How Much Can You Earn for Freelance Work? More Than You Think

Jun 04, 2015 - Joe Matar
Want to start a freelance career but afraid you won’t be able to earn enough money? Business News Daily and Payoneer have some new statistics that might assuage your fears about what you can earn for freelance work. Let’s start with the big question: how much can freelancers expect to earn? Although individual freelancing income differs from person to person, a recent Payoneer survey reveals that the average freelancer can expect to take home about $21 an hour. To quote Business News Daily: According to Payoneer's data, the average freelancer works 36 hours a week at a rate of $21 per hour, giving them an annual pretax salary of more than $39,000.”

Freelancers earn more than traditional workers

Here’s another fascinating fact from Payoneer: in most countries, freelancers earn more than average workers working traditional jobs. (Click here to tweet this fact.)Add in the fact that freelancing for multiple clients means that you can lose one client without losing your entire income stream, and freelancing starts to look like a pretty good career move, right? Of course, for some of us a $21 per-hour wage doesn’t sound like a lot, even if it’s more than you might get at an entry-level job. In fact, Payoneer reports that only 46 percent of freelancers are satisfied with their current income. That’s why it’s it’s important to learn how to earn better freelance rates and negotiate for higher pay. The secret to beating that $21 per-hour average is probably a mix of negotiating rates and promoting your work. The catch: while traditional employers take taxes out of workers’ hourly wage, freelancers have to monitor their income to account for tax payments down the road.

Clients value freelancer experience over education

Another surprising statistic reveals that clients prefer freelancers with experience over freelancers with education. As Business News Daily explains: “Jonny Steel, vice president of marketing at Payoneer, said one of the most surprising data points uncovered by the survey was that freelancers with a college degree typically earn $20 an hour, less than the $22 an hour earned by those whose highest education level is high school. This, he said, suggests that companies who hire freelancers favor experience and client reviews over formal education.” We’ve written before about the benefits of starting your freelance career while you’re in college, and add this benefit to your list: the more freelancing experience you rack up before you graduate, the better you’ll look to potential clients. If you want to be a freelancer, this study proves that the earning opportunities are out there. Learn how to market yourself, how to pitch a client and how to negotiate a competitive rate and you’ll be on your way to a satisfying and well-paying freelance career. Want to learn more? Read the full story at Business News Daily. Your turn: Do you think $21 per hour is a fair freelance rate? Did you expect the average freelancer to earn more, or less? Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer focusing on personal finance and personal stories. Her work has appeared in The Billfold, The Toast, Yearbook Office, The Write Life and Boing Boing.