Today I’m taking a step back to talk about what I think are some of the most profitable and in-demand freelance side hustles to consider. Now, if you’re an advanced freelancer, which you probably are just for checking out this podcast, you probably already know your niche. You may have been working in a freelance side hustle or even scaled it up to a full-time career, but this episode will still be helpful for you because you might be thinking that it’s time for a change.
You might be interested in making a transition and pivoting to offering a different type of services, and this is what I love about freelancing. When we don’t love doing something anymore, it’s okay to incorporate another type of freelancing as a side hustle. It can be a great way to test out whether or not this is something that you’re interested in. Stay tuned because if you listen to this entire episode, you’re going to get a link to be able to sign up for my full PDF that goes into great detail on the top 25 most in-demand freelancing side hustles to consider, the general work that they do, and then the software that you need to know for each type of freelance side hustle.
So if you’re new to the concept of freelancing, I’d also recommend that you check out my first TEDx talk, “The Future is Freelancing”.
It’s a great overview of what freelancing looks like today and takes on some of those popular myths about freelancing that just are not true for the way that digital creatives are working online today.
Now when you’re listening to this episode, we are closing in on the last couple months of 2019, but what I’ve included in this episode and in the freebie PDF you can get and sign up for at the end of the episode, are what I think some of the most in demand freelance side hustles are and are likely to continue to be throughout 2020. This freebie is going to benefit you is you are new to freelancing and you’re thinking:
● Which direction do I go?
● How do I decide what type of background I have?
● How do I know?
It’s also going to benefit you if you’re an established freelancer looking for something new. It’s always a good idea to have your finger on the pulse of freelancing. If you’re like me, you’re looking to pivot every so often because you might just get bored of doing the same thing over and over again. You might get overwhelmed. You might be looking for something that’s a little bit more of a challenge. So the freelance side hustle you started with might be scaled down over time.
Now, that was definitely true for me. I’ve been a freelance writer since 2012 so about seven years at the time you’re listening to this episode. I’ve really loved creating blogs and email copy for a lot of my clients. But several years ago, I started to feel like I’d gone as far as I could go with blog writing. That’s when I started to branch out into doing other types of freelance side hustling.
So I still had this core stable of freelance writing clients that I was providing services for, but I wanted to expand my skill set. I didn’t want to be locked into a box. I also wanted to be able to see what other things I might like. It was important to me to see what other things were in demand.
So I branched out into creating courses.
I did more editing work rather than just freelance writing. I did project management work. I also started educating myself on new things like influencer outreach and writing email copy. Why? Because it allowed me to have some different skill sets to rely on and decide if I liked it better or if this made me more versatile.
I’ve also worked with a lot of freelancers. Whether it was through my courses or one on one strategy sessions and coaching for freelancers. So I know what a lot of other people are doing as well and where they’re getting results. That’s why this episode is designed to get you to think about some of the different types of freelance side hustles that are out there that might appeal to you.
Then you can grab that PDF at the end, maybe even share the link with a friend who’s thinking about getting started with freelancing and doesn’t know where to even start. You may have a friend that wants to get started freelancing, but doesn’t even know what a freelancer is. They may be wondering what type of freelancer they could be based on their background.
The Top 25 Freelance Side Hustles
Social Media Manager
Now there’s a new social media app or tool developed practically every day. Social media gets to be very overwhelming for business owners. So it’s probably not surprising to you that it’s a great way to specialize as a virtual assistant. You will see VA’s who call themselves social media managers and people who don’t do VA work, call themselves social media managers, but you should definitely know tools that are used to schedule social media as well as your social media platforms themselves, like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also specialize in a certain type of social media management tool or type to further niche down.
Graphic designers don’t have to work at agencies alone or for a company as the core graphic designer. Many of them are selling and sharing their skills online. They are sharing in these marketplaces where people are hiring for specific gigs, like creating a logo or creating PDFs. I work with a graphic designer on retainer because it’s great to have somebody else who knows your brand style and colors to create all of your images.
If you having the training in this, you can certainly make a lot of money doing this as a side hustle. People typically charge hourly rates for it. Specialists can charge somewhere between $50 and $100 an hour. So if you have that background or training, perhaps you did it for another company, this could be a great way to specialize and start doing a side hustle for companies that aren’t really in a position to bring in a full-time employee but still need help.
If you love numbers and details, bookkeepers do a lot of tasks to help online and offline. Businesses stay organized with their finances. You’ll usually see going rates starting no less than $20 an hour and going all the way up to $60 an hour for more advanced reconciliation and financial planning issues. Everything from payroll management to checking and credit card statements to forecasting are the types of tasks that a bookkeeper typically does.
Customer Service Specialist
Now another way that a lot of people break into freelance virtual work is as a customer service specialist. Lots of companies today use virtual assistants and customer service specialists in an online capacity. They know tools like Zen desk or they manage emails. They make sure that customers are essentially happy and that there are established protocols and procedures for helping customers with common questions like being locked out of their account or needing a refund. These types of side hustles are very in demand.
Freelancers who have this skill set from college or their own self-education are developers. Web developers are familiar with plugins, frameworks, website platforms, and tools like HTML, PHP and Java charging upwards of $50 an hour. If you know multiple coding languages, you can even push your income as a freelance side hustler up to a hundred dollars an hour as a developer. Developers are in huge demand today.
Essentially 3D modelers create computer graphics that are used in video games, 3D printing animation, and special effects. There’s lots of different tools like AutoCAD and Sketch Up that developers who have 3D modeling experience use.I am seeing more and more jobs requesting these 3D modelers as well.
