Your Freelancer Friend

29 Freelance Business Ideas and How Much They Pay

Struggling to come up with freelance business ideas? I’ve got you covered! I’ve rounded up 29 unique business ideas, including how much you can make from them.

Let’s dive in!

#1 Freelance Graphic Designer

As a freelance graphic designer, you could do things like:

  • Design and sell inspirational quote posters on Etsy
  • Design the logo for a new fashion brand
  • Create business cards for a bakery
  • Mock up app designs for a tech company

How Much Do Freelance Graphic Designers Typically Make?

According to PayScale

MEDIAN Freelance Graphic Designer Hourly Pay: $29.35/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Freelance Graphic Designer Annual Salary: $58,614/year

Real-Life Example: Freelance Designer Ran Segall $351,835 in 2018

Now, Ran not strictly a graphic designer. He said he works with startups doing full-stack design, from branding to website creation to product design. Watch his YouTube video breakdown of his income in 2018.

#2 Freelance Videographer

As a freelance videographer, you could:

  • Create product explainer videos for a car dealership
  • Shoot videos of client testimonials for a financial services company
  • Film weddings
  • Shoot special events
  • Film news events and reporters for a news organization

How Much Do Freelance Videographers Typically Make?

According to PayScale

*Note: PayScale does not have data for freelance videographers, only employee videographers, but this should give you at least a vague idea of what to expect.

MEDIAN Freelance Videographer Hourly Rate: $18.47/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Annual Salary for Freelance Videographer: $31,774/year

Real-Life Example: Freelance Videographer Dean Vernon Makes Roughly $50,000 a Year

As he explains in his YouTube video, Dean’s monthly income fluctuates greatly from $1,700 in one month to $7,000 in another month—which is pretty typical for a freelance business. He says that he expected to make about $50,000 in one year. Also, and I loved this, he mentions that he got this Phoenix videography gig by posting an ad for his services on Craigslist! That’s how I got my first clients back in 2013, too.

#3 Freelance Video Editor

As a freelance video editor, you could:

  • Edit videos for a YouTuber
  • Add special effects, music, and sound effects to a gaming company’s product videos
  • Color correct some overexposed footage that a wedding videographer shot

How Much Do Freelance Video Editors Typically Make?

According to PayScale

*Note: PayScale does not have data for freelance video editors, only employee video editors, but this should give you at least a vague idea of what to expect.

MEDIAN Hourly Rate for Freelance Video Editor: $19.88/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Annual Salary for a Freelance Video Editor: $57,284/year

Real-Life Example: Freelance Video Editor Riley Hastings Makes $5,000/Month

Riley has been a freelance video editor full-time since November 2019. He specializes in the gaming industry. Check out his full YouTube video explaining it here.

#4 Freelance Photographer

As a freelance photographer, you might:

  • Take employee headshots for a corporation
  • Photograph a mom-to-be
  • Do engagement shoots
  • Photograph a wedding
  • Take photos of new dishes for a restaurant’s menu

How Much Do Freelance Photographers Typically Make?

According to PayScale

MEDIAN Hourly Rate for a Freelance Photographer: $25.21/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Annual Salary for a Freelance Photographer: $41,331/year

Real-Life Example: Freelance Photographer Suzi Pratt Made $57,685 in 2016

Suzi is a food, event, and concert photographer in Seattle. Check out her full income report here.

#5 Freelance Fashion Designer

As a freelance fashion designer, you might do things such as:

  • Create a mood board for a client
  • Assist in fabric and color selection
  • Hand sketch a concept to help bring it to life for a client
  • Design collections

How Much Do Freelance Fashion Designers Typically Make?

*Note: Neither PayScale nor Glassdoor has data for freelance fashion designers, only employee fashion designers, but this should give you at least a vague idea of what to expect.

According to PayScale

MEDIAN Hourly Rate for a Fashion Designer: $20.46/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Annual Salary for a Fashion Designer: $60,865/year

Real-Life Example: Heidi of Sew Heidi

Heidi made $35,000 in her second year as a freelance fashion designer, and a few years later, made six figures. She has an insanely detailed guide on how to get started as a freelance fashion designer.

