24 Creative Ways to Become Your Own Boss
Why would you want to be your own boss? If you thrive on independence, it’s an ideal job: setting your own schedule, choosing your clients and doing the work you want to do.
Of course, it’s not all roses. For many people, it can be intimidating and overwhelming — not to mention grueling — to take ownership of your work life. And this is true no matter what type of work you do, whether it’s helping people easily create a website or running your own e-commerce Shopify store. With no one telling you what to do and when to do it, you must be strict with yourself. You’ll also face obstacles that you don’t usually have to deal with when you work for someone else, such as invoicing and figuring out complicated taxes, as well as not getting paid to take vacations and buying pretty expensive non-employer-sponsored health insurance.
If you’re willing to take the good with the not-so-good, there are plenty of careers that open the door to self-employment. Whether it’s applying your artistic skills as a music teacher, or going all-in on your web development hobby, we’ve rounded up some of the top career paths that allow you to be your own boss and take ownership of your career.
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What careers let you be your own boss?
No matter what your niche, writing is very adaptable to freelance life. You could write for different organizations and publications as a blogger, copywriter or EssayWriter, or you can start your own blog and earn money from sponsored content and advertisements. If you’re looking for fresh topics to cover, consider using tools like a content idea generator to spark your imagination.
While many agencies and companies employ publicists to represent them, you can also work independently, gaining exposure and coverage for clients ranging from high-profile individuals to brands. This technologically advanced era gives you more options to build your own brand and connect with clients too.
For example, you could create a blog for your work or expand your online presence on social media platforms. You can also use chat GPT anonymously to help brainstorm great content and generate ideas for your social media channels.
3. Real estate agent
Many real estate brokers are contractors, showing and selling properties on behalf of their clients. If you have the requisite experience as an agent and pass the exam, you can also become a real estate broker and own your own firm, especially if you’re confident enough that you’re an expert in the industry.
If you have a background in filmmaking and the right blend of creativity, video editing skills and technical know-how, videography could be the career for you. There are plenty of niches, from weddings to news coverage, in which you can specialize.
Most businesses need the help of a bookkeeper to keep track of their expenses, so this career is in high demand. Plus, for the most part, you’ll be able to work remotely, performing your responsibilities from wherever you choose. To minimize cost and maximize revenue, using a free accounting software can help you manage the bookkeeping of several businesses conveniently.
Web development can be a profitable career for those who have strong technology skills, including knowledge of programming languages. According to U.S. News and World Report, the top 25% of web developers earn close to $100,000 per year. This is also a fast-growing career that’s in high demand. In addition to traditional web development companies, you could also work for a mobile app development company.
7. Personal financial advisor
Help clients manage their investments such as 401ks or IRAs as a personal financial advisor. While some of these professionals work for banks and other financial institutions, many work for clients independently. This career also has a strong earning potential.
8. Music teacher
For some musicians, it can be difficult to make money performing alone. However, teaching your craft to others — whether you play an instrument or sing — can be the perfect business for you to share your passion with others while working for yourself.
Are you knowledgeable about a particular subject, such as writing or math? Tutoring could be a great business for you to get into. Indeed it’s one of the most accessible job options for young people, whether you’re looking for jobs for 17-year-olds who are still in school or an additional part-time gig as a 25-year old. But regardless of your age, you don’t have to limit yourself to working with kids. Plenty of adults are looking to learn business, computer, foreign language, technical and other important skills. You can easily learn how to scale an online coaching business to expand with online tutoring for across all different ages.
Finally, you can even create and sell your own online courses to maximize your reach and impact. There are many top platforms, like this Teachable alternative, that can help you do this. And with the help of an online course pricing calculator, you can easily set the right price for your course.
10. Personal trainer
Depending on the niche, you might need certain training and certifications to become a personal trainer. But once you attain them, you have high-earning potential as a personal trainer or fitness instructor. There are plenty of specialties depending on your area of expertise and interests, such as yoga or weight training.
If you want to go as far as opening your own training facility, you can take advantage of some of the best gym management software to run your business smoothy.
If you’re an expert in your field or have a compelling story to share, you may find that there’s potential in a career as a professional speaker. You’ll need to be comfortable speaking in front of large groups, of course, but if you’re are and you’re good at it, you could become a high-profile figure in this world.
