Where the Freelance Money Is
Some freelance Solopreneurs are more likely to earn the coveted but elusive six figure
annual revenue than others. Maybe you could, too, with some good luck and timing paired with
skills that open doors. Here are six potentially lucrative occupations that attract freelancers.
Magazines do not often pay $2.00⁄word anymore and there are very few 5000 word
articles being commissioned in this era of short attention spans, but allegedly a number of
Solopreneurs still able to pull in big money through writing assignments of various kinds.
This category includes not only magazine and newspaper article generation, but also content
marketing copy for white papers, blogs and newsletters. I am acquainted with two or three writers
who make a respectable living in the latter category. There are occasional dry spells, but
the money is there.
I have a friend who regularly gets assignments translating Arabic and German to English
and vice versa. According to the American Translators Association, their certified translators
average $72,000⁄year and those without that certification average $53,000 annually. As you'd
expect, much depends upon the language you translate. No surprise that there is a big demand
for Spanish translation, with Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), French, German, Japanese
and Korean also showing strong demand.
Photography has long had the potential to produce a healthy income for freelancers. Wedding
photographers have traditionally commanded large sums and they continue to do so, in spite
of robust competition from videographers. Portrait photographers also command high prices - business
owners and corporate execs need a professional headshot for websites, annual reports and other
E-commerce fattens the wallets of product photographers, who make items sold on-line
look appealing. Food photography and fashion photography are lucrative sub-specialties. Those
lucky enough to have an "in" with colleges and⁄or big corporations can make a nice living,
as do those who have relationships with busy special event planners. The downside is that good
cameras and Adobe Photo Shop editing software are expensive.
SEO Search Engine Optimization
Freelancers who hope to drive traffic to their website pay freelance colleagues for this
potentially revenue-generating service. Those new to the field can expect to bill $50.00⁄hour
and allegedly the best known can command up to $500.00⁄hour from big corporate clients.
It is furthermore essential to be well- versed in the various metrics that prove your worth to
clients, so that satisfied customers can be recruited to give testimonials that help you obtain
Mobile App Development
Writing software applications for cell phones and tablets lured one million freelancers
to the field in 2010 and no doubt that number has grown significantly. App development is like
a modern day gold rush, for better and worse.
As stated in an article in the New York Times, the majority are not making money in the
app development business and that is the usual scenario. Author David Streitfeld detailed the
apparently typical app developer experience in his comprehensive article (11⁄17⁄2012) and advised
"don't quit your day job" as he compared developing for Apple to sharecropping. Still, you
may be the one who can retire on the residuals of the next Angry Birds, Instagram or SnapChat.
Another downside is that you must spend a hefty sum on the technology needed to test your apps
Social Media Strategy
Millions of Solopreneurs and owners of businesses large and small feel that social media
cannot be ignored. Smart business leaders have always known that marketing and brand reinforcement
are ongoing initiatives. Keeping up with social media is time-consuming and understanding the
platforms that yield the best ROI for your enterprise may require the services of a specialist.
If you can convince decision-makers that you know how to choose social media that encourages
sales and you can plan and execute a social media campaign, you will be off to the races. Newbies
to the field can expect to bill $25.00⁄hour and top-drawer known experts can allegedly bill
$250.00⁄hour to big corporate clients.
Kim L. Clark is a strategy and marketing consultant who works with for-profit and
not-for-profit organization leaders who must achieve business goals. Kim is the founder and
principal of the consulting firm Polished Professionals Boston and she teaches business plan
writing to aspiring entrepreneurs. Learn how your business can benefit when you work with Kim
Polished Professionals of Boston.