Website Builder or Designer
If you love creating, building and designing websites, the more you know about user experiences and how to make a website appealing and easy to navigate could serve as the foundation for your freelance side hustle. As a website builder or designer, more experienced designers charge well over $60 an hour or expensive retainer packages. I strongly recommend two tools to check out would be WordPress and Squarespace is this appeals to you.
Voice Over Artist
Have people always told you that you have a pleasing voice? Perhaps working as a freelance voice over artist is a great way to leverage your skills and make some extra income. Putting together a voice reel is easier than ever. Thanks to online tools like Audacity. Check out some of your competition before jumping in as a voiceover artists. There’s lots of VO artists on places like Upwork and Fiverr where you can get a sense of the different ways they set out their samples due to the drive and online marketing.
If you have training and experience working with search engine marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising tools to create comprehensive and successful marketing campaigns. Many small and medium sized businesses need help with this. They don’t really want to hire someone in house. Or they might not yet have the budget to do it, but they could use someone on a freelance basis. And most marketing freelancers are gonna charge an average of around $50 an hour.
So if you have experience from a day job that you’re looking to transfer over, this is a great one to consider. Do you love data science, like using machine learning to generate new products, creating charts, or generating data infrastructures? A data scientists can charge upwards of $100 an hour when they know tools like Apache, Spark, and Linux. Check that out if that appeals to you. Creating raw data in spreadsheets and organizing it and developing key takeaways from that data are some of the most popular things that these freelancers do.
Now, one that’s emerged on the market in recent years but is booming, you’re listening to one right now, is a podcast producer. So a podcast manager or producer can do a variety of activities, but sometimes they’ll even specialized down to just doing audio editing. But you’ve also got podcasts managers doing post-production work up generating podcasts, interviews, coordinating them, and overseeing the production of a podcast. This is a very popular way to specialize today. If you’re an audio engineer and even writers can specialize as a podcast show notes writer.
Now, network engineers and IT security protocol implementation experts often find many opportunities to work online today. Whether it’s computer gaming and building software products or running an entire network control system, engineers definitely have a place in the gig economy.
Video and Audio Editors
Now, we briefly talked about audio editing before. Video and audio editors are getting more demand because there’s such a drive in the creation of online content like courses. So whether it’s storyboarding, project management, live action video, putting together landing pages and funnels and sequences with videos and audio, this is a great way to start a side hustle.
If you already know how to use tools like Audacity, Camtasia, and more advanced tools, a really creative way to get started generating buzz for someone else’s business is to freelance as a publicity expert. It’s your job to determine what channels are right for publicizing the services and products of your client. So you think about different ways to promote them to a broader audience and bring in more potential customers. Newer freelancers working in publicity charge around $25 an hour, but seasoned experts pull in a lot more with their freelance side hustles in public relations.
If you’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but need a remote and flexible work schedule, being a tutor in terms of foreign language, math, science, ESL, or standardized test prep is a great way to break into the freelance marketplace and get some experience.
Do you love figuring out what makes websites rank in search engines like Google? Getting some additional training and picking up knowledge from podcasts, books, and online courses might pave the way for you to work as an SEO specialist. SEO specialists look at things like the navigational structure of a site, the optimization of a site to maximize page speed, and how to resolve conflicts inside these sites and make them more beneficial for the client in terms of ranking in search engines.
A brand strategist is a great way to fuse marketing knowledge with graphic design awareness. Some of the tools you might want to have in your skill set includes search engine optimization, writing and copywriting, and public relations expertise. As a brand strategist, another tool to check out is working as a translator.
Translators often have experience in at least two or three languages and ensure that the content is translated properly given the language and grammar specifics of the language that it’s going to. So freelance translators often start out somewhere between #15 to $30 hourly. Then you can scale it up.
Content or a Project Manager
One freelance side hustle that I love because I’ve worked in it before is as a content or a project manager. Their job is to put together the strategy for implementing content across a broad variety of channels. This can even include recruiting, hiring and managing freelancers as well. This is very popular with those companies that leverage blogs and similar tools to promote their content. If you are thinking about becoming a project manager, you should be organized and enjoy working with others to make this your choice of freelance side hustles.
If you love listening to audio and translating that into text, a transcriptionist might be a great way for you to break in as a freelance side hustle. Simply put, transcriptionists listen to recorded audio or video and type it out into written form. Many of them charge between $25 and $35 an hour. I have worked with a transcriptionist and transcription tools for years and it’s been very helpful for speeding up my process!
Of course, I love the freelance side hustle idea of working as a writer. Freelance writers do a variety of tasks like creating website pages, sales copy, newsletters, emails, brochures, blogs, product descriptions and more. This gives writers a great deal of versatility and experience working in content marketing. And if you’re curious about how to get started as a freelance writer, check out my book called “How to Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business”, which goes into all the details of how to make it work as a freelance writer.
If you’ve worked in administrative positions before and are looking to transition into a side hustle or pick up a couple of extra hours a week, serving as a virtual assistant to an entrepreneur is a great way to do this. You might be doing things like email organization, customer service, and calendar management.
Editors and Proofreaders
To get started building on these previous ideas of working with language as a writer, editors and proofreaders can pick up multiple opportunities to work for academics. Those creating content and people who are in a school setting, so even college students and graduate students might consider hiring an editor or proofreader. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the various styles like AP and Chicago and to check out further information about the level of depth you’re going to get into while editing.
I have a great course on how to become a freelance editor and some of the ways to set yourself up for success with that by taking a look at some of the pieces that are already created and giving your client a good understanding of the scope that you work on when completing freelance editing projects.
This has been a great overview of what I think are some of the most in-demand forms of freelance side hustling. If you’d like to pick up the PDF to learn more about the software that you should know more about, what these freelancers specifically do, and the typical hourly rates they charge. Check out BIT.LY/sidehustlestarter.