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Employers Are Paying Freelancers Big Bucks For These 25 In-Demand Skills

With the right skills and some hustle, freelancing pays like a full time job.

John Rampton





Want to join the freelancer revolution? Did you know that there are thousands of freelancer jobs that pay six figures?

Over the past ten years, I’ve both worked as a freelancer and hired countless freelancers, some for six-figure positions. And along the way, I’ve noticed that there are a few freelancer skills that pay more than others. Want to join the ranks of six-figure and other well remunerated freelancers?

Here are the skills that hirers are looking for:

1Natural language processing/Twilio API Development

Thanks to the emergence of voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon ($AMZN) Echo and Google ($GOOG) Home, natural language processing has become one of, if not the most in-demand freelancing skills.

This particular gig, in which you enable machines to understand human language, requires a background in computer science, artificial intelligence, and linguistics, and can command at its highest levels a salary of well over $100,000 annually.

Related: From Freelancers to Entrepreneurs: How Christine and Warren Bernard Made the Jump

2Swift development

The Apple Watch was developed using the programming language Swift. Since sales for the Apple Watch broke records during the 2016 holiday season, demand for freelancers skilled in developing this iOS app is surging, with an average salary of $85,000.

3Social media management

Social media management

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, businesses of all sizes are in need of talented individuals to implement and manage the day-to-day activities for their social media marketing campaigns.

While not as high-paying as more-tech related skills, social media managers average between $67,750 and $94,250 per year.

4Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS)

Amazon Marketplace Web Service (Amazon MWS) is an integrated web service API that assists Amazon sellers to programmatically exchange data on listings, orders, payments and reports. Since this online ecommerce site is showing no signs of slowing, there’s a need for freelancers with python skills. This also includes devops companies.

The amount freelancers can charge clients will vary depending on the scope of the project.

5AngularJS development

With this skill, you can extend HTML vocabulary in order to build either mobile or desktop web applications. Since this is the framework for dynamic web apps, the demand for this skill should continue to increase.

The average national salary is over $102,000. For a better understanding of this job, check out our programmer guide.

6MySQL programming

As the world’s most popular open-source database, this skill – which requires knowledge in web-scripting languages like PHP – can earn freelancers between $45,495 and $99,187,depending on their experience.

Related: 50 Jobs, Gigs And Side Hustles You Can Do From Home

7Instagram marketing

Instagram marketing

Out of all the social media channels, Instagram is rapidly becoming the most popular. It’s also under-utilised for anyone wanting to grow a business. That’s why the company is searching for marketers experienced with the Gram.

While there professional “Instagrammers” who are making six figures, the average Instagram marketer should expect around $15 per hour.

8Twilio API development

Those who can build SMS, voice and messaging applications on an API – specifically, Twilio’s cloud-based communication platform – are in high demand; and they can also earn up to a solid $35 per hour.

9Brand strategy

Branding is all the rage these days, which is why both individuals and companies are searching for people who can develop positioning recommendations, guide market research analysis and define brand elements and tone.

The average pay for a brand strategist is $61,044 per year.

10Business consulting

Business consultants work with clients on everything from strategy, planning and problem solving, to the development of business skills and knowledge. On average, a business consultant earns $71,254 per year.

Here are a few tips to becoming a better Instagram consultant.

11Machine learning

According to Upwork, “data science is the fastest-growing category on its site for the second quarter in a row. Machine learning moved from Upwork’s spot in Q3 to  number 12 in Q4 “but continues to see rapid growth.”

The average machine learning engineer salary is $114,826. I’ve found that some of the best engineers in machine learning are found on Toptal. It’s another place where you can both hire and get six-figure jobs.

123D rendering


In general, freelance designers are one of the hottest gigs around. Technology like 3D printing has become increasingly prevalent. In fact, it’s anticipated to grow from $4.1 billion in revenue in 2014 to $12.8 billion by 2018. Currently, the average national salary is around $56,000.

13Zendesk customer support

As support inquiries continue to skyrocket, customer-service software companies like Zendesk are looking for individuals to build customize experiences by placing products into existing APIs, apps and mobile SDKs. Software engineer salaries at Zendesk can range between $76,969 and $134,061. Another option would be to work with a company like Support Ninja. I’ve used that company and love its service.

Related: Top Tips For Building A Successful Business From Your Home

14Information security

Information-security analysts plan, as well as carry out, security measures to protect an organisation’s computer networks and systems,  to thwart the increasing number of cyber-attacks.

Information security analysts can charge over $44 per hour.

15R development

R is a programming language and software environment used for statistical computing and graphics, such as polls and surveys, which is commonly used by data miners. It’s supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. An R programmer can earn an average salary of $76,607 per year.

