The Top 5 Industries for the Self-Employed: Where Human Creativity Trumps AI

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By Cristin Monnich – Associate Director, Independent Contractor Solutions

Thinking about becoming your own boss? The allure of a freelance work arrangement is compelling, particularly with many post-pandemic remote work policies making it easier to integrate freelancers. But in an age where artificial intelligence (AI) is encroaching on some professions, which industries truly shine for the self-employed and stand out as most resilient? 

Drawing from market trends and our experience supporting clients within the creative and technical sectors, we spotlight the top five hottest industries for freelancers.    

Web Design and Development

As businesses pivot to digital, the demand for adept web designers and developers has skyrocketed. The digital transformation of businesses demands personalized, emotionally resonant web experiences, something outside of AI’s reach.   

  • Earning Potential: Depending on expertise, an independent contractor (IC) in web design and development can earn between $50 to $150 per hour. Those with specialized skills may charge even higher rates. 
  • The Future: With a 43% YoY growth in 2022, anticipate a 16% growth over the next decade, driven by the e-commerce surge and personalized online branding. 

Writing and Content Creation

Every digital touchpoint needs compelling and credible content. Writers craft these narratives, making them indispensable and easy to understand; and while AI can generate content, the depth, nuance and emotion of human writers remain unmatched.

  • Earning Potential: Niche and complexity determine rates in this space, with earnings ranging from $0.10 to $1 per word. Those in specialized areas can command even higher premium rates.
  • The Future: Based on a LinkedIn pulse report, the global digital content creation market size was valued at an astounding USD 16096.52 million and is expected to expand globally at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5%.

Marketing and Social Media

Digital marketing’s dynamic landscape requires agility and innovation — precisely what freelancers bring to the table – with the most sought-after skills (according to Upwork) being Social Media Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Strategy, SEO and B2B Marketing. While AI can analyze data, crafting compelling, culturally sensitive narratives requires a human touch and relatability.

  • Earning Potential: Based on specialization, earnings can span from $40 to $200 per hour. 
  • The Future: According to Forbes, the social media advertising market is projected to soar to an impressive $207.10 Billion this year, with a 4.53% annual growth rate projected to take the market even higher to $274.30 billion four years from now.  

Graphic Design

Brands seek distinct visual identities in a crowded marketplace. Graphic designers answer this call, translating brand culture into captivating visuals. While AI can produce designs, the intuitive understanding of the brand ethos and emotionally charged visuals lies within the human domain.

  • Earning Potential: Rates can vary, with experienced designers earning between $25 to $150 per hour, exceeding this threshold in some regions for those top-tier designers with impressive portfolios.
  • The Future: As branding and visual aesthetics gain prominence, we can anticipate a 3% growth over the next five years. There are many niche outliers. For example, according to the freelancer platform Upwork, demand for 3D animation grew 44% year over year.

Photography and Videography

Photography and videography are as much about capturing moments as they are about interpreting them, a distinctly human skill. This industry captures and crafts narratives, in the moment, that resonate with their audience. 

  • Earning Potential: Depending on the project’s scope and the artist’s specialization rates can range from $500 to $5000 per gig, with freelance photographer income having increased 21% over the last five years. To achieve the highest potential, photographers and videographers will need to take care to develop a style that is uniquely theirs and create an impressive online portfolio that demonstrates their unique expertise. 
  • The Future: The dominance of visual platforms and social media hints at a very stable demand surge in the coming years. 

Support for Compliance and Success

In today’s dynamic business environment, accurate categorization of freelancers is vital for compliance with tax laws, contributions and legal regulations. This can help you mitigate potential compliance risks and receive the benefits and protections you are entitled to. 

GoGlobal’s IC Solutions offers a compelling answer to this challenge. Our international scalability allows freelancers to swiftly and seamlessly engage with clients, regardless of their geographical location. We conduct a comprehensive compliance evaluation to recommend the correct classification of ICs, enabling you to make well-informed decisions while remaining compliant with legal and regulatory standards. 

In addition to our compliance evaluation, GoGlobal offers Agent of Record (AOR) services in support of contracting, engagement and timely payment of qualified Independent Contractors. For those workers who may not meet the criteria, we offer consultative feedback and guidance to help rectify any resolvable issues.  

Embark on the Freelance Journey With Us 

GoGlobal serves as your comprehensive, one-stop solution for global AOR and freelancing needs. With services available in 52 countries and more locations scheduled to follow, our IC Solutions offering is truly comprehensive and far-reaching.  

Our team of IC Solutions experts comprises industry-renowned professionals who have successfully guided clients through state and federal audits and provided crucial support to numerous Fortune 500 companies during the transition from startup phases to mature solutions. 

As you navigate your journey to independent work, keep an eye out: we’re gearing up to share insights on the best countries for freelancers to establish themselves.  

The future of self-employment is not just bright — it’s booming. 

Check out the details for GoGlobal IC Solutions or contact us to learn more about how our specialized services can help you navigate the journey of self-employment.