Which Freelance Jobs Pay the Most?

The demand for freelance services has skyrocketed as businesses were – and are – forced to shift their workplace dynamics and reign in their budget. They may not have enough work to justify a fulltime employee, but they still have work that must be done periodically or on a part-time basis. Contracting a freelancer is the obvious (and most cost-effective) solution.

Since anything that can be done remotely can be a service offered by a freelancer, today’s freelancers can struggle with deciding which of those services they should choose. One way to narrow down your choices is to research demand, growth rate, and profit potential.

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To that end, Upwork.com has conducted a study to find the 15 online gigs and skills that have promising growth rates and top hourly rates. These rates are based on statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and average rates earned on Upwork.

Rates can also come in handy when you’re the one hiring a freelancer, so keep this list handy for future reference.

Which Freelance Jobs Pay the Most?

The following freelance jobs have both the highest income potential and predicted growth rate.

  1. Copywriter (USD $19 – $45 per hour)
  2. Web Designer (USD $15 – $30 per hour)
  3. Digital Marketing Consultant (USD $15 – $45 per hour)
  4. Social Media Manager (USD $14 – $35 per hour)
  5. Editor (USD $20 – $40 per hour)
  6. Web Developer (USD $15 – $30 per hour)
  7. Media Buyer (USD $50 – $200 per hour)
  8. Photographer (USD $40 – $100 per hour)
  9. Data Analyst (USD $20 – $50 per hour)
  10. Business Consultant (USD $28 – $98 per hour)
  11. Programmer (USD $15 – $30 per hour)
  12. Videographer (USD $15 – $30 per hour)
  13. Accountant (USD $12 – $32 per hour)
  14. Virtual Assistant ‘VA’ (USD $12 – $20 per hour)
  15. Public Relations Manager (USD $50 – $100 per hour)

Freelancer released a report in the Spring that revealed the high paying, trending jobs on their platform:

  1. Drone Photography (USD $5325)
  2. SurveyMonkey (USD $4569)
  3. Data Engineer (USD $3715)
  4. Virtual Reality (USD $3267)
  5. Roblox (USD $3142)
  6. Cryptocurrency (USD $2560)
  7. Augmented Reality (USD $2427)
  8. Android App Development(USD $2428)
  9. Artificial Intelligence (AI) (USD $1868)
  10. Mine Craft (USD $1821)
  11. Game Design (USD $1760)
  12. Web Design (USD $1645)

The top three highest paying side hustles on Freelancer are Business Consulting ($74 per hour), Online Coaching ($68 per hour), and Programming ($58 per hour).

High-end freelance jobs paying over $100k USD / year include Design, Game Development, Coding, Mobile App Development, and Website Development.

Of course, none of that matters if there isn’t enough work to go around. Thankfully, that’s rarely the case in today’s freelance economy. However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the demand for skills and their projected growth. One way to do that is to watch what’s trending in the business world.

For example, it seems like everyone wants to start a small business (75% of Canadians in 2023) or side hustle (77% of Canadians) these days. Over 38% of Canadians have already started a content creation or creator economy entrepreneurship business. That boosts the demand for startup-related skills, such as website and logo design.

Additionally, everybody is talking about artificial intelligence (AI). Consequently, related jobs are flooding the freelance market.

The most effective way to take advantage of what’s trending, is to relate it to what you currently offer. For instance, if you’re a virtual assistant to authors you could master AI tools or website building for writers.

Freelancing in Canada

Your target market will also influence how much money you can make with freelancing, including geographically. Following are some Canadian Freelancer statistics to help those who work with Canadian businesses.

According to Freelancer, the fastest growing freelance jobs in Canada were all related to 3D design, with 3D Rendering (up 41.3% from 298 to 421) taking out the top spot, followed by 3D Animation (up 36.4% from 236 to 322) and 3D Modeling (up 30.9%, from 362 to 474). Advancements in 3D technology and an increase in design jobs globally is causing a rise in Canadian 3D-related jobs.

These percentage growths are based on a comparison of skills that were posted more than 200 times or more in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023. There were a total of 1,424 different skills posted by employers in Canada in the first quarter of 2023.

Other top jobs posted by Canadian employers include MySQL (up 24.9%, from 365 to 456), used for database management, and Logo Design (up 20.3%, from 365 to 456).

The three most popular jobs posted by employers in Canada were:

  1. Graphic Design – 2,859 (up 9.29, from 2,616)
  2. Photoshop – 1,889 (up 15.2%, from 1,635)
  3. Logo Design – 1,762 jobs (down 4.7%, from 1,850)

For more information about starting a freelancing business, please read:

How to Start a Freelance Digital Content Business in Canada

How to Become a Virtual Assistant (VA) in Canada

Recession-Proof Online Businesses to Start from Home book

7 Recession Proof Online Businesses To Start From Home

Expert help to choose, start, and run the business of your dreams!
“Almost 200 pages of pure gold…”


Do you offer freelance services or would you like to? Please share your tips or questions in the comments below or join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group to discuss this and other topics.


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Melody McKinnon
Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website

Melody McKinnon is an internet entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in a wide range of online business models, backed by a formal business education and enhanced by training and mentorship. She has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available from all major ebook retailers.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadianDigitalMedia.com, CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net, and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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