16User experience design

Both website and app designers demand to be blown away whenever they land on a website or download an app. UX designers are responsible for these tasks through the creation of products that are simple and improve the experience of visitors.

The average national salary is $87,883. I have found most of my best designers on 99Designs, it’s a great place to pick up great paying gigs.

17Node.js development

A Node.js developer is responsible for writing server-side web application logic in JavaScript, as well as variants like CoffeeScript or IcedCoffeeScript. The average salary for a NodeJS developer in the United States is $107,562.

18Bluetooth specialist

Now that the iPhone 7 has eliminated the headphone jack, expect a rapid increase in the companies searching for people experienced with this ubiquitous technology.

IOS Bluetooth QA Engineer salaries at Apple, for example, range between $130,910 and $142,567.

19Stripe specialist

As more and more businesses look for affordable and flexible options to accept payments, they’re turning to freelancers to help them build a payment platform using APIs from payment infrastructures like Stripe. Stripe specialists can charge up to $95 an hour on freelance sites like Upwork. Looking for other options? Here is a list of the top payments companies, most of which have similar needs!

20SEO/Content Writing

SEO and content writers help clients increase their visibility online, especially on search engines like Google or Bing, by creating engaging, relevant, and keyword optimised content. The average salary, nationally, is $40,951.

21Virtual assistant

Businesses are continuing to restructure and downsize. As such, everyone from business owners and managers to entrepreneurs is turning to virtual assistants to help manage administrative tasks, such as responding to emails, scheduling appointments and even handling public relations services.

The average salary is $15.56 per hour.

22Immigration law

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 6 percent job growth for all lawyers between 2014 and 2024. However, with the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding immigration under the Trump administration, immigration law is on a rapid rise. The median annual salary for lawyers as $115,820.

23Accounting (CPA)

Despite the plethora of accounting software available, the freelancer generation is still in need of accountants to better understand complex issues like tax codes and deductions.

The average national salary is $65,940.

24Photography/video editing

According to a report released by, jobs for photographers have grown by about 22 percent, thanks to the fact that employers are “finally understanding the importance of high-quality pictures on their landing pages.”

The demand for video editing, in particular, saw a 19 percent increase due to the same factors that caused the increase in photography jobs.

25Voiceover artists

“While voiceover work has been around for decades, the move to digital is enabling talent to record from virtually anywhere,” CNBC has noted. “Telephony, audiobook readers, dubbing work, e-learning instruction, animation dialogue and video game voices are just some of the jobs calling for voice actors.”

A voice actor can charge such fees as $100 for a 15-second recording and $250 for a 30- or 60-second commercial, to about $3,000 per audiobook.

This article was originally posted here on

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and has been one of the Top 10 Most Influential PPC Experts in the World for the past three years. He currently advises several companies in the San Francisco Bay area.


Company Posts

How To Know If You’re Mismanaging Your Staff

Wouldn’t you like to free up some of that time to increase your company’s productivity and profitability while providing solutions to admin issues and organisational hazards? Workforce can show you how.

Workforce Staffing




The average manager can spend up to two full days a week on administrative tasks. You aren’t a machine and neither are your managers or HR team. However, to gain the most from your temp staff, a machine is exactly what you need. A smart one.

WorkTRACZone is the definitive product that’s been especially developed to offer you ultimate control through technology.

WorkTRACZone ensures that you surpass the 80% of businesses that are floundering in misadministration, and guarantees that your temp staff are utilised to the maximum.

Keep clear of the danger zone

Research by UK-based company, Service Now, found that eight out of ten companies still use inefficient manual tracking to drive productive work processes, putting their company’s temping situation in the danger zone. Are you one of them? Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Are you aware of all the skills available to you through your temp workers?
  2. Can you remotely access your temp staff’s work rosters anytime, anywhere?
  3. Do you know exactly how much overtime is being generated in your business?
  4. Are your temp staff’s absenteeism records completely up to date?
  5. Do you have convenient access to all your temp staff’s work histories?

Related: Finding Your Staffing Partner

If you answered no to any one of these questions, then your temporary staff are gravely underperforming.

Manage your temp staff better today

As specialists in the temporary employment field, the designers behind WorkTRACZone are well aware of what businesses need to make the most of their workforce.

If you would like to protect your company from all the possible failings hiding behind mismanagement, visit, or call 087 135 8888 to take the first step in distinguishing your business.

Solutions to your biggest temp staffing issues

1. When I don’t have information available now, my business fails later

WorkTRACZone is a digital portal that is available to view from any smart device at any time. It provides complete transparency on all of your temporary staff, from work rosters to up-to-date labour costings. Have access to your outsourced staff’s information, collected onto the WorkTRACZone digital dashboard, and integrate time and attendance with payroll and invoicing systems.

