The unemployment rate started to slow down throughout the United States in August, but 8.4% of the population without a job is still pretty high. Many people around the world are now looking to freelancing as an alternative to regular employment.
Many freelance jobs require specialized skills, and if you don’t possess these skills, training is an option. However, it’s important to know what kind of skills you need to maximize your earning potential. If training is necessary, so be it! You just need to make sure you get paid well in the end.
Let’s look at some of the most sought-after skills to learn for freelancers that companies are dying to get in 2020, in no particular order.
1. Video Creation and Editing
Let’s face it. The most likely type of content that will catch anyone’s eyes are videos. As a content marketing strategy, it’s very effective. A Hubspot study found that 83% of consumers are very likely to share video content with their friends if it’s in-line with their interests. That’s why the demand for video creation and video editing is skyrocketing.
Video editors command a high hourly rate of $50 to $150. For large projects, they can estimate how many hours the project will take and compute the hourly rate accordingly.
2. Video Marketing
If video editors are in high demand, then it makes sense that video marketing is in the same situation. Companies who want to promote their brands will surely need video marketers to improve their visibility.
It would be ideal for a great video editor to be an excellent marketer. However, it’s fine if you’re only good at one of them. Each skill on its own has proven to be very lucrative if we’re basing it on this year’s trend (and probably next year’s as well).
Large companies like AdVids charge $1000-5000 for a 60-second marketing video. Other larger firms will charge a lot more, depending on how well-known they are. Freelance video marketers have been known to charge $800 to $1000 for video ad campaigns.
3. Freelance Writing
Tons of businesses are opening their own websites during the pandemic, and these websites need content. That’s where content writers come in. They make sure the content is readable and search engine friendly. Making sure everything about your website is optimized can be done if you have the next skill on our list.
Content writing is a very broad term. It could include writing articles for blogs, writing sales copies, writing product descriptions for eCommerce sites, and writing website content.
Most freelance writers charge per word — $0.05 to $1, depending on the level of experience. Their rates also go up as they get published in reputable websites, magazines, etc. Some even charge as high as $5 per word.
4. Search Engine Optimization
Creating a website with great content is useless without people to read them. An SEO specialist’s job is to make sure your website has a high ranking in google so people will go to it and read your content (or buy what you’re selling). That makes it one of the most critical freelance skills companies need right now.
Some experts have even made money by offering tools that help SEO specialists do their job. Some examples of these tools are Semrush, Ahrefs, SEOSurfer, Screaming frog, and a lot more.
These specialists charge from $50-150 an hour. However, well-known SEO experts can charge as much as $1000 per hour. Many specialists offer packages for auditing your entire website for a one-time fee, and the price depends on their level of expertise.
5. Editing and Proofreading
Whether it’s proofreading a website’s content or books, the demand for this skill has gone through the roof in 2020. It’s better not to know the embarrassment of having one of your readers point a typo out on your website or book. That’s the importance of editors and proofreaders.
It is possible for writers to miss a few things. Most of the time, it takes an editor to tell you about those mistakes.
Clients are willing to pay $5-10 for every 500 words. It might not sound like much, but remember that editing is quicker than writing. You can probably edit as much as 3000 words in an hour. That’s still a $30-60 hourly rate. Not bad, at all.
6. Graphic Design
Graphic Design can apply to any number of project types, such as creating visuals for infographics, web design, logo design, blog content, and social media images. As SEO specialists make it a habit to use custom images in websites, the demand for graphic designers skyrocketed.
Clients often ask for a graphic designer’s portfolio before hiring them. That’s why it’s best for you to publish your work on portfolio websites.
An established graphic designer can expect to earn $25 per hour or $52,000 annually, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
7. Amazon Services Expert
Selling on Amazon enables many people to earn a lot. However, the competition is stiff, so many sellers need experts to stay ahead of their competitors. The services offered are usually assistance on their Amazon product launch, account suspension advice, Amazon SEO, and others that ensure the success of their selling career.
Full account management will cost a lot. The average charge would be from $50-80 an hour, but it could go as high as $200 for well-known service providers. As any Amazon SEO guide changes regularly, because of Amazon’s updates on their system, this job can be pretty hectic.
8. Accounting and Bookkeeping
Any job that can be done from home is likely to be considered by freelancers. Hiring full-time accountants can be expensive for companies. Plus, they also need to offer employment benefits to any full-timer. Freelancers are usually output-based and are paid accordingly.