12. Event planner
As an event planner, you’re tasked with coordinating events such as weddings from start to finish. You must be well-organized, creative and able to network in order to be successful because you’ll handle everything from finding the right location to hiring caterers.
A great idea is to search people on Tiktok and other social media platforms because many professionals use them to promote their services. You can also create a digital business card and share it on these platforms to help people reach out to you. By doing so, you can easily source talent and find the right people for your event, making your job much easier.
13. Social media marketer
Every business needs to have a strong social media presence these days, so if you’re skilled at marketing on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can build a thriving business in this world. You can even start utilizing a freelance marketplace to find clients and team members.
Here’s one profession that’s stood the test of time. It does take management skills and business savvy, but once you’re established, you can make a lot of money as a landlord and property owner. And with the right property management software, it’s especially easy to get new business off the ground.
Some therapists work for established organizations, hospitals or clinics, but many, including some social workers and psychologists, go into private practice and act as their own boss. Either way, you can choose a specialty, such as working with children or offering couples counseling or offer therapy to a range of patients.
16. Life coach
This therapy-adjacent profession focuses on working with clients to help them build the lives they want. You’ll help people find careers they’re passionate about, gain confidence and skills, forge new relationships and generally improve their lives overall.
To become a certified life coach, you can pursue certification through a reputable coaching organization. These programs teach you the necessary skills, such as establishing rapport with clients, creating action plans, and marketing yourself. Even though not required, the certification gives you the credibility to start your career as a life coach.
17. Interior designer
Turn your keen aesthetic and sense of style into a satisfying career. As an interior designer, you can turn people’s houses into their dream homes. You can also work with real estate agents and brokers to stage properties and provide commercial interior design services when they’re trying to sell and entice prospective buyers.
Some recruiters work for companies as part of their HR departments, and others work recruiting firms. Still, many choose to work for themselves, helping businesses fill vacancies and work with job seekers to find them positions that align with their experience and interest. Many recruiters specialize in particular industries, such as technology or publishing.
When tax season rolls around, everyone is eager to hire an accountant. But there’s a high demand for your services year-round, too — businesses and individuals alike need someone to ensure that they’re complying with tax and financial regulations. To become a certified public accountant (CPA), you’ll need to meet certain education requirements and pass an exam, as well as meet your state’s requirements, but it will open doors for you.
20. Childcare provider
Anyone with children probably needs childcare at some point, so you’ll find plenty of work as a nanny or other type of provider. If you want to start your own business, you could also consider opening a daycare or after-school program.
If you have expertise in your industry, organizations will be eager to engage your services as a consultant. You can share your knowledge (and earn a high salary) in a wide range of niches, including marketing, technology, business and management, HR and many others.
22. Real Estate Wholesaler
Thinking about becoming your own boss by getting into real estate, but not sure where to start exactly? Wholesale real estate is a short-term investment strategy for beginners who want to get into real estate without the hassle of purchasing a property.
The goal of wholesaling is finding a distressed property or a motivated seller, getting it under contract and ultimately assigning the contract for a profit to a flipper or someone who wants to add value to the property.
23. Online learning
Do you have expertise in a specific subject? With the increasing shift to remote learning, there are many opportunities to create and sell your own online courses to teach others about any given topic. Whether it’s a hobby like photography or a more technical subject like financial investing, you can create a course on pretty much anything. LearnWorlds is a powerful all-in-one online learning platform for creating and selling your own online courses so that you can monetize your skills and experiences.
One of the best ways to work from home today is dropshipping. It is an online business model in which you are free from dealing with the product stock. You play the role of a middleman. Your main task is to display the items on your online store, receive your order from your customers, and place them with your reliable dropshipping suppliers who will deal with the product selection, package, and shipment. As for what to offer product-wise, the options are pretty much limitless. You may sell custom fanny packs, smart home gadgets, drones, pet products, or even hand-made jewelry. Or better yet, try selling high ticket dropshipping products like standing desks or 3D printers from top brands.
You can make use of softwares for dynamic pricing for e-commerce to ensure that your products are competitively priced. And if you want to automate your whole process, you can reach out to tools like DSers to set up dropshipping automation and streamline the tasks for you.
To start your dropshipping journey, you can utilize one of the popular e-commerce platforms for small businesses such as Shopify or WooCommerce, which provide a user-friendly interface and integrated features to build and manage your online store easily. Some platforms even allow separation of the front and back end systems, referred to as headless architecture, which gives you the flexibility to choose the best combination of technology and improve your customer experience.
