A Freelance Gig to Consider: Trendspotter

 Also known as trend forecasting, this not to be confused with an influencer but there are some similarities. While this title does deal with visuals, ideal candidates must also possess analytical skills, as well as the ability to create reports based on historical data and cyclical information.  If you're wondering where to start as a freelancer or career changer, your personal blog can be a great starting point.

Instead of catering to the consumer first, and then other companies that want to pay you through ads and endorsements, you will do the opposite here.  The reason being is that consumers don't always care to hear the backstory of things and usually want to hear what's good so they can buy ASAP.  Companies, on the other hand, want to go over the data, history, and other information that will support why they should invest in a trend.

The above video covers four types of trends but how deep you go is up to your level of expertise.  You may want to build a strong influencer following before while learning consumer behavior, marketing, and psychology on your own.  So far, I've seen no hard educational requirements but if you don't have paid experience as a buyer, you have your work cut out for you.

Get to know organizations and agencies that can supply information about your desired industry.  Although fashion is the industry most associated with trendspotting, food, home products, and even technology want to know what's the new thing that will interest people in the near future.  Without the facts, companies have to deal with the expense of product fails.

Orbitz soda (1997).  It sounded cool at the time but not long enough to stay. @Wikimedia

As far as pay goes, there's nothing to be found officially but if you don't have a college degree but a strong grasp of your subject, I'd say start high (maybe $50 an hour with a minimum number of billable hours).  If you have a relevant degree AND experience, you can probably start with low three figures per hour under the same terms.  If you find yourself negotiating downward, find out what additional marketing or statistical services you can include so that you reach your desired pay.

If you're in the food industry, there's a definite need based on one common factor.  Every year, new restaurants open but few go past the five-year mark.  Failure can happen to a food truck or a five-star operation run by anyone with experience and resources.  

On the other hand, people want to know why some weird food businesses succeed and the proprietors have little to no experience.  A good trendspotter can predict and explain why milkshakes loaded with everything from brownie bits to rainbow candy cookie pieces have been the food rage for the past few years.  Small-time operators may be willing to pay fees instead of gamble their life savings on something that makes sense only in their heads.