15 high-paying freelance side hustles

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15 high-paying freelance side hustles that can help people earn additional money during a recession

Luis Alvarez Images Many small business owners sought second jobs for the additional income. Luis Alvarez Images

Some people adopted side hustles during lockdowns as a way to keep busy, while many sought second jobs for the additional income, said Luke Pardue, an economist at the small business payroll and benefits platform Gusto. 

In fact, entrepreneurs were especially interested in starting side gigs, as % of the small-business owners who use Gusto said they needed side hustles to keep their companies afloat, Pardue said. And that number increases when looking at entrepreneurs of color: Fifty-three percent of Black business owners and % of Asian American and Pacific Islander founders took on side hustles to support their main businesses, Pardue added.

The surge in side hustles is partly caused by new entrepreneurs who need to rely on additional sources of income to cover the businesses that they just started, he said.

But small-business owners aren t the only ones on the hunt for freelance work. In fact, % of the US workforce did some freelancing this year, according to Upwork, which surveyed , professionals. With the onset of new financial stressors — like a possible upcoming recession and inflation impacting the price of goods — a side hustle may seem even more necessary for some. 

There s a huge crop of new businesses that just started and aren t able to access those funds, Pardue added. 

If you have the skills, choosing the right side hustle could ensure the financial health of your business. Below are the highest-paying freelance side hustles and the average hourly Upwork rates, according to the platform.

courtesy of Jones-Reese Iyana Jones-Reese is a freelance photographer and social media manager courtesy of Jones-Reese

Some freelancers say the extra work helped them find financial freedom and a fulfilling career. In fact, Iyana Jones-Reese, a full-time account coordinator at a PR firm, said freelancing as a social media manager and photographer is a way for her to try out different skills and hobbies while earning money.

One thing that was really helpful was looking at how much I make an hour with my full-time job, she said, adding that she based her mid-level rates on that figure.

And starting a business at all may not be the right path for everyone, as Insider previously reported. Entrepreneurship is glamorized through social media and pop culture, but the reality often involves working long hours, earning irregular pay, and experiencing intense pressure. However, freelancers experience similar problems, sources told Insider. 

I ve been an entrepreneur for three years, and I haven t made a million dollars yet, Robreauna Ruiz, who runs cosmetic companies Fash N Lash and Curl Candi, told Davis. 

Meanwhile, traditional -to- jobs can provide workers regular paychecks, healthcare, and paid sick leave. 

There are certain companies out there that do care about their employees and have amazing benefits, Heaven Williams, who balances working for a homeless shelter in the day and running a candle business, told Davis. If you find something that you love to do and it s a nine-to-five, there is nothing wrong with it.

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