The idea of working from home (productively) and acting as your own boss sounds incredibly appealing to many stuck in the daily grind. But what careers are conducive to freelancing—and actually making a living? Assuming you’ve got the talent, passion and drive to work from home, what does it take? The following list details the jobs that you can most likely do fully from home or at least supplement your income through freelancing.
1. Graphic Artist
Sure, you can go to college for graphic arts and hone those skills, but the best tools to have in your arsenal include experience and software. A graphic designer who can not only prove he or she is worth $35 an hour, but also has the portfolio to back it up, will likely earn a new client. Toting a MacBook Pro equipped with your own legally-obtained software (Adobe Creative Suite or at least Photoshop) will sell you as a worthy professional and not some high school dropout doodler.
The strongest advice available for anyone interested in taking his or her talents on the road or online is to study up on marketing and self-promotion. These are the business skills one must have in order to successfully work from home because finding your client comes down to selling yourself and your skills.
2. Music Teacher
Though you don’t have to be a guitar teacher to work as a freelance music instructor, teaching guitar allows flexibility and easier access to online lessons. Drum and piano teachers certainly can teach online as well as in-home, but guitar teachers have an easier time of it. Music teachers on all instruments have the ability to not only teach from their own homes or offices but also to teach as an independent contractor from a local music school. Getting a job as a music teacher in a well-known chain store often means having experience playing and teaching, as well as a degree.
Working as an illustrator means having the skills to take the imaginations of others and transform them into images. Illustrators often work with authors for anything from children’s books to graphic novels, and illustrators are a different class of creative talent than artists or painters. Fine arts and illustration are two separate fields. Some of the best ways to find clients as an illustrator include networking at conventions where independent authors gather, as well as through word of mouth (as with most professions, whether freelancing or not).
4. Social Media Manager
Social media and its multitude of platforms are not going away. If anything, more and more outlets exist for social media, from Facebook to Snapchat. Understanding how to use these platforms to boost a business’s SEO and drive traffic to a company’s website is a critical need. Most small businesses as well as larger corporations still don’t have someone dedicated and knowledgeable enough to manage social media according to an integrated strategic marketing plan. If tweeting according to dedicated hashtags and sharing infographics that encourage click-through action from Pinterest is something you excel at, you can most certainly market yourself as a social media manager. Work from anywhere with an Internet connection!
You may not make a million dollars writing the next great American novel, but if you have the skills it takes to pore over brochures and edit technically then you can make a freelance career as a writer. Working from home as a writer means you can do anything from copy editing to content creation because you have the mastery of grammar as well as the background to communicate effectively, which is one of the most highly sought-after traits for potential employees. Many journalists start out as copy editors and move up to managing editors, but you don’t have to work at the local or city paper–you can just as easily market yourself and work from home.
6. Web Developer
Most people interested in web development have gone to college to earn a bachelor’s degree, but again experience and knowledge are the leaders in this industry. Anyone with a sharp portfolio and a decent client list can start selling web development services online and from home. Many web developers work at a job and freelance in their free time. Staying up-to-date with coding makes web developers better.
Though you may wish to make a living photographing red carpet events and your favorite concerts, you are more likely to make a decent living as a freelance photographer providing clients with a service; photographing anything from jewelry in an independent store for the website or brochure, to helping insurance adjusters. Even contractors and small businesses selling repair services could use professional photographs to make their products and finished results pop. So, if you’ve got a talent and a passion for photography, invest in the right lighting and lenses and market yourself as a freelance photographer.
8. Coach or Tutor
More and more parents choose to homeschool their children, so if you have an advanced degree and a knack for explaining difficult concepts, then you could make a living consulting as a tutor or even a coach for sports. Students who learn from home will usually need a tutor for at least one subject. Try looking into groups and networks for home-schooled children in your area. Look into what sports programs are available after class from local high schools and even middle schools because if sports, art or music have been cut you can develop an after-school program that could supplement your income from teaching in-home.
9. Software Engineer
If you have a professional engineer’s license and want the flexibility of freelancing as a software engineer, then you certainly have the capability to make a good bit of money. Though the requirement of holding a license varies by state, you will certainly want to show professional accreditation or certification before offering freelance software engineering services. The main reason an individual would choose to trade a salary starting at $85,000 is the freedom that freelancing offers. Money is almost a given in this industry if you know what you’re doing.
10. App Developer
Apps truly are the future as mobile media increases. More than 60 percent of people check mobile devices while watching TV and sleep with their smartphones next to their beds, according to a June 2013 report on staticbrain.com. The ability to create apps means that you can sell services to individuals as well as small businesses. With a truly innovative creation, your app alone could make you rich. The keyboard player of Dream Theater started working with developers to bring his musical innovations to life (search for Jordan Rudess and his MorphWiz app).
Working from home and freelancing to supplement a regular salary afford individuals the flexibility to pursue their passions their own way. Marketing yourself as an independent contractor is the key to success, but once mastered, working from home can mean the freedom to take a month off to travel, as well as work 20 hours a day to afford the trip.