How to Work as a Freelancer Online

Find Freelance Work from Home

Freelance workers are a growing trend, learn the best fields to get into and find out if freelancing is right for you.
Freelance workers are a growing trend, learn the best fields to get into and find out if freelancing is right for you. | Source

Many people dream of working for themselves, waking up everyday and sitting down at the computer to work a job on their own terms. The desire to be your own boss is so strong, it has allowed scams to flourish on the internet. Bogus companies claiming you can earn thousands a month doing very little work blah blah blah.

Well, obviously that isn't true. Success requires hard work and there are no magic get rich quick schemes, just like there are no magic fat loss pills – yet people still continue to buy into the schemes.

Does this mean there are no real ways to earn as a freelancer on the internet? Absolutely not! There are plenty of skilled jobs you can find on the internet that pay well. The key here is “skilled”. You can't find a job on the internet with no skills any more than you can find a good paying job in the real world.

That being said there are freelancers in many fields: personal assistants, transcriptionists, writers, web designers, graphic artists, and programmers to name a few.

If you can get the training and skills you need to perform a freelance job, you can work from home. As time goes on, this is actually becoming easier. Many companies are recognizing the value in hiring freelancers. On their end it means no money being spent on overhead, health benefits, sick leave, equipment etc.

Should I Freelance?

This is a question you should consider seriously. Freelance work is not guaranteed work. It requires a great deal of self-discipline and has to be treated just like a “regular job” or business in order to be successful. Many people glamorize freelancing without considering all that goes along with it.

Freelancers must be motivated and able to manage multiple tasks.

As a freelancer you are a business owner. You are responsible for filing your own taxes, buying your own equipment, purchasing your own health insurance, marketing your services, keeping your clients happy, and managing your time and resources effectively.

Top 10 Freelance Internet Jobs

Virtual Assistants work as independent contractors for a variety of businesses providing technical and administrative services. This is basically the same as being an administrative assistant, except the work is all done virtually. You may book meeting, write correspondence, gather reports, research, or any number of tasks administrative assistants perform.

Sales and Marketing There are a variety of freelance jobs and temporary assignments in these genres that involve things like market research, link building, running Adwords campaigns, finding leads etc. This field is extensive and there are many ways to use your skills as a freelancer in sales and marketing fields.

Transcriptionists convert audio files into written format. Some specialize in medical or legal fields and others do “general transcription” which consists of business meetings, recordings to be converted to eBooks, all sorts of things. Pay varies based on the field, your experience, etc. You are usually paid by line or by digital audio minute. This job requires some extra equipment and software. You have to be an extremely fast typist and have great attention to detail to be successful at it.

Writers are all over the internet, magazines, newspapers, restaurant menus, brochures etc. Everywhere you see words each day – a writer did that. Writers seem to be under the common misconception that work is hard to come by and so they undervalue themselves. There are some writing niches – particularly copywriting where you can make incredibly good money with the proper training and experience. There are so many writing fields, they can't all be covered here. Check out for detailed descriptions and information on all the various writing fields.

Web Designers This is a highly in demand job, however it requires a great deal of skill and an excellent portfolio as it is a highly competitive field as well. Web designers can make great money, particularly if they specialize in particular areas. Web design requires a lot more than knowing how to manipulate a WordPress template. It incorporates the elements of design and art, focuses on drawing customers in etc. There is a lot more than meets the eye. Most successful web designers have studied extensively, in the classroom and out. Technology is always changing and it's a field that demands you grow with it. If you love a challenge, are creative, and love a lot of variety, this can be a lucrative field to get into.

Programmers are always in demand in our new era of technology. Many programmers freelance developing projects, moving on to the next one when they are finished. Other programmers work in support roles, fixing things that go wrong, helping customers with technical issues, etc. This is another broad field with a wide range of possibilities. Programmers can make excellent money, but it is also a demanding job that requires continuous learning to stay up to date on all the latest technologies.

Graphic Artists design everything from digital art to all the packaging designs you see in the store each day. From billboards, to magazine covers, advertisements, brochures etc. graphic artists are everywhere. This is a competitive field, but also one with endless opportunities. There are many places that hire out graphic artists because it tends to be a short job, perhaps developing a label for a new product etc. Graphic artists need to have excellent portfolios to attract new clients. They really have to know how to market themselves. There is often a lot of high priced software (think Adobe products) and other equipment that has to be purchased. It requires constant learning and observation to stay ahead of trends, new techniques, etc. It can be lucrative, but is a lot more demanding than most realize. The up-front costs are higher than other freelance careers.

Customer Service Representatives often work remotely. These jobs tend to not have the freedom of scheduling as other jobs. Most companies require a quiet work environment and the ability to take calls during set hours. There is the convenience of not having to drive in to an office or call center for work, but not much of the freedom that comes with other freelance jobs. If you thrive on more structure however and are very customer service oriented, this can be an ideal freelancing job. The pay is generally not very high, but it can make a decent second income.

Social Media Managers are a growing trend right now. A social media manager posts to Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, etc. on behalf of their clients. Their job is to post interesting things that attract followers and customers to visit their website and purchase their products or services. If you love social media, are very clever and able to create potentially “viral” posts etc. this may be a great freelancing gig for you. It is very versatile and allows a lot of personal freedom. Many people work these type of jobs into other freelance gigs.

