There are currently more than 2 million freelancers in the UK, contributing approximately £125 billion to the economy. It goes to show just how significantly freelancing has grown in popularity over the years, appealing to people across sectors, specialisms, and levels of seniority.
There are lots of reasons why someone might choose to go freelance, such as redundancy, a desire to gain professional independence and ‘be your own boss’, or simply to earn extra income to supplement an employment salary
Perhaps you’ve got your own personal reasons for wanting to explore the world of freelancing. Either way, it’s essential to find the right freelance job for you if you’re going to succeed.
For some people, the freelance route they choose to pursue is an obvious choice. If somebody has been working in content marketing for a number of years, for example, then freelance copywriting is a natural extension.
But for others, their freelancing direction is not quite so clear, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.
What are common examples of freelance jobs?
Freelancing work isn’t restricted to any particular sector, but some are more popular than others, particularly in service-type industries.
- Independent journalist
- Copywriter/content writer
- Social media manager
- Videographer/video editor
- Web developer
- Graphic designer
- Public relations
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Editing and proofreading
That’s not to say your freelancing work has to fit into any of those common categories. There are plenty of professions which translate well into a freelance capacity, with some lending themselves more naturally than others. Even things like customer service, sales, and interior design, which are more typically in-house roles, can be carried out on a freelance basis.
You might have your own specialism or skillset that you’re looking to put to good use. In fact, the more niche your offering is, the less competition you’ll have to face. Although that said, you might find there’s less demand for something more specialist.
What are the most in-demand freelance jobs in the UK?
Micro Biz Mag conducted research to find out which were the most in-demand freelance jobs in the UK in 2022. The findings were based on data from Google’s Keyword Planner, which shows how much (or little) people are searching for specific terms on Google.
The report revealed that the top 10 search queries with the highest average number of searches per month were for “Freelance…
- Graphic designer
- Web designer
- Web developer
- SEO consultant
- Social media manager
That said, those are the findings of one study and are not completely representative of the full picture. So, if your skills and expertise don’t fall under any of the categories above, don’t lose motivation!
Demand for specific roles can shift depending on other factors too, such as season, budgets, and the wider economy. Do your own research to establish whether or not there’s appetite for what you have to offer.
What are the best paid freelance jobs in the UK?
Freelance management platform YunoJuno published its most recent Freelancer Rates Report in August 2022. The research compared average freelancer rates across 16 different categories within marketing, tech and the creative industries.
Overall, the average day rate came out at £368 but this varied significantly across different sectors and industries. The highest average day rates were in market research (£512), strategy (£492) and data (£486), while the lowest were in marketing (£318), social media (£307) and studio (£281).
Other areas that sat somewhere in the middle in terms of average pay included:
- UX (£468)
- Project management (£382)
- Film and motion (£370)
- Photography (£362)
- Client services (£340)
- Design (£436)
- PR (£326)
While market rates are naturally going to be a factor for consideration, don’t forget to factor in your skills and experience when setting your freelance rate. Think about where you add value for clients, because this is what they’ll be looking for.
In YunoJuno’s report, for example, market research roles were shown to have the highest average pay. However, this sector also demonstrated the biggest gap between highest (£1,479) and lowest (£155) day rates. This proves that pay is highly dependent on a freelancer’s skills, knowledge and experience.
Can I freelance while working full-time?
If you’re already in employment and not looking to take the leap into full-time freelancing yet, you might consider setting up a side hustle. This is a secondary source of income outside your current employment that allows you to explore self-employment with the security of a PAYE salary behind you.
Unless your employment contract states that you aren’t allowed to work for anybody else while you’re in that job, freelancing on the side is perfectly fine. In fact, Henley Business School found that 1 in 4 UK adults have a side hustle on top of full-time or part-time employment.
Of course, if you do have an existing job to consider, this might limit what sorts of freelance work you’ll be able to do. Your full-time (or part-time) role will dictate what spare time you have to dedicate to a side hustle, so be sure to consider all factors carefully before you get started.
Another important thing to remember with side hustles are the added obligations around reporting and paying tax on your self-employment earnings. We’d recommend speaking to a qualified accountant who will be able to take any unnecessary stress and complication out of your bookkeeping and accounting.
Looking for more freelancing advice? We’ve got a whole hub of handy guides designed to help!