#6 Freelance Organizer

As a freelance organizer, you can expect to:

  • Consult with clients to help them organize their office or home
  • Create a better workflow and filing system for a business owner
  • Follow up with clients to ensure their organization plan is still working for them
  • Help clients declutter their home

How Much Do Professional Organizers Typically Make?

According to PayScale

MEDIAN Hourly Rate for a Professional Organizer: $25.75/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Annual Salary for a Professional Organizer: $42,012/year

Real-Life Example: Kristyn Ivey

In her interview with Podcasting Secrets in 2018, Kristyn Ivey said a professional organizer in a major U.S. city can expect to make anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour. On her website, it shows that she charges $149 for a two-hour virtual one-on-one consultation and $497 for an in-home KonMari Tidying Lesson.

#7 Freelance Marketing Consultant

As a freelance marketing consultant, you might find yourself doing tasks such as:

  • Creating a marketing strategy for a tech startup
  • Crafting a drip email campaign to help a bakery sell more cakes
  • Advising a small business on the best way to get more PR for their new store
  • Creating and managing Facebook ad campaigns
  • Researching and creating a content marketing calendar for a gym’s blog

How Much Do Freelance Marketing Consultants Typically Make?

According to PayScale

MEDIAN Hourly Rate for a Marketing Consultant: $39.65/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Annual Salary for Someone in Freelance Marketing: $51,395/year

Real-Life Example: Shweta Dawar Made $6,000 in the First 45 Days of Being a Digital Marketing Freelancer

Shweta is a digital marketing tech expert for small businesses, and she describes in detail how she was able to make $6K in her first 45 days in this YouTube video.

#8 Freelance SEO Consultant

As a freelance SEO consultant, you could:

  • Conduct SEO audits of company websites to find areas of improvement that will help them rank better in Google search
  • Help websites build backlinks
  • Develop a blog content strategy to help them grow search traffic to their site

How Much Do Freelance SEO Consultants Typically Make?

According to PayScale

MEDIAN Hourly Rate for an SEO Specialist: $18.09/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Annual Salary for an SEO Specialist: $49,589/year

Real-Life Example: Adam Enfroy Made $18,413 in February 2020 from SEO and Link Consulting

Adam Enfroy is a blogger and digital marketer who does SEO and link consulting for B2B clients. Read his full February 2020 income report here.

#9 Freelance Social Media Manager

As a freelance social media manager, you would do things like:

  • Devise an Instagram giveaway to drum up excitement for an ecommerce makeup company’s new product.
  • Grow the Twitter following of a public speaker.
  • Build engagement on a wine brand’s Facebook page.
  • Manage comments in a blogger’s Facebook group.
  • Design graphics to post on a travel agency’s Instagram account.

How Much Do Freelance Social Media Managers Typically Make?

According to the Social Media Strategies Summit blog:

  • New freelance social media managers: $15-$50 per hour
  • Intermediate: $50-$100 per hour
  • Experienced: $120 and higher

Real-Life Example: Pauline Cabrera Made $2,943.94 from Social Media Marketing and Management in September 2015

Check out Pauline’s detailed business income report here.

#10 Freelance Public Relations Specialist

As a freelance PR professional, you could do things like:

  • Draft press releases to distribute to news organizations announcing the launch of your client’s new makeup line
  • Reach out to journalists to pitch them stories about your client
  • Create a PR strategy to get more positive press for your client
  • Get your client interviews on podcasts

How Much Do Freelance Public Relations Specialists Typically Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a freelance public relations consultant is $54,430.

#11 Freelance Writer

Freelance writing encompasses so many things. To scratch the surface, you could:

  • Ghostwrite ebooks for company executives
  • Write blog posts for a fashion ecommerce company
  • Craft Facebook ad copy for a food startup
  • Create product descriptions for a pet food company
  • Write whitepapers for a cybersecurity company
  • Craft the bio for a wedding event planner

How Much Do Freelancer Writers Typically Make?

According to PayScale

MEDIAN Freelance Writer Hourly Pay: $23.82/hour

According to Glassdoor

AVERAGE Freelance Writer Annual Salary: $52,807/year

Real-Life Example: Freelance Writer Michael Leonard Made $20,050 in 30 Days

He did this by working for five different clients at anywhere from $0.10 to $0.25 per word. Read Michael Leonard’s full story.

