5 low-cost + remote freelance business ideas for creatives

You have an abundance of creative talents just waiting for you to reap the benefits from them.

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June 9, 2023


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Ever since I dove into remote working in 2020, I always felt like we creatives needed a little bit more space held in the world of monetizable skills. We’re so used to spending hours of unpaid time sitting in audition waiting rooms, waiting for our music to be finished, or creating beautiful art that could be shared with others.

So, why not jump into some work that will support your path to creative and financial freedom?

How to start your freelancing journey: an overview

(We’ll get to more tangible examples later!)

Today, we’re exploring a plethora of free and remote freelance business ideas that’ll inspire you to unleash your creative potential while working on your own terms… all without a big startup cost like other businesses would require.

Before starting on your freelancing business journey, let’s lay out a few foundational steps for you to get started:

1. Identify your passion.

Take several moments (or days, or weeks) to reflect on your creative strengths and interests. What truly makes your heart sing outside of performing and making art? Whether it’s graphic design, writing, photography, or something entirely unique, discovering your passion will fuel your freelance business.

If you don’t know this, it’s totally fine. Try a few on for size that interest you and see how well they fit for a few weeks or months. I found during 2020, I tried so many different avenues before eventually delving into freelance writing, and even still, as my career path shifts and flows, it’s still constantly changing, based on the niche that I’m working with, the topics at hand, and the work I’m willing to do (and the work types I’ve released).

Deya helped me so much when starting my freelancing journey! I highly recommend bingeing her channel when you’re just getting started. She has incredible insights that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

2. Define your niche. Hint: It’s waaaay simpler than you think.

A lot of people love to say that the riches are in the niches, but I like to push back on that.

When you’re getting started on something and you’re totally new to it how in the world will you be able to identify a niche if you’re still discovering who you are?

In fact, I already have your niche right in my pocket: it’s you. Look around and see what you love doing already, and how you’d implement it into a freelance business idea.

Have you found yourself loving to create beautiful color and font patterns but also having a skill for coding? You might want to get into freelance web design. As a beginner in your new freelance career, you probably won’t have a robust portfolio yet, so will need to talk with all potential clients, no matter what their field is, so you can learn what you love and don’t love about the graphic design, coding, or client-management element of that particular niche.

If after one client, you’ve learned that you’re not a fan of being a freelance web designer, then you have every right to shift and meld into a multifaceted creative career path that you both excel in and love!

3. Build your portfolio.

As a creative professional, your portfolio is your calling card, and what helps clients get a quick glimpse of what you have to offer. But what if you’re just breaking into your little realm of creativity and don’t quite have the experience to back yourself up? You can create your own portfolio without having any previous clients, by creating mock projects!

The thing about freelancing is that potential clients want to see what you’re capable of. Showcasing your work doesn’t require you to have worked with anyone in the past!

Say you want to be a social media manager, but haven’t planned anyone’s feed before. You can still create images and reels on your own without having published them, by sharing a link to a Canva or Google folder to the creations you’ve made.

Or, better yet, create your own Instagram account and start showcasing your creative skills in social media marketing right then and there!

This is the same for if you want to work in social media data analytics by creating mock metrics of a made-up social media account and outlining the action steps showing that you understand what they’re saying and the story they’re telling, event planning by plan your own mock vacation and design how it’s presented your with a professional stamp, and heck, even as an interior design consultant by design your own home or create some mock designs on a platform like Spoak.

This isn’t lying, because you’re not necessarily saying that these are real clients! You’re simply showcasing what you can do.

Related: The 5 best creative apps: artful sharing across the digital realm

What you need to know about freelance job boards

Now that you’re ready to embark on your freelancing journey, it’s time to explore the world of freelance job boards.

If you’ve read up about freelance business ideas before, you might have heard people say that freelance job boards “take your money!” or “devalue the true price of your work.”

