Are you looking for a job where you can be your own boss? If so, you may want to consider becoming self-employed. Being self-employed has many benefits, including freedom, flexibility, and the ability to make your own hours. This article discusses the top 15 jobs for people who want to be self-employed. If you are ready to take control of your career, read on!
Table of contents: Top self-employed jobs
- Graphic designer
- Digital marketer
- Freelance writer
- Social media specialist
- Event planner
- Business consultant
- Project manager
- Legal consultant
- Copy editor
- Interior designer
1. Graphic designer
Roles and responsibilities: A graphic designer designs things like logos, pictures, and websites. They may also help create advertisements, elements for web design, brochures, and more. To run your own graphic design small business, you’ll need a strong understanding of various design software programs, color theory, and creative design. You should also be able to market yourself and your services.
Flexibility: As a freelance graphic designer, you can be an independent contractor or set up your own business. There are part-time and full-time graphic design positions available and remote opportunities are prevalent.
Pay rates: The average salary for a graphic designer is $47,787.
2. Digital marketer
Roles and responsibilities: A digital marketer helps businesses promote their products or services online. Digital marketing takes place through marketing channels such as email, social media, web design, and search engine optimization (SEO). Many individuals in this career path are small business owners who make their own schedules and use their websites and work portfolios to attract clients.
A successful digital marketer must be well-versed in various digital marketing tools and strategies. You should also have strong written and verbal communication skills.
Flexibility: There are full-time, part-time, and freelance opportunities available. A digital marketer can find numerous job opportunities to put their skills to good use. Get hired as a digital marketer with Upwork.
Pay rates: The average salary for a digital marketer is $72,000 a year.
Roles and responsibilities: A photographer takes pictures for a living. They may take photos of people, places, things, or events. To be a successful photographer, you must have an eye for composition and light. You should also be familiar with different types of photography equipment and software. As long as you have the skill set and an amazing portfolio, you could get started right out of high school.
Flexibility: While there is a lot of earning potential in this field, some photographers do photography as a side hustle. Photographers who make it a career typically work full time and may have to travel for their job. Some photographers are self-employed and run their own businesses. Find the best photography jobs on Upwork today.
Pay rates: The average salary for a photographer is $67,588 a year.
4. Freelance writer
Roles and responsibilities: A freelance writer writes for a living. A freelance writer could be a blogger, a copywriter, an author, or someone who creates web content, ad copy, etc. A successful freelance writer must have strong writing skills. You should also be familiar with different style guides, such as APA and MLA, and know how to research and fact-check your work. Get started with freelance writing by pitching your services to businesses or setting up a website to attract clients.
Flexibility: Many freelance writers are self-employed, work from home, and determine their own working hours.
Pay rates: The average salary for a freelance writer is $40,452 a year.
5. Social media specialist
Roles and responsibilities: A social media specialist helps businesses promote their products or services on social media. Promoting your business can be done through channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more.
A successful social media specialist must have strong written and verbal communication skills. You should also be familiar with different social media platforms and know how to use them for marketing purposes. If you also have the skills of a digital marketer or photographer, you will find numerous social media job opportunities to put your skills to good use.
Flexibility: There are full-time, part-time, and freelance social media opportunities available, and many social media specialists work from home.
Pay rates: The average salary for a social media specialist is $46,943 a year.
Roles and responsibilities: A developer creates software or applications. They may work in web development, mobile app development, e-commerce development, game development, and more.
A successful developer must have strong coding skills. You should also be familiar with different programming languages and know how to use them to create software or applications. You can create your own self-employed business and make your own schedule, or join a company as a freelancer or employee. Find a job as a web developer on Upwork.
Flexibility: Many web developers can work remotely. Though San Francisco and San Jose are the top cities for web developers to live and work, web developers can work from almost anywhere as long as they have a good Internet connection and office setup.
Pay rates: The average salary for a developer is $60,859 a year. Learn more about the average hourly charge for web developers on Upwork.
7. Event planner
Roles and responsibilities: An event planner helps businesses or individuals plan and execute events. This can include weddings, birthdays, corporate functions, parties, and more. A successful event planner must have strong organizational skills. You should also be familiar with different types of budgeting and planning software, such as Excel and Google Sheets.
As an event planner, you must be able to multitask and handle last-minute changes. Event planning might be the career path for you if you feel like your best self when you’re planning, love working with people, enjoy multitasking, and perform well under pressure. Check out Upwork for the latest event planning self-employment opportunities.
Flexibility: Event coordinators who run their own businesses sometimes depend on word-of-mouth, recommendations, and strong community connections. They can also market their services to the public. They often travel to different locations for planning and location scouting. They usually need to be physically present during the event, although they may be able to do most planning remotely.
Pay rates: The average salary for an event planner is $61,566 a year. The earning potential varies, and there are busier times of the year like holidays, graduation, and wedding season.
Roles and responsibilities: A tutor helps students with their studies, usually in specific subject areas. To be a successful tutor, you must be knowledgeable in the subject area or areas you want to teach. You should also be patient and able to adapt your teaching methods to different learning styles.
If you’re interested in becoming a tutor, start by reaching out to family and friends to see if they know anyone who could benefit from your services. You can also search online for tutoring opportunities on Upwork, or advertise your services on social media or online classified websites.
Flexibility: Tutors can work with students of all ages, from elementary to high school and college. Some tutors work for educational institutions, while others are independent contractors who control their own schedules. It’s a great side hustle to start right out of high school or it can be a full-time career or small business idea. Tutors can meet their clients in person or virtually.
