If you’re ready to start working for yourself, look no further than this list of the best self-employed jobs.
It can seem overwhelming at first. But there are tons of lucrative self-employment opportunities out there if you’re simply willing to look, follow through, sign up and start working.
Best Self Employed Jobs
Being your own boss involves a lot of hard work, but you’ll quickly get hooked on the freedom of quitting your day job. No matter what type of skill set you might have, there are plenty of online jobs that will work for you on this list, no matter where you are in your life (there’s a lot of lucrative ways to make money in college, too).
Learn more about self-employed jobs and how to find full-time or part-time work in your chosen field.
Web design covers a wide variety of different tasks. From user interface optimization to web graphic design, this type of freelancer gig involves making websites attractive and usable.
While web design involves a lot of work, it pays well once you have some experience. Keep in mind, however, that this career choice requires a lot of creativity. If you have a tendency to get burned out, you might prefer a more methodical or repetitive line of work. Losing your creativity as a web designer can cost you your job.
Web designers don’t get paid very much. Only the top 10% of web designers make $100,000 per year or more; the average salary in web design is around $50,000 per year. If you really love making beautiful websites and you’re good at what you do, however, you can end up making a significant income as a web designer.
Becoming a freelance writer offers some of the best potential returns of any gig on this list. You’ll need to have a natural affinity for the English language to succeed at this pursuit, but depending on the niche or niches you pursue, writing blog content or ad copy can pay out in a huge way.
As a freelance writer, you’ll start out making next to nothing. Content mills like Textbroker and Scripted are great places to start, but most novice writers only make $0.01-0.03 per word. As an intermediate writer (2-3 years experience), you’ll make between $0.05-$0.10 per word, but expert writers make upward of $0.50 per word. Technical writers can make as much as $1 per word, and the top-paid freelance writers out there make even more.
Some sources say that it takes an hour to write 500 words, but in my experience, it’s possible to write at more than double that rate. Therefore, as an intermediate writer charging $0.10 per word, you can make $100 an hour. Not too shabby!
NOTE: Tools like Grammarly can help you avoid making writing mistakes that could cost you clients. Also, Microsoft Word is anything but outdated. This platform offers excellent grammar-checking tools that make it well worth the $69.99 you’ll pay per year for Office 365.
Examples of Types of Freelance Writing
There are lots of different kinds of freelance writing gigs. Here are some examples:
- Content writing: This is one of the simplest and most rewarding types of freelance writing. As a content writer, you’ll write blogs and other types of articles for eCommerce companies and content platforms.
- Copywriting: Copywriting is a type of marketing. As a copywriter, you’ll write product pages, newsletters, and other types of content that are designed to sell products. Since copywriting is relatively difficult, it usually pays more.
- Resume writing: Many professionals are hopeless at writing resumes. As a resume writer, you can be paid as much as $300 for each resume you write, but this type of writing is highly technical and time-consuming.
- Creative writing: There isn’t as much demand for creative writing as there is for other types of freelance writing. If you can get hooked up with the right clients, however, ghostwriting novels and other tasks can be highly lucrative.
- Technical writing: From scientific whitepapers to instruction manuals, technical writing covers a number of lucrative freelance writing positions. While technical writing pays a lot, it’s also boring and robotic.
Startup and Small Business Consulting
In the past, I’ve worked as a consultant helping small businesses and startups get their feet on the ground. Many small businesses don’t know what to do when they’re first starting out, and providing consulting services to startups can be highly lucrative. Startups expect to spend a lot of money on marketing, and even established businesses need help expanding.
Of course, you’ll need to have experience in the world of business to succeed at this self-employed job. Business owners are looking for consultants who offer real value, so it’s helpful if you’ve owned your own business or you have some other type of business know-how. If you’re an expert in improving monthly sales and cutting costs, being a small business consultant is perfect for you.
