The Best Freelance Jobs

freelance jobs working from home

By Jessica Stillman

For many young people, building a career as an independent pro working on your own has tons of upsides. You get flexibility with your time, no office drama and often a zero minute commute (though certainly there are downsides and costs as well). Plus, the uncertain economy and dearth of job security is pushing more and more Gen Yers toward the gig economy.

So if this sounds like you and you've decided the best way to build your career is as a freelancer, what skills and sectors should you target?

The Hottest Sectors in Freelance Nation

Online jobs portal has some data to guide you. Each quarter, the site releases a report detailing what sorts of jobs are most in demand on its platform, giving young people who are interested in building freelance careers a sense of where the pickings are richest.

More: Freelancers: 10 Ways To Get A Full-Time Corporate Job

So what are the hottest sectors in freelance nation at the moment? Here are the trends says are worth paying attention to:

Android jobs ricochet back as Apple iOS jobs stagnate:
iPhone jobs tapered to a modest 8 percent growth as developers waited for the release of iOS6 in September. Buoyed by the weak iOS6 launch, Android saw a huge 16 percent growth in jobs during the last few months.

The interactive Web continues to fly:
HTML5 jobs grew 44 percent this quarter as businesses and entrepreneurs scramble to bridge the gap between their fixed and mobile clients; jQuery, the JavaScript library of choice of interactive web apps, increased by 32 percent. PHP jobs rose 19 percent as Zend co-founder Andi Gutmans promised increased mobile functionality for the lingua franca of the Web. CSS and MySQL similarly saw strong growth, up 19 percent and 18 percent respectively.

Confidence returns to Facebook jobs in the wake of the IPO flop:
Jobs that require using Facebook made a recovery this quarter with 11 percent growth. That's after an abysmal drop of 14 percent in the previous quarter, when the company's share price plummeted.

Internet marketing rebounds:
A flurry of updates from Google sent the online marketing industry haywire in this year's second quarter, resulting in slumps across a broad range of categories related to search engine optimization. After a period of uncertainty, the industry has bounced back, delivering moderate growth for internet marketing (up 12 percent), SEO (up 12 percent) and link building (up 8 percent).

Content is king:
We've seen a new focus on content and user experience as internet marketing experts wise up to Google's endgame. Reflecting this is a surge in jobs related to WordPress (up 27 percent), proofreading (up 26 percent), user interface (up 23 percent), graphic design (up 21 percent) and logo design (up 2 percent). In the words of Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, "Content is king!"

The takeaway from all this should light a fire under the decidedly non-technical, according to CEO Matt Barrie. "Every industry we can think of is quite abruptly turning into a software business, and every job function is increasingly being performed using software tools in the cloud," he says.

More: Freelance, Part-Time Jobs: A Viable Option Or Last Resort?

You're a Digital Native -- and a Telecommuting One, Too

Luckily, members of Gen Y are digital natives, so we should have no problem polishing up our tech skills to grab the most in-demand jobs in the gig economy. And if the online, at-home nature of these types of jobs worries you, don't fret too much on that account either. As Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of remote- and part-time jobs site FlexJobs, explained in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch, Gen Y are telecommuting natives as well.

"The recent graduates from the last few years have really been putting a priority on flexibility and have a much higher comfort level for freelance work than prior generations," she says, adding that Gen Y is also much more comfortable with work as an activity rather than a place. "They just don't see a building as a defining structure of where you do things."

Have you managed to use the demand for these jobs to your advantage? Tell us how in the comments!

Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London. She writes a daily column for and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch and GigaOM, among others.

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January 17 2014 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gary Darling

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July 21 2013 at 8:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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June 25 2013 at 11:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You’ve got great resources here; with these sites freelancers has better chances of getting a client. When you are planning to work online you must possess the skills and expertise because the competition on each task is very high and the chance of getting hired is low. Compared to the person that has no skills and expertise, it is way too hard for you to get a job. However, there are also some freelance tasks that don’t need skills and expertise just like data entry. All you need is a good typing speed and time management in order to be successful with this business. In additional to the list is where you can look for freelancers for full time work.

March 19 2013 at 7:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really enjoy being a freelance work. I do all my work over the internet. I use freelancing platforms like 99hours. com they have a great escrow payment system and bidding system that is reliable and safe. I must admit, when I first started, it was a little tough, but with sheer determination I’m now an freelancer.

February 22 2013 at 5:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know if my job really qualifies as "tele-commute" but I have worked from home for the past 4 years as a mystery shopper. Making a full time income from this is achievable, but for the most part, it's better suited for those with other sources of income who just want a little extra cash and some free stuff.
It took me almost 2 years of signing up with dozens of shop companies and taking on more and more types of assignments (fast food, gas stations, retail outlets, wireless services, etc.) before I was able to pay all my bills with no income other than mystery shop fees. Of course the purchase reimbursements are an invaluable part of stretching those shop fees far enough to live on. I figure about 50% of my food budget and over 75% of my yearly fuel costs are paid for by my purchase reimbursements. And virtually ALL of my clothing budget has been absorbed by various retail clothing shops purchase reimbursements. When your only real out of pocket expenses are rent, utilities and taxes, it doesn't take a degree in math to see how someone could live comfortably on less than 15,000 a year. At least if you don't live somewhere like LA or NYC where even a broom closet will set you back a grand a month or more on rent.

January 27 2013 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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December 02 2012 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Edwards Anderson

Generation Y, Generation X, Generation ??. Really, in our technological age anyone can now freelance and the jobs don't always have to be technical. Sure, I own several blogs. However, I also perform data entry, website testing, virtual assisting and a huge number of other work from home freelance jobs.

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