Freelance work has some serious perks – flexibility, scalability, and control. That’s why over 56.7 million Americans have found gig economy jobs in fields from technology, social media, marketing, tradeswork, and more.
There are nearly limitless job possibilities with freelance work. And your ability to work it outside of your traditional 9-5 makes it a great way to increase your income for things like working towards retirement or paying off your debt.
I do want to clear something up about the gig economy – it’s not just driving for Uber or delivering groceries. Some freelance work requires intensive training or education and specialized skills, and those jobs are obviously going to pay more.
My point is, gig economy jobs aren’t just low paying part-time jobs. Many people make a comfortable living working as full-time freelancers, while others make extra cash to put towards their financial goals.
Here are the top 14+ legitimate gig economy jobs of 2020
1. Technology jobs
After researching the earnings of freelancers on some of the most used gig economy websites, FitSmallBusiness.com found that those working in tech are earning the highest wages – up to $100+/hour. These aren’t jobs that anyone can jump into because you’ll need specific skills for each, like being fluent in programming languages or able to use specialized software.
Top paying tech jobs in the gig economy:
- AI/Deep Learning. Must be an expert in machine learning and know Tensorflow, Python, R, Java, C++, etc. Average pay of $115/hour.
- Blockchain architecture. This is the foundation of cryptocurrency, and workers must know programming languages like Python, C++, and Solidity. Average pay is $87/hour.
- Workers are responsible for designing and building mechanical elements and machinery. Must have skills in mechanical engineering software like SolidWorks Professional, Photoview 360, etc. Pay averages $77/hour.
- Ethical hacking. This is also known as penetration testing, where you attempt to break into a system to test vulnerabilities. Must have a strong background in coding and programming. Pay averages $66/hour.
- Cryptocurrency jobs. Jobs related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are increasingly in demand. Workers are skilled in Node.JS, Python, Ruby, etc. Average pay of $65/hour.
- Amazon Web Services Lambda Coding. These workers are developing code that only runs once it’s triggered and runs without servers. Must be fluent in Node.JS, Java, Python, etc. Pay averages $51/hour.
- Virtuality reality jobs. Workers developing AR apps and software must know C#, C++, C, and have a background in 3D modeling. Pay averages $50/hour.
2. Web developer
Your per hour pay definitely depends on your experience, but Glassdoor reports that the average yearly pay for freelance web developers is approximately $75,000/year.
3. Video editor
This job is pretty self-explanatory, and you may work on advertisements, videos, and movies. You’ll need to know your way around Final Cut Pro X and be able to produce professional-looking work. Pay averages $37/hour.
When most people think of gig economy jobs, working online probably comes to mind, but that’s not always the case. There are gigs for electricians, welders, plumbers, carpenters, etc. These jobs take field-specific training, and there is currently a shortage of workers, despite a high need for their skills.
Your pay is dependent on the trade and your level of experience and training, but here are some averages:
- Electricians $20-$26/hour
- Plumbers $16-$35/hour
- Welders $15-$25/hour
- Carpenters $20-$25/hour
5. Occupational therapists
Similar to that last one in that not all gig economy jobs are web-based, freelance OTs work in schools, care facilities, making home visits, etc. You are required to have a master’s degree and go through a certification process, and the average per year pay is $83K.
6. Travel nurses
Ok, travel nursing might not technically fall under gig economy jobs because you’re hired on by an independent nursing staffing agency. But because you’re contracted out to different hospitals and working unconventionally, I decided to add it to this list.
Travel nurses typically work for 13 weeks at a time in different parts of the country. Depending on your agency and contract, some get free housing, reimbursements, and/or travel allowances.
On the upper end of the pay scale, travel nurses can make $3,000/week.
7. Digital marketer
Companies of all sizes are leveraging social media’s huge reach by advertising on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Some have in-house departments, but many outsource to marketers in the gig economy.
Some marketing jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree, but not all of them. Running ads for small businesses on Facebook is one of the marketing jobs that doesn’t require a degree. At the same time, it’s really hard to jump in and run a successful ad campaign without a little training.
I know that because it’s what I tried to do. After a lot of trial and error and on the job training I landed on an effective strategy that helped me land clients and run successful ad campaigns. And, I was making around $1,000-$1,500/month per client with ads I had set to run on autopilot.
