The flexibility of working for yourself, choosing who to send proposal templates to, or who to sign agreement templates with, are some of the reasons people leave their day jobs to become independent contractors. But there is another (often more important reason); freelancers can often make much more money being their own boss than if they were employed in a traditional workplace. When you take away time wasted commuting, being in dead-end meetings, and sitting in a break room, there's just much more of your day you can dedicate to producing. Pair that with a high per-project rate (vs. a stagnant per-hour wage) and it's easy to see why freelancing is the future for those with lofty income goals.
While there is a wide range of acceptable pay scales for each freelance industry, most of us aim for the top. When you can work less and earn more, it’s often a sign that you’ve achieved something when clients are coming to you, and you don’t scare them away by quoting the highest of fees. Each industry will have what is considered a top-tier pay. Read on to see what we have determined to be the most in-demand independent contractor jobs, along with the earnings opportunities associated with each.
Not all coders are raking in the big bucks. Since technologies vary, and some languages are more sought-after than others, it's important to position yourself to be able to create the products clients are willing to pay the most. Good developers are always in demand. If you make use of freelancing marketplaces, you'll find that people will tend to compete for your services, especially if you build your reputation with good reviews. App developers in particular, who have a good understanding not just of development but things such as user experience and conversion rate optimization will always be able to call the shots and command good rates.
Common apps using iOS, for example, may allow you to start out earning $150 or more with room to grow when you've mastered most applications. (Swift, the language used to make the popular Apple watches work, has been increasing in demand.) For someone with significant demand in highly-sought after languages, earning $400 or more per hour isn't uncommon. The annual salary for the best professionals can total $85,000 or more.
Believe it or not, companies big and small usually outsource some of their marketing tasks to freelancers. Among them is posting to social media networks and managing more massive campaigns across all digital platforms. Everything from finding Instagram influencers to creating the perfect tweet has a price. Even though the most novice managers only make $45 an hour, someone with the right amount of marketing experience can command $75,000 or more for full-time client work.
If you've ever made a sale, ushered an idea from idea to market, or managed a team to achieve a lofty benchmark, you're a candidate for passing on your earned knowledge to others. Business consulting, while a somewhat generic term, is a much-needed and highly marketable expertise that companies are willing to pay big bucks to acquire. You can focus on a singular task for startups, such as getting funded. Or, you may choose to assist businesses with all aspects of their product launch. The best consultants are always in demand and can get $75,000 - $250,000 for sharing advice.
We've shared how designers and developers can often be two sides of the same coin (with developers making a bit more). It's apparent, however, that both are sought-after in today's' evolving web market. Designers may have a harder time standing out, as the field is relatively crowded and the barriers to entry low. If you cannot pick up some extra skills to brand yourself as a developer, you can still make $55,000 a year or more by niching down into the most popular markets, such as WordPress and having a stellar design portfolio. Make sure to check out our guide as well on how to start your web design business. Developers with five or more years of experience can make better money at $80,000 a year or more.
Journalism is one of the oldest professions around. Unfortunately, it's not much of a money-maker. That's why many writers are getting into the content marketing side of writing, where the pay can be much higher, and the work more plentiful. Doing everything from ad copy to lead pages to articles in trade magazines, content marketing writers far out-earn some of their traditional writing counterparts. It's not uncommon to see the average rate for top-tier copy to be $1 a word or more in today's market. What can a full-time, experienced content marketer earn? Expect six figures to be something to aim for. $120,000 – 200,000 is achievable with excellent prospecting skills and an impressive portfolio.
The recent changes to Facebook's algorithm continue to reward video content. As such, everyone -- from major newspapers to household brands --is revising their content strategies to be more visible. Videographers and video editors have seen a bump in opportunities this year, with many of the best ones starting a waitlist for potential clients. Have the skills to pay the bills? You can ask for $75,000 - $150,000 for your time each year.
As AI (Artificial Intelligence) tasks become necessary for common business and marketing tasks, those who are well versed in machine learning will be in high demand. With companies finding it hard to recruit great talent, a machine learning engineer can find a salary with unlimited potential. According to the NYTimes, there are fewer than 10,000 people in the world adept at doing these jobs, and only 100 new graduates each year are prepared to jump into these types of careers. If you are one of them, expect a salary between $200,000 and up for your service.
Game players and e-commerce shoppers decide whether a site or app is user-friendly. A UX professional then makes the decisions to help those upgrades come to life. Since a UX designer or developer needs to be competent at both the tech and the marketing side of things, they traditionally get paid more than regular designers and developers. Likewise, a UX developer typically gets paid more than a UX designer. Expect to earn upwards of $85,000 – or even more – if you have even a few years of experience in this field. In addition, UX researcher in the e-commerce space specializing in conversion rate optimization could be higher.
Some additional fields are becoming more popular – and therefore attracting new freelancers. These pay above $50,000 a year for full-time and include:
The salary info listed above is just a guideline, and there will almost always be outliers. Someone with little to no experience cannot expect to make the same as someone with years of specialized training and contacts in the industry. Those who have been perfecting their skills for over five years can easily ask for the ranges listed. If you're fortunate enough to have 10+ years behind you, there may be no limit to what your talents can command!
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A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?