6 Top-Paying Freelance Jobs

By Thursday Bram | December 14, 2012 AAA
6 Top-Paying Freelance Jobs

Whether you're just looking to earn some extra income on the side or you want to freelance full-time, there are freelance opportunities that can at least match full-time employment, if not earn you even more. Of course, most freelancers won't earn their full potential right out of the gate. A freelancer has to line up clients and find work, but there are some paths that can lead to more income, faster.

Writing
There are freelance writers who manage to pull in more than six figures every year. It takes plenty of work, but the upside to writing is that you don't need any special equipment to get started. There are plenty of sites that list freelance writing gigs that can help you land your first client today. You don't even need to be Hemingway to land these projects, you just need to be able to write clearly and avoid grammar mistakes.

Translation
If you're fluent in a second language, translation can provide an excellent opportunity for freelancing. There are some variables in how much a freelance translator can earn that can make a major difference. However, a freelancer who is certified by the American Translators Association can earn an average of $72,000 a year, while someone without that certification will average $53,000 a year. There can also be some variation depending on just what languages you can translate. There's just more demand for Spanish translators than for Malayalam.

Photography
A freelance photographer who specializes in wedding photography can easily start his or her pricing at $2,000 for a few hours of shooting, plus some editing time and go up from there. Different photography specializations come with different price tags, but wedding photography and portraiture generally bring in the most income. Of course, a lot of photography equipment can come with equally high price tags, but you can start out small and then scale up.

Social Media
Social media may not even have existed a few years ago, but today's knowledge of how social media works can result in a healthy income for a freelancer. While newcomers to the field may charge around $15 per hour, experienced social media experts with a proven track record can charge up to $250 per hour. It takes more than just experience to reach those higher pay grades though. You'll need to focus on high-paying industries that don't handle social media in-house.

Mobile Development
While web designers and developers, in general, can make a lot of money freelancing, mobile developers, in particular, can earn a lot. Some corporate clients will pay more than $100,000 to have a single app developed. Because building the best mobile apps can take hundreds of hours to build, you will earn the fees you charge.

Search Engine Optimization
There are a few absolutely top-of-the-line SEO specialists who charge $1,000 per hour. It's more common for high-end freelancers in this field to charge between $300 and $500 per hour, which is still very good. People new to the field can still close in on $50 per hour very quickly, provided that they can pick up the skills necessary to do the work. Since, at entry-level, you'll generally be following some set steps to make sites more search engine-friendly, that isn't hard.

The Bottom Line
If you've got creative skills, you can start freelancing immediately. Illustrators, videographers, designers, artists, musicians and other creative professionals can all find regular, well-paying gigs with a little work. However, if you can focus in on these areas of work, you can work up to earning more than you would by working a day job. It's just a matter of finding the right fit.

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