Top 25 Self Employed Jobs That Pay Well

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 13, 2021

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Are you looking for a job, but you just can’t seem the perfect fit? Or maybe you’ve been interviewing, but you haven’t heard any good news. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to find a job that fits your experience, has a company culture you like, and likes you back.

If you ever run into a roadblock while job hunting, why not create your own job? Being self-employed is more than just deciding what you want to do and how to sell your skills. It’s about working with people and projects you choose and owning your personal brand. People can start working for themselves for many reasons, and flexibility is a huge draw for many.

Another reason to get started in a self-employed job is that the conditions are still good for outsourced work. As people continue to work and conduct their business remotely from home, more and more people are relying on freelancers and outside consultants. If you can establish yourself as a diligent remote worker now, you’ll set yourself up for success even as people return to offices.

So what does a day in the life of a self-employed worker look like? It’s hard to say since everyone approaches it differently depending on their services and their industry. That’s why it’s such a great option with incredible flexibility. For the most part, you can work from home and set your schedule. You can decide how many hours you’ll work, whether you want to be full-time or part-time.

Sometimes, it can be hard to decide what you want to do when you work for yourself, even if you have the motivation to get started. We rounded up a list of some common self-employed jobs that pay well, and you can start fairly easily. Feel free to get creative and use this list as a springboard when you think of ways you can sell your expertise.

There are plenty of people who need niche services. Just make sure you know there’s a market for your skills before you get started.

The Top 25 Self Employed Jobs

  1. Management analyst. Similar to a consultant, management analysts work with companies to analyze their processes and then recommend ways to maximize their efficiency. The benefit of working as a management analyst is that you can choose your clients and work with local businesses or whoever you choose to help them find success.

    You typically only need a bachelor’s degree, some previous knowledge or training in the field, and strong analytics and communication skills to get started. Once you find your groove and establish yourself, you can expect to earn around $40 an hour, the median salary.

  2. Home stager/designer. Sometimes people need help designing their home before selling it, so they’ll call in a home stager to make their house look great. You’ll be responsible for doing some decorating to make the house look good before potential buyers visit.

    You can also work as an interior designer who makes houses look beautiful for their current occupants and design the house to their taste.

  3. Tutor. If you love working with kids or you’re passionate about a subject, becoming a tutor might be a great idea. You can set your schedule and decide which subjects you’ll tutor in, so it’s a very flexible position.

    You don’t need any special training, but you should have at least a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field, and it doesn’t hurt to have a teaching certification or take a course. The average salary for tutors is around $25 an hour, but you can raise your rate depending on your experience and effectiveness.

  4. Painter. Not to be confused with an artist, painters are there to help when you need anything painted. They work in homes, offices, stores, and even outdoors, pretty much any place where you might need a coat of paint applied.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time

    You don’t need a lot to get started, so it’s an easy field to break into, plus over 40% of painters are self-employed. Most people earn around $35,000 a year as a painter.

  5. Home care specialist. As people live longer, more and more people need help living in their homes and getting basic housekeeping tasks and medical reminders.

    If you know anyone who could benefit from home visits to make sure their house is in order and they’re on top of their medical treatments, you could offer your services. You don’t need any special training unless you want to become a home nurse.

  6. Driver. If you love being out on the road and want to help people get where they need to go, driving is a great job. You can set your hours, your driving range, and your customers. Sometimes people need drivers to get to the airport once in a while, or other clients will need you to drive them around regularly for appointments or meetings.

    Having the flexibility to choose your clients means you can do this job the way you want it to be. You just need a valid driver’s license and a car to get started and make around $15 an hour.

  7. Personal trainer. Fitness is an important part of life, but not everyone can achieve their health goals without someone’s help. You don’t have to be a world-class weightlifter or a marathon runner to help people meet their fitness goals.

    You can specialize in getting people healthy through good eating or focus more on the physical, muscle-building aspect as you please. Plus, you can choose who you work with and where you work, so it’s completely customizable. Usually, personal trainers charge about $20 an hour but depending on where you live and your experience, you could scale up from there.

  8. Artist. Creative people who have honed their craft can work for themselves and create their art for a living. About half of artists are self-employed, so it’s a great field to get involved in if you know you want to work for yourself.

    It gives you more creative freedom, and you can make whatever you want when you’re self-employed. The median salary for artists is around $65,000

  9. Developer. Instead of looking for a developer position at a company and only working with their systems, work for yourself, and pick many different clients to work for. There’s always a need for a developer to manage and maintain software systems, websites, and other digital assets for companies.

    Working for yourself can pay off in this role since the average salary is nearly $90,000 a year.

  10. Personal finance advisor. Having good finances is key for anyone, but not everyone has the skills or the knowledge to keep their finances under control. As a personal finance advisor, you can consult with different people (or even companies) to help them get to a healthy financial state.

    Having a degree in accounting or a related field helps, but as long as you can give sound financial advice, you’re on your way to taking this job. This is a lucrative field since it requires lots of knowledge and advising, so the median salary is around $80,000 a year.

