by Abdullahi Muhammed CEO of Oxygenmat
Many people around the world are sidestepping their fears, ditching the 9-to-5 lifestyle, and set out to make money on their own off of their skills and passions. Now’s the perfect time to do so – the demand for creative freelancers has never been higher. According to CNBC, the number of independent contractors has increased by about 27% more than payroll employees over the past 20 years. A lot of that is thanks to gig work apps and freelance sites.
I’m a fan of small-scale freelance businesses you can start for (almost) free from your bedroom or anywhere else, armed with just your passions and skills. I share ideas for freelance businesses with people every day and I’ve started and had success with a number of them myself – from when I started blogging from my college dorm room in 2012 to when I launched my content marketing company, Oxygenmat.
Here are 55 of my best freelance business ideas for you – find one that works for you and join the gig economy.
1. Social Media Marketing
Social media has become a major marketing tool for businesses. But new platforms are popping up all the time, and the old ones are always changing their features. As a freelance social media expert, you can help companies understand how to use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and every other platform to reach their business goals.
Lots of business and entertainment sites need people to write for them. You can become a resident blogger for hire and earn a nice freelance salary in the process. Better yet, you can start your own blog and attract traffic with your posts. Then start monetizing it to turn it into a real business. For instance, I had one of my blogs making $9k a month, then I got an offer from and sold it to a group of U.S. investors for $280,000 last year.
Thanks to video chat, teaching is a freelance job you can do online or off. If you have writing skills, know two languages, or possess just about any other teachable skill, there are people around the world who need your help. Charge a simple hourly rate for your freelance teaching services.
Sometimes, people need real-time translation, like at an important business meeting or political summit. Traditionally, interpreters performed these tasks in person. But thanks to online group-calls, you can easily do this remotely on a freelance basis. According to GlassDoor, freelance interpreters average $35.43/hour.
5. Advertising Copywriting
It’s not easy to write web copy that gets clicks. Most business owners don’t know what to write in their advertising copy to get results. If you’re an expert in advertising, you can offer out your services to write PPC and display ad headlines.
You don’t have to be an expert at something to help others learn. High school and college students need tutors for particular subjects you have a knack for, like math or chemistry. You can find tutoring jobs in your community or online. Here are 15 sites that offer online tutoring jobs.
7. Stock Photography
Have a nice camera and a knack for photography? You can start a freelance business taking photos and placing them on stock photo sites (iStockPhoto, for example) so you get a royalty for each purchase/download. In some cases, you sell the photos outright.
8. Ghost Writing
Some people need to write for their job, but don’t have the time or skills to do it. That’s where you come in as a ghostwriter. You can write books, articles, blog posts — you name it. Then the person who hired you will publish it under their name. Entrepreneurs do this all the time. Good freelance writers can make up to $55 an hour for these assignments.
9. Magazine Articles Writing
Lots of magazines and online publications solicit free contributions from writers, but not all. Here’s a list of over 200 publications that pay writers. All you have to do is come up with a story idea that works for their audience, pitch the idea, and land a paid writing gig!
The economy is more global than ever, making translators in high demand. If you speak Spanish, Chinese, French, Arabic, or another major global language, you can get gigs translating business documents and other materials. Work is out there for more obscure languages also! And you can charge more for your rare skill (Between $20 and $50/hour depending on the language).
11. Legal Work
You don’t need to go to law school to work in the legal field. People need the help of legal interpreters, secretaries, court reporters and more. You’re not qualified to offer legal advice, but you can help people navigate the very complex legal system on a freelance basis.
12. Graphic Designing
Graphic designers are very in-demand online. People need logos, infographics, memes, blog post cover photos and more made all the time. Most freelance graphic design is piece work, but there’s so much of it out there you can easily work your way up to full time. Freelance graphic designers earn on average $44,109 per year.
13. Virtual Assistant Work
Businesses need all sorts of administrative tasks taken care of, like monitoring emails, providing customer service, issuing invoices, and balancing the books. Today, all these things can be done remotely online. Work as a freelance virtual assistant for one business or split your time between several.
The internet wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for programmers, and it certainly won’t advance without it. If you’re savvy with coding language or software development, people will hire you to create complex websites, develop apps, and more. Freelance web developers make between $26k-$52k a year.
15. Music writing and production
Due to copyright laws, movie and TV producers are very limited in what music they can use in their productions. Many turn to freelance musicians to write and perform pieces for them. If you’re a skilled musician, you can start creating jingles and songs for businesses and get paid for doing what you love.
16. Photo Editing
Know your way around photoshop? You can offer your services as a photo editor online. People need vanity photo touchups and all sorts of other changes. They don’t want to buy their own photo editing software or just don’t have the time to do it, so that’s where you come in.