Well-known accountants working for large companies have been known to charge $70 per hour. For regular freelance bookkeepers, it’s more realistic to charge $20-30 an hour.
9. Web Development
As long as people are starting new businesses and websites, web developers will always have jobs. In fact, some sources say there aren’t enough web developers to fulfill the demand. That’s why a lot of them charge so much per project.
If you enjoy programming and problem-solving, this job will be a perfect fit.
A vast majority of web developers charge more than $50 an hour. The services they offer include web design, CX/UX, and others.
10. Social Media Marketing
Most Americans spend 2 hours and 3 minutes on social media every day. Thus, social media marketing has become one of the most effective ad strategies. The main idea is to help businesses and brands become more visible on social media.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this job is easy. It’s not all about browsing on Twitter or Facebook. It involves a lot of analytics, marketing posts, and formulating engagement targets.
The rates range from $15 to $50 an hour. For experienced social media managers, it can go as high as $100 per hour.
11. Sales and Business Development
Even before this pandemic, many companies have already begun operating remote sales teams. That’s because they were quick to recognize that online marketing was the future. These freelance gigs are usually performance-based, so you earn depending on your sales.
Top sales agents are known to earn as much as $10,000 a month. That translates to $120,000 annually.
12. Mobile App Development
If your goal is to help shape the future of mobile technology, then this skill is perfect for you. As mobile phones become more technologically advanced, they would need more apps to utilize that technology. The list of mobile apps that help people deal with life is constantly growing.
Last year, consumers downloaded a record 204 billion apps, and that’s expected to grow steadily.
Freelance mobile app developers usually charge $50-80 per hour. However, many app projects are priced based on fixed bids.
13. Virtual Assistance
Because of social distancing and people working at home, more companies are starting to discover the value that virtual assistants can give them. These VAs are asked to complete a wide variety of tasks: research projects, format website content, weekly reports, etc.
As the types of jobs of VAs depend on the employer, it’s important to make sure that you have the freelance skills necessary to do the work. Get a job description from your employer so you’ll know the kind of work that needs to be done.
The lower end of the pay spectrum for virtual assistants comes out at $15-20 per hour. As your experience grows, so does the pay. It can go as high as $30-40 an hour.
14. ESL Teaching
The number of kids studying at home has pushed ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching to new heights. Many companies worldwide have started offering native English speakers the chance to teach kids and adults, mostly from Asian countries like China and Japan.
The average hourly pay for ESL teachers is $18 an hour, but some companies have offered rates as high as $30-40 an hour.
15. Voice Overs
There’s a little more to this job than just talking endlessly. As a voice-over artist, you’ll be asked to record audiobooks, explainer videos, podcast intros, movie trailers, commercials, video games, and a lot more.
Though it seems the nature of the work is easy, I can tell you it’s not. Recording sessions can sometimes take hours. Most of the time, you’ll be asked to record a certain line multiple times.
As a voice-over artist, the pay is usually on a per-project basis. The compensation varies depending on your clients and the duration of the work.
- $30-300 for a podcast intro or short radio ad
- $500-5000 for an audiobook.
- $1000-10000 for a series of educational videos.
Don’t Just Jump In
There are still a lot of things you’ll need to succeed as a freelancer. The first thing is getting clients. Update that resume and start offering your services on freelance websites like Upwork, Designhill, LinkedIn, etc. Make sure you have examples of your work for prospective clients to review. Having a portfolio can be a significant advantage here.
Next, you need to master some freelancer tools. These tools will help you accomplish your tasks, and some of them are highly specialized in your field. Designers have their own specialized tools as well as SEO specialists and writers. Some clients even require VAs to use time-tracking software if they’re getting paid by the hour.
Finding a good freelance gig is easy as long as you have the know-how and the skills to do the tasks set by your client. However difficult freelancing is, 51% of freelancers promise that they’re never going back to their 9-to-5 jobs. If you’re given the chance, go freelance.
Jayce is the managing director of Seller Interactive, a full service Amazon marketing agency dedicated towards helping brands grow on Amazon. His content marketing expertise has led him to work with brands such as Toyota and GoDaddy, producing content that reached over 20M views in a month. He is on a journey to help D2C brands scale their business on Amazon.