Finding the best self employed jobs isn't difficult. The internet's made it easy for just about anyone to start a business. Imagine choosing your own hours, projects, and income. It's a life 70% of Americans can only dream of. At least until they decide to jump aboard the self-employed bandwagon.
And it's a fast-growing one. The rate of sole proprietors grew by 722% between 2000 and 2017. Today, nearly 30% of Americans depend on self employment. That equates to roughly 44 million people in America alone.
If you're thinking of becoming your own boss, then you're likely wondering what choices you have. So we put together this quick guide to help you figure out your next step.
Let's take a look at the best self-employed jobs you can start in 2021.
Top 21 Self Employed Jobs In the US
Here is a quick overview of hot self employment jobs and lucrative business ideas you can latch onto today.
You now have an idea of where the best self employment opportunities lie. Let's look at the advantages of working for yourself.
What Are The Benefits Of Being Self-Employed?
The most obvious benefit of being self-employed is just that — being your own employer. The idea of having control over your career sounds great. And those who manage their time and work properly will agree.
But that's not the only reason it's worth becoming a self-employed worker. Here's a look at other advantages self-employment offers:
This isn't an all-inclusive list. But it should give you an idea of the financial and time freedom it grants you. Next, let's review the difference between product- and service-based self-employment.
The Difference Between Service And Product Self-Employment
Now, there are two ways you can approach self-employment:
By selling your time. Or selling a product.
If you decide to go with the former, then you're trading your time for money. You do this by offering a valuable service to your customers. With a service business, you can start with a few clients as you hone your skills and build confidence. Examples of service-based self-employment include:
As a service provider, you still control how and when you work. However, you don't have power over scalability. You're limited by time and capacity, which caps your income. You can try increasing your pay and working longer hours. But this will quickly burn you out (and your clients' wallets).
The only way around this is to offer a product. In this scenario, you're selling goods to your customers. This can be a physical or digital product. Here are several examples:
The beauty of product-based businesses is the scalability potential. You put in the work once and continue earning over time. When you want to boost revenue, you can run a sale or create additional products.
There are many routes you can take to become self-employed. But the key is finding the ones with quick entry and great earning potential. So we put together this list of the best jobs for self-employed workers.
Let's dive right in.
21 Self Employed Job Opportunities You Can Try Today
Here’s a packed list of 21 self employed job ideas to help you start your own business and live the flexible lifestyle you’ve always desired.
1. Become A Freelancer
Freelancing is big — in America, there are roughly 59 million freelancers. And altogether, they earned an astounding $1.2 trillion. In other words, there's plenty of earning potential in this market.
Now, there are various types of freelance services you can offer. For instance, you can become a:
Research what businesses need help with, and odds are, you can turn it into a freelance business.
2. Become A Consultant
Everyone needs advice, guidance, and inspiration at some point in their lives. That’s why people will gladly pay big bucks for it. This has made consulting a booming industry.In America, consulting boasts a $64.4 billion market. But why limit your earning potential by focusing on one country? The global market for consulting is $160 billion. People across the world are looking for help with things like:
The internet is a great resource for learning. But there's nothing like getting first-hand advice from an expert. This makes consultants a hot commodity among entrepreneurs, professionals, and everyday people.
Some of the growing consulting industries include:
The beauty of these industries is you don't need to have a 4-year degree. You can take online courses or self-educate using the web. There's also a large market that spans legal, health, government, and academic fields.
3. Become A Coach
No, not a sports coach — a life or business coach. What's the difference?
A life coach is a consultant that helps you manage...well, your life. Maybe you're struggling to balance work and home. Or want to create a better, healthier lifestyle but don't know how to. A career coach helps you with your career. Even those looking for their forever mate work with life coaches.
And it's a great business to be in. As of 2020, life coaching is the second-fastest-growing industry. It has a 6.7% YoY (year-over-year) growth, and it's expected to continue increasing. But what's more impressive is the value — its global market is worth $15 billion.
You can niche-down focusing only on health, lifestyle, dating, or fashion.
Now, what is a business coach?
A business coach helps professionals with the business side of things. For example, they may assist with things like:
The U.S. business coaching market sits at $11.6 billion, making it an enticing field to break into.