17. Travel Consulting
If you’re well-travelled yourself, you can help make others’ travel experiences a whole lot smoother. Help people plan their vacation and book their trips affordably. You can do this independently or become a flight booking expert on FlightFox.com.
Know your way around Quickbooks? That’s all the skill you need to help people track and manage their finances. If you’re a tax whiz as well, that will earn you even more money. Many small businesses need help with their finances, and you can do it all remotely online.
19. Online Researching
Always got good grades on your research reports in school? That’s all the qualification you need to become an online researcher. Organizations need statistics for their whitepapers and infographics, for example. You can be their go-to person to find all the information they need to complete their work. You don’t have to write, just supply the data.
Editing services are in high demand. You can edit books, articles, research reports, news articles — you name it! Get a byline as an editor on some freelance projects and you can find yourself landing gigs with big publishing houses in the future. Editors have an average salary of $53,500 a year. How much you earn will depend on the type of editing work (proofreading, copyediting, substantive editing, etc.).
21. Social Media Management
Social media matters a lot for businesses today. They use it to engage with their potential customers, provide customer service, and attract traffic back to their site. But doing it properly can take hours and hours a day. That’s where you come in. You monitor social accounts, post interesting stories and help businesses build their social following, all for a freelance fee. Social media managers can make up to $80,000/year.
22. Sales Consulting
If you know what makes people tick and can use this information to land a sale, businesses need your help. You can represent companies selling products and services and earn money on commission. Work as much or as little as you want in this freelance role.
23. Podcast Production
Podcasts are more than just a recording posted online. They need to be scripted, the sound adjusted, edited, and more. You can be in charge of all that as a podcast producer. Do this freelance for different sites that want to offer podcasts as part of their content.
24. Video Editing
People hand you raw footage with instructions on how to put it all together. You have the software and skills to do it. Video has quickly become the most popular content type online, which means your services are very in-demand. Video editors can make up to $84k a year.
25. Business Management
Plenty of investors out there want to own an online business but don’t necessarily want to run it. They buy businesses off auction sites and need someone with online business knowledge to run the show for them. I know this because the investors who bought my niche website needed one. If you have experience managing online businesses yourself, then this is a helpful service you can provide.
26. Voice Acting
Voice actors can fill a lot of roles online. You can provide audio narration for a book, act in cartoon content, narrate audio business reports, and more. Voice actors sell their services all the time on Fiverr and other freelance sites. Become well known and you can charge a lot of money for your services. Voice actors can earn up to $72/hour.
27. Grant Writing
Academics and NGOs need to write grants all the time to keep their work going, but many don’t have the time to keep up on it all. If you have experience and success as a grant writer, you can easily navigate the submission requirements and write grants for others. Grant writers earn $66,000 a year on average.
28. Marketing Consulting
A lot of online businesses today manage their own marketing, but they’re far from knowledgeable about every aspect. If you have experience in marketing as I do, you can become a consultant. Do an audit of a business’ marketing efforts and offer suggestions for improvement. Marketing freelancers can earn between $46 and $52/hour.
29. SEO Services
Spend a little time learning about what makes pages rank well in Google search. Get access to some of the best keyword research tools, and then you can sell your services as an SEO expert. Offer webmasters keyword research, on-page optimization and technical SEO services for a fee. SEO experts on an average charge up to $50 per hour but you can earn well over $100 per hour if you match your expertise with a great track record – I know because I do.
30. Music Tutoring
So you never made it onto a record label back in your 20’s, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up doing what you love! Freelance music instructors can make some heavy change in teaching classes or one-on-one pupils. A traditional salaried instructor can make up to $80,000 a year.
31. Google Advertising Consulting
Google advertising is pretty complex to navigate but can do a lot to improve web traffic if you do it right. There’s search PPC with many different ad types, then display advertising and all its features. Get Google Adwords Certified (it’s free), and you can offer your services as an expert to businesses.
32. Interior Design Consulting
You don’t have to have a degree in design to become an interior design consultant. Just set up a portfolio of some of the successful redesigns you’ve done and ask your friends and family to start recommending you. You can work as a freelance interior design consultant through word-of-mouth.
Housesitting is one of the easiest freelance gigs out there! Get known in your neighbourhood as the go-to person to look after people’s home while they’re away on vacation. Visit Housesitter.com to find house sitting opportunities as well.
34. College Admissions Essay Editing
If you got into a good college yourself, that’s credential enough to become a college admissions essay editor. Edit for content for applicants and offer suggestions on how to improve their application. It’s easy to find clients on sites like Upwork and Freelancer, especially during college admission season.
35. Wedding Photography
If you have a nice camera and knack for photography, you can make some extra freelance cash as a wedding photographer. Learn the traditional poses and family photos, and catch some candid shots. You can set up a website to display your work and attract business. Professional wedding photography services often start at $2,000 per project.
