Think writers and designers are the only types of freelancers out there? Think again.
This common misconception stems from the idea that writers, graphic artists and website designers possess some of the most in-demand skill sets. But the truth is that you can do nearly anything as a freelancer. Need proof? Here are some zany, somewhat enviable, super niche and (honestly?) weird freelance jobs that can inspire you to diversify.
Last year I moved into the house of my dreams. Built by a man who did business with the George Washington, I knew these walls had stories, and I wanted the scoop. So I signed up for an online history resource and began my research. If you’ve ever dug into the past, you know it can lead to some seriously time-consuming rabbit holes. I wondered if I could outsource the job. Sure enough, a quick web search showed me that freelance genealogy is a real, growing practice. Anthony Adolph is a great example of the thriving (yes, B2B) career possibilities. Adolph uses his status as an indy worker to convince clients to choose him over larger firms. “As a freelance professional I have none of the substantial overheads that the large research firms incorporate into their charges,” he writes. “This freedom enables me to devote much more of your money to original research.”
Virtual Corporate Recruiter
As it turns out, the world is full of fascinating freelancers doing super niche jobs. Take, for instance, Dorothy Rawlinson, the recruiter-for-hire behind some of the most celebrated Olympics Games in history. With talent management being the number one reported concern facing today’s CEOs, a good recruiter can be a lifesaver.
“Being self-employed, especially pre- or post-graduation, is a great thing,” Rawlinson told one blog commenter. “You are proving to the world that you are an independent and confident person.” And that, she says, can make a big difference — no matter what type of work you pursue.
Freelance Presentation Designer
“Death by PowerPoint” is a common phrase for obvious reasons. When we find out that we have to present ideas or metrics to colleagues, most of us panic. And sometimes, bullet points can do more harm than good, a reality that motivates savvy presenters to hire freelance designers for a more visual storytelling experience.
Want to dabble in creating these experiences? Check out HauteSlides, an inspiring example of what’s possible. When you’re among thousands of designers bidding on the same website project, consider switching it up and pitching a Keynote presentation, instead. Look for clients who posses personality traits that are similar to your own, as this will make it easier for you to nail their style.
“If you’re naturally funny, leverage those skills in your presentations,” HauteSlides owner Magda Masterson tells her followers. Some weird freelance jobs — like this one — are essentially just more creative ways to sell the same design service you already offer.
Playing in a band is the most conspicuous way musicians make money. But anyone who’s done it knows that finding local gigs can exhaust even the most energetic performer. Instead, consider going freelance. For a successful example, take the story of freelance cellist, Ginger Murphy. Her best tip for young musicians considering a similar career path? Keep an open mind. “Go to a ton of concerts. Reach out to different musicians,” she says. “Everyone’s career path is unique.” Follow her advice, and who knows — maybe you too can go on tour with Josh Groban, now that you know it’s possible. And remember, pics or it didn’t happen.
Local Tour Guide
Do you know more about your area than any of your friends? Are you a hospitable, thoughtful and outgoing storyteller? Does the thought of guiding tourists interest you? If so, consider gigging it. Starting your own little tour guide service is now easier than ever with platforms like ToursByLocals. And if you want to go all in, you can become a travelling tour guide. Freelance tour director Carrie Fitchett told National Geographic that guiding tours can be more than fun — it can be truly meaningful. “With kids, you affect and change lives,” she says. “Maybe they’ve never traveled, and you show them what’s out there.”
“Trapped” is the most common feeling I hear people say they experience in a secure W-2 job just before stepping out on their own. Surprisingly, that stuffy feeling can creep back a year or two into your freelance career. Well, unless you keep this list handy. I hope it opens your mind up to other possibilities no one but you could cook up. Come to think of it, I wonder if Josh Groban needs me to research his family tree.