Social Media Consulting
As a social media consultant, you’ll help businesses build their followings and generate engagements. Companies everywhere are looking for energetic, social-media savvy millennials to give their brands greater impact. You can ride this wave if you know your way around Twitter or you’ve spent time as an Instagram influencer.
Social media consultants keep an eye on what people are saying about a company on social media. They put out fires and generate content that will garner lots of engagements. Protecting a brand’s reputation is a social media consultant’s top priority; in the process of raising brand awareness and boosting traffic, these professionals are careful to avoid representing their brands in a bad light.
Like many freelance jobs, there’s a huge variation in how much social media consultants get paid. When you’re starting out, you might make as little as $15 an hour, but expert social media gurus get paid as much as $200 per hour.
While blogging might not pay out immediately, you can make some serious affiliate cash if you gain a huge following. Plus, banner ads and other forms of ad revenue can make running a blog highly lucrative if you play your cards right.
It’s important to be straightforward about blogging as a self-employed job: Very few bloggers get enough traction to make their efforts worth it financially. Giving a blog the chance of being successful takes endless hours of your own time. Unless you become an affiliate for a ton of different successful companies and get thousands of visitors per day, however, your conversion ratios will be too low to generate a significant paycheck each month.
Your chances of success as a blogger increase exponentially if you choose a popular niche. For instance, if you want to write about high-quality European baby formula, you’ll gain a lot of traffic from interested parents, and you’ll gain access to dozens of affiliate opportunities.
Before you start your blog, take a look at a few different potential topics. Determine whether someone has already dominated your chosen topic, and re-evaluate your plan if necessary. In general, just remember that your blog has to be unique to get traction. Writing about whatever’s interesting to you is fun, but if you’re in it for the money, you’ll need to think about things from a business standpoint.
Start an eCommerce Business
Whether you want to sell handicrafts on Etsy or start a CBD company, there are tons of eCommerce opportunities out there. eCommerce doesn’t even necessarily require you to start your own website; opening an Amazon or eBay store can be just as lucrative with less work.
Keep in mind, however, that eCommerce is just as time-intensive as any other type of business. If you want to work from home without ever leaving the house, eCommerce isn’t right for you. Even though all your eCommerce transactions will take place online, you’ll still need to ship your products and acquire supplies. In some cases, eCommerce may even require real-world interactions with contractors and other professionals.
One of the best ways to make money with eCommerce is starting and selling a brand. If you start a company in a popular niche, you can often sell it for a huge lump sum after a couple of years. Think of all the time you put into your eCommerce business as an investment. Your efforts will pay off in a big way if you come up with a business idea that rapidly evolves into a profit-making company.
Deliver People and Goods
These days, there are tons of freelance gigs that flex your driving skills. From Uber to Postmates to Amazon Flex, you can make money taking packages, food, and people where they need to go. While these types of positions aren’t all that lucrative, they allow you to set your own hours, and they provide opportunities to meet interesting people.
Uber and Lyft drivers don’t make that much per ride, but they can earn significant tips. Plus, giving people rides around the city is easy, and there are plenty of opportunities for in-depth conversation or light chatting.
Most delivery gigs pay around the same amount. Whether you’re dropping off ink cartridges for Postmates or delivering Prime packages for Amazon Flex, the most you’ll get paid is around $25 per hour. Still, if you’re looking for some side cash without much effort involved, delivery gigs are great options.
Apps like Sittercity, Zum, and Urbansitter are making it easier for parents to connect with qualified childcare professionals. Working in childcare no longer requires getting certified and working at a preschool. On the contrary, you can simply make a profile on a popular childcare app and wait for interested parents to contact you.
Childcare only makes sense as a self-employed profession if you really like taking care of kids. This position isn’t very lucrative, and it doesn’t offer many opportunities for advancement. However, if you’re the kind of person who would love being around kids whether you were paid for it or not, setting up a profile on a childcare app is a great idea.