And while both of those statements may be true, people tend to forget a fundamental truth about freelance job boards: they’re, more or less, free leads, that you really only need to pay for when you get the job. Plus, unlike cold emailing, you know that people on Upwork are actually looking for talent, not sitting around and needing to get convinced to pay you for services!

Take Upwork, for instance, which is where I got my start in freelance writing.

Sure, I could have sat around, saying “Upwork is taking X% of my income!” But that would have left me jobless and without any place to find new customers.

There’s a sense of humility that I think every freelancer needs to have in order to truly make it, and it’s the understanding that we need to start small and scrappy to prove ourselves. So, I hopped on Upwork, and applied to $15, $20 jobs that would take me 3-4 hours to do.

Did I think I was only worth a few dollars an hour? At that time, I was sacrificing my time for building credibility, so yes, that credibility booster was worth spending a few low-paid hours on.

As I continued taking on inexpensive, one-off jobs, I gained more and more 5-star reviews from customers, showing my work’s credibility more and more.

And working freelance and making more of what I did full-time was totally worth the transaction fee that they charged.

Now, I’ve had clients come directly to me, without my even needing to look for jobs on the platform. I also have a steady stream of clients already, many of which I found from Upwork, but the point still stands true:

Be humble, and freelance work will start becoming more abundant.

Now that we got some of the basics out of the way, here are our top picks for freelance business ideas specifically for creatives! As visionaries, multihyphenates, and artists, I believe we all have many, many creative resources in our toolkit that, when taken advantage of to their fullest potential, can help us become financially abundant, full-time creatives.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, so if you think of any other ideas that I missed, definitely comment below!

1. Content writing/copywriting ✍️

This is where I got my start, and honestly, it’s been a dream. ?

As a freelance writer, you’ll be able to offer blog writing, website copy, and even social media copy to businesses and brands. Plus, being a writer isn’t just about having good writing skills– that can come with time. There’s also a strategy to it to ensure you’re optimizing content for SEO, or search engine optimization, even if it’s not for blogs, that really takes a few evenings of YouTube videos or a few mini online courses here and there to really understand.

And as people start discussing more artificial intelligence support systems in the near future, I’ve been approached by a few people simply saying, “Hey, do you write for social media/blogs, because I/a member of our team is currently doing it but they really don’t want to be!”

Many people don’t want to touch a certain element that they know they’re not good at. For me, it’s math. For many, it’s content writing. Take advantage of what people don’t want to do, even if you think it’s a simple skill. Remember: your creativity is leverage, and your natural problem-solving skills and abilities can make you money to complement and support your creative lifestyle. ✨

Being a freelance writer can also break down into particular categories: a freelance copywriter, which may or may not focus on specific, more technical copy (although people tend to use the term interchangeably now), a UX content writer, or a blog writer, which is my favorite because it’s typically very ongoing work.

What you’ll need to know or learn

  • How to create a beginning, middle, and end to something as long as a blog post or as short as web copy or a social media status.
  • How to find and cite credible sources that are trustworthy.
  • How to navigate Google Drive or another basic cloud-based document system
  • How to follow basic SEO guidelines, like implementing keywords, talking around a keyphrase, and adapting to different SEO editing tools like Clearscope or Surfer. I learned everything I needed to know about SEO from the writer’s standpoint from YouTube; it wasn’t until 2023 that I took a really robust SEO course to excel into the next level of freelancing and passive income, but most businesses don’t expect freelance copywriters to be expert SEO strategists, and thus have a specialist come in and either consult a keyword strategy, create a content calendar to follow or even write a blog outline for you.

Who it’s great for

  • Introverts or creatives who’d prefer to work independently for their freelance business
  • People who understand the importance of thorough and credible sources when writing an article
  • Creatives who have the ability to templatize their work through standard SEO practices (if needed!)
  • Creatives who believe they either have excellent writing skills or who are willing and excited to learn!
  • Fast typers

2. Social media marketing and management ?

As a natural creative, understanding social media is a little bit like directing a play. By looking at the overarching piece of art, you’re extracting the most important parts of it to highlight so audience members resonate with it truthfully and deeply.

