How to select the Perfect Freelancing Career

How to Select the perfect freelancing career

So you have decided that freelancing online could be a great option for you? Or perhaps you are just considering it?

In this article, we will show you how to select the perfect freelancing career path for you. We will start by inspiring you with many different options before giving you some action items to help you decide. There are just so many options there is sure to be something that suits your personality, skills and strengths. The hardest part will be making a firm choice!

Where to Begin?

To select the perfect freelance work online, you need options. We’ve listed some of these options below. Through online freelancing websites such as Upwork and Fiverr, you are able to find many different areas to choose from.

Most of the jobs on Fiverr will pay US$5. However, the earning potential can go up to US$500 for those requiring specialist knowledge or skills. The main jobs advertised tend to be the conventional virtual assistants and writers. There is enough work in these fields alone, but if these do not appeal to you then you can be confident there will be something that does.

Types of Online Freelancing Jobs

Virtual Assistant (VA)

Being a virtual assistant means that you may do a huge variety of tasks from sorting email to internet research to setting up appointments or replying to tweets. Basically, people hire virtual assistants to do their more basic jobs to allow them more time to concentrate on other things. This is a great option to people who are competent online, but do not have any specialist skills. However, if you have skills, like social media training, you may be able to demand more money. Likewise if you are also a good writer.

online freelance work virtual assistant

If you take a look on freelancing web sites, the Virtual Assistant is quite a prominent player. It can seem like it is a race to the bottom payment wise. It is not hard to find people who will offer their services for up to 3 hours for only $5. However, the productivity of this is highly questionable and will vary greatly. These people will also usually not have good English skills. Your best chance at success is to not compete based on price but with all the extras you can bring to a role, such as native English or any prior work experience or training. Even a strong work ethic can set you far ahead of others as people working for such low prices are not usually very motivated.

However, it can be a good idea to start with cheap job opportunities to grow a clientele and strong positive feedback. After you have some experience and glowing reviews, it will be much easier to convince someone to pay you more and to score a great ongoing employment contract (if this is what you are looking for).

The lowdown

Pros: There is plenty of work available. The tasks are not too difficult and ongoing employment isn’t out of the question.

Cons: Can be lowly paid at first and the tasks given may be repetitive.

Earning potential: Expect low amounts  to start with, although $10 an hour is not hard to achieve. As you progress and are given additional responsibility, you could earn over $20 an hour.


Freelancing online as a writer is a massive topic in itself. There are just so many reasons as to why someone would hire you/need you to write for them online, creating many different categories of writers. You may work on website articles, help guides, school assignments, resumes, the lists goes on and on. Many jobs will require you to research a topic before you write about it which makes this a great area for people who like to learn about new things.

writing is an easy way to earn money fast online

A natural writing talent can really help, however this is not necessary as skilled writing is a something you can gain with a bit of practice if English is your native language. Believe it or not but there are plenty of jobs where writing quality is not a factor. The employer simply wants an article with acceptable grammar and punctuation in English.

The lowdown

Pros: There is a lot of freelance work online and many jobs don’t take long at all. This means you can start earning money quickly.

Cons: Some jobs may be more time consuming than others. It has a low rate of pay to start with.

Earning potential: Realistically, especially when using Fiverr, you can’t expect to be earning too much more than $5 per 250-300 words when you first start out. However, people hiring writers quickly understand that you do get what you pay for. After you have established yourself as a great writer completing several lowly paid articles, you could be paid upwards of $50 per article. This will really depend on how good a writer you are.


To be a freelance advertiser, you need a catchy way with words and maybe even some graphic design skills. Many people, especially those running smaller businesses/websites, hire online freelancers to write/create their marketing campaigns. This could involve designing something as simple as a catchy image advertisement. It could also involve creating a campaign for people through the use of social media to ensure their best exposure.

advertising freelance work

For larger businesses, hiring online can kill off an entire department thus saving them a lot of money. For this reason, it is possible to find advertising jobs that pay quite well.

The lowdown

Pros: These jobs can often pay higher rates and it can be exciting to see how your work can affect the business.

Cons: You will likely require some experience/education. Bigger jobs can be very time consuming and your work can be highly results dependent.

Earning potential: $20 for small jobs, larger jobs will have the potential to earn great money, over $50 an hour.

Legal Advice

This will obviously require the educational background and certification to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you are giving advice, but it does go to show that even those with seemingly exclusively corporate careers can freelance online.

lawyer freelance work


lawyer freelance work

There are opportunities for lawyers to give legal advice to clients on the best way to go about certain disputes, to write out contracts for parties to sign and become legally binding to, and to create terms of services/agreements for websites. You will have such a wide selection of areas that you can choose where ever your experience and passion lies.

The lowdown

Pros: This area can pay big!

Cons: Not for the novice. You’ll need a degree and a load of background knowledge.

Earning Potential: $5-50 for smaller contracts, the skies the limit for expert advice and large jobs.

Graphic Designer

Work in this area can consist of simple things, such as removing a background in a photograph or creating a custom gift card, to designing a whole website theme. There are a wide range of skills involved in being a graphic designer and how good you are will equate to how much you can earn.

designer work online freelance

For simpler jobs, most people could learn the skills required using avenues like YouTube. More advanced positions that require a higher level of skill exist, and obviously these are paid at higher rates.

The lowdown

Pros: There are tons of positions out there for graphic designers, and the potential to earn some serious money. You can get started straight away.

Cons: Higher level jobs will require high level skills and a good portfolio.

