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Updated Jan 11, 2024

Want to Be Your Own Boss? 10 Fields to Consider

These careers are excellent options for the self-employed and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Sean Peek, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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Some people are more successful when they work for themselves. In fact, as more professionals embraced remote work over the past several years, they discovered they enjoyed the freedom and creativity of being their own boss. While self-employment takes discipline and responsibility, it yields incredible rewards, particularly if your skill set lends itself to an industry with numerous self-employment opportunities. 

If you’re looking for a new career path that will let you be your own boss, read on for insights into viable self-employed opportunities. 

Self-employed jobs that allow you to be your own boss

Self-employment has numerous benefits. For example, flexibility is a significant upside. When you’re your own boss, you choose the working hours that best fit your schedule, and vacation time isn’t limited or restricted. Additionally, self-employed professionals have more control over their income and schedules. For example, freelancers can book more clients to boost their income or accept fewer jobs when they need downtime.

Remote work tools and online environments facilitate numerous profitable self-employed business opportunities that you can explore from your home office. 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 (BLS), the median annual salary for writers is $73,150.
  • Programmer: Independent workers are ideal for web and software development. Independent contractors are hired by application and software firms without in-house teams. BLS data says programmers make upward of $97,800 annually.
  • Digital marketer: Self-employed professionals with a background in digital marketing can explore a search engine optimization (SEO) career. Businesses hire SEO marketers to boost their web presence. According to BLS data, the median pay for marketing managers is over $158,000 annually. Digital marketers also help businesses manage their social media presence.
  • Financial advisor. Self-employed financial advisors can make an excellent living by offering startups and small business owners personalized financial management services. Everyone can use a financial advisor in their corner come tax season (or any time of the year) to help organize and set aside their earnings. The median pay for financial advisors is $95,390 annually.
  • Sound engineering technician. Freelance sound engineers can work on projects they love on a contract basis, recording sound for productions such as videos, movies, television shows and podcasts. The median annual salary for sound engineering technicians is $75,590, according to BLS data.
Consider beginning your self-employed journey by starting a side hustle and keeping your day job. When your business gains traction, you can turn your attention to it full time.

Self-employed jobs with no prior qualifications needed

Many self-employed jobs require no specific qualifications or education, and many are learn-as-you-go jobs. Any of these positions offer a potential part-time or full-time income.

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 gig economy opportunities include ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft; delivery services, like Instacart and DoorDash; and home services, like Handy. Most gig economy arrangements give individuals the flexibility to work as much or as little as they want.

Content creation

Many professionals find success in creating content for blogs and social media sites. Writing blogs, creating videos and posting on social media are fun ways to express yourself and potentially earn money. However, creating high-quality, engaging content takes time and practice. Every piece of content must be well thought out and executed with precision. Creators must understand that building an audience takes time, and even if they do everything right, the audience may never come. Still, content creation opens opportunities to work with brands and create the content companies need to connect with their target customers.

Child and elder care

If you’re a patient, nurturing person, caring for children or older adults is a flexible way to earn money. Many parents prefer in-home day care alternatives or need part-time child care assistance. If your temperament suits the job, you can find a flexible and rewarding way to generate income.

Additionally, many families need assistance with elder care. While a nursing background would be required for specific care functions, many individuals would be well suited to visit with older people, help with shopping and tasks, and act as companions.

Did You Know?Did you know
Pet sitting is another venture that's a business you can start quickly with few startup costs.

Makeup artist

If you have a knack for makeup and beauty, consider starting your own makeup artist business. Many makeup artists offer their services for weddings, proms, birthdays and other celebrations. You can grow your freelance makeup business through word-of-mouth advertising and digital marketing. Instead of working for a salon, freelance makeup artists work independently, sourcing and traveling to clients when necessary. 

Event planning

Some individuals are natural planners and organizers with an eye for the finer things. If this sounds like you, consider starting an event planning business. Event planning doesn’t require any fancy or pricey certifications and can (for the most part) be done remotely. All you need to do is work with local vendors to book locations and schedule catering, entertainment and more. However, to thrive in this career, you must be an excellent communicator. 

Working for yourself is all about building and leveraging your professional network. Consider who you already know, as well as who you need to know and the best way to connect with them.

List of top careers for the self-employed

To help people who are aspiring to be self-employed find the best jobs, the BLS publishes a self-employed career outlook list with data for jobs in which at least 15 percent of workers are their own bosses. 

Additionally, SmartAsset provides a list of the top 10 jobs for the self-employed. When you peruse this list, consider the percentage of self-employed workers in each career, the median income, the projected workforce growth, the projected job opportunities and the level of education required for each job.

“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 10 jobs for people who want to be self-employed, according to SmartAsset:

  1. Property and real estate managers: More than 40 percent of property managers are self-employed. According to the BLS, the job requires no formal education beyond a high school diploma; the median annual income in the U.S. is $60,670.
  2. Farmers and ranchers: More than 70 percent of farmers and ranchers work for themselves. Their median income is $75,760.
  3. Brickmasons and blockmasons: Nearly 25 percent of masons (not including stonemasons) are self-employed. Over the next 10 years, masons are expected to see job growth of more than 18 percent.
  4. Food-service managers: Nearly 35 percent of food-service managers work for themselves. They earn a median income of $61,310; the BLS projects 39,600 job openings each year for the next decade.
  5. Painters (construction and maintenance): More than 40 percent of painters are self-employed. Their median annual income is $46,090.
  6. Carpenters: The BLS projects 79,500 openings for carpenters each year over the next decade. Currently, 33 percent of carpenters work for themselves.
  7. Lodging managers: Close to one-third of the 48,400 lodging managers in the U.S. are self-employed. Their median annual income is $61,910.
  8. Tile and marble setters: Nearly 42 percent of tile and marble setters are self-employed. Their median income is $47,890.
  9. Artists and related workers: Nearly 55 percent 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 $69,650.
  10. 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.

Becoming your own boss

Working for yourself is an attractive career option, but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. While you can earn a high income by becoming your own boss, you’ll also face the inevitable challenges of self-employment. However, the struggle is often worth it. Especially if you’re pursuing one of the above fields, you will likely find success through hard work, dedication and passion.

Sammi Caramela contributed to this article.

author image
Sean Peek, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
Sean Peek is the co-founder of a self-funded small business that employs more than a dozen team members. His years of hands-on entrepreneurial experience in bootstrapping, operations management, process automation and leadership have strengthened his knowledge of the B2B world and the most pressing issues facing business owners today. Peek uses his expertise to guide fellow small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the areas of marketing, finance and software technology. Peek excels at developing customer bases and fostering long-term client relationships, using lean principles to drive efficiency and cost-saving, and identifying growth areas. He has demonstrated his business savvy through collaborations with Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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