The majority of the jobs on this year's rankings of the top jobs for self-employment are in the real estate and skilled trades industries.
- Real estate and skilled trades are lucrative fields for those who wish to be their own bosses.
- New self-employed positions with high earning potential include digital marketer, writer and programmer.
- Jobs that can provide a side income include rideshare, food delivery and child care.
- This article is for aspiring entrepreneurs who are considering job opportunities that allow them to be their own boss and manage their own schedule.
Some people are more successful when they work for themselves. As workers return to offices, many are finding themselves not wanting to give up remote work. Many people are looking for alternative career paths so that they can be their boss and continue to work from home.
Being your own boss takes discipline and responsibility. It also helps to be skilled within a certain industry, such as real estate or a trade, like electricians and carpenters. And with digital technology and telecommunications allowing many people to do work from their laptops or even phones, there are more opportunities than ever to work for yourself remotely.
Self-employed jobs that allow you to be your own boss
Being self-employed has benefits. Flexibility is a major plus; as your own boss, you choose the working hours that fit best with your schedule. Vacation time isn't limited or restricted, and some jobs also provide the opportunity to better control your salary. For instance, if you work a freelance job, your income is directly tied to how often you book clients.
More and more profitable self-employed business opportunities are taking place online, meaning professionals in these jobs can operate out of their home offices. Here are a few examples:
- Writer: Freelance writers can work flexible hours and take on as few or as many projects as their schedules allow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for writers is $62,170.
- Programmer: Any type of web and software development can be done by independent workers. Independent contractors are hired by application and software firms that don't have in-house teams. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, programmers make upward of $69,000 annually.
- Digital marketer: Search engine optimization is another type of career that a self-employed individual with a background in digital marketing may enter. Businesses hire SEO marketers to increase their web presence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for marketing managers is more than $132,000 each year. Along with performing SEO, a digital marketer may help manage business social media pages.
Self-employed jobs with no prior qualifications needed
Many self-employed jobs require a skill or talent, but there are numerous opportunities with no prior qualifications or education needed. These positions include driving for Uber or food delivery services, providing child or elder care, and blogging. Any of these jobs offer a potential part-time or full-time income.
1. Gig economy
The gig economy encompasses jobs that independent contractors, online platform workers, and temporary workers perform under a formal agreement with on-demand service companies. Popular types of these jobs include ridesharing such as Uber and Lyft, delivery services such as Instacart and DoorDash, and home services such as Handy. Most gig economy arrangements give individuals the flexibility to work as much or as little as they want.
2. Content creation
Many people have found success creating content through blogs and social media sites. Writing blogs, creating videos, and posting on social media are fun ways that people can express themselves and eventually monetize should they gain traction. Creating high-quality, engaging content takes a lot of time and practice, though. Every piece of content needs to be well thought out, with a lot of effort put into it. Creators need to understand that building an audience takes time, and even if they do everything right, the audience may never come. However, there are opportunities to work with brands, creating the various types of content companies need to reach their target audience.
3. Child and elder care
Offering your services to take care of a child or elderly person is a flexible way to earn an income. Parents are always looking for help to take care of and watch over their children, but some can't afford to put their children in day care. Watching a child for a few hours a day gives you flexibility with your schedule and a rewarding way to make money
The same is true for elder care. Many people want their elderly loved ones to be watched over and have company. Like day care, though, putting them in a community is too expensive for some families. Coming over to their house, talking to them, and doing chores for them is another way you can be your own boss or earn a side income. Companies that want to recruit the best talent often offer child and elder care as a company benefit to attract talent.
List of top careers for the self-employed
To help the aspiring self-employed find the best jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes data for jobs in which at least 15% of workers are their own bosses. Along with looking at the percentage of self-employed workers each career has, consider the median income, projected workforce growth, projected job opportunities in the next 10 years, and the level of education required for each type of job. [Read related article: The Best Businesses to Start This Year]
Eight of the 12 highest-rated jobs for workers who want to be self-employed are in the real estate and skilled trade industries, including property and real estate managers, which topped former rankings.
"Whether you make your money in marketing or manufacturing, chances are the vast majority of work opportunities in your field involve a manager and a W-2 form," wrote SmartAsset's Nick Wallace. "For workers who are willing to change directions, however, there are some jobs that require little additional education and in which the majority of workers are self-employed."
These are the top 12 jobs for people who want to be self-employed:
- Property and real estate managers: More than 40% of property managers are self-employed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job requires no formal education beyond a high school diploma, and the median annual income in the U.S. is $54,270.
- Farmers and ranchers: More than 70% of farmers and ranchers work for themselves, with a median income of $68,050.
- Brickmasons and blockmasons: Nearly 25% of masons (not including stonemasons) are self-employed. Over the next 10 years, masons are expected to see job growth of more than 18%.
- Food-service managers: Nearly 35% of food-service managers work for themselves. They earn a median income of $48,560, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 77,000 job openings by 2024.
- Painters (construction and maintenance): More than 40% of painters are self-employed, with a median annual income of $35,950.
- Carpenters: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 169,100 openings for carpenters over the next decade. Currently, 33% of carpenters work for themselves.
- Lodging managers: Close to one-third of the 48,400 lodging managers in the U.S. are self-employed. Their median annual income is $47,680.
- Tile and marble setters: Nearly 42% of tile and marble setters are self-employed. Their median income is $38,980.
- Artists and related workers: Nearly 55% of those in this job category – which includes craft artists, animators, multimedia artists, painters, sculptors, illustrators and art directors – work for themselves. Their median income is $65,860.
- Construction laborers: Over the next decade, there will be 378,600 job openings in this field, the fifth most of any job in the analysis. More than a quarter of construction laborers are self-employed.
- Real estate brokers: Close to 55% of real estate brokers work for themselves. Their median annual income is $57,360.
- Real estate sales agents: More than half of all real estate sales agents are self-employed. By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 33,000 job openings in this field.