Earning potential: Jobs requiring a low level of work will start at $5-10. For excellent work, excellent pay levels can be achieved.

Some Random Ideas

If you are skilled in a certain area, even completely random ones where traditional jobs do not exist, there may be an opportunity to profit from this. For example, if you think you have the perfect cartoon voice you could actually offer $5 recordings of your voice for under 250 word readings – people pay for this on fiverr!

voiceover freelance work

Other opportunities include singing, offering video reviews or even helping people make decisions using your creative side, like giving ideas for business names. With these jobs, much like the others, if you’re good then the more exposure and great reviews you get the higher the potential will be to earn more.

The lowdown

Pros: Can be fun and enjoyable! You will be utilising your own special talent/skill.

Cons: The work opportunities may be limited for your specific scope, so at first it will be difficult to be reliant on this being your only work offering.

Earning potential: People are willing to pay for great talent! Offers will likely be small at first, but if you increase your reputation you could make good money.

You can also read our article about doing data entry work. This is another freelancing possibility.

How to Select your Perfect Freelancing Option

Feeling inspired? Often the hardest step in getting started working from home is choosing what you will do. Follow the steps below to help you choose which freelancing path is perfect for you.

1. Brainstorm things you enjoy or are good at

Without over thinking it, grab a pen and paper and brainstorm everything you enjoy or are good at. For example:
– Writing essays
– Internet research
– Organising folders
– Reading and retaining information
– Communicating with others
– Watching television
– Making silly voices

Whatever comes into your head, write it down.

2. Next to everything on your list above, write down a freelancing job that you could do using this skill

For example:
– Writing essays WRITER, TUTOR
– Internet research VA, INTERNET RESEARCHER
– Organising folders VA
– Reading and retaining information WRITER, VA, INTERNET RESEARCHER
– Communicating with others VA, MANAGER,
– Making silly voices VOICE OVERS, CARTOONS

To get jobs ideas which match the skills in your list, look at the freelancing areas above and go to sites such as Upwork and fiverr and see what they have listed. Fiverr can be a particularly good site for inspiration for online freelance work as there are just so many different jobs listed that you can see easily in their menu navigation.

taking notes

3. Rewrite all the jobs in a separate list

Rewrite all the jobs you have on your list, so they are in a new list and are only written once.

For example:
– Writer
– Tutor
– VA
– Internet Researcher
– Manager
– Voice overs
– Cartoon voices
– Programmer
– Designer

4. Rate your skills and motivation out of 10 for each job

Go through each job in the list and write down how well you think you could do each job out of ten with your current skill set.

Next, go back through and evaluate how motivated you are to do each job out of ten. By motivated, how much does the idea of doing freelance work in this area excite you? Do you love the idea or hate it? It is important to end up with a freelancing job that you like or it will be hard to be successful. You may also want to take into account the earning potential for the job in this calculation and how much online freelance work exists in this area. Will you be motivated if the pay is very low or if it’s hard to find work?

Finally, add these two scores together so each job has a score out of 20. For example:

JobSkills (/10)Motivation (/10)Total (/20)
Internet Researcher10818
Voice overs8816
Cartoon voices8816

5. Use this information to decide which freelancing path to take

Look at the highest scores in your final column for your table and use this to help you decide which freelancing area is best for you. You do not need to pick the highest score if it is not what you want to do, but it is a good place to start. You also do not have to just freelance in one area, but to start with I suggest you just focus on one.

I also recommend sleeping on it overnight and discussing it with a partner, mum, friend, anyone else really. Often saying things out loud and talking about the pros and cons can help you make a decision.

What Next?

Once you have decided on which area you want to try freelancing in, it is time to start looking for some work! Check out our list of the best freelancing websites to get your started.

If you are still not sure if freelancing is for you, check out our complete list of 50 ways to make money online.

How did you decide which freelancing area to work in or what problems are you having with making a decision?

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Avatar for Shanon
Carmenita Buys - June 22, 2015

This is a great informative page, thank you so much. It does help knowing the ins and outs of working at home. I have been working from home for 2 months now, I have time with my three kids and energy to do everything else at home as well. There are no expenses like aftercare and costy petrol charges travelling to and from work. It is absolutely wonderful, Thank you for the tips.

    Avatar for Shanon
    Sharon Gourlay - June 27, 2015

    No problem Carmenita. There are just so many benefits from a work at home (or online while travelling in my case) job, especially for those of us with kids.

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Judy - May 14, 2016

I appreciate your post.

There is so much in it and the information I’m processing is a joy to do. I particularly like your example ‘elimination’ process with the lists of skills and the scores to indicate the direction I could possibly take in this field.

Your approach is uplifting and inspirational and it’s got me going through all the niches I am passionate about.

Many thanks for a most enjoyable article.

    Avatar for Shanon
    Sharon Gourlay - May 14, 2016

    Thanks Judy!

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Tyler Casanovas - July 20, 2016

Very informative, looking to getting into working from home, although the out of 20 score idea may seem basic, it really does make you realize what skills you really do have and how motivated you are to actually using them. Thanks for the post.

    Avatar for Shanon
    Sharon Gourlay - August 9, 2016

    Thanks Tyler, I hope things are going well for you

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Ruth - July 24, 2016

Thank you so much. I will study your article carefully. I am not so young so I need to take time to digest the help you have offered.


Avatar for Shanon
Biranchi - March 2, 2017

Hi Sharon

Hope you are doing good.
The given article is very much informative.

But I have a question,
I am an Indian citizen residing in India. So am I eligible to apply for the mentioned free lancing opportunities.?

Thanks and Regards

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