Eldercare is just as important as childcare. While most types of eldercare require working for a retirement home or a hospice, apps like AARP Caregiving and Care.com give you opportunities to take care of senior citizens while setting your own hours.
Working in eldercare is just as intensive as any childcare job, and it often requires more physical fortitude. Kids are small, and getting them dressed or into the tub is easy. Fully-grown men and women, however, are harder to move around. Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can create further hurdles in your quest to help the elderly.
However, eldercare can be highly rewarding. Even though this profession doesn’t pay much, it provides you with opportunities to learn about what life was like before you were born. Plus, most senior citizens aren’t treated very well. By providing your expert caregiving services to elders in need, you can do your part in giving the outgoing generation the type of sendoff it deserves.
Working as a pet sitter or offering dog walking services gives you a chance to make money while hanging out with animals. Apps like Wag! and Rover pair dog walkers with community members in need, and they can provide extra cash when you need it.
Pet sitting provides you with tons of opportunities for different experiences. One of your clients might want you to take care of her capuchin monkey over the weekend, and another client might require daily walks for his German shepherd. If a certain type of pet sitting is more attractive to you, make your preferences clear in your profile. People with limited physical strength, for instance, should only walk small dogs. Also, if you’re afraid of birds, make this clear before a client asks you to take care of her entire aviary.
As a self-employed job, pet sitting only makes sense as a side gig. This type of job is great for college students, but pet sitting won’t provide enough income to make a living. If you’re already performing a variety of part-time gigs, however, adding pet sitting into the mix can help you make ends meet and provide a lot of opportunities for fun at the same time.
In the age of YouTube, video production is becoming a highly lucrative profession. There are tons of creatives out there who don’t have time to shoot, edit, and upload their own videos. Since YouTube is now the second-most popular search engine in the world, there’s lots of money to be made in video production if you have the right skills for the job.
There’s a lot of opportunity for advancement in video production. With enough experience, making YouTube videos could replace the need for a college degree in filmmaking. After a few years of freelance film production, you might have a resume capable of earning you a top position at a prestigious film studio. Alternatively, you might want to use your experience to become an independent filmmaker.
Offer Niche Skills
Craigslist began the web-based freelance services revolution, but newcomers like TaskRabbit, Fiverr, and Amazon Services have taken this sector of the gig economy to new heights. Whether you’re a killer handyman or you’re great at computer repair, it’s easier than ever to offer your services to your community.
You’d be surprised by the number of seemingly useless talents that can be turned into marketable skills. If you love taking apart vintage audio equipment as a hobby, you could easily become a skilled stage equipment repair person for traveling bands. You can even turn your efficiency at grocery shopping into a marketable skill in today’s gig economy.
Teach English Online
Online services like Teach Away, VIPKid, and DaDa are making it easy to get paid for teaching English online. There’s a huge demand worldwide for native English speakers with language teaching skills, and this type of work-from-home gig can pay as much as $25 per hour.
Most of these positions require a powerful internet connection. You’ll use Skype or other video chat programs to connect with your students directly, which requires high bandwidth. Beyond that simple restriction, however, the sky is the limit when it comes to teaching English online. You can provide this service from anywhere on the globe, and you get paid based on your experience.
Retail arbitrage is the process of buying products and reselling them online. Whether you like going to garage sales or you have a knack for finding discounts at Target, you can make money with retail arbitrage.
Platforms like Amazon, for instance, often offer items for higher prices than you can find them locally. Especially in the case of region-specific items, you can make a killing picking up products in bulk and reselling them online. Additionally, it’s often possible to pick up items at thrift stores and sell them online for huge profits. As someone who once worked for Goodwill, I can personally attest that this is how thrift stores make almost all their money.
While thrift store managers often sell the best donations online before customers can get to them, garage sales are a different story. Your profitability with retail arbitrage depends entirely on your ability to sniff out good deals. This type of work can be highly lucrative, but it requires a lot of driving around. Plus, you’ll need to keep a close eye on sales at retailers in your region.