7 tips for becoming your own boss
1. Do your homework.
Before you quit your full-time job or start out on your own right out of the gate, thoroughly research your industry or prospective industry so you know what kinds of opportunities exist, the average pay and other factors that will affect your work.
You should also continue to stay up to date with developments in your field by subscribing to industry publications, setting up Google alerts and following thought leaders. Look for opportunities to leverage new technology like AI, which can include ChatGPT integration services to enhance your business capabilities. This can include exploring technology such as HR software solutions that can not only streamline your business operations but also give you a competitive edge in providing efficient services to your clients, especially if you start to grow your team.
You should also learn what kinds of challenges you might face as a self-employed professional in the industry and in general to ensure you have a plan for overcoming obstacles.
2. Establish your own goals.
Working for yourself means only you are holding yourself accountable. That means you’ll have to be clear about your professional goals. Establish both long and short-term goals to help you assess your progress. It’s also a good idea to have objectives about what you want to accomplish each day, so you’ll have a plan of action. This will also force you to be productive and use your time wisely. In order to have a concrete strategy and means of accomplishing your objectives, try using the SMART method.
3. Pay attention to finances.
If you’re wondering “How can I start my own business with no money?” know that while it’s tricky, it can be done. Some strategies include applying for a small business loan, borrowing from friends and looking into grant opportunities. Consider getting the support of a venture capitalist, angel investor or you can even check out this list of online payday lenders if you are looking for a quicker cash solution.
Remember that starting your own business will also entail a lot of legal paperwork to set up the business structure. Whether you’re looking to start a simple sole proprietorship or exploring how to start an LLC, you will need to adhere to specific guidelines to operate legitimately. Consider working with a registered agent to help you navigate the ins-and-outs of starting a business legally.
On the financial end, you’ll also need to figure out taxes. Keep track of business expenses, breaking them down into the type. You’ll likely need to pay quarterly taxes, depending on how much of your income is 1099 income. When you start out on your own, you might want to hire a CPA to help you with your annual taxes, because they can get complicated when you’re self-employed.
Before you embark on this new journey, make sure you’ve considered all of the everyday costs that will go into running your own small business. What subscriptions and productivity tools will you need to invest in?
For example, if you’re planning on creating a personal website with HubSpot’s drag and drop website builder or if you want to use one of the many popular WordPress Themes, you could encounter some sneaky costs. Check out this WordPress Hosting cost guide to learn what expenses you can expect from commonly-used platforms like WordPress, which is considered one of the best web hosting services.
4. Always be networking.
While networking events are certainly helpful, you can also make small efforts like reaching out to connections of connections or people in your industries you admire on LinkedIn. Tell anyone and everyone about your career — you never know who might be able to help or knows someone who is in need of your services.
5. Have a schedule.
Set a schedule, and stick to it. Have a time you wake up and go to bed every day. Establish the hours you’ll be working — the specific projects you complete during these hours will vary, of course, but you should have a general outline of what time is work time and what time is downtime. You might also create a more detailed schedule at the beginning of each day to help you maximize your productivity. Remember to factor in time for yourself, too, so also establish an end to your workday.
6. Keep building your skills.
Stay at the cutting edge of your field. This is essential when you’re your own boss because you’ll continually need to prove to clients and prospective clients that you can offer them something of value that they’re lacking. In order to do this, you’ll need to keep learning and building your skills.
That might mean taking classes in marketplace development, attending conferences, reading trade publications, participating in workshops and so on. You might earn a certificate or go back to school to earn a more advanced degree. Remember: any expenses you incur in order to advance in your field can be deducted from your taxes as business expenses.
7. Don’t forget about self-care.
It’s easy to forget about yourself when you’re working for yourself, but it’s important to take time for self-care nonetheless. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you resort to all work and no play. In addition to having a stop time for work every day, do something just for yourself. That might be a long walk, a pedicure, a glass of wine, a book to read — whatever will make you feel a little better, do it. Remember to build in bigger self-care strategies, too. For example, you might take a break and go on a vacation.
Are you ready to be your own boss? While the life isn’t for everyone, it can be very rewarding to take the plunge. This could be the first step to your greatest adventure yet!