It can be tough to decide where to start if you’re about to change your career or just finished school and want to start freelancing. However, a list of the best freelance jobs can help determine your interest and skills. So what are the best freelance jobs for beginners?
The best freelance jobs for beginners include becoming a virtual assistant, social media manager, and tutor. Freelance writing is also one of the best in-demand freelance jobs. Most companies have included copywriting into their marketing mix and rely on freelancers to supply engaging content.
The rest of this article will detail 17 of the best freelance jobs for beginners that offer an opportunity to build a strong foundation of skills while providing ample room for growth. Keep reading to learn more!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
1. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is one of the most in-demand skills. When getting started, you should have a good grasp of grammar and punctuation and be able to follow instructions and complete tasks within the set deadlines. Also, you need a well-polished writing portfolio to showcase your skills to potential clients.
While some clients may give you the freedom to write whatever you want, others will request that you adhere to specific style guides. Regardless, a keen eye for detail is essential for any freelance writer.
In the beginning, the best practice is to start as a multiple niche writer and then specialize in one niche (industry or topic) as you advance – for example, a medical writer or a personal finance writer. Doing so ensures you select a field you love and are knowledgeable about, which speeds up your writing and earning potential. I’ve written a more in-depth guide to getting started as a freelance writer, which you can read here.
Sub-Categories of Freelance Writing
If you’re unsure about a topic you’d like to write about, there are various sub-categories of freelance writing that you can also specialize in:
- Article writing: Article writers craft non-fiction pieces for publishing in magazines, newspapers, or journals.
- Blog writing: A form of content marketing that seeks to populate the client’s blog with valuable and relevant content. The goal is to engage the client’s target audience to generate traffic and gain leads for the client’s main business.
- Copywriting: Involves writing promotional and persuasive marketing material to motivate people to click a link, donate, or purchase a product. If you have visited a website and read a text that compelled you to buy something, that’s the work of a copywriter.
- eBook Writing: Involves ghostwriting a digital book for a client. The client will provide you with a topic, and you are responsible for the entire writing process, from research to eBook design. Clients generally use eBooks as lead magnets for their email lists.
Find more about the different types of freelance writing in this article.
The average pay for a freelance writer is $22 per hour — though there are many writers who make six figures, just working from home.
2. Virtual Assistant
The role of a virtual assistant is to take over a client’s administrative responsibilities so they can focus on other aspects of their business. The job description of a virtual assistant may vary from client to client, but the common roles include the following:
- Managing calendars and scheduling meetings
- Making travel arrangements
- Maintaining records
- Answering calls and replying to emails
- Vetting new work projects
If you have prior full-time experience in such roles, you can easily transfer them to a digital work environment. And if you need to polish your skills, you can opt for a virtual assistant training course.
Remember, a client looking for a virtual assistant wants to bring order to their lives and reduce stress. So, you must have excellent communication, time management, and organizational skills. Also, you must be reachable, reliable, and able to respond to situations in a beneficial way to the client.
The average pay for a virtual assistant is $24 per hour.
3. Web Developer
If you are a tech junkie with design sensibility and technical skills, you can make a fortune in the digital space.
As technology advances, most companies need a web developer to remain relevant and competitive. And because hiring a full-time web developer is not pocket-friendly, they opt for freelance services.
To kickstart your career as a freelance web developer, you need a compelling portfolio to showcase your experience and technical know-how in the following:
- Responsive design to ensure the client’s audience can view the website on a mobile and computer device.
- Debugging and testing to detect and fix errors and ensure the website is efficient and user-friendly.
- Search engine optimization to reduce the website loading time, add a site map, and ensure easy navigation.
- Back-end knowledge to ensure you know the fundamentals of cybersecurity, servers, and databases.
Sub-Categories of Freelance Web Development
Similar to freelance writing, there are various other aspects of web development that you can specialize in:
- Front-end development: This type of web designing focuses on ensuring a great user experience on the client’s website. You’ll be responsible for enriching and enhancing all visual aspects, including the website theme, pictures, colors, icons, and buttons.
- Back-end development: This focuses on the logical side of the client’s website that powers the front end. You’ll focus on creating the site’s database, core, API, and other server activities. You must be well-versed in programming languages such as Python, MYSQL, and PHP.
- Full-stack development: A full-stack developer handles both front-end and back-end development services. If you specialize in this category, you must be able to build a website’s user interface and manage the server functions.
The average pay for a web developer is $32 per hour.