#12 Freelance Copywriter

Yes, a freelance copywriter is a type of freelance writer, but it’s more niched down. A copywriter writes copy, which are words with the intent to persuade someone to buy.

As a freelance copywriter, you might find yourself doing the following:

  • Writing product descriptions for a vineyard’s new wines
  • Coming up with taglines for a new brand of paper towel
  • Crafting a long-form sales page to help a consultant sell more online courses

How Much Do Freelance Copywriters Typically Make?

According to a Copyhackers 2017 survey, 73% of respondents charged $50-$149 per hour. More than half of the respondents said they expected to earn less than $50,000 in 2017.

Real-Life Example: Carrie Blogger Made $103,000 in 2018 as a Freelance Copywriter

And get this, she did it by using Fiverr! Watch her YouTube video about it here.

#13 Freelance Accountant

As a freelance accountant, you help your clients by:

  • Preparing their tax returns
  • Helping them estimate their quarterly tax payments
  • Finding ways to legally save your clients money on taxes
  • Advise them on the best business structure for them

How Much Do Freelance Accountants Typically Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a freelance accountant is $64,990.

Real-Life Example: CPA Marina Kovalev $157,858 in 2019

Marina is a California-based CPA, and she shares her freelance accountant income report here.

#14 Freelance Bookkeeper

As a freelance bookkeeper, you could:

  • Set up your clients on a bookkeeping system via Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero, or some other software
  • Reconcile their books every month (categorizing transactions and such)
  • Remind them when their quarterly tax payments are due

How Much Do Freelance Bookkeepers Typically Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a freelance bookkeeper is $55,094.

#15 Freelance Money Coach

As a freelance money coach, also known as a financial coach, you might:

  • Create a debt payoff plan for a client
  • Help your clients overcome negative money mindsets
  • Find ways to help your client cut their spending
  • Help your clients invest
  • Help your clients reach their financial goals

How Much Do Freelance Money Coaches Typically Make?

According to Quicken Loans, financial coaches, on average, can command a rate anywhere from $75 to $600 per one-hour session.

Real-Life Example: Whitney Hansen Makes Over $100,000 a Year as a Money Coach

#16 Freelance Life Coach

A freelance life coach helps their clients:

  • Overcome mental blocks that prevent them from living their dream life
  • Improve their relationships with family and friends
  • Perform better at work or school
  • Define client goals and create a plan to help them achieve them
  • Reduce stress in their daily lives

How Much Do Freelance Life Coaches Typically Make?

According to the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study, the average annual income for life coaches in North America is $62,500.

Real-Life Example: Lauren of Business Babe Hits 6 Figures in Less Than One Year Doing Life Coaching

Lauren of Business Babe used to offer life coaching, and when she did, she scaled her business to six figures in less than a year. In February 2017 alone, she made $8,584 from her coaching business. Check out her full income report here.

#17 Freelance Business Coach

A freelance business coach might do the following:

  • Help a small business owner define her goals and create a plan to reach them
  • Create a better organization system for a business so the owner feels less overwhelmed
  • Assist in identifying and overcoming mental roadblocks that prevent an entrepreneur from scaling their business to six figures
  • Figure out what’s working and what’s not working in a business

I’ve actually hired a business coach before to help me get organized in my business. She dug deep to figure out what my true goals were and how I could create a system, habits, and routines to reach them. She was also there to calm me down when I was feeling overwhelmed scaling my business.

How Much Do Freelance Business Coaches Typically Make?

According to Sherpa Coaching’s 2017 Executive Coaching Survey, the majority (52%) of business coaches charged $150-$299 per hour.

Real-Life Example: Alice Benham Made $41,000 in the First Half of 2020 Doing Digital Marketing Coaching

In her YouTube video income report, Alice says she made 31,673 British pounds (roughly $41K in U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2020 doing one-to-one digital marketing coaching. She works with female entrepreneurs who want to improve their online presence.

#18 Freelance Model

As a freelance model, you might be hired to do things such as:

  • Pose for art students enrolled in a sketching course at a college
  • Pose for a billboard ad for a local surf shop
  • Appear in a commercial for a clothing store
  • Model rings and necklaces for a jewelry store
  • Model for a freelance photographer who is shooting for a stock photo collection they plan to sell

How Much Do Freelance Models Typically Make?

