3 Best Freelance Jobs to Replace Your Salary

Domenico Trimboli

By Domenico Trimboli



I understand. 

You have no freelancing skills. You know you’ll have to start from zero. Learn a new skill and then start to sell it. You know it’s going to take time and effort to make it. And if you have to do all of this, well, at least you want to pick a skill that’s worth your time.

So here are the 3 best freelance jobs that can help you to: 

  • Set your own hours
  • Start working for yourself
  • Make much more than you used to
  • Enjoy location independence
  • Replace your salary

SEO Expert

SEO experts are – you guessed it – people who’ll take care of search engine optimization for you. Their niche can vary significantly:

  • Keyword research
  • Content strategy
  • Backlink building
  • Technical optimization

Yet, all these specialists have something in common – they are making bank!

According to Ahrefs, one of the most popular SEO tools around, the average rate of SEO freelancers who’ve been in business for 2 to 4 years is a whopping $97.11. 


This is one of my favorites, and for a few reasons:

  1. The market is immense, which means you can build your own micro niche and still find a ton of opportunities
  2. You don’t have to go back to university – there are a ton of online courses you can take to start as a copywriter
  3. Copywriters are everywhere, but good ones are really hard to find – if you are a high performer, sky is the limit

This is how much a copywriter makes after 1 to 3 years in the industry when they are employed. As a freelancer, you can make less than this, but also so much more. A good copywriter can easily break into the 6 figure territory within 1 to 2 years (and charge more than $ 3,000 for a single VIP day).

Full-Stack Developer

A full stack developer is a dev who does both front-end or back-end development. But that’s not all they do. 

Apparently, they also spend a long time counting all the money they are making!

Full stack developers with 1 to 3 years of experience charge $80 to $100 per hour, and their rates keep going up as they become more experienced. Those who have 3 to 5 years of experience mostly charge $120 to $140, and once you hit the 10-year mark, you’ll likely charge $150 to $200 per hour.

How to build your freelance business

Choosing the right freelancing skill makes a huge difference in terms of how much you can make – and how quickly you can get to a comfortable financial level so you can quit your 9 to 5.

And I have good news for you – all the rates we just mentioned were average. Which means you can make so much more, if you are good.

And that’s where the caveat is.

As a freelancer, being average is a losing proposition. The market is full of average freelancers with no business skills. If you want to build a freelance business that earns you much more than the average for your market, you can’t be just another guy offering the same thing to everyone who’ll buy it.

You need to build the actual business. How do you do it? In 3 simple steps.

1. Define your offer (aka find your niche)

I know niche has become kind of a buzzword these days. 

Everyone is telling you that you need it, but nobody is clearly explaining how to choose one and how to dominate it. If you are interested in knowing more, check out my ultimate guide to finding and dominating your niche as a freelancer

In short, here’s how it works:

  • Choose a market that has money – SaaS businesses. Course creators. Crypto or AI companies.
  • Start hanging out where your potential clients hang out to better understand your ICP (ideal customer profile)
  • Make sure all your profiles, posts, messages focus on your potential client’s problems – and how you can solve them

2. Choose the one channel you are going to use to find clients

You have probably read the mainstream advice: start creating profiles everywhere! Get a website! Use Upwork! Shoot cover letters! Cold pitch! And so on and so forth.

The mainstream advice is written by people who have no f***ing clue.

And I am living proof of that – I made over 6 figures as a freelance translator without ever publishing a single post on social media, with a pretty shitty website and no authority other than recommendations by previous clients.

As a freelancer, you can find clients in many different ways.

  1. Need to get clients quick? Answer job posts, on Upwork (spoiler: it won’t pay that well) or elsewhere.
  2. Want to pick and choose who you work with? Send cold emails.
  3. Want people to find you, and not the opposite? Use social platforms.

And these are just a few ideas. There are actually many more tactics you can use to build a freelance business that works for you.

3. Focus on mastering that one channel

Choosing one channel doesn’t make you a master of it.

