Working out how much to charge as a freelancer or independent contractor is a conundrum in itself. Many of us Brits find it hard to blow our own trumpets, so nailing a price about your door and saying, “yes, that’s how much I’m worth” does not come naturally.
A simple way to do it is to peg what you earn against the average for your profession. But how would you go about finding out that information? Well, aside from asking around (it’s likely you know a number of people in your industry anyway), it’s worth keeping an eye on some of the blogs and stats that freelance agencies publish as part of their advertising.
One such list released recently came from freelance website, Upwork, looking at the average earnings data for freelancers in the UK. Their aim was to uncover the highest-paid freelance jobs, and if you’re anything like us, the Top 10 may include a few surprises.
1. Voice talent: £68.16 per hour
And here we were thinking that the high-paid freelance job was going to be a self-employed open-heart surgeon! But no – providing you have a decent set up at home, as well as a set of honey-sweet vocal pipes, you could be earning hand-over-fist from home, recording the next set of Lidl voice-overs. Leading agencies hiring voice talent in the UK include VoiceBunny (working with the likes of Apple, AirBnB and Spotify) and Matinée (Coca Cola, Sony, American Express).
2. Infographic designer: £44.72 per hour
Infographics are everywhere, having become a useful tool in the world of content marketing over the last few years. However, in such a diluted marketplace, quality is everything. There’s a vast difference between the kind of infographics produced by the likes of Jack Hagley and Information is Beautiful, and the kind of pap that automated infographics apps pump out – and companies in the know will pay what it takes to get it right.
3. Finance writing: £37.95 per hour
For many people, freelance writing is the dream, conjuring wonderful images of breakfast in bed with a laptop balancing whimsically on the side of your tray. In reality, it’s not that simple. As with the infographics market, it’s a saturated discipline to be in, and those that really pull in the ‘big money’ tend to be specialists.
Writing about finance takes a lot of knowledge and experience, and having that knowhow can result in a higher pay-packet. For those wishing to get involved in freelance writing at any level, websites like Copify should be your first port of call.
4. Contract drafting: £34.55 per hour
As with finance writing, contract drafting takes a thorough knowledge of the industry you’re writing for, the ins and outs of contract creation, and a native understanding of Legalese. It’s not something you wake up in the morning and decide you’re going to have a crack at – time, patience and serious levels of concentration are musts.
5. Recruitment: £32.51 per hour
The delicate art of recruiting isn’t the sole domain of recruitment agencies. In fact, more often than not, such agencies have grown from the success of a single recruiter (or recruiters) who find it makes more sense to expand their business.
Those that remain as one-man-bands tend to be specialists in a certain area, whether that’s the print publishing industry, engineering or chefing. Knowing (and having) the determination that it takes is as important as having a very well-stuffed little black book.
6. Financial forecasting: £26.82 per hour
While many big corporations will have their own accounts department, specialist skills like financial forecasting – predicting revenue over the coming year based on a variety of factors – are often brought in on contract. Again, it’s not the kind of work you walk into – financial forecasters will have been working around their subject for years.
7. Digital engineers: £26.16 per hour
The operating system on your phone will have been designed by the likes of Apple or Android, but similar programmes that power less ubiquitous systems are often put together by contractors – people who come in for a fixed period in order to see the project through to completion.
Websites that specialise in these disciplines include the very friendly YunoJuno – a lifeline for freelancers in the digital space.
8. Translation services: £24.57 per hour
Being bilingual can certainly help your bank balance, with the most in-demand translation service being Spanish to English. Working from home in the translation industry can involve copywriting, proof-reading, website conversion, social media community management – the list goes on, and we reckon, in this every-expanding world of globalisation, demand isn’t likely to stop anytime soon. For a good idea of the options available, take a look at MultilingualVacancies.com.
9. CV writing: £24.42 per hour
Arguably the highest-paid ‘chore job’ on the market, CV writing is something very few of us enjoy, probably due to the reasons we mentioned at the beginning of this article: not many of us like to blow our own trumpets. However, this ‘chore job’ requires a certain skillset; a little like a marketing specialist, a good CV writer will know the latest trends and the best ways to make you stand out from the crowd. Companies like Purple CV would be a good place to start if you want to know more about getting into this industry.
10. PPC: £23.97 per hour
Pay per click (PPC) specialists work with a client’s budget to help drive online traffic into their website using Google Adwords or, in some cases, social media advertising services. Their work involves finding the right phrases to attract a potential customer’s attention, and then setting the optimum amount that their client should pay Google (or Facebook, etc) per click received.
While this sounds incredibly specialised, there are plenty of courses available online to help you get underway, and with a number of clients under your belt, this could be (as they say) a nice little earner.
If you’re setting yourself up as a freelancer or an independent contractor and you need help launching your company and managing your accounting, get in touch with My Accountant Friend: the online accountant with a human voice.