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5 Career Paths to Break into Freelancing

Updated on May 27th, 2022
Career Paths

The world of freelancing is one of the best working meritocracies in the world. The best, hardest working freelancers can rise to the top and see great success while those who are not willing to put in the hustle or can’t deliver great results won’t make the cut. If you are interested in leaving your day job to freelance full-time, here are five popular options to get you started earning more online.


As a full-time writer myself, I am living proof that a career as a full-time freelance writer can be lucrative. Depending on your professional background and experience, you can write for a wide variety of clients across many industries.

Getting started as a freelance writer is easier than most other freelance skills, as you already know English and are an expert in something related to your work or hobbies. Start by looking for work on a freelancer marketplace like UpWork or and watch your skills, client base, and more grow from there.

Website Development

If you love tinkering with computers, you could be in a great position to get started as a freelance website designer and developer. You can learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP through online courses and then put that knowledge to work building yourself a business website. Then apply what you learned building your own site as you pitch to potential clients and start building customer websites.

While learning those coding languages can be intimidating, they are all related and the knowledge you learn along the way will compound until you are an expert site builder. Starting with an HTML and CSS class through a site like Udemy or an app like SoloLearn is a great way to get started.

Application Development

If website design isn’t your thing, application development is one of the most in-demand skillsets today. This can lead to a lucrative freelance career or even opportunities for a full-time job at an exciting startup.

Coding languages like Python, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Java, C#, and C++ are all great options to get started. Once you know a backend language like this, you can develop useful and exciting apps for mobile, desktop, and beyond.


Are you a shutterbug that lugs around a dSLR camera just in case you find that perfect shot, consider freelance photography. Freelance photographers often start out with portraits or events, but you can also take photos and sell them online at stock photography sites like 500px or Shutterstock.

Whether you love taking photos of scenery, animals, urban settings, architecture, or people at work and play, there is an increasing demand for stock photos across many media platforms.

Graphic Design

Photoshop and other graphic editing programs open up the world of graphic editing and design. Logos, web assets, advertising, and photo touchups all fall into the umbrella of graphic design. Graphic designers can earn big dollars if they can make a name for themselves and build a quality portfolio.

Fiverr and previously mentioned UpWork offer a great segway into graphic design. After you’ve tested the waters and finish a few projects, you can start to increase your rates and build a small graphic design agency around your work.

It Starts with the First Dollar

I am a six figure freelancer, but I started as a two figure freelancer when I was paid $10 for my first sponsored blog post. Since then, my rates have skyrocketed, and clients now come to me looking to hire rather than me having to hustle to find work. It is a great position to be in, but it didn’t happen overnight.

You can start small earning through a side hustle, then build up to a full-time income. That is how I was able to quit my job for self-employment, as have countless others. What are you waiting for? Go earn that first side hustle dollar today and get on your path to a full-time freelancing career.

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a personal finance expert. He received an MBA in Finance from the University of Denver in 2010. Since graduating he has been blogging about financial tips and tricks to help people understand money better. He is a debt master, insurance expert and currently writes for most of the top financial publications on the planet.

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