4. Become A Real Estate Agent
Believe it or not, the real estate market is still booming (even amid a pandemic). It's expected that millions of people will enter the housing market in 2021. It also helps that interest rates are at an all-time low.
The housing market is a great industry because people will always need a home. So whether you're selling homes or managing rentals, you'll always have clients. The income is also rather nice — self-employed realtors earn the most at $106,280.If you're interested in becoming a real estate agent, then you'll need to get licensed. It only takes four to six months to complete the courses and exams. Online classes are available, but you'll have to meet the requirements of your state.
5. Sell Digital Products
There's a rise in digital usage — but you already know this. You're likely a digital native (or a digital convert) who uses technology daily. More people are consuming digital content than ever before. And e-commerce is growing exponentially. In 2018, a survey found that 70% of Americans purchased items online.
Therefore, if you start an e-commerce business, you will have multiple customers in no time. Business is on the rise. It's easy to find suppliers and manufacturers to source products to sell. Amazon, the retail world behemoth, also makes it possible to manage a large inventory without renting a storage space.
Another career path is dropshipping.
By partnering with a drop shipper, you can sell goods without managing inventory. They ship products directly to the customer. You can start an Etsy or eBay business this way. All you have to do is build a website, promote it and get visitors to buy.
But they don’t buy physical items only. Digital products are growing in popularity. The global market for online courses will be worth $325 billion by 2025. This will be a $12.81 billion growth between 2020 and 2024. Just a slither of this pie could spell great profits for course creators.
Online courses popping up across the web. There are courses for everything from how to start a business to how to make candy apples. Other digital products you can create and sell include audiobooks, e-books, digital art, videos, and software.
But what if you don't want to create or source products? There's another option. Affiliate marketing is an alternative that allows you to promote others' products. Your role is to promote it and get folks to buy. The most popular way to achieve this is through a blog.
Affiliate marketers will create blog posts on topics related to products. For example, "How to Manage Your Freelance Finances." Then they'll include an affiliate link to an accounting tool. When people click it and buy it, they receive a cut of the sale.
6. Become A Freelance Writer
We live in a content-driven information age.
Everywhere you turn, people are devouring content: blog posts, social media updates, videos, ebooks, visual content, and more.
According to Internet Live Stats:
Now, that's a lot of content, to put it mildly.
And guess what?
Someone has to write all this content. So if you have solid writing skills, you can make a killing as a freelance writer serving content-hungry companies.
The best part?
You can write about virtually any topic on the planet including:
With such a wide range of topics to choose from, you can make money writing about topics you are passionate about. Resume writing service is rising.
Freelance writer average salary: 63,213 /year or $30 /hour (Zip Recruiter)
7. Become A Graphic Designer
With most companies now active online, you can earn decent money and be your own boss if you have computer art and design skills.
Small business owners need tons of graphics:
All this and more.
Graphic design is so important in the modern workplace that many big companies have a full time graphic designer on their team. But startups and small businesses can’t afford a pricey in-house designer, so they outsource part-time independent contractor designers.
As a result, there are plenty of graphic design self employed jobs. So if you are a computer whiz, you won’t go hungry. The graphic design industry is worth an eye-popping $13.1 billion. That’s enough bucks for you, all your designer friends, and then some.
Graphic Designer average salary: $61.400 annually or $18.98/hour. (Indeed)
8. Become A Personal Trainer
Noone needs reminding that your health is your wealth.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, health-related self employed jobs are plentiful. Everyone knows they need to take good care of their bodies. Therefore, if you are a fitness fanatic, being a personal trainer can be a good business idea for you.
As a personal trainer you can work:
Once again, it’s always best to specialize to be distinct on the market and earn more. For instance, you can be a personal trainer for seniors, youths, or a sports fitness specialist.
Personal Trainer average salary: $98,000 yearly or $47.16 hourly.
9. Get Into Blogging
Another popular self employed business option is blogging.
While building a profit-generating blog takes time, the results are rewarding. The strategy is straightforward. Regularly publish content about a topic that intersects with your passion or expertise, audience needs, and monetary value.