Photography/Video is another freelance career area with several possibilities both online and off. Freelance photographers can find work taking pictures for insurance companies, shooting stock photography to sell, photographing events, or creating custom videos to promote companies on websites and YouTube. This career tends to take you out of the home more than the others, but it can be a great way to get a change of scenery and do something you enjoy. If you have creative photography/videography skills there are many opportunities to earn money. The fields are extremely competitive so a lot of patience, practice, and an extremely well done portfolio are essential. Many people use photography as a side business.

Recommended Resources

If you're ready to pursue a career as a freelancer on the internet you should work on establishing a portfolio(s) to market your skills. Here is a list of 7 places you can build a free portfolio online. Free portfolio sites are great to start, but you should also have a personal, professional portfolio.

There are many high quality free tools out there for freelancers that will make your life easier. Be sure to check out these 101 Free Tools Every Freelance Writer, Web Designer, and Graphic Artist Needs

If you're extremely creative and have a craft to sell, you can also do well with a sideline business. Learn more about how to start an in-home craft business to sell your creations.

Sites to Find Freelance Work

The Freelancers Bible is a one-stop resource for any freelancer. Learn all you need to know about filing taxes, getting healthy insurance, gaining and keeping clients and the list goes on. This comprehensive reference was written by Sara Horowitz, founder of the nationwide Freelancer's Union. I highly recommend it.

Do you work as a freelancer?

See results without voting

© 2013 Christin Sander

More by this Author

Comments 15 comments

MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 3 years ago

Hi, Cristin. We were taught in journalism school how to freelance, but that was before the days of online freelancing. LOL I have had a few freelance jobs fall into my lap, but I don’t actively solicit them because I have a full-time job as an editor. I do find articles like yours very useful because the possibility of retirement is staring me in the face. Part-time freelancing would appeal to me very much in retirement. Voting you up and useful!

jtomasic profile image

jtomasic 3 years ago from Belle Vernon (Pittsburgh), PA

I just started on HubPages. How well do you do with HubPages?

kansasyarn profile image

kansasyarn 3 years ago from Rural Midwest

Love this thorough and useful hub! It is comprehensive and concise! Great job!

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Chuck. I also use my hubs as writing samples to get gigs on Elance and other places in addition to developing Niche websites. It took me awhile also, but I now freelance full time. It can be stressful, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy doing things on my own terms and taking on clients I actually enjoy working with.

Chuck profile image

Chuck 3 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

Good Hub with good advice. While I have kept my full time job in another field, I do freelance work from home in my spare time and have been doing this for the past seven years or so.

Early on I saw the potential for the Internet and the need for content and began searching for and writing for various sites. I didn't do very well financially at first. But once I discovered HubPages and worked at it I began receiving a second income from my freelancing with money coming in every month.

I have kept up with HubPages and have also begun doing freelance work writing web page text for a company that builds web pages for businesses. When this company saw the writing I have done on HubPages they hired me as one of their contract writers.

Between HubPages and this company I am probably making as much as I would with a part-time job at a fast food restaurant but freelancing is more fun and gives me more freedom.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Tebo! Glad you enjoyed the hub and maybe you can consider some areas to get some training in for the future. Thanks for reading and commenting.

tebo profile image

tebo 3 years ago from New Zealand

This is a very well written hub on the possibilities that exist on the internet. Freelancing would be ideal for many people and I like the idea of it but as you say would need more training. Thanks for showing all the opportunities out there.

grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

Very thorough and informative article on this subject. I have toyed with the idea of freelancing at some point in time. Right now things are a bit too hectic to consider this career step. I will bookmark this so I can refer to it in the future. Voted Up, Useful and Interesting


Chin chin profile image

Chin chin 3 years ago from Philippines

Being a stay at home mom, initially, I took a course in Medical transcription but was not able to finish it. Later, I just went ahead and tried writing and got some job at Freelancer. I was also hired as a virtual assistant at oDesk. It's good to have these opportunities available to moms like me who stay at home. Thanks for sharing about this in your hub.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

sounds like a good idea for a follow-up hub Marie, thanks for reading and commenting.

MarieAlana1 profile image

MarieAlana1 3 years ago from Ohio

Thanks for this hub! I'm following it so I can come back to it. It would be really great if you could write a hub on the scams that are put onto the internet and name specific ones. Before I found Hubpages, I constantly looked for online positions like the ones mentioned above. I ran into a lot of them that seemed to be like what you wrote about, but as I looked into them I realized that they were scams. I'm still trying to sort out what is and isn't a scam. That would be great if you could mention the scams that you do know of. Overall, great information though.

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Joe - much appreciated :)

hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Hi, ChristinS!

I'm busy with my eBay and HubPages projects but always challenge myself to explore other options. Your well-written, informative, and reader-friendly article is very helpful and timely. Thank you so much for writing and sharing it!


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks torrilynn for voting and sharing - much appreciated! :)

torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

Hi ChristinS,

thanks for this hub here about being a freelancer

i really like the tips and techniques that you have included

Voted up and Shared

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article