Instead of a play, though, it’s a business or brand, that wants to infuse their social media platform with all the most special elements of their business that make people go, “I want that!”

As a social media manager, you’ll be responsible for developing content calendars, interacting with followers, and sometimes even being the content creator, designing graphics and creating reels that showcase to increase engagement, grow follower accounts, and ultimately make more sales (different brands tend to have different goals).

Embrace the ever-evolving world of social media and become an indispensable asset to businesses in need of a vibrant online presence.

What you’ll need to know or learn

  • The power of a content calendar and how it can help organize your entire social media schedule.
  • Different social media platforms and how to optimize each for engagement and reach.
  • How to use Canva or Adobe to create graphics.
  • How to use CapCut, Instagram reels itself, or another short-form video editing platform to create reel content.
  • What a target audience is and how to create content that’s relevant to them.
  • How to view basic Instagram analytics and draw conclusions based on that.
  • How to package social media management responsibilities, like planning, content creation, and distribution (posting) into a comprehensive package (it’s easy to get lost in spending hours engaging with commenters if you don’t have a set guideline in place for your services.

Who it’s great for

  • Visual thinkers who can spot a powerful social media platform and extract what they like to execute it themselves
  • People who love playing around with basic graphic design tools like Canva to create graphics and branded content pieces
  • Creatives who love following social media market trends like popular songs and reels!

3. Virtual assistant services ?

If you consider yourself a generalist and willing to take on a bunch of tasks like calendar management, ordering, organizing, and taking meeting notes (to name a few) then you might consider joining other virtual assistants who are making a living from assisting busy professionals 100% remotely!

I particularly like the role of virtual assistants (VAs) because you’re likely getting a full view of how an entrepreneur is running their business, giving you some great business ideas for how you’d like to run your own creative work (and some things to note that you wouldn’t want to carry over when you grow your creative side).

What you’ll need to know or learn

  • Administrative skills, like data entry, calendar management, and making travel arrangements. Depending on your client, you could be helping them with their YouTube video creation, email marketing campaigns, and digital marketing services if they’re looking to build their brand. Or, you could be taking on more personable tasks, like ordering lunch, coordinating after-school activities, or even planning their own schedule so they can have a work-life balance.
  • Project management and organizational tech and tools, like Asana, Notion, Trello, Google Calendar, and other tools that might be needed to make your job easier. As mentioned, you don’t technically need a particular virtual assistant training or schooling to begin, but if you’re not familiar with these tools, it might behoove you to invest in an online course to teach you how to let these tools support you.
  • Soft skills, like being helpful, empathetic, and personable. I don’t mean to water this idea down, but when you’re a virtual assistant, you’re sometimes in both front-facing and back-end roles. In front-facing roles, your client will need to trust you to have an outgoing, friendly demeanor when making orders and on the backend, they’ll need to trust you enough to keep you in charge of passwords, logins, addresses, and otherwise confidential information.

Who it’s great for

  • Outgoing creatives who love being a support system and adhering to preexisting organizational structures.
  • Self-disciplined workers who know how to make the most of their own hours and time spent working.
  • Organized and detail-oriented workers who will catch mistakes and thrive in paying attention to detail and organization through streamlined processes, task management, and being a key stakeholder in making sure things are running smoothly.
  • Versatility, so you offer multiple VA-based freelance services for your clients and showcase a multitude of skill sets.

4. YouTube editing ?

If the type of work you want to do lives more in the video editing realm rather than the writing realm, then there are a lot of creators and brands looking for video editors to help them create consistent content for their platforms!

Social media managers are typically in charge of actually planning out the content calendar; in many instances, they’re not particularly in the weeds with actually creating content, a lot of which is now video. If short-form videos are your go-to, then you can definitely start by offering Instagram reel video edits!

If you’re familiar with larger video editing platforms like Adobe (or aren’t opposed to taking an online course or who on how it works), you can also leverage your video editing skills for editing creators’ YouTube videos.