Trending blogging topics in 2021 and beyond are:
Once you’ve gained a loyal, engaged audience, earn money on your blog via:
Important to realize that this self employed job takes time to yield results. But if you stay focused, you’ll eventually get a steady flow of predictable income. Top bloggers easily earn over $100k per year. So if you execute correctly, you’ll be set for life.
Blogger average salary: $39,058 annually or $22/hour. (Salary)
10. Become An Event Planner
If you are a fastidious social butterfly, self employed jobs don’t come easier than event planning.
You can have your own job as an event planner.
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is here, people are emerging from their isolation and actively taking part in social events. If anything, there is a flurry of social activities as people catch up on special celebrations and social events they missed so much because they were under lockdown.
You can create specialized niches by concentrating on weddings, conferences, or corporate occasions.
Having an online payment arrangement is handy, as it gives customers the convenience of multiple payment methods.
11. Do Online Tutoring
Online education has exploded in the last few years.
We expect the online tutoring services sector to grow 15.6% annually and hit an imposing USD 18.18 billion by 2028.
And, with the onset of the Corona pandemic, online lessons have become a regular part of modern learning.
Virtual teaching has gone mainstream. Virtually every school now offers online lessons. Online learning is one of the most popular self employed jobs around. That's mainly because of its low barrier to entry.
You can monetize any knowledge or life experiences and teach it for a premium as an online course.
High demand online teaching areas include:
To get started on your tutoring business, choose the right online teaching platform for smooth management and to give your lessons a pro feel.
If you don't want the hassle of marketing and hunting for students, join online teaching websites like Chegg Tutors or Tutor. While they take over all the marketing and admin work off your plate, their disadvantage is they get a part of the spoils.
Online Tutor average salary: $43,914 annually or $21 /hour.
12. Become A Professional Speaker
Do you have a knack for moving a crowd with the spoken word?
Then you are sitting on gold.
You can make hundreds of dollars as a self employed professional speaker.
There are two ways to approach professional speaking. First, you can monetize your expertise on virtually any topic and hit the speaking circuit. Examples of popular keynote speaking topics cover:
Second, you can market businesses through your silky speaking skills. You can pitch their products or services via presentations, as they are a proven way to reach prospective customers. This is such a rich business opportunity because companies pay good money for top-notch speakers.
Professional Speaker average salary: $55,433 annually or $26.65 per hour.
13. Offer Catering Services
For foodies, catering is one of the most appealing self employed jobs to pursue.
It perfectly combines business and pleasure. You can enjoy whipping up meals and meeting new people. Catering opportunities are plenty at social events like weddings, parties, and corporate events.
For catering, you don’t need any significant marketing experience. Get a few clients and do a stellar job. They’ll help grow your business through word-of-mouth marketing as they tell people in their circles how exceptional your service is.To stand out from other caterers, specialize by event, cuisine, or diet. It’s also helpful to become familiar with the laws and regulations in your state because the food industry is a highly regulated business.
Caterer average salary: $24,942 per year $11.99 per hour. (Career Explorer)
14. Deliver Groceries
Are you a self-confessed shopaholic?
Then you can turn your passion into a high-paying self employed gig as a grocery delivery service provider.
All you need to get started is a valid driver's license and an incident-free driving record. Of course, you must have a reliable car with full insurance cover.
Customers also expect you to have a smartphone, so you can receive delivery instructions and appointments via an app.
You can deliver groceries for:
Having superb people skills and providing stellar service is vital. Current customers will give you five star ratings on apps. This’ll impress prospective customers and generate more calls for you. Once you have many customers, you can combine shopping trips to save time and make more money instead of doing separate trips.
Grocery Delivery average salary: 45,513 /year or $22 /hour (Zip Recruiter)
15. Become An Investor
Your grandma told you money doesn't grow on trees.
Well, it turns out she was wrong because money can grow through investments.
Becoming an investor is one of the most profitable self employment jobs around. If you’ve got a bit of cash saved up, you can multiply it through smart investments. The good news? You can get started for as little as $100.
There are two ways of working as a self employed investor.
If you pick the right industry groups and diversify your portfolio, you can make good money. You can even turn your gig into a full scale business.
