The Best Career Paths for Freelancers

Between economic uncertainties and the rise of the gig economy, freelancing has become an attractive and popular career option for many people. The vast number of free online tools and virtual courses has made it quicker and easier to develop freelancing skills. With experience and practice, many people who go into freelancing find it a viable complement to their full-time employment; however, more people are turning to freelance positions as a means to make a living. Because freelancing covers a variety of fields, there is immense potential for increasing your marketability and income.

The rising popularity of freelancing with remote working

Increased remote work is gaining popularity for many reasons, especially its opportunities for job diversity, flexible hours, and working from home. The emphasis on a better work-life balance and steering away from the repetitive and routine nine-to-five office job makes freelancing appealing to many people looking to change careers. Other reasons for switching to freelancing with remote work include:

  • Flexibility in terms of hours, clients, and location. Freelancers set their schedules and have professional independence to choose what clients and projects they want to work with. Remote work allows you to work from anywhere in the world.
  • Being your own boss. If you are highly independent and chafe at working for supervisors, freelancing is an ideal scenario for you. The only person responsible for you is yourself. You are your boss and determine your schedule according to your priorities and lifestyle.
  • Developing soft skills and professional networks. As a freelancer, you will improve your interpersonal communication skills, especially when you are negotiating terms, conditions, and contracts with clients. Networking is another bonus for freelancers. By making connections in your professional field, you set the stage for future employment and projects.

Freelancing also provides an excellent source of income. In many countries, freelancers make more money per year than the average worker.

The top skills that every freelancer needs

What skills do you need to be a successful freelancer? While you do want to find a niche to focus on, it’s helpful to develop a variety of skills to give you an expansive portfolio of experiences. Hard skills are those that are learned, while soft skills are aligned more with personality traits. While you don’t have to possess all of these top skills to find success working remotely, a mix of hard and soft skills will make you appealing to potential clients:

Hard Skills

  • Accounting and business
  • Marketing
  • Writing and editing
  • Coding and programming
  • Sales and negotiating
  • Customer service
  • Photography
  • Web or graphic design

Soft Skills

  • Time management
  • Strategic and critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Communication and interpersonal
  • Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Patience
  • Stress management

Having both hard and soft skills, gained through study and experience, will make you stand out from other freelance candidates when you apply for remote work positions.

What are the best industries for freelancers?

There are an unlimited amount of freelance gigs out there, but if you want to make a career out of freelancing, focus on the best industries to build your professional future. Here are some career fields that can be ideal for a full-time freelancer:

Web Design

Web designers are in high demand in every industry. However, there is a shortage of web designers and developers, making this field perfect for freelancers looking to begin or advance their careers in web design. Additionally, web designers command an average salary of $51,000 in Australia, but can also earn up to six-figures with experience.

Journalism and Writing

If you have writing ability and strong communication skills, you can find freelance work virtually anywhere. Companies, online newspapers and magazines, blogs and affiliate marketers are always in need of talented writers. Plenty of opportunities exist for freelance writers in television, radio, and podcasting, as well as in public relations, marketing, advertising, and publishing in general. With journalism and writing skills, you will be an in-demand freelancer with your choice of clientele.

Graphic Design

Arguably the most popular field for freelancers, graphic design is a must for business and nonprofit websites worldwide. If you are creative, imaginative, and enjoy working with computers, you can make a good living as a freelance graphic designer. Junior designers can make $50,000 yearly in Australia, with experienced designers able to earn closer to $85,000.
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Freelancing in e-business allows you high levels of flexibility in a remote working career. This field includes but is not limited to aspects of marketing, sales, customer service, budgets, security, website concepts and content, e-business systems management, website promotion, and legal issues. As a freelancer with any of these skills, you will have little trouble finding business clients who want you managing their projects.
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Marketing Consulting

All businesses, companies, and organisations require marketing consultants to succeed in developing and promoting their brand. Every sector of industry needs marketing leaders, including research and analysis, strategy, communications, trade, product development, and direct marketing. Creatives who mine data, develop plans, and enjoy seeing a project through from start to finish will enjoy the flexibility involved in marketing consulting.
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Do you view photos as works of art? Would you like your job to make an impact on the world? Consider becoming a freelance photographer. Whether you choose to work with clients or you go into business for yourself, there are numerous opportunities to make a living with your camera. With talent and experience, a freelance photographer can earn up to $4000 a day for a wedding or business photography or hundreds of dollars for single photos in newspapers, magazines, or websites.
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Start your freelancing career with ICI’s distance learning courses

Whether you want to become a freelance writer, web designer, or marketing consultant, ICI’s range of distance learning courses will give you the hard and soft skills you need to make a living in your chosen field. Do what you enjoy, set your schedule, and leave the daily office grind behind. Enrol today and start your freelancing career.

Online, career focused education that suits your lifestyle.

See our courses
Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.