Self-employment offers a greater degree of independence and adaptability than working primarily for a company if you’re contemplating leaving your present position or just need the means to supplement your income.
In this post, we examine 15 of the top self-employed positions available today, including details on pay, responsibilities, and necessary abilities. We also examine the advantages of self-employment.
What Does Self-Employment Mean?
A self-employed individual doesn’t have a set employer who gives them a steady salary or paycheck. Instead, they work for themselves. Independent contractors, sometimes known as self-employed people, are paid by directly engaging with a company or trade.
Taxes are typically not withheld by the payer; therefore the self-employed person is now responsible for paying them.
Self-employed people may engage in a range of professions, but they typically have a high level of expertise in one particular field. A self-employed individual can be a writer, a tradesperson, a freelancer, a trader or investor, a lawyer, a salesperson, or an insurance agent.
- Self-employed people work only for themselves and enter into direct client contracts.
- Self-employment might not be susceptible to tax deductions, so tax payments are the responsibility of the self-employed.
- Self-employment can offer an enormous amount of freedom and job flexibility, but it also carries a higher level of employment risk and more fluctuating revenue.
Self-Employment: What You Need to Know
Independent contractors, business owners who operate solely by themselves, and partners are all considered to be self-employed, though the term is defined differently by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and private research companies.
A self-employed person is somebody who makes their living through any autonomous economic endeavor in contrast to making their livelihood as an employee of a business or another person (an employer). Even if they do all of their work for one client, an independent contractor or freelancer can still be regarded as self-employed.
Self-employed people are frequently not quite the same as business owners. For instance, a business owner may employ staff members, effectively taking on the role of the company’s manager and operator.
In contrast, a business owner who owns a portion of the company might not be actively involved in running it. In contrast, someone who is self-employed is the major or sole operator of the business in addition to being the owner. Self-employed people are subject to different tax laws than employees or firm owners.
When deciding whether it’s an ideal time to work for yourself or as a freelancer, it’s important to take into account not only the practical considerations described in the section on how to start a business but also how current events and the economy will affect the sector you’re thinking of entering. Will the current cost of living problem, for instance, have an impact on operating expenses or the need for your goods or services? How will rising energy costs affect the building?
It’s crucial to do a comprehensive study and get as much expert and individualized advice as you can if you’re thinking about starting a business. Speak with people who are currently self-employed, particularly if they have jobs in the sector you intend to enter. How well is a business for them? What effects have owning a company had on their financial situation, mental health, and personal lives?
Learn what to avoid when launching a business if you’ve thoroughly considered your alternatives and decided to go it alone.
Types of Self-Employment
Independent contractors are companies or people that are employed to carry out specified tasks. They only get paid for the work they do. Because they are not regarded as employees, they are not entitled to benefits or workers’ compensation, and their customers do not deduct taxes from the money they pay them for services rendered. Additionally, they are not covered by equal opportunity legislation.
Doctors, journalists, freelancers, attorneys, actors, and accountants who own their businesses are a few examples of independent contractors. It is important to remember that independent contractors can perform a wide range of work and are not just restricted to particular sectors.
Unincorporated enterprises only have sole proprietors as owners, whereas partnerships are made up of two or more independent contractors. Small teams of workers are frequently hired by partnerships, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors to assist them with their duties.
It is predicted that the number of freelancers would increase, especially in the so-called gig economy. In 2021, there were about $67.6 million independent contractors; by 2027, that number is predicted to increase to $86.5 million. It is anticipated that 50.9% of the labor force will be independent contractors by 2027.
Advantages of being self-employed
The advantages of working for yourself include being your boss, setting your hours, having flexibility, pursuing your own goals, enjoying the trials of establishing something from the beginning, getting to pick your coworkers, and designing your workspace.
You can choose to work just as much or as little as necessary in addition to selecting your pay rates and hours. Parents who are interested in spending additional time at their homes, pupils who require flexibility to work around their educational schedule, and anybody else who is interested in entrepreneurship may find working for themselves to be a good fit.
One advantage of self-employment is the ability to create and expand your possibilities. Another is to locate businesses looking for independent contractors. You can look for these jobs online by using the keyword “freelance” in your employment search. Also, you can look up “gig jobs.”