According to model Dania Denise (keep in mind she wrote the following in 2009):

Modeling pay rates can be per hour, flat rate or a day rate. If the shoot is short (1-3 hours), then an hourly rate is appropriate (i.e. $50 – $75/hour for models with a bit of experience and $75 – $100/hour or higher for experienced/pro models).

Real-Life Example: Evangeline Made $50/Hour as a Freelance Model

When she was just starting out, she earned $25 per hour as a freelance model, but that went up to $50 per hour. Check out her full post on freelance modeling.

#19 Freelance Journalist

As a freelance journalist, you can expect to have experiences such as:

  • Write a feature article for a local magazine about a new restaurant opening up in your city
  • Travel to a foreign country to write a list of 10 best museums for a travel magazine
  • Report on foreign conflicts as a contributor for a major news network
  • Interview sources for a radio news project

Admittedly, freelance journalists are similar to freelance writers, and in fact, some journalists take on regular writing assignments. So what’s the difference? Journalists are held to a higher standard of ethics and integrity. They are required to be transparent if they have any connection to the story and must not accept compensation in exchange for favorable write-ups. For instance, a journalist should never accept an assignment where they receive money to write a positive-only review for a brand, but a content marketing writer might do so.

How Much Do Freelance Journalists Typically Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a freelance journalist in the U.S. is $60,119.

Real-Life Example: Freelance writer and journalist Lindy Alexander earned over $50,000 of commissioned work in six months

Lindy is an excellent example of someone who blends writing work with journalism work well. She’s also a fantastic resource for freelancers! Read her full income report here.

#20 Freelance Interior Designer

As a freelance interior designer, you might:

  • Help a family decorate their new dream home
  • Assist a company in designing a productive space for their employees in their new building
  • Source paints, fabrics, and decorative pieces for a home
  • Recommend and collaborate with plumbers, electricians, and contractors on behalf of a homeowner

How Much Do Freelance Interior Designers Typically Make?

According to HomeGuide, the average rate for an interior designer is $50-$200 per hour.

#21 Freelance Hairstylist

As a freelance hairstylist, you’ll work independently of any salon. You’ll have to build up your own client base, but you will have more freedom than a salon-based hairstylist would. You might do things such as:

  • Create hair-dos for a bride and her bridesmaids
  • Bleach and dye clients’ hair
  • Offer hair cuts
  • Offer hair extensions
  • Perform hair treatments

How Much Do Freelance Hairstylists Typically Make?

According to Thumbtack, the national average price for a hairstylist is $80-$100. Of course, this depends highly on what service a hairstylist is performing. Check out Thumbtack’s full list of hairstylist prices here.

Real-Life Example: Lauren Frances Hit Six Figures in Her First Year as an Independent Hairstylist

In her YouTube video, Lauren shares how she was able to hit over $100,000 in profit in her first year going independent. Before that, she was making $36,000 a year at a salon!

#22 Freelance Web Developer

As a freelance web developer, you might:

  • Work with a web designer to bring their client’s new website to life
  • Detect and fix functionality issues with a client’s website
  • Make tweaks to a website to enable it to have a faster speed

How Much Do Freelance Web Developers Typically Make?

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a freelance web developer is $75,217.

Real-Life Example: Freelance WordPress developer Nathan Ello earned $31,273.29 in Q4 of 2016

Nathan has been developing websites for more than 10 years and specializes in WordPress projects. He shares a transparent freelance web developer income report here.

#23 Freelance Translator

Are you fluent in two or more languages? Do you love to read and explore the nuances in meaning between words? Freelance translation might be for you. As a freelance translator, you might find yourself doing the following:

  • Translating a website from English to Portuguese for a U.S. company launching a new brand in Brazil
  • Proofread documents in Japanese for a French medical company
  • Translate product descriptions from Polish to French for a multinational ecommerce company
  • Write articles in Russian for an international blog

How Much Do Freelance Translators Typically Make?

According to the American Translators Association’s Translation and Interpreting Services Survey, in 2014, the average gross income for a translator or interpreter who was a full-time independent contractor was $52,323.