If you like passive income and you aren’t work-averse, writing books is right for you. There’s a ton of competition in the industry, but there are a variety of ways to get royalties for life for your writing.
You could always go the traditional route and pitch your books to publishers. However, the rejection rate for print publishers is incredibly high. You’re better off using services like Kindle Direct Publishing or BookBaby, which print your books as they sell.
These services offer both print and digital distribution options, and they often offer royalties as high as 70% of the sale price. Simply write a book, upload the format, and wait for the passive income royalties to come rolling in.
There are tons of ways to make money designing T-shirts and other types of apparel. You could even offer your services as a fashion designer on an independent contractor basis, but there are easier ways to get paid.
For instance, services like Merch by Amazon and Bonfire allow you to upload T-shirt designs and handle all the rest. These services print, package, and sell your shirts while giving you royalties of up to 33%.
Working as a graphic designer can be highly lucrative. From designing ads for local businesses to handling all the branding for major corporations, graphic design covers tons of different career opportunities that run the gamut from highly profitable to relatively low-paying.
To be a successful graphic designer, you’ll need to have an eye for detail and artistic talent. What’s more, you’ll need to have a great work ethic; graphic designers often work long hours getting tiny details exactly right. If you pour your heart into your graphic design career, however, you can end up making six figures or more per year.
You’d be surprised who needs a little advice here and there. Working as a life coach is similar to being a therapist, but instead of dealing with general problems, this position usually helps professionals further their careers. Whether a professional painter wants to get better at finding clients or a real estate agent wants to make more sales, career coaches guide professionals through the complexities of working life.
Keep in mind that some life coaches simply help clients get better at life in general. In this type of position, you’ll essentially act as a therapist without a degree. However, most types of life coaching gigs help people improve various aspects of their professional lives.
Many companies will pay top dollar for help with tasks like accounting, scheduling, and payroll. You’d be surprised by all the things you can do for a business without going into the office; all you need is a laptop and an internet connection to add real value to businesses around the world.
Clients appreciate the reduced overhead of working with virtual assistants. Getting remote help saves on office space and other logistical concerns, and working with virtual assistants drastically increases a company’s potential talent pool. If you’re familiar with how to help businesses succeed, consider offering your services as a virtual assistant.
Create Online Courses
While you can learn almost anything online for free, the content you can find with a Google search doesn’t usually get very in-depth. If you want to become a true expert on a subject, you’ll need to learn directly from an industry professional.
Online courses offer all the benefits of one-on-one tutoring while keeping your schedule flexible. Whenever your clients are ready to learn about the stock market, real estate, or whatever your area of expertise might be, they can simply open one of your videos and get started.
Creating online courses can serve as a highly lucrative source of passive income. With just five hours in front of the camera, you can create a course you can sell for $50, $100, or even $200 over and over again. The only trick is that you need to be a bonafide expert in the subjects you’re teaching. Apps like Teachable are great places to get started with your course-creation career.
Working as a voiceover artist can be highly lucrative. Services like Amazon ACX pair authors with people with great voices who read books out loud for a living. Voiceover artists are in constant demand, and people who speak perfect American English can get paid a lot for these gigs.
Help People Meet Fitness Goals
Personal trainers provide fitness training to people from all walks of life. Whether you want to help elderly people keep their mobility or coach professional athletes, there are personal trainer gigs out there for you.
As a freelance personal trainer, you’ll need to travel to your client’s locations to perform your services. However, this type of career allows you to set your own hours. If you like promoting physical health and activity, watching your clients regain their mobility will be highly rewarding.
Sell Life Insurance
Your dislike of high-pressure sales might be the reason you quit your day job. If you like meeting people and offering useful services, however, you might want to become an independent life insurance salesperson. Life insurance is something everyone needs, and if you’re good at what you do, you can make a lot of money with this self-employed job.