- Creative independence – Self-employment gives you the freedom to make decisions on your own. You’ll be allowed to experiment with a variety of original answers to issues that arise and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your concepts through to completion.
- Independence – Along with having creative independence, you’ll also have the option to choose your schedule and fit work around other obligations, which frequently results in a higher standard of living.
- Job satisfaction – Getting paid for your efforts can be quite fulfilling, and you also have the freedom to pursue your passions.
- Location – If possible, working from home relieves you of the burden and expense of a daily commute as well as office politics and corporate hierarchy.
- Salary – Because things are under your control and you can take on additional tasks at different times of the day if you work for yourself, your income potential is significantly bigger. The possibilities are endless financially.
- Variety – Since you have control over your workload, you will have the chance to work on a wide range of tasks with several clients and gain new skills. Additionally, you’ll gain expertise in the various facets of business setup, such as managing funds and administrative tasks.
The drawbacks of self-employment
- Absence of employee benefits – You won’t receive sick pay, holiday pay, or any other type of employee perk, as well as the assistance or support of a seasoned HR team.
- Extended work hours – Compared to a person who isn’t self-employed, the hours you work may be significantly longer and more erratic. Due to professional obligations, you might spend fewer hours with your loved ones or find it difficult to unwind after a long day.
- Responsibility – You are in control of your National Insurance, pension, and filing your self-assessment tax returns. In addition, you will still be responsible for paying taxes regardless of whether your business experiences a loss. Your stress levels may rise as a result of the realization that your success or failure depends on you.
- Social isolation – You won’t experience the workplace atmosphere, at least not while you’re building your company. This can be lonely, and you’ll probably have to work more to remain motivated.
- Starting from scratch – Establishing your company and establishing a clientele can be a time-consuming, exhausting, and even stressful task. Even if development is sluggish, you must be persistent and determined to succeed.
- Unpredictable financial situation – Your income may be erratic, especially in the beginning. You might go for several months without making a profit, and you’ll constantly have expenses like rent, insurance, and internet connectivity to cover.
15 self-employed jobs
Below are 15 of the top self-employed positions you can find currently to help you decide which is most suitable for you.
1. Career coach
National average hourly wage: $18.28
Job responsibilities: A career coach aids clients in determining their professional objectives, acquiring new skills, and formulating their future career plans. They could assist clients in finding new prospects and get them ready for meetings and other occasions.
Required abilities: You should have outstanding active listening skills, be knowledgeable about leadership and corporate success techniques, and be conversant with the employment market in your field of specialization.
2. Business Consultant
National average hourly wage: $29.97
Job responsibilities: Business consultants collaborate with organizations to boost performance in a certain area. For instance, some business consultants have areas of expertise including marketing, sales processes, human resources, management, and revenue development.
Required abilities: You must have extensive knowledge and experience in the field in which you specialize. You ought to be proficient in reporting performance in your field, as well as in interpersonal interaction and presentation.
3. Social media expert
National average hourly wage: $18.79
Job responsibilities: Marketing techniques are used by social media experts to grow and manage a following on websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and others. Usually, they do services for businesses or famous people.
Required abilities: You must possess a thorough understanding of social media advertising, know how to promote both paid and organic social media interaction, and be able to decipher statistics, define objectives, and provide performance reports.
4. Event planner
National average hourly wage: $21.32
Job responsibilities: An event planner oversees every detail of an occasion, like a wedding or business gathering. Booking a location, arranging cuisine and entertainment, and supervising the event’s set up and cleanup are often among their duties.
Required abilities: You must be exceptionally good at organizing, communicating, and comprehending event administration. Clients could also favor working with planners who have developed connections with regional suppliers.
5. A transcriptionist
National average hourly wage: $19.76
Job responsibilities: Transcriptionists are responsible for listening to live or recorded speech and writing it down using correct grammar and syntax. They could be employed by companies directly or through a transcription service.
Required abilities: You have to be able to type swiftly and accurately, and you must be a good listener. You need to be completely adept at spelling and punctuation.
National average hourly wage: $21.58
Job responsibilities: Hair stylists have to trim, color, and style hair in addition to instructing clients on proper product and hair care techniques. Additionally, they might apply synthetic extensions and other services like shaving and scalp treatments.
Required abilities: You should have a solid understanding of the most effective methods for achieving different looks. You must possess a cosmetology license in the majority of states.
