Freelancing Your Way to a Better Future

There was a time when freelancing was a polite euphemism for unemployed. But that was during a time when everyone who was worth anything was expected to be working for a company, punching a clock, and drawing a predictable paycheck. It was a time when the question, "Who do your work for" was more important than, "What do you do for a living.”

Today, "freelance" is a rather more respectable word. You do what you enjoy doing, not just whatever job happened to be vacant at the time of your application. And you work for yourself rather than for a more established company.

These are now badges of honor, as well they should be. But in many cases, they are also marks of necessity, and the signs of the times. While previous generations were taught to stay in school, do well, and get a job at an established company, current generations are pursuing a different path. Good entry-level jobs are not the low-hanging fruit that they once were. Now, young adults are learning to follow their passion, enhance their unique skills, and create a job. That is the definition of the entrepreneurial spirit.

This new generation of entrepreneurs are not just seeking fortune. Indeed, fortune may be the smaller part of it as we all become more realistic about our financial prospects. What they are seeking and finding is job satisfaction and life fulfillment. These are luxuries our parents often had to forgo for the privilege of bringing home a steady paycheck. Freelancers know that even if the paycheck is slightly smaller, the real compensation is more than sufficient. Here are a few freelance carriers that really hit the sweet spot:

Massage Therapist

One of the most surprising freelance opportunities is massage therapy. It is not the first thing we think of when considering medical and paramedical professions. Yet it can serve to provide aid and comfort to a lot of people who might seek more naturalistic treatments to aches and pains, minus the spiritualistic baggage of many new-age therapies. It typically makes no false promises, does no harm, and makes people feel good.

The income is decent, and a fair return on investment. It has a low unemployment rate with a median salary of about $36,000. Top earners are doing a little better than $70,000. Training is offered at the local college level and consists of between 500 and 1,000 hours.

Though a massage can be done almost anywhere, some specialized equipment is required to operate a truly professional practice. You will need a good source for specialty items like those electric lift massage tables used in the nicer offices. Otherwise, it is an extremely accessible career.

Medical Transcriptionist

Where massage therapy is one of the last freelance jobs you would think of, medical transcriptionist is one of the first. It often comes up in queries about legitimate work-from-home opportunities. The reason it keeps coming up in that context is because it continues to be a legitimate opportunity. As a career, it continues to grow at the same rate as other careers year over year.

The pay is about $34,000: a little better than $16 an hour. It is an entry-level job that requires no previous experience in the field. This makes it a great choice for someone who has lost a job and is finding it difficult to get back into the job market. There are training programs at the junior college level that take only few months to complete. It is still an excellent way to go for people who, for whatever reason, have to reset their career path from scratch.


Described as the granddaddy of all freelance fields, writing is one of the oldest most respectable, and most flexible professions of them all. All the training you need to be a good writer, the state provides for free. That's right! If you just paid attention and did well in K-12, you already have the necessary tools. Combine that with whatever passion you have such as personal technology, and you have the makings of a promising freelance career.

Unfortunately, it is a bit more difficult to find people who are willing to pay you for your writing than it is, say, for medical transcription. But they are out there. The Internet is full of blogs that need good articles. For those who are a bit more entrepreneurial, it is relatively easy to set up your own blog with Google AdWords, and make a go of it yourself.

With a bit of experience under your belt along with a college degree in pretty much anything, you can get the attention of larger media outlets like newspapers and magazines. Here's the thing; it might take a little more legwork to find the right fit. But regardless of the medium, the world will always need writers. It may not be your primary career goal. But like teaching, it is an excellent fall-back position. No special equipment is required. If you can read this, you already have the equipment you need.

The greatest benefit of freelance work is that you work for yourself doing the things you most enjoy. You get to follow your passion while making a living doing it. When those two things come together, it doesn't really feel like work at all.

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