7 Freelancing Opportunities That Pay Long-Term

David Andrew Wiebe

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Are you looking for side hustles that pay good money?

Are you tired of so-called “experts” saying that freelancing is easy, and you can get rich fast if you just buy their course?

Have you been so frustrated at times that you felt like giving up trying to find gigs in the gig economy?

Maybe it’s time to stop trying to make money fast and begin to focus on opportunities that pay long-term.

Maybe it's time to upgrade your skills.

I’ve often said that the best “get rich quick scheme” is a job. Making money fast at anything else is usually a crapshoot.

So, why not build towards something that has the potential to last, and to continue to pay out, even over the long haul?

Here are seven opportunities I’ve been able to earn good money from long-term.

Graphic Design

Indeed says that the average base salary for a graphic designer is $17.72 per hour. For a base salary, that’s quite decent.

In my experience, becoming a graphic designer means knowing at least one Adobe product inside and out (usually Photoshop, but Illustrator and InDesign are good chioces too).

In my early days, I was quite frustrated with learning Photoshop. I guess graphics weren’t exactly my calling.

But as someone who was getting into new media, I persevered, and with practice, it got better.

If you plan to get into Photoshop, I suggest taking advantage of sites like Photoshop Tutorials to learn the ropes and sharpen your skills.

Note that as a freelance graphic designer, you can easily charge $60 per hour for your work, and you probably should.

We’re not talking about a full-time job here. We’re talking about a business opportunity, and you've got to charge more for your time.

Web Design

Salary.com says web designers make a median of $66,239 annually, which should give you an idea of just how in-demand they are.

According to Kinsta, 40% of all websites are built on WordPress, and all other content management systems and providers don’t even come close. Joomla is a distant second, at 2.6% of all websites.

Which means one thing – you should probably put most of your time learning the ins and outs of WordPress if you plan to be a web designer.

In my early days, websites were coded by hand, one line at a time, using fancy notepad apps. It was arduous.

Today, even beginners can build amazing looking websites using a tool like Elegant Theme’s Divi Theme.

If you’re looking for support with Divi Theme, there are plenty of Facebook groups where you can ask questions:

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I used to charge $500 per website at one point, just to get clients in the door. But I found them to be low-quality clients.

I upped my rate to $1,000 per basic website now and am much happier with the results.

Freelance Writing/Ghostwriting

PayScale says the average freelance writer earns $22.99 per hour.

I started writing for the web back in 1997, and I was terrible at the time. Having grown up in Japan, my English wasn’t great.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve self-published five books, and three became best-sellers in their category.

And I might be signing a five-figure ghostwriting contract with a published author soon.

This proves the point that, long-term, freelance writing or ghostwriting can be quite profitable.

Posting to sites like Medium and News Break is relatively risk-free and a good way to start building your audience.

Editing

According to ZipRecruiter, writing editors earn an average of $29 per hour or $59,873 per year.

As you become a better writer, you will become a better editor too. Which isn’t to say being a good writer automatically makes you a better editor. The two skill are kind of different, but they certainly support each other.

I’ve hired editors before, and know they generally command a high fee, especially if you’re hiring them for more than spelling and grammar, and asking them to critically evaluate your content.

In my own editing efforts, I usually charge $60 to $120 per hour, but depending on the project, you could charge a lot more.

The key would be to familiarize yourself with as much writing as possible. Not just in terms of spelling and grammar, but also in terms of idioms and reference points. The more you know, the more value you can bring to your work.

Audiobooks/Voiceovers

Do you have a recognizable, unique voice that people compliment you on?

If so, I have some good news – ZipRecruiter says voice actors make an average of $37 per hour or $76,297 per year.

Obviously, there are a lot of gigs and jobs you can take on as a narrator or voice actor, so your mileage is going to vary.

That said, I recently entered a contract to create audiobooks for a friend and made a 70/30 deal where I will be making 70% of the revenue from sales.

Podcasting is a great way to get started, whether you like your voice or not. The truth is, most people aren’t crazy about the recorded sound of their voice, but you get used to it in time.

Music

A lot of people will tell you that becoming a musician is a pipedream.

Well, as someone who has earned from a variety of sources – music sales, music streams, rehearsals, gigs, session playing (in the studio and live), sound engineering (in the studio and live), music instruction, and more – I’ve got to tell you that long-term, it can turn into a decent side gig.

CareerExplorer notes that the average musician earns $27.58 per hour.

I would honestly say that number is quite generous and is probably reflective of a musician who has already been active for several years, practicing, writing, and performing.

That said, sync licensing and placements for film, TV, and video games can be quite lucrative, and many a beatmaker has made a name for themselves this way.

Not to mention – music is creatively rewarding and fulfilling, as it allows for virtually unrestricted self-expression.

Video Editing

Indeed says the average base salary for a video editor is $18.61 per hour.

That may be the case for in-house video editors at corporations and businesses, but independent video editors can and do charge considerably more per hour.

Honestly, if you aren’t charging more than web and graphic designers, you might be doing yourself a disservice.

Just think of all the content that gets uploaded to YouTube daily. Tubefilter says more than 500 hours of content are being uploaded to YouTube every minute.

I have friends who charge a pretty penny for filming and editing video, and I charge a minimum of $120 per hour myself, which is baseline.

It’s not the easiest work, and it takes a long time to learn, but that’s true of everything mentioned here.

Final Thoughts

If at any point you get frustrated, just remember – what I’ve presented here are side hustles and freelancing opportunities that can pay off long-term. Don’t worry too much about what happens in the short-term.

Just work on your craft day by day and keep improving. And as you begin to find your “voice” in your respective field, you’ll be able to charge not just by the hour, but for the value you create for others.

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