Freelancing is gaining a positive reputation in the US workforce. A report commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union found that the majority of workers will freelance by 2027, which is good news for their savings accounts. Nearly 2 in 3 freelancers interviewed in 2017 said they earn more now than they did in full-time positions.
If you haven't jumped into the freelance life, there's plenty of room to start. FlexJobs has compiled a list of the fastest growing job sectors of 2018, and you'll find more opportunities with Remote.co, Upwork, and Glassdoor. Here are the markets to watch.
Computer & IT
Computer and Information Technology is a broad industry, and you’ll find positions for everything from website maintenance, IT security, repair, and in-house support. The beauty of this industry is that it serves all others: every business relies on computers to function, which means that your expertise meets a universal need. Search for freelance positions like IT Service Technician, Solutions Architect, IT Consultant, and Computer Analyst, or do a simple search for IT.
- Average salary: IT security and technical support professionals earn $88,043 and $41,228 per year.
- Freelance opportunities: 24 Seven, Apex Systems, Judge Group
Accounting & Finance
Organized finances are the cornerstone of a functional business, and professionals who understand taxes, payroll, bookkeeping, and business expensing are key. Whether you’re working internally or with clients, you’re likely to find a role as a Finance Manager, Business Analyst, Auditor, Accountant, Bookkeeper, or Controller.
- Average salary: Bookkeepers, accountants, and financial auditors earn $37,303, $61,696, and $75,535 per year, respectively.
- Freelance opportunities: Kforce, Accounting Principals, MATRIX Resources
HR & Recruiting
Human Resource and Recruiting professionals ensure that office culture runs smoothly with the right people. As a freelancer, you might be asked to assist in training new hires, interviewing candidates, and managing employee benefits or worker’s compensation. Common titles within this job sector include Personnel Manager, Recruiter, Talent Scout, HR Manager, and Employment Manager.
- Average salary: Freelance HR managers earn an average of $42,116 per year, and freelance recruiters earn an average of $55,869 per year.
- Freelance opportunities: Kelly Services, Aerotek, groupM
Editing, Proofreading, and Writing
Communication doesn’t exist without writers, and it’s the effective ones that stand out in the freelance world. A dense market means there’s a position available for every specialty within three primary fields: copywriting, editing, and proofreading. When searching for freelance gigs, be specific about the type of writing you do under these main headings. Your search phrases might include Medical Writer, Marketing Copywriter, Textbook Editor, Copy Editor, Copy Proofreader, etc.
- Average salary: Freelance writers, editors and proofreaders earn $42,120, $51,104, and $36,290 per year, respectively.
- Freelance opportunities: Kforce, Paladin, Capital Analytics
Administrative professionals keep the office moving, but that doesn’t necessarily include on-site work. The need for virtual freelancers is growing, especially when it comes to pros who can manage all the typical tasks without the need for desk space (i.e., employer overhead costs). If you’re searching for work in this job sector, use the phrases like Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Virtual Assistant, Office Manager, and Office Coordinator.
- Average salary: Virtual assistants earn an average salary of $22,000 per year, and freelance executive assistants earn $61,932.
- Freelance opportunities: Ajilon, My BTLR, Facebook
Project Managers are tasked with the crucial role of organizing business schedules and budgets, working with clients, and managing employees—all under a tight deadline. Every business with client-facing goals usually needs project managers, and you’ll have luck finding work when you search for Project Manager, Program Manager, Technical Consultant, and Business Analyst.
- Average salary: Freelance project managers earn an average salary of $90,337 per year.
- Freelance opportunities: Real Staffing, Facebook, CDM New York
If you’re looking for low-key freelance work, data entry is an easy way to increase your monthly income, but that’s not to say that the work isn’t important. Filling this role helps your employer accomplish a number of administrative needs, including processing payments, updating customer or client files, and keeping records current. Virtual job seekers should search for roles with keyword phrases like Information Manager, Data Entry Tech, Transcriptionist, Record Coder, and Clerk.
- Average salary: Freelance data entry pros earn an average salary of $34,466 per year.
- Freelance opportunities: Kelly Services, Randstad, WinterWyman
Companies collect information, but what does it all that data mean? Research analysts have the task of figuring it out, and there are plenty of opportunities in the fields of healthcare, marketing, advertising, insurance, finance, technology, and any other business that relies on analytics to keep things moving. Take advantage of this job sector by searching for roles like Risk Analyst, Data Analyst, Financial Analyst, Social Media Analyst, etc. If you’re can’t find what you’re looking for, do a blanket search for “freelance analyst” for a broader view of the market.
- Average salary: Full-time research analysts earn an average salary of $69,592 per year.
- Freelance opportunities: BuildZoom, Digital Third Coast, Contently
The world runs on software, and its growing role in our culture means a growing need for experts. If you understand how to design, test, and/or debug software, you’ll find a well-paying gig in this field. Search for Software Developer, Software Engineer, DevOps Developer, Mobile Developer, or Apps Developer.
- Average salary: Freelance software developers earn an average salary of $91,887 per year.
- Freelance opportunities: Real Staffing, TISTA Science and Technology Corporation, McCann Worldgroup
Anyone who’s ever been had a horrible experience with tech support (i.e., everyone) understands the value of qualified professionals. Customer-facing companies need knowledgeable and engaging support staff to act as the voice of their company by providing help on all kinds of client issues. This job sector is crowded, which means you won’t have any problem finding work, especially in technical fields like software. Perform a search with your field of expertise and “Technical Support” to narrow your results.
- Average salary: Full-time technical support professionals earn an average salary of $69,592 per year.
- Freelance opportunities: Brandstar, ReCharge, Virtually Anywhere, USA