  11. Transcriptionist. A popular job to do from home and on your own schedule as a freelancer is a transcriptionist. Transcriptionists take recorded audio or video and write down what they hear so others can read speeches, movies, lectures, and more. There are many fields you can specialize in, like medical transcription, depending on your skills.

    All you need to get started is strong listening, communication, writing, and organization skills, but a college degree doesn’t hurt either. Transcriptionists can make around $13 an hour.

  12. Web designer. If you’re great with creative design and you’re a master at coding, you can sell your expertise as a web designer. Keeping web designers on retainer is expensive, so many companies look for an outside freelancer to design or revamp their websites, so there are plenty of opportunities out there.

    You can get creative and create a distinct look and feel to your work, so people come to you for your unique design sense.

  13. Photographer. Getting professional photos taken is important for many life milestones, so if you have a good eye and the equipment to get started, you can find a client base pretty easily. You’ll need to know how to take good photographs, understand cameras, and have access to photo editing software to get started.

    The great thing about professional photography is that it’s easy to get more clients through word of mouth if you do good work, so you just need to find your first few clients and wow them. Typically, photographers charge around $15 an hour when starting.

  14. Marketing specialist. Companies are always trying to find new customers, increase their online visibility, or write compelling marketing materials. There are so many ways to get involved in freelance marketing work, so no matter your skills, you can find a way to land a marketing gig.

    Think about a company’s needs in the short term and work to sell yourself as a freelancer.

  15. E-commerce seller. Do you spend hours scouring sites like Etsy and eBay? Do you have a great idea for a niche product that you can make on your own? Try out selling on an e-commerce platform. People can make surprising amounts of money selling their passion projects to other people.

    Think about the skills you already have and what other people would buy, like knit products, candles, or art you create. That way, you can do something you love and make some money off of it.

  16. Makeup artist. Get creative and share your makeup magic with the world as a makeup artist. If you love doing your own makeup, you can share your passion with others, do their makeup for them, or teach them how to do it. You only need to be good at makeup and have a large stock of products to get started.

    It’s a good idea to start out on friends then get referrals to other people, but you can go about it any way you like. As a makeup artist, you can expect to earn around $20 an hour for your work.

  17. Event planner. Are you super organized and love planning? You might want to use your skills to become an event planner. You can organize anything from company parties to elaborate weddings and wow the world with your flair. Usually, event planners earn about $35,000 a year on average.

  18. Career coach. Maybe you have a ton of professional experience but don’t know where your next step should be. Try taking everything you’ve learned and helping others land their dream job as a career coach.

    You can help with everything from defining career goals to preparing for interviews. It helps if you have deep knowledge of one industry to focus on coaching for that industry specifically, but there is lots of room to build the job how you want it to be.

  19. Videographer. Similar to a photographer, many people want their events on video now. You can work as a videographer and record peoples’ life events, or you can choose to work commercially and film commercials and business materials.

    Typically videographers are responsible for filming events or creating videos, plus the editing afterward to make them beautiful and seamless. You can earn around $30 an hour, and all you need to get started is a high-quality camera plus video editing software.

  20. Resume writer. Many people have great professional experience but don’t know how to sell themselves well on a resume. If you have great writing skills and some professional experience, you can help others make themselves stand out on paper and land a job.

    You can work as a resume editor if you want a lighter workload or work as a resume writer where you create resumes for others.

  21. Nanny. There’s always a need for childcare, and you can get started working with a family or multiple families pretty easily. You can decide who you work for and what your hours are. For example, you can only work nights when parents might want to go for a date night or do day shifts while parents are at work.

    It also helps to advertise any extra skills or certifications you have, like you can tutor kids in a second language, or you have first-aid certifications. When you start out, you can expect to make around $13 an hour.

  22. Graphic artist. No matter what your artistic specialty is, there’s always a need for good artists. You might have clients such as companies looking to rebrand or design handouts (like books or magazines) or just individuals who need designs.

    The great thing about working as a graphic designer is that you don’t need much to get started, just a computer and whatever software you like using to design illustrations.

  23. Landscaper. This job is great for students who want to make a little extra money in the summer when school is out. You can make some good money tending to peoples’ lawns or managing their leaves in the fall.

    Any kind of yard work fits under landscaping, so whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, you can find tasks to help people with for around $13 an hour.

  24. Hairstylist. As a makeup artist, you can help people in your area look their best if you’re great at doing peoples’ hair. You can decide to become a hairdresser and provide full cut and color service, or you can focus on hairstyling and getting people prepared for a special event.

    Typically hair stylists earn about $10 an hour when they’re getting started and depending on their experience.

  25. Social media specialist. If you’re great at managing social media accounts and creating compelling content, try selling your skills to different companies. Social media specialists can cover everything from creating a social media strategy to handling comments and customer conversations.

    Think about where your skills lay and sell yourself to companies for around $15 an hour.

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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