4. Graphic Designer
If you’re a visual learner with an eye for detail and a passion for creativity, a career in freelance graphic design may be for you. It entails using computer software to create visual concepts that inspire, inform, or captivate customers.
If you specialize in this area, you will create the overall layout and production design for advertisements, magazines, and corporate reports.
You’ll also work closely with copywriters, photographers, and other creative professionals to ensure the final product is aesthetically pleasing and on-brand.
To succeed as a graphic designer, you must have a strong portfolio showcasing your skills and abilities. Additionally, you must stay abreast with current trends in the design industry and aren’t afraid to experiment with new techniques.
Sub-Categories of Graphic Design
- Product design: Requires skills such as market design, 3D modeling, Adobe Creative Suite, and prototyping to develop new products.
- Publishing design: Involves creating eye-catching covers and page layouts that appeal to the publishing industry’s market audience. It requires skills such as Adobe Photoshop, market research, and Adobe InDesign.
- Animation design: Requires software to create animated social media graphics and cartoons. You’ll need video editing, CAD software, and storyboarding skills.
- Logo design: Involves using CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator to design company logos’ shape, color, and text.
The average pay for a graphic designer is $20 per hour.
5. Social Media Manager
Most businesses have a social media presence to connect with their target audience. However, they don’t have the time to manage all their accounts effectively. That’s where social media managers come in.
As a social media manager, you will create and share content, monitor comments and messages, and engage with the client’s audience. You will also create social media campaigns, run ads, and track analytics.
You must be creative, organized, and detail-oriented to excel in this role. You should also be able to follow up on social media trends and have unmatched verbal and written communication skills.
Most social media managers work with multiple clients. Therefore, you need to be able to handle several projects at the same time while meeting deadlines.
The average pay for a social media manager is $21 per hour.
6. SEO Specialist
If you know how search engines work and how people search for information online, a career in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will be perfect for you.
An SEO Specialist is responsible for improving the ranking and visibility of a client’s website in search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
To accomplish this, you’ll have to conduct keyword research, optimize webpages for specific keywords, build links, and ensure website content is informative and keyword-rich.
You’ll also need to track a website’s performance using analytics tools and make necessary changes to improve its ranking.
To succeed in this field, you must have a solid background in search algorithms and stay up-to-date with search engine trends. Also, excellent analytical and communication skills are necessary, as you’ll need to effectively communicate your findings to clients.
The average pay for an SEO specialist is $26 per hour.
7. Email Marketing Specialist
The role of an email marketing specialist is to plan, execute, and measure email marketing campaigns for an organization.
The role involves developing email content, managing lists of subscribers, segmenting audiences, and analyzing data to determine the campaign’s effectiveness.
You should understand email marketing best practices such as email deliverability, spam filters, and privacy laws, be well-versed in email marketing software like MailChimp, and have excellent analytical and communication skills.
Email marketing is relevant in all industries because companies want to stay connected with their audience in a personal way to increase sales and boost their return on investment. This means email marketers are high in demand.
The average pay for an email marketing specialist is $29 per hour.
8. Data Analyst
You might want to consider a freelance career in data analysis if you’re good with numbers and enjoy finding creative solutions to problems.
As a data analyst, you’ll collect, organize, and analyze data to help businesses make informed decisions. This will involve using statistical techniques to identify trends and patterns.
You’ll also need to use your problem-solving skills to find solutions to business issues and develop reports and presentations to communicate your findings to clients.
This field requires strong analytical and mathematical skills, and it’s ideal for a person with a background in statistics, data science, economics, accounting, finance, and business administration. You should also be proficient in statistical software like Excel, SQL, SPSS, and SAS.
The average pay for a data analyst is $35 per hour.
9. Video Editing
With the growth of YouTube and video marketing, there’s been an increase in demand for video editors. And most companies and YouTubers would rather outsource their video editing to a freelancer than hire one full-time.
As a freelance video editor, you’ll assemble recorded footage, using techniques like cuts, trims, and transitions, to create a cohesive and polished final product. You’ll also need to add graphics, titles, voice-overs, and select music and sound effects to enhance the videos.
Video editing calls for an excellent understanding of color correction, lighting, and animation and proficiency in software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.
You should also be attentive to details and strongly understand the latest video trends to develop innovative ideas.
The average annual pay for a video editor is $53,958.
You can make a living through online tutoring if you’re an expert in any academic field and are passionate about helping students excel at school.
