No matter the industry you’re working in, you’ve probably noticed that there are more freelancers out there now doing what you do than there were a couple of years back. In a short span of time, freelancing has become a popular option for those working 9-to-5 office hours and looking to gain more control over their work experiences and careers.
And it’s no wonder, really, that this trend has spread like wildfire—the freedom that freelancing brings can sound appealing to almost anyone. You get to set your own pace, work from anywhere you like, and take on various interesting projects for different companies. You don’t have to sit in an office all day, deal with overbearing bosses, and other people.
So what’s stopping everyone from going down the freelancing path at some point in their life then?
First of all, most people are not ready to just up and abandon their stable jobs for something that might not work out. Freelancing might sound like a dream come true, but in reality, it generally takes people a while to find clients and establish themselves as experts in their niche. A lot of people don’t even make it to the point where they’re earning enough money to support themselves.
Which brings us to our next point: people don’t opt for freelancing as easily as you’d expect them to, because they’re scared that this career path won’t earn them as much money as they’d like it to.
However, what’s interesting is that this is as far from the truth as it can be. As the latest research from knowledge sharing platform Zeqr shows, an average freelancer earns almost twice as much as an average US citizen per month.
Furthermore, Payoneer, a global payment platform, observed over 23,000 freelancers from 180 countries for their 2018 Freelancer Income Survey and learned that an average freelancer earns at least $21 per hour, which is more than $39,000 (pre-tax) on a yearly basis (a really neat way to calculate this is Hourly to Annual Calculator). Not too shabby, right?
What’s interesting, though, is that only 46% of freelancers are happy with their income. Where does the problem lie? It’s neither the hours (36 hours per week on average) nor the flexibility, but the fact that a lot of them are yet to learn how negotiate their rates and higher pay. This is one of the most difficult aspects of freelancing, but once you learn how to do it, you should be able to reap all the benefits it brings.
Another important thing to keep in mind if you are a wannabe freelancer is that not everyone earns the same amount of money. Sure, it depends on how much you work and the hours you put it, but it also largely depends on the industry and the years of experience you bring to the table.
So, for example, those who have been working in the industry for years and have managed to already position themselves as experts will have a higher chance at earning more than those just starting out.
The industry you work in plays a huge role in how much you’ll be able to make as a freelancer, too, so for example, if you decide to freelance as a programmer, you can expect an annual salary of up to $72,000. On the other hand, a teacher or an online tutor will gross about $42,000 for a year, whereas copywriters can get between $1,000 and $3,000 per month. Web developers—which is one of the most sought-after profession nowadays—can earn about $6,000 per month.
As you can see, becoming a freelancer can’t really be an overnight decision. You have to weigh the pros and cons carefully, and then pick what works for you the best. It’s always a good idea to kick off your freelancing career while you’re still at your old job—balancing two jobs might tire you out while you think things through, but you’ll get an additional source of income and be able to take your time deciding whether or not this is the path for you.
The number one rule you should stick to as a freelancer is this: never stop working on your skills. You have to constantly try to improve yourself, because the better you are, the better are your chances to climb to the top of the freelancing chain and start earning the money you want.
If you want to learn how much freelancers in different niches earn, which freelancing platforms are currently dominating the market, and what the average annual US salaries are, then the infographic below might be what you need. We hope it will encourage you to go ahead and give your freelancing career a shot—if you haven’t already. Let us know what you thought of the infographic and good luck with freelancing in the future!
Sanja Milinkovic is a junior growth hacker who lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia. She is very passionate about the English language and technology, and believes that e-learning will define the future of education as we know it.