2. How can I be sure staff aren’t taking advantage of overtime?

Mismanaged overtime is one of your biggest risks to profitability. WorkTRACZone records all overtime recorded by temporary staff, allowing you to spot dangerous patterns or misused hours before it becomes a drain on profits.

3. I’m not totally aware of what my temp staff can offer me

From clock number to ID, WorkTRACZone makes searching easy with editable fields and succinct categories. Workers’ skills are available to you at a moment’s notice with this digital portal.

4. I hardly monitor staff backgrounds, equipment issues, and other details

Having this information on hand is the first step to ensuring complete control over your outsourced staff. If you skip this step, all other processes often fall to disorder. WorkTRACZone provides the best solution to ensuring all this information is captured and easy to access.

5. With worker turnover, predicting salaries has become near impossible

All your temporary staff’s past and current work rates are viewed on demand via the WorkTRACZone digital dashboard. This provides accurate salary projections, allowing you to plan ahead and foresee any potential complications.

Related: 11 SA Entrepreneurs on What They’ve Learnt About Managing Staff


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Company Posts

Have Your Incentive Scheme In The Palm Of Your Hand

Mobility solutions are making incentive plans faster, simpler and more impactful than ever before.

Uwin Iwin




Vital Stats

According to GSMA, the body representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide, lower smartphone prices are driving a digital revolution in Africa, allowing mobile phone users to access the Internet at unprecedented levels.

The number of smartphone connections across the continent almost doubled over the last two to three years. More than half a billion people across Africa now subscribe to mobile services. Operators recorded data traffic growth of more than 50% in 2015 and this trend will keep on expanding. Operators and developers are also leveraging the power of mobile networks to transform services in the health, agriculture, education, and other sectors.

Related: Why Incentives Are A Must For Your Business

Another service that is transformed by this mobility is incentive schemes. When it comes to the implementation of incentive programmes, being mobile means ‘on the move’ motivation and keeping in touch with your valued workforce and channel partners.

Incentive schemes can be driven by the participants

Uwin Iwin’s innovative digital platform driving incentive schemes, uses the power of mobility to its greatest advantage. The custom-developed, white-labelled interface (which looks like a website), enables participants to enter the rewards portal online anytime they want. They interact with their incentive programme by entering sales and performance figures, which will be processed by the system.

Related: Uwin Iwin Incentives Hits The United Kingdom Shores

Participants can view their leaderboards and immediately determine their advancement. Automation ensures that the participant can diligently track their points and progress. It delivers immediate feedback to keep participants motivated. In addition to that, the easy rewards cash-out system, digital catalogue, or virtual mall, enables participants to convert their points into tangible rewards, providing a full incentive management system.

Further motivation is provided through social media, emails and programme-specific websites.

The message can be reinforced throughout the duration of the programme and participants are reminded of the plan, motivated towards the goal and informed about current progress.

The more interaction, the greater the impact on motivation, success of the programme and ultimately the all important ROI.

Mobility saves money

By allowing participants direct access, less personnel are needed to run the programme and that means lower costs and a higher ROI. Another benefit is that accurate reporting is instantly available. The effectiveness of the incentive scheme can be monitored in real time.

Rewards that appeal to the target audience

Uwin Iwin believes strongly in giving participants choices when it comes to awarding rewards. The reasoning is that adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach alienates some of the workforce as the rewards may be undesired. Giving a participant a choice for their reward is a reward in itself, as they can choose a prize that they desire. Uwin Iwin uses a catalogue of over 14 000 products (available online, of course) that can be exchanged for points or e-cash earnings.

Staying dynamic

Bringing the incentive schemes to the participants means that Uwin Iwin has to keep innovating and keep on searching for ways to keep participants interested. There is nothing more exciting than to be part of an ever-changing solution. That is their business — to keep finding bespoke solutions for specific clients’ needs.

Uwin Iwin Incentives is at the forefront of innovation, especially when it comes to mobile/digital/e-solutions. Notably, they were the first in South Africa to migrate onto a digital platform and understand its dynamics well.

Moreover, the platform has evolved over time to become highly sophisticated and efficient, so get in touch and make sure that your incentives scheme exploits the latest technological developments to the benefit of your enterprise.

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Managing Staff

Why I Stopped Doing Annual Employee Reviews

Why wait months to discuss problems that matter now?

Ximena Hartsock



employee reviews

When my company Phone2Action launched in 2013, we tried to manage employee performance with annual reviews. It was pointless. Why wait months to discuss problems that matter now? In a start-up, we needed to move faster and calibrate more often than annual reviews permitted.

We scrapped reviews and implemented a performance management system developed by Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland. He “disrupted” conventional management techniques well before Agile and Lean Start-up methodologies swept through Silicon Valley.

Today, many companies use “data-driven” management techniques. However, they struggle to find a balance between team and individual accountability, transparency and privacy, and actions and goals. O’Malley’s approach may help you find the sweet spot.

