When you need flexible work, starting a freelance business is a great option. While you still face deadlines to get things done, you usually have a lot of options for when and how the work gets done. But first, you need to find the right idea to get started as a freelancer.
Most freelance businesses don’t require a lot of equipment beyond what you probably already own. You need a good computer setup, with all the accessories required for the work you want to do. These may include a printer, fax machine, drawing tablet and more.
You should focus on skills you can easily demonstrate as a freelancer. It’s very hard to get started if you can’t show potential clients the work you’ve done in that area before. You need a portfolio or work history with clear examples to show them.
Here are some business ideas you can start out with as a freelancer.
1. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants provide a range of services to businesses, such as graphic design, writing, administrative tasks, social media marketing, and more. If you have a range of skill you would like to use as a freelancer, marketing yourself as a virtual assistant may make a lot of sense.
You can specialize in certain types of tasks as a virtual assistant. You can start out on your own or join a virtual assistant service if you’d rather have some help finding clients.
If you’re good with QuickBooks or other accounting software, you can find freelance work. Many home businesses need help with their bookkeeping, both at tax time and year round.
There are many kinds of writing jobs out there that a freelancer can do – blogging, ghost writing, and article writing, to name a few. Depending on the type of writing you do, you may have to pitch your ideas to someone, or they may come to you and ask you to write a specific piece for them.
If you’re good at writing copy for marketing purposes, you may do well as a copywriter. You need to create compelling and convincing copy for your clients’ needs.
5. Graphic Designer
A graphic designer creates images for their clients’ needs. This can be a logo, a pamphlet, a layout for a website, and so on. Most graphic designers use software such as Photoshop and Illustrator. The quality of your graphic design can make or break a marketing project.
There are companies that hire freelance/contract employees to do translation and interpretation. You can work on business documents, interpret for doctors and patients, and more. You need to be fluent in both languages you are working in.
7. Music Teacher
Music teachers have been finding their own students pretty much forever. You may need to go to students’ homes as a music teacher, or they may come to you.
8. Pet Sitter
When people go on vacation, their pets still need to be cared for, and many don’t want want to put their pets into a kennel. A pet sitter goes to their clients’ house and cares for their pets while the client is away. This includes making sure the pets have food, water, and have been cleaned up after. Cats and dogs will need playtime. It’s ideal for someone who truly loves animals.
9. Pet Trainer
Another freelance opportunity you can consider if you love animals is that of a pet trainer. This will probably involve dogs most often, but some cat owners need help too.
10. Mobile Notary Public
A mobile notary public goes to clients to witness documents. The pay can be good, but finding work can be challenging – I had a cousin try this a number of years ago.
11. Google Advertising Consultant
Take a course and get Google AdWords Certified, and you can be a consultant to businesses that are advertising on Google AdWords. Many businesses need help getting their ads set up to maximize their return.
Many businesses also need help with their search engine optimization and other digital marketing. If you have learned how to help pages and websites rank well on search engines, many companies will be glad for your help. A good SEO knows how to use the right keyword research tools and keeps up with what works and what doesn’t over time.
13. WordPress Consultant
WordPress is incredibly popular and relatively easy to use, but some small businesses need help getting it setup just a right. Choosing the right plugins, theme and other settings can be overwhelming to someone new to WordPress. As a consultant, you can help businesses configure it properly for their needs.
Photographers usually don’t work entirely at home, but you can base your freelance business there. You have a lot of possible specializations as a freelance photographer – wedding photography, family portraits, stock photography, real estate photography and more. Specialization is a big help in finding clients, so that they know what to expect from you, and you know what to expect in a job.
Many students need a little extra help to do well in school. If you’ve taught a particular subject or are very good at it, you may be able to work as a tutor.
Some tutoring companies require that you have a teaching certificate, but you can work on your own as well. Tutoring may be done in person or online. So long as you can do a great job helping students understand the subject, you should be able to find clients.
16. Social Media Marketer
Social media is huge, and many businesses need help with it. If you know how to build a following, post interesting statuses and bring sales to the business, you can do well as a freelance social media marketer. You need to know which tools are most effective, how to track metrics and keep up with current social media trends.
17. Software Developer
Many companies need software developers for short term freelance projects. You may update previously developed software or start up something new. Software developers can work on traditional software, apps, or advanced websites.
18. Website Designer
A website designer is not always a software developer. You might work more on the appearance of the website than on how it runs in the background. A good designer creates an interface that is easy and attractive for visitors to use.
19. Party Planner
Do you throw a great party? You may be able to plan parties for others as your own business. Take the stress of planning parties off your clients and make their events memorable.
Caregiving doesn’t have to mean running a daycare in your home. You can use sites such as Care.com to find babysitting jobs, opportunities to care for the elderly and more.
There are quite a few more freelance businesses you can start as a side hustle or as a business intended to become your sole income, but these are a place to start your consideration. Specialization is often a good idea, so that your reputation is built on your best skills.