National average hourly wage: $24.69
Job responsibilities: A freelance writer is a person who creates content for other people or businesses, such as articles, scripts, books, or advertising copy. They can also be asked to revise their work and conduct topical research.
Required abilities: Your qualifications should include an educational record in journalism, creative writing, or mass communication, as well as outstanding grammar and spelling abilities.
National average hourly wage: $17.85
Job responsibilities: This includes photographing people, places, and items for individuals or groups using cameras and photographic equipment. Weddings, photojournalism, wildlife, and other themes are just a few of the areas in which photographers frequently specialize. Photographers typically need to provide their gear.
Required abilities: You should have a good foundation in manual digital photography, as well as picture editing and photo editing software.
National average hourly wage: $81.39
Job responsibilities: Developers create, install, test, and manage software systems, websites, and applications using coding languages.
Required abilities: You should have experience with several programming languages. Some clients could require developers with specialized knowledge of a certain technology or database design.
National average hourly wage: $17.51
Job responsibilities: Landscapers carry out a variety of duties, such as planting grass, bushes, trees, and flowers as well as organizing other elements to produce a beautiful lawn or garden. Additionally, they water, fertilize, prune, edge, mow, and trim to take care of landscapes. Clients might be either residential or business.
Required abilities: You should have a solid awareness of landscaping standards, successful turf management, and appropriate plant care methods.
11. A personal trainer
National average hourly wage: $13.67
Job responsibilities: Fitness instructors create training plans to assist clients in achieving their fitness objectives. They guide clients through a variety of exercises and keep track of their development.
Required abilities: Your ability to communicate and motivate others is a requirement. You need to have training in kinesiology or exercise science.
National average hourly wage: $49.49
Job responsibilities: An individual who creates videos for promotion, education, or advertising employs filming equipment. To produce high-quality video content, they also employ editing tools.
Required abilities: You must have extensive experience in video editing, directing, and shooting. Most of the time, you are required to supply your camera and other required gear.
National average hourly wage: $17.17
Job responsibilities: Drivers pick up people from designated areas and transport them to their destinations swiftly and safely. Drivers can work as personal chauffeurs, for taxicab companies, limousine services, ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber, or for any number of other employers.
Required abilities: You must have a clean driving record, a valid driver’s license, and be a careful driver. You may be required to pass a driving test or supply your vehicle to work for some organizations that hire drivers.
National average hourly wage: $24.84
Job responsibilities: Tutors provide lessons and help students in several courses to improve their learning outcomes. Tutors may visit pupils at their homes or in a different environment like a school or library. Some tutors engage with students electronically via video chat applications.
Required abilities: You must be an expert in the subject you teach and be inspiring and motivating. For tutoring to be successful, basic social communication skills are essential.
15. A graphic artist
The national average hourly wage is $20.28.
Job responsibilities: Software is used by graphic designers to produce unique visuals for websites, ads, and other printed and digital items. They could aid businesses in creating their logos along with other branding materials.
Required abilities: You should be proficient with design tools and have extensive knowledge of color and design theory.
Business success skills for Self-employment
The quality of what you are selling is crucial to your accomplishments as a small business owner. To succeed, you must, however, also have the following attributes:
- Creativity – You have to be inventive, imaginative, and self-motivated to advance your firm with fresh concepts. To bring them to life, you’ll also need passion, tenacity, and drive.
- Knowledge – It’s important to have a solid grasp of your target audience and consumer, and it’s equally important to be willing to pay attention to and adjust to their changing demands.
- Leadership – You should be comfortable taking ownership of and developing autonomous projects as well as leading a team.
- Organization – You need to be goal-focused, and able to set precise, doable targets. It’s also crucial to work well when under stress and possess good time management abilities.
- Self-belief – You must have the courage to take chances, accept responsibility for your actions, and be eager to network with people and other businesses.
Particular Considerations for Self-employment
Self-employed people are required to file annual tax returns and make anticipated quarterly tax payments. They normally additionally have to cover a self-employment tax of 15.3% on top of their income tax. On the first $142, 800 in 2021, 12.4% of this tax is allocated to Social Security, and 2.9% is allocated to Medicare tax.
Both the employer and staff portions of Medicare and Social Security taxes are paid by the self-employed person. Taxes are not due on income that is earned by individuals who earn less than a total profit of $400 each year.