#24 Freelance Illustrator

As a freelance illustrator, you might:

  • Create an illustration to go along with a magazine article
  • Illustrate a children’s book for an author
  • Illustrate a comic book for a major publisher
  • Create illustrations for a card game

How Much Do Freelance Illustrators Typically Make?

According to Thervo, a typical rate for an illustrator is $25 to $100 per hour, while flat rates run anywhere from $90 to $450.

#25 Freelance Makeup Artist

As a freelance makeup artist, you might be hired to do makeup for:

  • The bridal party at a wedding
  • Models at a fashion event
  • Actors on set of a movie shoot
  • Subjects of a magazine feature article

How Much Do Freelance Makeup Artists Typically Make?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average yearly salary for a freelance makeup artist is $49,330.

#26 Freelance Proofreader

As a proofreader, you might be hired to proofread:

  • Court transcripts
  • A novelist’s manuscript
  • A blogger’s posts
  • A company’s whitepapers

How Much Do Freelance Proofreaders Typically Make?

According to the Editorial Freelancers Association:

  • Proofreading fiction has a median hourly rate of $31-$35
  • Proofreading nonfiction: $36-$40
  • Proofreading business/sales or medical STEM bumps you up to $41-45/hour

Real-Life Example: Caitlin Pyle earned $43,000 in One Year as a Proofreader

Caitlin specialized in proofreading court transcripts, and she shares her proofreading income on her blog.

#27 Freelance Editor

There are different types of freelance editors, such as copy and developmental, but we’ll just keep the umbrella term for now. As a freelance editor, you might edit:

  • A manuscript for a novel
  • Blog posts for a company blog
  • A short ebook for an entrepreneur
  • Research papers for a university

How Much Do Freelance Editors Typically Make?

According to the Editorial Freelancers Association, the median rate per hour for nonfiction copyediting is $41-$45/hour. The median hourly rate for nonfiction developmental editing is $51-$60. See the full list of EFA editor rates here.

#28 Freelance Virtual Assistant (VA)

As a freelance virtual assistant, you might:

  • Add blog post content and upload photos to WordPress for a blogger
  • Monitor comments on an Instagram influencer’s posts
  • Make calls for a small business owner
  • Schedule travel for an entrepreneur
  • Manage the email inbox for a graphic designer
  • Edit and write descriptions for a YouTuber’s videos

How Much Do Freelance Virtual Assistants Typically Make?

According to PayScale, the median hourly rate for a virtual assistant is $15.77.

Real-Life Example: Kayla Sloan Made $10,737 in December 2017 from Virtual Assistant/Blog Management Services

You can check out her full online income report here; she has several revenue streams.

#29 Freelance Pinterest Manager

As a freelance Pinterest Manager, you might do the following tasks for your clients:

  • Set up their business Pinterest account
  • Do keyword research and add keywords to boards and pin descriptions
  • Join group boards relevant to your client’s niche
  • Design pin graphics for blog posts
  • Schedule pins via Tailwind

How Much Do Freelance Pinterest Managers Typically Make?

I’ve done a ton of research on Pinterest Managers, also known as Pinterest VAs, and I have hired one myself, so I have a pretty good idea of the going rate. If you’re a U.S.-based Pinterest VA with a target market of bloggers, then you can expect to charge around $200-$250 a month to manage their Pinterest account on retainer. This does not include designing pin graphics for them—that’s an extra cost. This is just to schedule pins (usually via Tailwind), join group boards, and manage Tailwind Tribes. It’s typical to require a three-month minimum contract so that you have time to really show results.

Real-Life Example: Kristin of Believe in a Budget Made $3,365 in One Month as a Pinterest Manager

Check out Kristin’s online income report here.

Which of These Freelance Business Ideas Will You Use?

I hope this exhaustive list of freelance business ideas got your creative juices churning! Perhaps you found the perfect business idea for you in this blog post. But if not, take heart! You now see what’s possible. Keep exploring your own talents and think about what your friends and family always ask you for help with.

Soon, you’ll stumble upon the perfect freelance business idea for you. And when you do, be sure to read my post on how to start a freelance business.

Amy Rigby

I've been freelancing since 2013, and throughout the journey, I've always wished I had a "freelancer friend" who could give me advice and support. Well, I'm going to be that friend for you! I've built a successful freelance writing business, and I'm sharing everything I've learned here on this blog.

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