Freelancing is now as commonplace as a typical 9-5 office job, with freelancers expected to make up 50.9% of the total US workforce by 2027. With the ability to work wherever and whenever they want, it’s no surprise so many people are packing up their desks in favor of this modern flexible working arrangement.
A beachside working day beginning at noon sounds like a dream, but freelancing isn’t a practical option for everyone. The demand is arguably not great enough to guarantee regular work in certain roles, which could cause huge financial inconvenience to an aspiring freelancer.
However, lots of jobs can be sustained in a freelance capacity, and often bring more financial reward and job satisfaction than traditional permanent roles. Here are three career paths where you’d be better off freelancing.
1. Computer Systems Analyst
Those with an IT background could receive huge paychecks and enjoy regular work as a freelance computer systems analyst. These roles help companies best harness their existing technology while analyzing new software that could be incorporated into the current system. While many sectors are facing significant job cuts, the demand for this role is set to grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026 in the US, which is 2% faster than the average outlook.
This is also a position with clear longevity, as computer systems analysts will be required for as long as people use computers and write software. Many of these roles require an exceptional understanding of SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products) as it’s estimated that 77% of all global business transactions involve an SAP system. In fact, SAP contractors particularly benefit from freelancing arrangements, thanks to the high demand amongst businesses of all sizes. SAP software can be applied to any business, regardless of the industry, which means there will never be a struggle finding the next job.
In addition to an SAP contractor’s extremely high rate of pay—often up to twice that of a permanent employee—the global value brings plenty of opportunities to work in brand new locations. Dedicated recruitment agency Eursap, for example, offers contract assignments across 21 European countries, making this an ideal role for SAP freelancers who may want the chance to travel through their work. It’s helpful for contractors to be fluent in another language to increase their desirability to employers abroad, with English, German, and Mandarin Chinese language skills the most highly sought-after in the world.
2. Content Marketing Specialist
Content and outbound are two of the most popular forms of marketing and there are significant differences between the two. Outbound marketing promotes a product through continued advertising and promotions, while content marketing involves the creation and sharing of original material online, such as blogs and social media posts. This content does not explicitly promote a brand, but stimulates interest in its products or services. And while content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates three times as many leads. This is why businesses are always looking for the best in this field, and such demand paves the way for a rewarding freelance content marketing career.
As well as planning and writing, content marketing specialists must formulate a strategy based on research of the target audience and then deliver the content within a set deadline.
63% of business owners expect their marketing expenses to increase in 2019, and will likely turn to freelancers to meet this demand, since they can be more efficient while charging less than an in-house team. That said, content marketing is still one of the best-paid freelance roles, with the most experienced writers charging over $1 per word. Freelancers may also possess specific content marketing skills lacking in full-time employees, such as journalistic research or data analytics. This enables specialists in particular areas to stand out from the competition and work on projects most relevant to their skill set.
3. Graphic Designer
Freelance graphic designers have a bright future, with demand set to increase by 61% by 2020. The need for content like infographics and logo designs make talented graphic designers hot commodities, and freelancers in this field can go on to earn over $50,000 on average per year.
A freelance arrangement could be particularly attractive to graphic designers as they have total control over the jobs they accept and only need to work on the projects they feel most passionate about. Though this is true for freelancers in general, it is especially applicable to those in creative roles who need to maintain an impressive portfolio in order to attract more work. Picking specific jobs gives graphic designers the ability to hone a varied collection of high-quality work that demonstrates their versatility and talent.
Many companies will be missing the vital creativity needed for key graphic design jobs in-house, which is why freelancers are so essential to many businesses. However, it is important to remember that, while graphic designers are sought after, the field is extremely competitive. In order to make themselves noticed, freelancers must keep their websites and portfolios updated, and network effectively through attending industry events and maintaining professional relationships with clients.