How Much Income Can the Average US Freelancer Actually Make?

December 13, 2019

A female freelancer is working
Jennifer Van Haitsma

Freelancing is becoming an increasingly common income source for workers around the world. The concept is relatively simple. Many companies/persons are willing to hire people at an hourly or per job rate to complete tasks for them. It is typically just for a short time, but can become a regular or semi-regular position. 

So, what types of freelance work can a person get hired to do? And can it actually pay well?

Types of freelance work

There are a lot of options for many different skill sets. Here are just 4, but many more are possible! The beauty of these is that they can all be done from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule (apart from deadlines set by those hiring you.)

Freelance writer

Are you a blogger? Do you enjoy writing? Did you excel in language class in school? You might enjoy becoming a freelance writer. 

There is a high demand for website/blog content as well as product descriptions and company newsletters. 

The average freelance writer makes $22.46 per hour, according to PayScale. 

Virtual assistant 

In today’s digital age, more and more business owners and other professionals require a social media presence. They need to manage a website and various platforms like Facebook and Twitter. 

Unfortunately, many of them do not have the time to dedicate to these tasks. If you are great at social media and content promotion/email marketing, look into becoming a virtual assistant. 

The average virtual assistant makes $15.73 per hour, according to PayScale. 

Web developer/programmer

Many people are choosing to become small (or large) business owners. At the dawn of 2020, success in that arena demands a high quality web presence. 

Creating a website isn’t necessarily a challenge due to sites like Wordpress. However, challenging technical design issues might pop up that you are not skilled enough to deal with. This is why, if that is a skill you have, it is a great idea to get paid by helping others. 

The average freelance web developer/programmer makes $75,430 per year according to Career Karma. 

Search engine optimization 

SEO is actually one of my favorite parts of being a blogger but many people find it tedious and complicated. If you are talented in this field, and are good at getting your content seen on search engines, consider doing freelance SEO work. 

It is common for freelance SEO consultants salaries to range from $100-$150 per hour. 

Where can you find freelance work?

There are two excellent places to start your search right at the tip of your fingers. Sites like Upwork and Thumbtack will let you create a profile that outlines your experience and skill set and allow others to search for you! 

Upwork

Thumbtack

How do you set up your ideal workspace?

Before you score your first freelance job, you need to make sure you have a proper workspace set up. 

The most ideal workspace has the following 3 characteristics:

  1. Distraction-free. I recommend getting a pair of noise canceling headphones. I would also suggest setting up your work area away from TV, and turning your phone on silent (except for calls) and flipping it over. 

  2. Not a strain on your eyes or back. Your typical computer set-up can be uncomfortable for your back and create unnecessary strain on your eyes. The most ideal set-up is a standing desk converter. It is better for your posture and you can tilt it to optimize eye health. 

  3. Complete with simple but up to date technology. You don’t want so much going on at your desk that it becomes more of a hindrance than a help. Keep your work area as simple as possible with only things you need. That being said, make sure your computer is equipped with the latest updates and versions of software that you will need to complete your jobs.

Why should you become a freelancer?

Finding freelance work is customizable to the average person’s skills, can be lucrative, and can even allow you to reduce hours at a job that is more stressful and demanding. 

There is no rule that says you need a Monday through Friday 9-5 job. Make your life what you want it, and give freelance work a try. 


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