Your responsibility as a freelance online tutor would be to provide academic support and guidance to students who are struggling with their schoolwork. This may involve reviewing school assignments, giving feedback on essays and papers, explaining concepts, and helping students prepare for exams.
If you choose this path, you must be patient, articulate, and able to break down complex concepts into more manageable chunks. You should also be proficient in technology, as most online tutoring happens through video conferencing software like Skype and Zoom.
The average pay for a freelance tutor is $27 per hour.
Transcription involves listening to audio and video recordings and typing the spoken word. Clients may require you to transcribe their files verbatim or non-verbatim.
Verbatim transcription involves transcribing the recordings word for word without leaving out filler words and background noises.
Non-verbatim transcription, on the other hand, involves making the transcript concise by removing unnecessary utterances, such as filler words, to make the text coherent and understandable.
To excel in this field, you must have excellent listening skills and be able to type quickly and accurately. You should also be proficient in grammar, punctuation, and transcription software like Express Scribe.
Sub-Categories of Transcription
- Medical transcription: Involves converting audio records of physicians and other healthcare professionals into text. Hospitals need such transcripts to maintain Electronic Medical Records (EMR). This position requires you to be familiar with medical terms.
- Legal transcription: The process of converting legal proceedings into text. It requires you to be familiar with legal terms and how the court hearings happen.
- General transcription: Transcription recordings can come from various sources, like interviews, focus groups, lectures, speeches, and more.
The average pay for a freelance transcriptionist is $21 per hour.
12. Virtual Bookkeeping
Nowadays, most companies find it uneconomical to maintain on-site bookkeepers. Instead, they opt for virtual ones because they can offer the same services with real-time reportage.
A virtual bookkeeper’s role is to manage a business’s financial records. This may include recording transactions, preparing invoices, and tracking expenses. Virtual bookkeepers must have a background in accounting, experience with accounting software, and be able to keep accurate records.
Apart from your accounting skills, you’ll also need to be organized and detail-oriented. Your clients will rely on you to keep their financial records in order, so you must be able to meet their needs.
The average pay for a virtual bookkeeper is $25 per hour.
13. Software Engineering
If you have a bachelor’s or an associate degree in information technology, programming, computer science, or other related fields, freelance software engineering may be suitable.
You’ll be using coding languages to create the back end of websites and applications that users don’t see. Your roles will be:
- Designing application systems
- Executing the entire lifecycle of the application system
- Repairing and upgrading the applications
14. Voice-Over Actor
You can carve your freelance journey with voice-over acting if you have a sweet voice and acting skills. You’ll only need a home studio to record yourself.
Your responsibility will be to read and record scripts, copies, or other written materials, depending on the client’s needs. Sometimes you may need to use mimicry and impressions to impart emotions into your voice.
But overall, you must be good at changing inflections and enunciating impeccably to get the necessary performance. You can provide voice-over services for anime, video games, cartoons, audiobooks, narration, and commercials.
I’ve written extensively about how to be a voice-over actor from home — you can find that information here.
The average pay for a freelance voice-over actor is $38 per hour.
Freelance illustration involves designing and drawing art that a client commissions. Though an illustrator can work in many industries, entertainment, publishing, and marketing are the most popular.
You’ll use software to create various art like:
- Character design: Clients may request you to design a movie, book, or television show character to show their important characteristics and appearance.
- Concept art: Involves making a visual representation of conceptual ideas that a client can use to pitch movies or other roles.
- Product design: Illustrators make art of a new product that designers will use when creating the product.
The average pay for a freelance illustrator is $30 per hour.
16. Automation Specialist
To work as a freelance automation specialist, you must have a background in information technology (IT).
Clients will hire you to design, develop and automate the software system, deliver operating data, and review and repair the system. You’ll also analyze the existing system to find automation opportunities.
Therefore, you’ll need automation and robotics skills to help you understand how physical and digital automation works. Additionally, you’ll need problem-solving skills to develop solutions when you identify computer software issues.
17. Affiliate Marketer
If you’re wondering how to earn more as a freelancer without investing much time, affiliate marketing is suitable for you.
And the good thing is, you don’t need any special skills. You need to identify the client’s product and refer them to potential customers. You earn a commission every time a customer purchases using your referral link.
To begin working as an affiliate marketer, you must choose a niche, research affiliate products, and promote the affiliate link on your blog or YouTube channel.
The commission ranges between 1% to 20% depending on the product.