a full-length blog post where I take you through why I chose this field, how I’d go about positioning myself as an expert, how I’d find clients and package my services, and scale it to a full-blown business! You can follow the steps I lay out to start your freelancing career in this field or apply the steps to another area you’re interested in.