What you’ll need to know or learn

  • Short-form video editing through CapCut or Instagram reels (or a similar platform)
  • How to use Adobe or another more robust video editing platform
  • What types of niches and clients do you want to work with, and what special video editing skills do you need to hone when advertising your service (can you do animations? or transitions?)? Videos are all about storytelling, so many creators are looking to make their videos more engaging with on-screen text, transitions, and graphics to help viewers follow along.

Who it’s great for

  • People who know how to tell a visual story with shots they’re given (since you’ll be working remotely, you’ll have to work with the shots you have to create a proper story and serve the message of the piece)
  • A love for video editing technology or a willingness to learn new video editing software and invest in equipment
  • A creative who doesn’t take critique and edits personally– as with many projects, your first draft will likely not be your last draft, and you’ll need to make adjustments to learn your client’s preferences while also instilling your unique contribution to it.5. Voiceover artistryIf you’ve trained in any sort of voice and speech work, then you already have leverage in this industry: the power of your voice. And if you’re willing to invest in some robust voiceover tools like microphones, some noise dampeners, and a little room to create your mini studio, you’re even more set up for your freelancing journey as a voice-over artist.
    Through Upwork and other freelance marketplaces, expect yourself to find lots of corporate and business clients, at least at first (rather than audiobooks or creative voiceovers). I’ve personally found that what tends to pay the most has been businesses that make the most– finance, tech, etc.

5. Voiceover artistry ?️

What you’ll need to know or learn

  • How to use your voice specifically for voiceover work, versatility, and adapting its approach when you receive feedback.
  • How to understand the tone of a piece and tell its story through the voice.
  • How to collaborate directly with the client or director of the voiceover, including giving lots of samples when being asked and shifting your approach based on the desired tone. Remember, as much as we believe in our own approach, to a point, the client is always right, and it’s important that you’re able to honor and serve their vision just as they dreamt of it.

Who it’s great for

  • Artists who know the proper vocal techniques to have colorful and flexible approaches when needed (the technique is also important so you’re keeping your voice healthy and not getting hoarse)
  • Vocal ownership and control, through mastering vocal techniques like projection, tone, diction, and attitude, and making your own educated decisions based on what you feel is best needed for a project.
  • Script interpretation, so you’re fully understanding not only what you’re saying, but the underlying intention behind it. Why are you saying what you’re saying, who is it to, and what do you wish to convey to this content?
  • Self-recording and editing skills, so you can fully take ownership of the entire process from start to finish. Starting a freelance career has always left me wanting to make the most of my skills and time, and save the outsourcing for later, when I’m making an income to do so. Plus, when you have this experience, you’ll better give direction if or when you hire someone else to do the editing work.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some good freelancing ideas?

Focus on freelance business ideas that don’t require a big start-up cost. Some low-cost service-based businesses include being a content writer, social media manager, video editor or virtual assistant, or by leveraging what you’ve learned in the past (as a coder, graphic designer), to monetize.

How to make $1,000 a month freelancing?

I’d start by getting yourself on Upwork, watching some YouTube videos on how to build your profile and start taking small, incremental jobs to get good reviews. Once you’ve done some of those, you can start charging a more reasonable rate, learning with every experience and making money in the meantime!

What freelance business can I do?

Focus on what skills you can leverage. Did you go to college for communications? There are tons of freelance jobs to get from just that– as a writer, editor, designer, VA, and content manager. The options are endless– it’s all about finding what you’ve had in your back pocket and using it.

I hope you loved this guide for letting yourself explore the freelance industry a little bit more. There are truly so many freelance businesses that you can create just from the experience you have as a performer– please don’t let your wonderful skills go to waste.

As you build up your freelance business, you’ll constantly grow and learn more about yourself, while making the most of your time so you can start investing more in your performing and art creation. We’re rooting for you. ?

Creative Entrepreneurship




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5 low-cost + remote freelance business ideas for creatives


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