36. WordPress Site Consulting
WordPress has a lot of customizable features, but most people use it as a glorified word processor. But there are plugins, advanced features and customizations to take advantage of. If you know the ins and outs of WordPress, you can show people how to customize and improve their site (or do it for them) for a fee.
37. Pet Training
Are you an animal whisperer? Or maybe you have a lot of dogs that you trained well. Pet owners need your help! Offer your services as a freelance pet trainer and make house-calls to clients around town. Train pets (and owners) how to interact with each other in harmony.
38. Driving For Uber
Drive for Uber or Lyft in your spare time to pick up some extra cash! It’s easy to sign up and work through the app to find gigs in your town. Pay is not that great, but it is a nice way to earn extra cash when you have free time.
39. Data Analysis
Academics, organizations and businesses all need data analyzed and reported. If you have a knack for statistics and access to the right software, you can offer this as a well-paying freelance service. Data analyst salaries start at $50,000 a year.
40. Personal Fitness Training
Fitness trainers don’t have to be gym employees. You can do this freelance for individuals or groups at the gym, in the park, or anywhere else. A lot of people prefer to work with freelance personal trainers because your fee isn’t jacked up by the gym’s overhead.
41. Yoga Tutoring
In today’s busy business world, a lot of people don’t have time to travel to the gym every day. Instead, you can bring yoga instruction to them right in their home! Become a certified instructor and offer this service to wealthy clients who want personal classes.
42. Tour Guiding
When people travel, they like having a local who can show them around town (or the country, if they’re travelling internationally). You can set up your own business as a professional tour guide to offer this service. You can even use an app like Viva Voice that connects travellers with local experts.
43. Being a Taskrabbit
TaskRabbit is an app that connects you with people in your neighbourhood who need stuff done. They might need a handyman, a hairstylist, or simply someone who will go to the grocery store for them while they nurse a broken leg. It’s easy to find tasks you’re qualified to do with this app.
44. Investment Consulting
If you have experience in stock market investing yourself and the credentials to prove it, then you can help others invest their own money by offering advice. True, certified investing consultants can earn $91,000 a year.
Childcare is one of the most in-demand services in America today and there are plenty of apps you can sign up for that connect you with families who need a babysitter. You can also offer comfort and care for the elderly on a freelance basis.
46. House Cleaning
More and more people are hiring a home cleaner who stops by once per week these days. You can offer freelance house cleaning services around town to earn extra cash. Become well-known for your services and you can turn it into a full-time business.
47. Computer Training Services
No computer science degree required — if you know your way around a PC, there are people out there who need your help. You can offer personal training lessons on how to use a computer and its features and offer minor repair.
48. Real Estate Sales Consulting
If you used to be a real estate broker or just have experience flipping houses, you can become a real estate sales consultant in your spare time. More likely than not, people already come to you for advice on buying or selling their home. So why not get paid for it?
49. Pet Care Services
Many pet owners would love to have someone come over and look after their cats in their home while they’re on vacation. Or you can take their dog on a walk in the middle of every weekday. Get some extra money and exercise in the process!
50. Being A Notary Public
A notary public is someone appointed by the government to serve as an impartial witness in the signing of important documents. These are called notarizations, and the job is publicly commissioned. According to National Salary Data, a notary public can make as much as $90,000/year.
51. Party Planning
If you know how to throw a party, your services are needed. You can help people budget, book, and buy everything they need to make a wedding, graduation party, or anniversary go off right. Gain new clients through word-of-mouth in your community, and feature your successful parties on your freelance website.
52. Yard Work Services
Your dad used to make you trim the hedges and de-weed the flowerbed. Why not get paid to do these chores for others? Offer up yard work and basic landscaping services to different homes in your community. Get enough clients and you can start your own LLC.
53. College Counseling
If you’ve successfully gone to college, then you can be a college counsellor. Help future students find the right schools for them, navigate the application process, and more. College counsellors can make up to $53,000 a year.
54. Bicycle Delivery
You need more exercise, and now you can get paid while doing it. Use your bicycle to deliver goods around town. Become a delivery biker with bike and they’ll find the customers for you. Uber is also starting to offer bicycle delivery services.
55. Professional Organizing
Maybe you’re known around town as having the cleanest, most organized home. The next time someone asks you “How do you do it?” respond with your own question: “Do you need some help?” Scatterbrains and packrats will pay good money to someone who can take care of their organization problem for them.
Hopefully, these 55 ways to make money on the contract will inspire you to join the gig economy and start earning as a creative freelancer! But this list is far from the end of it. Do you work with another type of freelance job I missed? Tell me in the comments.