Private Investor average salary: $161,685 annually or $66+ per hour.
16. Test Company Products
Before companies ship products to market, they need to test them.
To confirm if they are a good fit for the target market. Product testing is a vital step in market research and product validation. No company wants to launch an untested product that becomes a dud.
That's why businesses need beta testers.
You can make a good living testing company products and sharing your honest opinion about them.
As a product tester, you can test products for:
Getting started as a product tester is painless. Just join reliable product testing websites like Product Testing USA, Opinion Outpost, or Survey Junkie.
Testing opportunities will roll in and you will rake in the greenbacks.
Product Tester average salary: 38,113 per year or $18/hour. (Zip Recruiter)
17. Become A Dog Walker
Dogs are the most popular pet in America-by a country mile.
There are nearly 77 million pet dogs in America spread over 48 million homes.
In terms of market size, the pet sitting industry was valued at USD 2.6 billion in 2020. Projected year-on-year growth will hike this figure to a massive USD 5.0 billion by 2027.
So if you get dogs and are comfortable around all breeds, you are in the money. Use your dog handling skills to start a home business venture as a dog walker.
Learning basic animal first aid can also come in handy during health emergencies.
Dog Walker average salary: 29,921 per year or $14 /hour.
18. Groom Pets
Pets, not just dogs, are humans’ best friends.
Good friends take care of one another, right? That's why most folks will spend a ransom to make their pets look cute.
The pet grooming industry is worth a mouth-watering $8.4 billion in the U.S. If you love pets, you can have a piece of the juicy pie by opening a pet grooming service.
Grooming duties include:
Not rocket science, right?
So if you enjoy taking care of pets, you stand a good chance of making it in this industry.
Pet Groomer average salary: $34,599 per year or $12.46/ hour.
19. Start An Errand Service
No matter who you are, there are always many tasks to do, but no time to do them.
That's why an errand service is invaluable. It helps people get things done without having to be physically present. This frees up their time for more important tasks.
Errand services involve doing simple chores for people:
Errand Runner average salary: $24,465 per year $12 /hour.
20. Become An App Developer
These days it seems there is an app for everything.
From productivity to health, from dating to news, from games to weather, apps cover every aspect of our lives.
Did you know that there are a mind-blowing 2.89 million apps on Google Play Store alone?
So if you are tech-savvy and can code, you can make money by creating mobile apps. Lack of customers will be the least of your worries. Just make sure your app solves a real nagging problem.
App Developer average salary: $71,400 annually or $31.73/ hour.
21. Become A Home Health Aide
Health is a crucial part of people's lives and will always be.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, health issues have come to the fore. Hospitals are overwhelmed, so many people need home care.
Besides, people with chronic conditions also opt for home care so they stay close to their loved ones.
So if you have a basic home care nursing certification or just have a natural ability to give tender loving care to sick or vulnerable people, this is a viable business idea. You can specialize in childcare or eldercare.
Home Health Aide average salary: $31,504 per year or $11.84/ hour.
In summary, remember that the salaries on this top self employed jobs list are entry-level salaries. So you can earn way more if you are at the top of your game.
Self Employment Jobs AKA Side Hustles FAQ
Let’s wrap up by answering a few essential questions.
Service-based businesses like freelancing, repair business, and creative services like photography are simple. You need little or no capital to get started.
Nope, you don’t need a fortune to launch a self employment career. You can start with only $100 in your pocket.
The answer is a resounding yes! It gives you great flexibility and there are no caps on what you can earn.
Find The Best Paying Self Employed Jobs
In today’s world, self employment isn’t a pipe dream.
It’s a reality for millions of people who run their business completely from the comfort of their homes.
Becoming self-employed gives you financial freedom. It also grants you more control over how you live (and work). But what if you're looking for the best freelance jobs with the highest income? Then product selling should be your thing.
Selling goods online (especially digital products) allows you to maximize your income. It comes with low startup and maintenance costs. Plus, there's unlimited earning potential. Those who sell online goods can earn six or even seven figures a year.If this resonates with you, then you'll find the "selling products" ladder inspirational. Check it out today!