The gig economy, an emergence brought on by digitalization, encompasses a wide range of occupations, from consultants to chauffeurs for Uber to dog walkers. The gig economy has advantages and disadvantages.
Of course, independence and control are benefits but the drawbacks include the lack of job security, the frequently poor income, and the absence of employee benefits like sick time or health insurance. Because they don’t get W-2s and are responsible for managing all tax withholding on their own, gig workers must practice fiscal discipline.
What Kinds of Self Employment Are the Most Common?
The three main categories of self-employment are partnerships, which are business structures between two or more people with ownership status, sole proprietorships, which are businesses run by individuals and might or might not have additional staff members, and independent contractors, which are people working for a particular employer.
How Do You Provide Proof of Income If You Are Self-Employed?
In many situations, such as when filing taxes, getting a mortgage or other loan, or getting health insurance, you might need to provide proof of your income. Tax returns, Form 1099, bank statements from both your personal and business accounts, audited statements of profit and loss, and official invoices are all ways to demonstrate your income if you work for yourself.
Employed versus self-employed
You will not work for a certain employer who will pay you a constant income or wage if you are self-employed. It’s also crucial to remember that you do not share the same job obligations and entitlements (like holiday entitlement, paid sick leave, and paid maternity/paternity leave) as those who are employed.
But it is feasible to work for yourself while also working for someone else. For instance, you might run your enterprise in the evenings and on the weekends while working for a company during normal business hours.
In conclusion, self-employment offers individuals a unique opportunity to pursue their passions, exercise autonomy, and create their path to success. While it requires dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to navigate challenges, self-employment also brings a sense of fulfillment and personal satisfaction that traditional employment may not provide. Whether it’s the freedom to set one’s schedule, the ability to innovate and make independent decisions, or the potential for unlimited financial growth, self-employment opens doors to a world of possibilities. It allows individuals to shape their destinies and forge meaningful and rewarding careers on their terms. Ultimately, self-employment is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment that can lead to a fulfilling and prosperous life.
Frequently Asked Questions about Self-employment
- How do I start my own business and become self-employed?
Starting your own business involves several steps. Begin by identifying your passion, skills, and market demand. Develop a business plan, register your business, obtain necessary licenses and permits, set up a professional network, and secure funding if needed. It’s essential to research and understand the legal and financial aspects of self-employment to ensure a successful start.
- What are the benefits of being self-employed?
Self-employment offers numerous benefits. It provides flexibility in terms of working hours, the ability to choose clients and projects, and the opportunity to work from anywhere. Self-employed individuals have the potential to earn higher incomes, build their brands, and enjoy a sense of control and autonomy over their work. Additionally, self-employment allows for personal and professional growth and the fulfillment of pursuing one’s passion.
- What are the challenges of self-employment?
Self-employment comes with its own set of challenges. It requires a high level of self-discipline, as you are solely responsible for managing your time and staying motivated. Financial instability, inconsistent workloads, and the need to handle multiple roles within the business can be challenging. Building a client base and dealing with marketing and administrative tasks can also pose difficulties. However, with perseverance and strategic planning, these challenges can be overcome.
- How do I manage my finances as a self-employed individual?
Proper financial management is crucial for self-employed individuals. Start by setting up a separate business bank account to track income and expenses. Create a budget and monitor cash flow regularly. Consider working with an accountant or using accounting software to ensure accurate record-keeping and tax compliance. It’s also important to save for taxes, and retirement plans, and have a financial safety net for lean periods.
- What types of self-employment opportunities are available?
A: There is a wide range of self-employment opportunities available, depending on your skills, interests, and market demand. Some common options include freelance work in areas like writing, graphic design, or web development; starting a consulting or coaching business based on your expertise; opening an online store or e-commerce business; or becoming a contractor or tradesperson in fields such as construction or home services. The possibilities are diverse, and it’s important to identify a niche that aligns with your skills and interests.
Remember, while these answers provide a general overview, it’s important to research and tailor your approach to fit your specific circumstances and goals when considering self-employment.
Elizabeth is a seasoned content writer with multiple years of experience writing on different topics under the general terms of scholarship, academics, business management, and human resource management and development.
She has a degree in Mass Communication and other relevant certifications.