3 Highest Paying Freelance Jobs ($1000 Per Hour)

When I first started freelancing, I got lucky. I happen to fall into one of the highest paying freelance jobs without actually researching it. But, the freelance space is way different than the “normal” job market. So, it’s important to know what freelance jobs pay the best.

To break it down, the three highest paying freelances jobs are: legal services ($96 per hour), developer ($58 per hour) and IT security specialist ($51 per hour).

And, here are some honorable mentions:

  • Copywriter ($31 per hour)
  • Online Marketer ($41 – $59 per hour)
  • Graphic Designer ($35 per hour)
  • SEO Specialist ($45 per hour)
  • Article Writer/Content Marketer ($37 per hour)
  • Game Developer ($22 – $53 per hour)

Of course, those are averages. Plenty of freelancers make way more. In fact, as a freelance developer, my standard hourly rate is $100 per hour. And, I’ve made as much as $500-$600 per hour on certain projects.

But, the highest I’ve seen personally is $1,000 per hour.

Highest Hourly Pay: $1,000 Per Hour

This is James Knight. He’s a freelance software developer and ex-Google employee. When he left Google and went freelance he, according to Bloomberg, doubled his salary and can make as much as $1,000 per hour… depending on the project.

Apparently, big companies like Airbnb, Pfizer and others are so starved for tech talent that they’ll pay this kind of money for freelance developers.

The thing to do here is research these companies. Find out which ones are hiring freelance developers, what services they’re hiring for and what programming languages they use. Then, go learn that language and put yourself out there.

What New Freelancers Make

That’s a lot of big numbers. It’s smart to look at them and use them to motivate you. But, you might be wondering what you can expect to make when you first start freelancing. Before you have a big portfolio and clout in your industry.

My rule of thumb is to take whatever the average is and cut it in half.

So, for example:

  • Legal Services: $35-$60 per hour
  • Developer: $30 per hour
  • IT Security Specialist: $25 per hour
  • Graphic Designer: $20-$25 per hour
  • Writer: $25 per hour

In fact, when I first started freelancing as a web developer, I charged $25 per hour. Which was the highest hourly rate I’d every made in my life up to that point. But, it’s pretty low on the scale of pay for freelance developers.

This lower rate will help you get some initial jobs so you can build up your portfolio and your credibility in an industry. Then, you can incrementally raise your rates. For me, I went from $25 to $50, $60, $75 and finally $100 per hour.

Freelance Jobs That Are In Demand

The other thing you have to think about is demand. Often times, the more in-demand a particular skillset is, the higher the pay you can expect. If you do a Google search for this, you’ll find a lot of opinions. But, I prefer to stick to hard numbers.

And, those are a little harder to come by. But, we do have one source. Upwork does a quarterly skills index that lists the top 20 fastest-growing skills in the freelance job market. The nice thing is it gives us an indication of what’s in-demand right now.

Which is so important, because job markets aren’t static. They’re constantly evolving and changing and what was hot a year ago might be dead, today. So, Upwork’s latest report lists the following top 20 in-demand skills:

  • U.S. Taxation
  • Hadoop
  • Robotic process automation
  • Explainer videos
  • Computer aided manufacturing
  • Financial planning
  • Urban design
  • Software documentation
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud
  • Geospatial
  • Julia development
  • Kubernetes
  • Magento
  • Employee training
  • Shopify templates
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Vue.js framework
  • Leadership development
  • Architectural rendering
  • Podcasting

If you’re like me, there’s a few surprises on there: explainer videos, Shopify templates, podcasting. I don’t know that I’d have guessed any of those if asked. Which, again, is why this report is so handy. Also, notice how many are IT/development related.

The Best Freelance Websites For Beginners

The last big question is “where do I find those jobs?” In case you don’t know, there’s a lot of controversy around this question. Someone will have a bad experience with a site, for whatever reason, and it’s suddenly the worst site ever.

But, let me tell you my opinion.

First, the best website to get freelance jobs from… is your own. That might not be the answer you thought you wanted, but it’s the truth. No matter what freelancing platform you end up using, you should always be building your own site…

And, working toward getting all your freelance jobs from it.

You’ll make more. The jobs you get will be more in line with what you actually want to do. It’ll become more consistent. It’s less competitive. And, the biggest thing… YOU own it. I spend a whole section in my Upwork course talking about this. It’s that important.

That said, freelancing platforms can give you a jump-start when you’re first getting started. I personally used Upwork to kick off my freelance career. So, here’s my list of top freelance websites for beginners:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • LinkedIn
  • PeoplePerHour
  • Guru

Each one has its pros and cons, but these are some of the largest freelancing (and/or jobs) websites on the planet that are open to new freelancers. My recommendation is you create and account on all of them. Try getting work on each. And then, focus on the one that ends up bringing you the most work.

Finally, as I mentioned, if you decide to use Upwork, I’ve got an 8-hour course where I show you how to build your profile to rank higher in Upwork’s search, how to consistently find the highest paying jobs and best clients, how to bid on those jobs to get hired and all the little tactics I’ve learned for getting jobs on Upwork. You can learn how to get free access to that course by going here.

You might also like

Real-world alchemy

Question: what’s a simple way to pandemic proof your business? Or what about the next recession? There’s always one around the corner for one reason

Read More »


That’s been the top, so far. The highest I’ve hit on Skillshare. And that IS just Skillshare. Doesn’t count Udemy, sales on my own website,

Read More »
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

The simple secrets to high-paying freelance clients

What makes clients willing to pay $5,000, $10,000 even $20,000 and up for your services? Download and install my mobile app and I’ll show you. It’s free. Just click the button below:

Clients Like:

Inc. Magazine Logo
Lewis Howes Logo
Ray Edwards Logo


Jason Rumley

Jason Rumley

John has a habit of over-delivering on the expectations he sets up. That’s why he’s the best.

Steve Dimmick

Steve Dimmick

John has provided expert knowledge and advice on multiple occasions that have helped me better serve my clients. John is a Rockstar!

Chris Aitken

He significantly improved my site through his expert knowledge of PHP, CSS and Javascript. Would definitely recommend John to others.

Oliver Wainwright

Oliver Wainwright

I’m a fan. I have completed several of John’s courses. I find him very knowledgeable and he has a great delivery.

Sukh Plaha

John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!

Bradley Smith

John and I have worked together on numerous projects. John is very quick and efficient and was a pleasure to work with.

Bob Patterson

Not only is John a very talented programmer and developer, he is also an excellent communicator. He has a talent for taking complex subjects and communicating them in terms that anyone can understand. This is a rare combination. This ability has enabled me to take my skills and knowledge to the next level. Thank you John for for all that you do.

Lori Grant

John did an outstanding job on my project. I highly recommend him and look forward to working with him on future projects.

Ray Edwards

I recommend John every chance I get. If every person I worked with were as committed to excellence, punctuality, value, and unquestionable integrity… the world would be a better place. Highest recommendation.

Xan Barksdale

Xan Barksdale

Very professional worker who is extremely knowledgable in WordPress and Wishlist Member. I would definitely hire again.

Daniel Mohlendick

On the Freelancing on Upwork course: “This is by far the best course i have watched on Skillshare!! Thank you so much.”

Thabo Motsoahae

John is one of the best instructors I have come across, I learned a lot from his online tutorials.

Andrew Malone

Andrew Malone

John Morris is exceptional in his ability to give focused insight into Freelancing and starting one’s business. His direct methods inspire confidence in his honesty.

Aaron Gott

Aaron Gott

John has a particular knack for the development and training of others.