Over the last decade, the gig economy boom has allowed professionals worldwide to switch to freelancing and build a network of international clients.
According to Upwork, 1 in 3 US workers engaged in freelance work during 2020. Some of the most successful freelancers earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year through platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal.
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10 Successful Freelancers
Here are ten successful freelancers and what they do. These freelancers have earned their place as experts in their given field with excellent track records—many have worked with the biggest companies in the world!
1. Marcos Rezende - UX designer - Canada
Marcos Rezende is a UX Designer from Ontario, Canada, with more than 13 years of experience. Marcos has worked in over 30 industry sectors for multinational organizations in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Brazil.
Some of Marcos' notable projects include apps for Ontario's COVID-19 dashboard, Urban Master Planning collaboration platform, and Reaction (kid's e-learning app), to name a few.
Marcos loves sharing his industry expertise with aspiring UX designers and regularly writes for the popular UX publication Career Foundry. Total recognizes Marcos as part of its "Top 3%" of global freelancer talent—a title given to elite freelancers in their given field.
We don't have access to Marcos' rates, but the best UX designers on Upwork earn upwards of $100 per hour. As a Toptal Top 3% freelancer, Marcos likely charges $200-$300 per hour.
2. Kathy Edens - Marketing Consultant / Freelance Copywriter - United States
Kathy Edens is a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer with over $300k platform earnings! Kathy has been self-employed as a marketing consultant and freelance copywriter for almost ten years from her home in Ohio, United States.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing and Psychology from Oregon State University, which she says "...helps me understand how to reach your target audience with words."
Kathy has ghost-written several non-fiction books on various topics, including social entrepreneurship, healthcare, real estate investing, and the cannabis industry, to name a few.
Kathy also writes web content, sales pages, email marketing content, case studies, white papers, brochures, press releases, and more. Kathy's rates start at $86 per hour for her writing and marketing services.
3. Koen van Oeveren - UX designer - Netherlands
Koen van Oeveren is a freelance UI & UX designer from North Brabant, Netherlands, with almost ten years of experience. Koen works with several design agencies in the Netherlands, designing apps, websites, and eCommerce experiences for many international brands.
4. Pascal Strasche - Product / UX designer - Germany
Pascal Strasche is a product and UX designer with more than ten years of design experience from Germany. He holds a Master of Arts in Interaction Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, both from HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
For almost a year over 2020/2021, Pascal worked as the sole product designer to design Con Cubo's SaaS tool that helps complex organizations visualize and manage teams. He's also worked with German steel giant XOM Materials to find product solutions to digitalize Germany's steel industry.
In 2019, Pascal founded Product Design Resources, a growing archive of 800+ design resources, weekly updated for the design community.
5. Paul Hunkin - Developer - New Zealand
Paul Hunkin is a freelance software consultant and developer from Tauranga, New Zealand, but currently living in Portugal.
Paul has over ten years of experience as a software developer with an impressive work history, including Google, NASA, InfoSys, and the Chinese aerospace industry leader COMAC.
He's worked with several early-stage startups designing everything from high-performance big-data systems to complex web applications to 3D rendering engines. He's also built a lot of the foundational code for independent games on Android.
Paul is a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer with over $400k in platform earnings. His rates start at $120 per hour for software development. Check out Paul's website for more about his impressive portfolio and work history.
6. Jana Galat - Writer / Brand Strategist - Canada
Jana Galat is a freelance copywriter and brand strategist from Ontario, Canada. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Management and Organizational Studies from King's University College and an Honors in Business Administration from Western University.
Jana has extensive experience writing landing pages, email campaigns, social media ads, and print materials and says, "I am obsessed with creating copy that sells..."
After several years of professional work experience, Jana went freelance in 2019 and has quickly built a reputation as a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer with over $70k in platform earnings. Jana's rates start at $100 per hour for copywriting and brand consulting.
7. Kate H. - Logo Designer / Branding Expert - United States
Kate is a freelance professional logo designer and branding expert from Maryland, United States. Kate ran her own green wedding brand which she sold to mywedding.com in 2014, allowing her to focus on helping small businesses figure out what they want (and who they are) and translate that into design.
She holds a Master's degree in Environmental Management from Yale School of The Environmental, and a J.D. in environmental law from Pace Law School.
Kate's skillset includes redesigning and updating material to make it easier to understand, building a consistent brand from a simple starting point like a logo, and creating unique logos that guarantee results.
Kate is a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer, and her rates start at $225 per hour. You can find out more about Kate on her Upwork profile.
8. Xhensila Zemblaku - Art Director - Canada
Xhensila Zemblaku is a freelance art director, UX/UI designer, and illustrator from Markham, Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University with almost ten years of experience.
Xhensila has been a freelancer for most of her professional career and earned over $400k on Upwork, completed over 150 jobs, and 4,663 hours!
Xhensila's work includes typography, print design, UX/UI design, web, and mobile design. She's a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer currently charging $200 per hour for various creative gigs.
9. Tanya Litvinova - UX/UI Designer - United States
Tanya Litvinova is a freelance UX/UI designer from New York City, United States. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising Design / Communication Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Tanya specializes in product, mobile, and web design as well as user experience flow, research, and validation.
"I have a passion to make the complex simple, shape behavior, design, plan, and strategize. Aiming for the best user experience, all the while balancing the needs of business and technology to create engaging, habit-forming digital products."
Tanya has worked with Fortune 100 & Fortune 500 companies and successfully delivered business-transforming data-driven analytics, responsive BI dashboards, enterprise web apps, and management systems. Some of Tanya's notable clients include KOCH Industries, BlackRock Financial, BCG Group, and FireEye, to name a few.
Tanya is a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer with more than $200k platform earnings. Her current rate starts at $162.50 per hour.
10. Guangming Lang - Data Scientist - United States
Guangming Lang is a freelance data scientist from Michigan, United States. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from New College of Florida and a Master of Science in Biostatistics from the University of Michigan. Guangming has also completed several Coursera courses in data science and machine learning.
Guangming has been a freelancer since 2013 and has worked across several industries, including fintech, trading, medicine, biotech, advertising, and HR.
Guangming is a Top Rated Upwork Freelancer with over $400k in platform earnings. He's completed 216 jobs on Upwork totaling 3,805 hours! Guangming's current rates start at $200 per hour.
Secure Freelancer Workflows With TeamPassword
No matter how talented or reputable the freelancers and contractors you hire, your company must use secure workflows to protect your digital assets.
Freelancers often need access to shared accounts and tools. Using a password manager is the first step to securing these accounts and platforms. You can also use a password manager to share credentials with employees, clients, and other stakeholders to ensure you never expose raw passwords via email, spreadsheets, chat apps, and other non-secure methods.
TeamPassword lets you create groups to share access with only those who need it. When they're done, revoke access with a single click. No need to change passwords every time someone leaves the team.
If you do need to change a password, TeamPassword's built-in password generator lets you create secure passwords between 12-32 characters using numbers, letters (uppercase/lowercase), and symbols.