There are lots of high-paying freelance jobs out there, and chances are there’s one suited to your skills!
In this guide, and in no particular order, I’ll discuss the 15 highest-paying freelancing gigs in 2023 and beyond. I’ll provide average earnings you can expect in each case, discuss what would affect these earnings, and why these jobs are in such demand.
Note: The average hourly rates and other figures I quote below are clearly going to vary a lot depending on where you get the numbers. I’ve taken them from a variety of sources, but remember that your actual earning potential is going to depend on things like your experience level and the client’s budget.
15 Best-Paying Freelance Jobs
1. Web Development
Average Hourly Rate: $70
Most businesses have an online presence. To create and maintain their websites, organizations often hire freelance web developers. This is especially true for small to medium-sized businesses that don’t have the in-house capacity or knowledge to design and manage websites.
While there is a lot of competition for these roles, the pay rates remain high. The average daily rate for a mid-level web developer in the UK is £250-£500. Talent.com puts the average hourly rate at $70. The exact numbers are going to fluctuate depending on your experience level, the size of the website you build, and the client’s budget.
2. Business Consulting
Average Hourly Rate: $28+
Business consultants advise on specific business management issues. They help organizations improve performance, manage change, and increase growth. This generally leads to increased revenue for the business, which is why consultants can charge high rates. Business consultants usually have significant experience in their specific industry or management role.
On Upwork, freelance business consultants earn between $28-$98 per hour, with many in HR management or IT security charging over $100.
Average Hourly Rate: $28
According to a ProCopywriters’ survey, the average daily rate for a copywriter in the UK is £433. But they found that numbers above £2,000 were not unusual for those with lots of experience. Copywriting, like business consulting, can lead to increased growth for the business hiring you, hence the high rates.
4. Legal Consulting
Average Hourly Rate: $30+
If you have a legal background combined with experience, freelancing as a legal consultant can be very lucrative. Legal firms, especially smaller ones, are increasingly seeking the services of freelance legal consultants to work on a particular matter or to provide advice on a specific issue.
The rates for legal consulting vary greatly depending on your experience and area of practice. The average annual salary can range between $34,000 and $138,000. Upwork estimates the range goes from $30 per hour as a beginner to $175 per hour if you’re ‘advanced’ in the profession.
5. Graphic Design
Average Hourly Rate: $30
If graphic design is your area of expertise, then your earning potential is also huge. Businesses are always looking for help designing eye-catching logos, brand and media kits, and social media graphics that boost engagement.
6. Software Development
Average Hourly Rate: $60+
Software developers design and build software to solve their client’s problems. They also monitor existing software to identify potential upgrades and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
A 2020 study of jobs available on Upwork found that developers were the best-paid freelancers on the platform. Freelance software developers can earn between $50-$300 an hour. Developer job platform Arc estimates the average is anywhere from $60 to $100 or more per hour.
Average Hourly Rate: $75+
Businesses know how important it is to rank high in search results, and so search engine optimization (SEO) expertise is in high demand. Organizations are willing to pay good money for SEO skills that will boost their earnings through improved visibility.
8. AI Engineer
Average Hourly Rate: $40+
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly growing industry, with the likes of ChatGPT bringing it to the forefront of many people’s minds in recent years. But there is more to AI than chatbots and automated tasks, and AI engineers can work in a vast range of industries doing a huge variety of tasks.
Glassdoor puts the average somewhere between $40 and $69 per hour for artificial intelligence engineers. With more and more businesses looking to leverage AI into the future, this is likely to remain a lucrative niche.
9. App Developer
Average Hourly Rate: $61+
App development is another area where businesses are willing to pay top dollar for freelancers. Whether it’s a business looking to streamline their user interfaces with a dedicated app, or solo entrepreneurs with an idea they need to bring to life, freelance app developers are in high demand.
Coding job platform Arc puts the number at between $61 and $80 per hour. Your earning potential here really depends on the client, but the platforms you can develop apps for will also have a large effect.
10. Freelance Accountant
Average Hourly Rate: $28
People and businesses are always going to need other people to manage their money. There are lots of apps and tools out there, but freelance accountants can take advantage of the fact that many simply prefer to work with a human.
Indeed puts the number at about $28 per hour, but this can go up much higher if you have a lot of experience and work with those managing large accounts.
11. Technical Writer
Average Hourly Rate: $37
Technical writing can be lucrative for those with specific expertise and a knack for simplifying complex information. It can involve creating instruction manuals for products, or writing for businesses in sectors like science, technology, and medicine.
The average hourly rate is around $37 per Indeed. This can skyrocket if you have very specific knowledge in a lucrative niche, but you will need to have solid writing skills.
12. Freelance Editor
Average Hourly Rate: $31
The other side of the content coin is editing, and freelance editors can make a lot of money if they have a keen eye for detail. You might land a role editing website content, or working with big publications. Your earning potential here will largely depend on your experience.
13. Social Media Manager
Average Hourly Rate: $23
Billions of people all around the world use social media platforms every day, and businesses want to capitalize on that. If you know how to get people to engage with content, becoming a freelance social media manager could be the perfect choice.
Talent.com estimates the average hourly rate at around $23. This will largely depend on what kind of work you can do for a business, how quickly you can grow their following and engagement, and the platforms you can work with.
14. Data Analyst
Average Hourly Rate: $20+
Data analysis can help businesses make better decisions, which can ultimately help them make more money. That’s why freelance data analysts are in such high demand. Plus, businesses are constantly gathering more and more information, and working with that data can be tough to do in-house.
Upwork provides an average range of about $20 to $50 per hour for freelance data analysts. But the earning potential here can go very high if you have a lot of experience or niche expertise. Working with big clients with high-value data can also obviously increase your earning potential.
15. Video Editor
Average Hourly Rate: $42
Finally, freelance video editors can also make a lot of money. With lots of individuals and businesses turning to the likes of YouTube for content creation and audience engagement, having solid video editing skills could help you land some lucrative roles.
The average hourly rate is $42 per Salary.com, and your earnings here will largely depend on who you work with. Small-time or individual YouTubers likely won’t have big budgets. But turning a big website’s written content into engaging videos could earn you a lot of money.
What Freelance Jobs Are Most In Demand?
In-demand freelance jobs include:
- AI engineering and development
- Machine learning
- Web designers and developers
- Content and copywriters
- Social media marketing
What Freelance Jobs Are Best For Beginners?
The best freelance jobs for beginners include whatever you’re good at really. For example, if you’re a great writer, freelance writing is probably worth considering. But if you have coding skills, freelance software development might be a better idea.
There is no industry that’s better than any other for beginners really, because it largely depends on your skills and experience. For example, freelance legal jobs might seem unsuited to beginners because they require a lot of expertise. But if you have a relevant degree and some legal experience, even if you’re a ‘beginner’ freelancer, you might be able to get a freelance job fairly easily in that niche.
Looking for some extra motivation? Check out our list of the best freelancing quotes!
So, when choosing which freelance career path to go down, consider what you’re good at and any relevant experience or qualifications you have, rather than just looking at the potential earnings! For more guidance on getting started, check out our beginner freelance checklist.