Looking to pad your bank account or pay off your holiday debt? Look for hot hustles — jobs that are in the greatest worldwide demand. Recent research on jobs most commonly outsourced to freelancers found that technology services, content writing, graphic design, animation and illustration are among a dozen roles that companies are trying to fill with freelance help.
When searching for hot hustles, freelancers have two choices. They can try to find work themselves through their own list of contacts, Linkedin and social media. Or they can sign on with an online platform that promises to connect them with clients. The online platforms provide the allure of ready work. However, they all come with a cost — some sort of fee to handle your marketing and collection. And some are decidedly more worker-friendly than others.
Where are the best places to find hot hustles? Here’s a breakdown by job type.
Both “content writing” and “business writing” were listed among the jobs companies were most likely to outsource, according to recent research by Remote.com, a payroll and benefits firm. And the number of online platforms promising writing jobs reflects the popularity, with dozens of sites looking for writers.
The problem is that many of these sites are so-called “content mills” that want writers to churn out copy, optimized for search engines, for a few pennies a word. Even the most prolific writers would have a hard time making minimum wage at companies like The Content Authority, Scripted and Text Broker. Each of these sites pay $50 or less for 500-word articles.
However, there also are plenty of good sites to find writing jobs. Robert Half, Contently and Skyword all connect writers with companies needing content writers, often to populate websites that do everything from reporting corporate results to offering lifestyle and personal finance tips.
Academic writing and editing positions are offered through ServiceScape.
Almost any type of writer can also find open positions using the job board at ProBlogger.
Whether it’s designing smart phone apps, websites or troubleshooting, people with technological skills can make great money. The sites that are best to find this work depend on whether you’re looking for long-term contracts and/or staff positions or are looking for shorter-term fill-in-the-gaps projects.
Staffing giant Robert Half is among the best sites to find longer-term work, as is Onward Search, which specializes in digital creatives. A site called FlexJobs, which is a curated job board for remote and flexible work, is also worth considering.
Meanwhile, Toptal, Braintrust and FreeUp offer project work in everything from coding and web development to e-commerce design. Catalant and Gerson Lehrman Group offer high-end consulting projects in technology and other fields.
If you’re looking for tech consulting projects that take less than an hour, check out PlayTestCloud and UserTesting. Both sites pay about $30 an hour for people to review websites for user experience issues.
Many of the same sites that offer writing and editing positions also connect graphic designers with work making book covers, graphs and designing page layouts. Among the better sites to find work: Skyword, Reedsy, FreeUp and ServiceScape.
Another site called Awesomic provides a wide array of graphic design work, from creating logos to smart phone applications. Unlike sites that connect you with occasional work, Awesomic says demand is so high it can keep designers busy for as many hours and they’ve got.
Animation and illustration
The opportunities for artist, animators and illustrators are also legion.
Reedsy, which helps self-published authors edit and design their books, enlists animators and illustrators to design book jackets and illustrate children’s literature.
Fiverr is a broad job platform that has a vibrant community of animators and illustrators offering everything from whiteboard illustrations to caricatures. Video animations are also huge here, with freelancers offering to create animated videos on everything from biotechnology to exercise. With Fiverr, freelancers design their own job offers, deciding how much to charge and the limitations and restrictions of the work.
There is nearly limitless opportunity for animators and illustrators to offer their work through print-on-demand shops, too. These companies actively recruit artists to upload original designs that can be used to decorate everything from duvet covers to skateboards, coffee cups and t-shirts. There is no cost to sign up and upload art. Artists get paid a royalty every time a product is sold using their illustrations.
Some Print-on-demand sites worth considering: Society6 and RedBubble, which allow artists to set their own royalty rates. Spoonflower, which is particularly well-suited to people with repeating designs. FineArtAmerica, which we see as particularly adept at turning your pictures into puzzles. And, Printful, which can be more lucrative for artists but has you do more of the marketing.