Seeing what I good side hustle this was, my buddy Mike Yanda (a Facebook ads guru earning $30,000/month with his FB ad agency) and I pooled our knowledge to create the Facebook Side Hustle Course.
In the course you learn:
- How to run effective ad campaigns for small businesses in your area
- How to find clients who need your services
- How to get those clients to say “yes” to hiring you
8. Freelance writer
Even though we live in an image-heavy digital world, written words are still the core of how people communicate online. And writers of all types are needed to create that written content. There are copywriters for online marketing campaigns. You can write for blogs or online publications. You can write the copy in advertisements. The list goes on and on.
If you want to jumpstart your freelance writing career, there is a great online course called 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success that teaches:
- The foundational aspects of a writing business
- How to find and pitch paying clients
- Learning a writing process
- How to promote your business.
9. Virtual assistant
As an online business owner, I’ve come to rely on virtual assistants to help me with everyday business tasks. These are things that don’t have to be done by me – scheduling blog posts to publish, scheduling my calendar, managing social media accounts, and setting up email sequences.
I’m not alone at all. In fact, with more and more people working online in gig economy jobs, virtual assistants are in even higher demand, and are earning an average of $35-$50/hour. These jobs don’t require formal training, but they do require skills that you might not have… I mean, finding clients is a skill in itself.
If you’re interested in learning more about working as a VA, check out how my friend Gina Horkey of HorkeyHandBook is helping future virtual assistants. She also offers a Pinterest specific course if that’s more your jam.
I don’t see any end to taxes, so there is always going to be a need for CPAs. This is another skilled position that is being outsourced by both large and small companies. Your pay is dependent on your experience, and can range from $25-$50/hour.
11. Work one-off jobs
This is probably what comes to mind when some people think about gig economy jobs – I’m talking about freelancers who literally do any number of random jobs throughout the day. You can leverage the skills you already have or just dive in and start doing random things, like:
- Getting paid $25/hour to help someone move
- Walking dogs for $15/hour
- House sitting for $35/day
The gig economy makes it easy (and way more acceptable) to cobble together a bunch of different side jobs to make some extra cash.
12. Driving for Uber or Lyft
If there was a classic gig economy job for our generation, rideshare driving might be it. There have been a lot of changes to these companies since they first started doing business. Did you know that Uber is 10 years old? But, there are still lots of people hustling as rideshare drivers.
Pay is dependent on where you drive and when you’re available, but both companies take around 25% of each fare.
If you have a natural ability for spotting misspellings and grammatical errors, working as a freelance proofreader is an awesome gig economy job. Getting started takes learning some technical skills, especially if you want to work as a transcript proofreader.
Caitlyn Pyle of Proofread Anywhere put together a comprehensive course that teaches the theory and practice of proofreading. She has students earning extra income to pay off their debt, leave their day jobs, and more.
14. Run an Etsy business
No doubt, the DIY economy is growing, which has made an Etsy a great place for makers to connect with potential customers. You can sell things from handknit hats, furniture, jewelry, shirts, printables, and more.
Designing and selling digital printables on Etsy is a surprisingly great side gig to create types because your cost of inventory is virtually non-existent. Plus, this is pretty passive income (one of the best ways to build wealth). How is it passive? You create a couple of designs, learn how to market them on Etsy, and Etsy handles the rest.
Where to find gig economy jobs
Searching online job marketplaces is one of the best ways to find freelance work, and there are literally dozens of online marketplaces. Here are some of the top ones for finding gigs:
- Fiverr– A good place for entry-level work, because most jobs only pay around $5-$10
- FlexJobs– Over 55 different job categories and they vet employers, does have a fee to use
- Freelancer.com– Lots of technology and creative jobs
- Upwork– Similar to the jobs you’ll find on Freelancer
- TaskRabbit– Best for one-off type jobs like cleaning houses, running errands, etc.
- Gigster– Mainly focus on IT and software development gigs
- Guru– Job listings for everything from legal services, architects, and web developers
Final word on working in the gig economy
By 2027 it’s expected that nearly half of the U.S. workforce is going to be doing some kind of freelance work. While some people are working gig economy jobs because they’d rather be self-employed, others are doing it because it increases your ability to make more money.
Making more money is honestly the most effective way to make big things happen in your life – whether it’s paying off your student loans, retiring early, savings up for a downpayment on a house, or just taking the fam on a summer vacation.