Pay rates: The average hourly rate for a tutor is $18.34 an hour. However, the pay can vary by experience and frequency.
9. Business consultant
Roles and responsibilities: A business consultant helps businesses improve their operations. This can include developing marketing plans, improving customer service, streamlining processes, and more.
A successful business consultant must have strong problem-solving skills. You should also be familiar with different types of software for creating presentations, such as Excel and PowerPoint. As a business consultant, you must be able to multitask and have a deep understanding of business environments. You’ll also need a strong quantitative and analytical skill set. Find part-time and full-time business consultant opportunities on Upwork.
Flexibility: Business consultants can work with small businesses like real estate agents or large corporations like Lyft, eBay, Amazon, Google, and more. Some business consultants are self-employed, while others work for consulting firms.
Pay rates: The average salary for a business consultant is $105,534 a year.
10. Project manager
Roles and responsibilities: A project manager helps businesses plan, execute, and track projects. This can include construction projects, marketing campaigns, social media, product launches, and more.
To be a successful project manager, you must have strong organizational skills. You should also be familiar with Excel, Google Sheets, and major project management software. If you’re not sure this is the right career path for you, consider meeting with a career coach to see if your skill set is a good match. If you’re already a project manager and looking for your next job opportunity, Upwork can help.
Flexibility: Project managers can work in various industries, such as construction, IT, and marketing. Some project managers are self-employed, while others work for companies.
Pay rates: The average salary for a project manager is $92,353 a year.
11. Legal consultant
Roles and responsibilities: This is not your average side hustle like ride-sharing with Uber or working with DoorDash as a delivery driver. Legal consulting is a highly skilled field in legal work. A legal consultant helps businesses with their legal needs. This can include drafting contracts, researching laws, and advising on legal matters.
To be a successful legal consultant, you need a bachelor’s degree, a law degree, professional training, a license to practice law, and experience in the field. You should also have strong research and writing skills, and be familiar with Microsoft Office and major contract drafting software. If you’re already a legal consultant looking for work, find jobs on Upwork.
Flexibility: Legal consultants can work in various industries, such as law, business, and consulting. Some legal consultants have their own self-employed businesses offering law consulting services, while others work for companies.
Pay rates: The average salary for a legal consultant is $101,765 a year.
Roles and responsibilities: Do you know more than one language? If you do, there’s a good chance you can find work as a translator. A translator converts written text from one language to another.
To be a successful translator, you must have strong reading and writing skills in both languages. You should also be familiar with different types of software, such as Microsoft Office and Google Translate. You may need a degree in linguistics or translation, depending on the type of work you want to do.
Flexibility: Translators can work in various industries, such as education, business, and government. Many translators are independent contractors and can work from home. Some translators are self-employed, while others work for companies that provide translation services. You can find translator jobs online with Upwork.
Pay rates: The average salary for a translator is $55,416 per year.
13. Copy editor
Roles and responsibilities: A copy editor edits written text for grammar, spelling, and style, and may also review content and fact-check. This can include books, articles, website content, and more.
To be a successful copy editor, you must have strong editing skills and be very detail-oriented. You should also be familiar with different types of software, such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs. You may need a degree in English or journalism, depending on the type of work you want to do.
Flexibility: Copy editors can work in various industries, such as publishing, journalism, and marketing. Some copy editors are self-employed, while others work for companies that provide editing services. Many copy editors are independent contractors who work from home. Some can even make their own schedule and plan working hours around their preferences. Find the latest copy editing jobs on Upwork.
Pay rates: The average annual salary for a copy editor is $54,375.
Roles and responsibilities: A bookkeeper keeps track of a company’s financial transactions. This can include invoices, receipts, and payments. Bookkeepers can work in various industries, such as accounting, finance, and business administration.
To be a successful bookkeeper, you must have strong math skills and be detail-oriented. You should also be familiar with different types of software, such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel. You may need a degree in accounting or business, depending on the type of work you want to do.
If you’re a small business owner such as a personal trainer, grocery delivery driver, or child care provider, you may already be acting as your own bookkeeper, handling your finances and accounting.
Flexibility: Some bookkeepers are independent contractors, while others work for companies that provide bookkeeping services. There are part-time, full-time, and freelance bookkeeping jobs available.
Pay rates: The average salary for a bookkeeper is $69,922 per year.
15. Interior designer
Roles and responsibilities: An interior designer designs the interiors of homes and businesses. Interior design can include layout, furniture, lighting, and more.
To be a successful interior designer, you must have strong creative skills and be familiar with software like AutoCAD and Photoshop. You may need a degree in interior design or architecture, depending on the type of work you want to do.
Flexibility: Interior designers can work in various industries, such as architecture, construction, real estate staging, and home improvement. Interior designers can run their own businesses, work as independent contractors, or work for design firms. They may have to travel for work. While they can work in software to arrange designs remotely, they often have to travel to locations throughout the design process.
Pay rates: The average salary for an interior designer is $49,138 a year.
Get started in a self-employed role today
Whether a dog walker, Uber driver, or Instacart grocery delivery person, it seems like everyone is looking for their next side hustle these days. If you’re looking for a job that provides more freedom and flexibility, consider self-employment that offers the ability to work from home, set your own hours, and establish the work-life balance that’s right for you.
You can start a self-employed role today by searching for jobs online or networking with people in your industry. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from starting your own business. Owning a business can provide you with freedom, flexibility, purpose, and personal fulfillment. Explore these five helpful self-employed business ideas for ideas on starting your own business today.
Pay rates were accurate at the time of writing, but are subject to change.