Top 5 Freelance Careers for 2022

Jake Bonneman
January 23, 2023

5. Online Teacher/Tutor

I’ll be honest, this one’s not for everyone. However, as we head into 2022, there’s a massive shortage of teachers around the world. So even without a teaching degree or credentials, you may be able to find freelance positions you’re a good match for.

ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers have been in high demand for years, and you often don’t need much experience to pick up these gigs at all. A lot of the time, the only requirements are a good command of English and an average level of familiarity with online technology (Think “Blackboard” and similar apps).

If you happen to be super smart when it comes to a certain area—math, history, writing, science—online tutoring is another option. If you’re working with minors, you’ll need to go through some necessary vetting. Tutoring adults usually doesn’t require specific certifications, but do your due diligence and Google it before you hang out your shingle.

There are a ton of online programs that can help you brush up on your skills in various tutoring subjects, and help you command higher freelancing rates by obtaining certifications. If any of this sounds like something you might be into, hit up the National Tutoring Association for opportunities and resources.

4. Virtual Assistant

This position has been in demand for several years now, and it stays on the list in 2022 largely for one reason: You don’t need a ton of existing qualifications or certifications to be a Virtual Assistant (though having a well-rounded skill set helps).

Virtual assisting is most suited for someone who has experience dabbling in a lot of different areas, rather than being focused in only a couple. As a VA, the wider the variety of small tasks you can do, the more your services are generally worth.

Examples of tasks that VAs handle include: Making phone calls, data entry, bookkeeping, research, travel arrangements, appointment setting, responding to emails, and so forth. Depending on their specific skills and experience, a VA can charge $15 to $30 or more an hour.

You’ll obviously need to be computer-savvy, responsible, and agile—able to perform a variety of tasks quickly. Most of your potential clients are trying to put more time in their day by off-loading basic surface-level tasks like communicating with their clients about the status of projects, research, and data entry. This is a career you can jump into quickly and make a lot of money without a ton of experience—if you’ve got the right stuff.

If you’re willing to give up some money to get experience under your belt, you might look at joining a virtual assistant agency. Then when you have more experience, you’ll be in a better position to cut out the middleman and negotiate your rates with clients directly.

3. Accounting/Bookkeeping

Even with the economy still trying to find its footing as the pandemic continues into 2022, financial expertise is always in demand.

If you already have experience working with reputable financial companies (I’m talking insurance, real estate, taxes, etc.—not payday loan companies) and have other specific specialties or knowledge of certain industries/demographics, see what freelance niches you might be able to fill.

With the “Zoom economy” continuing, more and more companies are filling their needs for bookkeeping, accounting, taxes—even C-suite financial positions—with freelancers.

With financial freelance careers, you do need to be careful with how you represent yourself, and make extra sure that you have the qualifications and certifications required for the work you’re trying to do. For example, referring to yourself as a financial advisor might be okay where you live, but calling yourself a financial planner without a CFP certification could (read: definitely will) land you in a lot of trouble. If you’re prepared to do the research, overcome some headaches, and navigate the technicalities endemic to freelancing in the finance sector, the good part is that… well… there’s no real shortage of money in finance.

If you’re qualified, a good time to pick up freelance work (and start building a client base) is around tax time. If you can get your shit together by early April, you can start out at a time of year when it’s significantly easier to find folks looking for help with their business and personal finances.

2. Data Analyst

If you get a headache just hearing the word “blockchain,” this probably isn’t the freelance career track for you. In 2022, more and more businesses are collecting more, and more… and more data. Collecting it is one thing—making sense of it is something else entirely.

A freelance data analyst looks at data that businesses have collected, and turns it into meaningful information that they can use to make better business decisions (and earn more money). Since they’re earning more money with your skills, it’s a no-brainer for them—freelancers like this are highly valued by companies.

While “turning data into meaningful insights” may have sounded a lot like pretentious jargon 5 years ago, today it only sounds a little bit like pretentious jargon. That’s because a growing number of savvy entrepreneurs/business owners have come around to the fact that collecting and making sense of customer data directly translates into money.

Best of all? Even without experience “working in data,” you can start a career as a freelance data analyst by going through a data science boot camp or online certification program.

1. Videographer/Photographer

For businesses to thrive in 2022, they need content, content, content. That means they need media—words, graphics, photos, videos.

Unlike a lot of the other careers on this list, a freelance videographer or photographer probably won’t be able to swing doing all their work from home. You’ll probably need to travel to meet with clients, film/photograph events, etc.. (You could always set up a studio in your home—but that’s a whole article on its own.)

Just having a decent command of a good quality camera is usually enough to find some gigs in the beginning, but photographers and videographers can charge more and more as their skill level rises. Top photographers and videographers who have been practicing their craft for years make six figures or more per year freelancing.

In 2022, there’ll be more businesses and creators than ever before who need someone to edit their online videos (and/or podcasts).

At this point in time, amateur, badly-edited video that evokes late night knife infomercials from the 1990s is unacceptable (and will be openly mocked). Businesses, entrepreneurs, and content creators who want to avoid that mess are hiring professionals to make themselves look slick, even if they’re not.

Even with more businesses seeing the value of using “real” and “authentic” media after the bloody Authentic Media Revolution of the mid-2010s, stock photos and videos still have a big place in marketing in 2022. So one way to make money as a freelancer starting out is to take stock photos or videos and sell them online via the many stock media sites out there.

The thing about stock photos/videos is, it won’t provide you a lot of income in the beginning—if it ever does—but it can provide a trickle of passive income over time, that can grow if the quality of your work is solid.

Who knows? Even if you don’t make a lot of freelance bucks from taking stock photos, you could accidentally strike gold and be the one who photographs the next “Hide The Pain Harold”—ushering in a new era of memes exactly like the current era for everyone to enjoy.

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Jake Bonneman
January 23, 2023
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