The CitiStat story

citistat-logoWhen O’Malley become mayor of Baltimore in 1999, the city suffered from chronic absenteeism, excessive overtime and poor response times. He implemented a data-tracking and management approach called CitiStat, inspired by the New York City Police Department’s CompStat crime analytics. Between 1999 and 2007, CitiStat saved Baltimore an estimated $350 million yet the programme cost only $400,000 per year (spent mainly on staff salaries), according to the Center for American Progress.

Related: These 4 Types Of ‘Nightmare Managers’ Are Scaring Employees Away

CitiStat required city departments to track performance metrics unique to their responsibilities. The Department of Transportation, for example, recorded how quickly it filled potholes after being alerted.

The department heads met with the CitiStat team every two weeks to review the data. If it was trending in the wrong direction, the CitiStat team and department head would brainstorm and test a solution. At the next meeting, the data would reveal whether the follow-up actions had made a difference. By 2007, the Department of Transportation was filling 97 percent of potholes within 48 hours of notification.

Other cities took note of O’Malley’s success. Mayor Adrian Fenty introduced a version called CapSTAT in the District of Columbia Government, where I learned the system. We used it to track major initiatives such as school openings.

“CapSTATs” were intense accountability meetings that gathered all the agency heads. When an initiative hit delays, there was no place to hide. The numbers, the colors (green for on track, yellow for delayed and red for behind) and mapping revealed the status of everything.

Having observed the effectiveness of CapSTAT, I wanted to create a version for Phone2Action. We called it ActionSTAT.

Why it’s different

There are different schools of thought in performance management. ActionSTAT addresses three conflicts that arise in most performance evaluation systems.

1. Team v. individual

Traditional employee reviews often happen in isolation and emphasise individual achievements. In contrast, ActionSTAT holds both the team and individual accountable by measuring how people spend their time. The system connects individual actions and goals to departmental and company goals.

This kind of “systems thinking” is hard to achieve in government but comes naturally in technology companies, which have standard measures of success. In software-as-a-service (SaaS), these could include annual recurring revenue (AAR), monthly recurring revenue (MMR) and gross retention.

For example, let’s say we ask each salesperson to make 40 calls per day. The salespeople who perform this “leading action” close more deals than those who don’t. The action appears to work, so we keep doing it. If salespeople made the 40 calls but didn’t close more deals, we’d test other leading actions. Ultimately, we trace the salespeople’s work to AAR and MMR.

2. Public v. private feedback

One of the hardest aspects of performance management is giving and receiving feedback. When a manager gives an employee feedback in private, the company doesn’t gain institutional knowledge. Only two people learn from the experience. When performance management is a team activity, a culture of continuous learning, improvement and transparency can emerge.

Phone2Action holds ActionSTATs every Thursday at 10 a.m. The meetings are open to everyone but focused on one department each week. We start ActionSTAT by reviewing a dashboard that shows the most important metrics of company health. Those include our load time, conversion rate and retention rate.

Next, we look at the department’s lagging indicators (marked green, yellow and red, just like in CapSTAT) followed by its “leading actions.” Often, we look at individual leading actions, too. The data sparks questions, conversation and feedback from across the company.

Related: 10 Tips To Motivate Employees Without Resorting To Money

Over time, a few things happen:

  1. Everyone in the company gets used to providing and receiving feedback.
  2. Everyone gets used to discussing performance publicly.
  3. Everyone sees what people do in other departments and therefore learns how each team member contributes to the company’s goals.

The health metrics never change, but how teams spend their time can. By discussing the leading actions of each department, we set and correct behaviours.

3. Actions v. goals

ActionSTAT distinguishes between how people spend their time (leading actions) and lagging indicators (goals defined by metrics). This is crucial because companies that manage solely by objectives cannot address the behaviors that drive the outcomes.

If we want to lose weight, jumping on the scale everyday won’t change anything. What we eat and how much we exercise will. The same applies to companies. If we measure lagging indicators but not the activities that influence them, we will not identify what works.

Every ActionSTAT becomes a chance to refine leading actions. If we wait one full year to evaluate an employee, we see if she hit the metrics, but we cannot correct behaviours along the way. Performance management is about continuously identifying the actions that produce desirable outcomes.

Related: ‘Let’s Be Friends’: Bad Idea When That Person Is Your Employee?

A thing of the past

Every tech company wants to be “agile,” but traditional employee reviews hinder that culture. Annual reviews exhaust managers and stress out employees who might have spent months working tirelessly – in the wrong direction. Neither the company nor the employee can afford to wait a year for the feedback.

Today, people choose work environments where they can learn continuously and understand how their actions contribute to the company’s success. Annual reviews are thing of the past.

This article was originally posted here on

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