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Self-Employed Careers

Self-employed people are entrepreneurs of one kind or another who are their own bosses and work for different clients on a project basis, or are working on creating a product or service that brings them revenue.

Being self-employed is an arrangement that may work in a number of different sectors. Contractors and tradesmen, web and app designers, software developers, social media managers, YouTubers, business owners, illustrators, writers... The list is not exhaustive, by far. Their common denominator is that they arrange every aspect of their operation themselves. They find clients, carry out the job, maintain their own equipment, and submit their tax returns. Okay, sometimes they hire help for some of the tasks.

You will manage your working hours yourself, which will probably mean they end up being all over the place. But this is a small price to pay for being able to do something you really love, to see the results of the energy you put in and watch yourself become better, stronger and more independent and empowered every day.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a self-employed. For example, did you know that they make an average of $24.6 an hour? That's $51,176 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 33,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Self-Employed Do

There are certain skills that many self-employeds have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed interpersonal skills, detail oriented and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a self-employed, we found that a lot of resumes listed 14.8% of self-employeds included online, while 9.2% of resumes included windows, and 8.8% of resumes included personal care. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the self-employed job title. But what industry to start with? Most self-employeds actually find jobs in the retail and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Self-Employed

If you're interested in becoming a self-employed, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 29.6% of self-employeds have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.3% of self-employeds have master's degrees. Even though some self-employeds have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a self-employed. When we researched the most common majors for a self-employed, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on self-employed resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a self-employed. In fact, many self-employed jobs require experience in a role such as cashier. Meanwhile, many self-employeds also have previous career experience in roles such as customer service representative or sales associate.

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Average Salary
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Self-Employed Career Paths

Top Careers Before Self-Employed

13.7 %

Top Careers After Self-Employed

12.3 %

Self-Employed Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Self-Employed Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Self-Employed. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Self-Employed Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Self-Employed resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Self-Employed Demographics



57.5 %


38.8 %


3.7 %



65.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.1 %

Black or African American

10.3 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


57.0 %


7.6 %


4.0 %
See More Demographics

Self-Employed Education


25.5 %



29.6 %


24.1 %

High School Diploma

17.0 %

Top Colleges for Self-Employeds

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Self-Employed That You May Like

Customer Service Mastery: Delight Every Customer

Master Customer Service using this practical customer care course...

Customer Service

How to Approach New Customers and Maintain Existing Ones...

Develop Daily Self-Discipline

Everyday Habits and Exercises to Build Self-Discipline and Achieve Your Goals...

See more
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Top Skills For a Self-Employed

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 14.8% of self-employeds listed online on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and detail oriented are important as well.

  • Online, 14.8%
  • Windows, 9.2%
  • Personal Care, 8.8%
  • Customer Service, 8.0%
  • Financial Statements, 7.7%
  • Other Skills, 51.5%
  • See All Self-Employed Skills

How Do Self-Employed Rate Their Jobs?

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Handy-Man of all tradesDecember 2019


Zippia Official LogoHandy-Man of all tradesDecember 2019

What do you like the most about working as Self-Employed?

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What do you NOT like?

Unprofessionalism and people who are not customer-oriented Show More

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Top Self-Employed Employers

1. eBay
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2. Cleaning Services Group
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3. Lawn Care Equipment Center
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4. Premier Home Health Care
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5. Starting Point
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6. Allied Services
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Self-Employed Videos

Updated October 2, 2020