In fact, as soon as you start working on landing clients, you will realize you have a ton to learn. That is exactly why I recommend to use one single channel to build your freelance business – so that you have the time to become more and more proficient in it.

If you want to save some of that time, though, you can work with a coach to learn from their experience and start your freelance business in less than 6 weeks.

How to maximize your earnings

Improving your freelance business is an infinite game.

Once you have landed your first client, here are three things you will need if you want to grow your freelancing to 6 figures and beyond.


When the client thinks you are an authority in your niche, they will happily pay a premium to hire you instead of your competitors. 

But how do you build authority in the eyes of your customer?

  1. Guest posting on industry sites and appearing in industry podcasts – when clients find you through channels they find authoritative, you automatically become an authority yourself
  2. Regularly posting your insights on social platforms – publish non-obvious content that is truly helpful for your clients, and they’ll want more from you (and will pay for it)
  3. Showing up as the only professional in the room – if you are the only expert in a group where only potential clients hang out, they’ll talk to you before they start looking for anyone else

Strong web presence

A potential client just landed on your website or LinkedIn profile. Or any professional profile that you choose to create on other platforms, really. 

Maybe you pitched them, maybe they found you through a guest post you wrote somewhere, or maybe they read one of your posts and decided to check you out. However they arrived here, you worked hard to take them where they are now.

Don’t screw it up!

When they open your site or profiles, clients need to be able to tell what you do and who you do it for within the first 30 seconds.

At the very least, you want to have:

  1. A crystal clear explanation of your services above the fold (the section of the website you see without scrolling, as soon as the page loads)
  2. Proof of authority – testimonials, case studies, logos of previous clients. If you are just starting out, you won’t have these. That’s why it’s extremely important to get your first project ASAP
  3. A call to action to prompt clients to book their introductory call or purchase what you are offering

Design-wise, you don’t need a $10,000 website or $1,000 graphics (unless you are a web/UX designer – in that case, your own website is the first item in your portfolio). 

You need a couple of professional photos (not selfies) and a website that doesn’t look amateurish. You can find a decent designer on Upwork for less than $500, or you can use Carrd.co to create a 1-page website for as little as $20.


I am not losing my mind.

When you start to freelance as a side hustle, you’ll be tempted to quit your job so that you can have more time to dedicate to your freelance business. Yet, the money you make in your day job can help in several ways:

  1. To pay for courses – if you have to build your skillset before you start as a freelancer, you’ll have pay for your training
  2. To give you some room to start gaining experience regardless of how much you are getting paid
  3. To have someone review your marketing assets (pitches, proposal templates, LinkedIn profile, website)

That is why you need to keep your 9 to 5 while you establish your freelance business. When do you quit your job? Once you have been making enough money to survive for at least 3 to 6 consecutive months.

In the meanwhile, work to develop a solid time management system – it’ll help you significantly, even after you finally quit.

Frequently Asked Questions

The three best freelance jobs I mentioned earlier are all lucrative. Other skills that have great potential include consulting, full stack development, ghostwriting and video editing.

If your skill is not among these, though, don’t be discouraged – mine wasn’t either, and yet I became a six-figure translator regardless. It’s not just about the skill – execution and business acumen are also key.

They wish they knew! As a freelancer, it’s hard to work 2 hours one day and 10 hours the next. This is what we call feast and famine.

As a rule of thumb, I believe freelancers who want to work full time should work 30 hours per week on billable projects, and 10 hours a week on unbillable tasks such as marketing.

That’s hard to tell. All the jobs I mentioned in this article have the potential to be extremely lucrative, and they fit a wide variety of skillsets.

However, don’t make the mistake of choosing a freelance job just because it has the potential to make you money – balancing your private life and freelancing can be challenging, and if you don’t like your freelancing, well, it may no longer be worth it.

If you mean making $1,000,000 per year, it’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely. I have met very few freelancers who make more than 1 million dollars per year.

If you mean making a lot of money and slowly building wealth till you become a millionaire, then my answer is absolutely yes. In fact, freelancing can be quite profitable and highly flexible, leaving plenty of room for other lucrative side hustles.

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