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.

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.

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 37.9% of self-employeds have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.6% 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.

Self-Employed Career Paths

Average Salary for a Self-Employed

Self-Employeds in America make an average salary of $34,734 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $44,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Self-Employed Salary
$34,734 Yearly
$16.70 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?


Self-Employed Education

Self-Employed Majors

26.0 %

Self-Employed Degrees


37.9 %

High School Diploma

22.0 %


21.6 %

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

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%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Self-Employed Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Self-Employed templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Self-Employed resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Self-Employed Demographics

Self-Employed Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among self-employeds, 39.2% of them are women, while 60.8% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among self-employeds is White, which makes up 65.2% of all self-employeds.

  • The most common foreign language among self-employeds is Spanish at 57.0%.

Online Courses For Self-Employed That You May Like

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How Do Self-Employed Rate Their Jobs?

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Handy-Man of all tradesDecember 2019


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

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Top Self-Employed Employers

Most Common Employers For Self-Employed

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
2Mary Kay$40,051$19.2632
5Independent Contractor$39,138$18.8266$39,065$18.7883
8The Catering Company$36,953$17.7716
9Herbalife Nutrition$36,295$17.4515
10Opportunity International$35,266$16.9545

Self-Employed Videos

Becoming a Self-Employed FAQs

How long does it take to become a Self-Employed?

It takes 5 years of professional experience to become a self-employed. That is the time it takes to learn specific self-employed skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 8 to 10 years years to become a self-employed.

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