Highest Paying Freelance Gigs in 2019

According to the 2018 report Freelancing in America , a survey of 6000 U.S. workers conducted by Upwork and The Freelancer’s Union, there are 56.7 million self-employed workers in our country, from Lyft and Uber drivers to public relations specialists, ballet dancers to home organizers.  One in three (35%) workers in America participate in the Freelance gig economy either full-time or part-time.

As you might guess, not everyone is getting rich in the Freelance economy.  High tech workers have the most earning power, by far.  Fit Small Business, an online magazine that features articles targeted to small business owners and Freelancers, analyzed data from online job-finding sites including Upwork, Freelancer, Hubstaff and Guru to compile a list of what they predict will be the 10 highest-paying Freelance jobs of 2019.

  1.  Data Scientist/ Machine Learning EngineerDeep Learning  S115/hour       Deep learning is the specialty of these machine learning experts and it involves the development of neural networks that mimic the neural pathways in the human brain. These professionals possess advanced skills in algorithm and programming languages such as Tensorflow, Python, Java, Matlab and C++.
  2.  Digital Architect —Blockchain  $87/hour   The technology that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Monero is used to build new cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency exchanges and helping businesses to set up cryptocurrency transactions for customers who want to buy in. Proficiency in C++, Python and Solidity is required.
  3.  Robotics Engineer—Robotics  $77/hour  These Freelancers design and build the mechanical elements and machinery used by advanced robots and automated technologies that companies use to make certain repetitive tasks more efficient and less expensive to perform. Robots have moved into stockrooms to fulfill orders, pharmacies to fill prescriptions, banks to serve as personal teller machines (and let’s not forget ATMs) and even, God save us, into certain bars on the Royal Caribbean Cruise line, where the robots can make two drinks a minute. Talk about a speed bartender! High-level skill in mechanical engineering software, including SolidWorks Professional, Simplify 3D and Photoview 360 are required.
  4.  Penetration Tester—Network Security  $66/hour  These professionals are good guy hackers. They investigate the potential vulnerability of a company’s computer network, so that the company will not fall prey to bad guy hackers who might infiltrate and sabotage its computer system. These Freelancers are certified systems security professionals.
  5.  Code Writer/ Amazon Web Service (AWS) Lambda  $50/hour   AWS is unique among computer servers in that it’s only “on” when it’s needed and the customer pays for hosting space only when applications supported are in use.  AWS runs code when an event triggers it (downloading the software program) and the customer pays only when the associated code runs.  Freelancers must know C #, Java, Node.js and Python.
  6.   VR Developer—Virtual Reality  $50/hour  Virtual reality experts develop algorithms that are mostly used in games like the blockbuster Angry Birds. Virtual Reality technology is increasingly used in healthcare and education. These professionals must be fluent in C++, C#, C, native iOS, Android and Java.  Be advised that the required skillset is unique to the platform used to build the VR app in development.
  7. Video Editor—Final Cut Pro X. $37/hour  Film studios, music video directors, wedding videographers and marketing/advertising companies are among the potential clients of these Freelancers. Freelancers who’d like to participate with the creative class must be able to not only cut video clips. but also use transitions, integrate music and edit scenes using multiple camera angles.
  8. Social Media Marketer/ Instagram  $30/hour   What a shame that jobs where creativity, judgment and the psychology of the end-user are so vital to the process of creating a memorable experience that builds brand loyalty and generates revenue, skills that cannot be learned in a series of online tutorials pay the lowest salaries? The automatons are making all the money, clicking away on their keyboards.  Instagram active users numbered a billion in June 2018 according to Statista and that’s a whole lot of campaigns to create and manage.  Freelance marketers must be able to create engaging content, build the brand voice, analyze performance metrics to monitor campaigns successfully, in consultation with the client.

Thanks for reading,


Photograph: Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda (Best Actress, Klute 1971 and Coming Home 1978) as Bree Daniels in Klute (1971)

Health Insurance Options for Freelancers in 2014

There are five months left in the year and it is time to start planning for a successful 2014.  One important element of the business strategy plan for self-employed professionals must be our health insurance.  In 2014,  our options and requirements will change and we must be apprised of those changes and prepare to either make the most of them or minimize impact,  depending on our circumstances.

The individual mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act will require Freelance consultants and other self-employed individuals to purchase health insurance as of January 1, 2014,  or pay a penalty of $95.00 or 1%  of income,  whichever is greater.  That penalty will increase to $695.00 or 2.5%  of income,  whichever is greater,   in 2016.  If the revenue your consultancy generates is between 138%  and 400%  of the poverty level,  you may be eligible for a subsidy that will  ( in theory)  make the health insurance premium more affordable for you.

The subsidy for health insurance premiums will be available on the Health Insurance Exchange  (HIX).  Eligibility for a HIX premium subsidy is expected to be on a sliding scale,  but exact income thresholds have not yet been revealed.  It is possible that a single individual who generates about $45,000 annually will be eligible to receive a HIX premium subsidy,  according to information published by the National Association for the Self-Employed  http://www.nase.org .  It is expected that the income upper limit for a four person household to qualify for the HIX subsidy will be about $94,000.00 in annual revenue.

HIX enrollment is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2013,  for coverage that will commence on January 1, 2014.   Federal,  state and private health insurance plan options will be available for purchase through an online marketplace ,  where one can compare product features and prices.  One’s income tax data will be part of the enrollment application,  so that any subsidies applicable to enrollees will automatically be deducted as a tax credit.  Eligibility for Medicaid,  Medicare,  veteran’s benefits or HIX subsidy will be automatically calculated.  Be mindful that income of the self-employed tends to fluctuate and eligibility will fluctuate along with annual revenue.  It will be possible to renew with your present insurer,  but why not shop around and find out what else is available at your price point?

Unfortunately,  health insurance costs are expected to rise 10% – 13% in 2014,  in response to additional coverage that all plans must provide,  in accordance with Affordable Care Act regulations.  You may recall that in my April 2, 2013 post ,  I noted that when the Freelancers Union surveyed its members,  it was revealed that 58%  earn less than $50,000.00 / year and 29% earn less than $25,000.00 /year.  The majority of the groups’ members are in the New York City area,  a location that pays higher wages than many areas of the country.

That means many Freelancers will not qualify for the subsidy,  but will be required by law to pay large monthly health insurance premiums that will strain the already scarce cash flow.  As a result,  some will be forced to forgo health insurance,  because it is much less expense to pay the penalty,  even when it increases in 2016.

The penalty for avoiding health insurance in 2016 will be $1250.00 for those who earn $50,000.00 / year and annual health insurance premiums even for a healthy single person will far exceed that amount.  It’s a risky gamble that no one wants to take,  but for many it will be the only alternative.  When funds are both limited and unpredictable,  uncomfortable decisions must be made.

The rising cost of living and diminishing opportunities to generate adequate cash flow make it imperative that Freelance consultants must be savvy and diligent about marketing,  networking,  obtaining referrals and creating a good business model.  Responsible financial management is also necessary,  but first one needs to have money available  to manage.  Slacking off will not be an option,  at least not for those who are single or the primary breadwinner of their household.

Thanks for reading,