There was a time when I had a job.
I had a boss to report to.
I was required to wear shirt and tie. <shudders>
If it wasn’t for my old brokerage firm selling I’m not sure if I would have ever crossed over into the realm of self-employment and owning my business.
Let’s just say I don’t even want to contemplate it because I’m so thankful they did.
Being self-employed is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!
Do you want to start your own business, but don’t know exactly which business to go into? Or not sure if you can leave the 9-5 grind because of too much debt? Check out our post on how to get out of debt to help you get the ball rolling on being self-employed!
Here’s a list of some of the best self-employed jobs available right now.
And if you find one you like, jump into it. Even if it’s on a part-time basis.
Each will cost you very little to enter, can start as a part-time way to make money fast, and could be the kind of work you’ve been looking to do all your life.
We’re going to focus on business ideas that are skills-based, and cost little or nothing to start.
If you are wanting to keep your personal and business finances separate, I recommend getting a separate business credit card and opening a separate checking account. This will allow you to keep business money by itself and then pay yourself a “salary” into your personal account.
Oh – even though these are numbered, it’s not a ranking – it’s just for easy organization.
What will determine the value of a self-employed job is whether or not it’s right for you.
1. Social Media Consultant
If you’re under the age of 30, you probably have a built-in advantage for a business like this. If you spend a lot of time on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram, or any other of the social media outlets that are popping up all the time – you may be able to find some clients who are in need of a social media consultant.
What started out as a social game just a few years ago, is rapidly becoming important in the business community. The social media is an important way for businesses to connect with ordinary people, without having to go through all channels.
It’s also a way to market businesses, products and services. If you know how to promote events, products, and even concepts, using the social media, then this can be the perfect business for you.
2. Academic Tutor
This can be a natural business for you if you are at least above average in one or more academic subjects. English, science and mathematics are prime subjects for tutors. Since they are required course curriculum in virtually every school, and many students struggle with them, you can create a business out of helping kids improve in these subjects.
You can market your tutoring business just by creating a professional looking flyer, and distributing it to the local schools.
3. Music Tutor
Academic courses aren’t the only subjects were tutors are in demand. If you can play an instrument, and are reasonably good at it, you can create a business teaching kids – or even adults – how to play.
A lot of people just learn better in a one-on-one environment, rather than in a classroom. You don’t have to be an accomplished musician either. If you know the basics, and you have the patience to teach them to students, this can work very well for you.
4. English-as-a-Second-Language Tutor
There are millions of people coming to the US, and many of them have a poor grasp of the English language. You can make a business out of teaching people how to speak English, or how to speak it better.
The market is also wide open here for tutoring the children of immigrants, who may need help with English because the family’s native language is spoken in the home. But whether you are teaching first generation immigrants or their children, this can be a rich business opportunity.
With millions of people now living into their 80s and 90s, and with the cost of institutional living arrangements skyrocketing, many elderly and their families are opting instead for at-home companions. It not only keeps the cost of care low, but it also enables the elderly to continue living in their own homes.
If you have patience and skill to work with the elderly directly, you can become a companion. However, if you want to scale it up into a full-scale business, you can instead start a service that provides care providers for the elderly. As the owner of the business, you would arrange and manage the care engagements which are provided by others.
Sooner or later every business needs specific help either with an established area of the business, or in taking on an entirely new function. As a consultant, you can come in and help them do just that. The advantage is that you will be coming in as a fee based independent contractor, rather than as an employee in need of a permanent salary and benefits.
One of the best ways to do this is by offering related services. For example, if you have significant marketing experience, you can act as a marketing consultant for a retail operation, a computer software company, or an ecommerce business.
Identify your specialization, then figure out ways that you can help various businesses move forward, and you will have created a consulting niche for yourself.
7. Video Production
An entire closet industry in the video space has developed with the arrival of YouTube. If you have been creating your own videos, such as music videos, how-to videos, or just-for-fun videos, you may be able to sell your services to the general public.
Small businesses are looking for custom videos put on their websites, to broadcast through the social media, and even to include in emails. Videos provide a better way to reach prospective customers who are either primarily visual learners, or people who simply don’t have time to read a lengthy article or webpage.
8. Freelance Writer
The Internet has opened up all kinds of opportunities to write on a freelance basis. There are millions of websites and blogs, and many of them need content to drive traffic. If you have solid writing skills, and can write intelligently on several topic areas, you can quickly earn a living as a freelancer.
Even beyond blogs and websites, you may also step into marketing type emails, advertising copy, and even ghostwriting ebooks. This is the kind of business venture that can start small, and grow into a six-figure income as you get better at it.
9. Freelance Web Designer
Almost everybody wants to start a website of some type but most people lack the skills to make it happen. You know how to build even simple websites, you can turn that into a full-fledged business. If nothing else, you can prepare simple websites for upstart businesses that have limited budgets. But as your business grows and your skill level and your client base increases, you can begin doing more complicated websites for higher fees.
Much like freelance writing, freelance web design can be done on a remote basis. That means you can run your business completely from your own home.
10. Any Kind of Repair Work
We live in a society of machines, and sooner or later every one of them is in need of repair. But we also live at a time when very few people choose careers based on repair work. If you can repair just about anything – cars, computers, furniture, appliances, or homes/buildings – you can start a repair business.
There’ll be some investment of capital needed for tools, and perhaps even a vehicle. But once you get your name and reputation established, you’ll probably have more work than you can handle.
11. Mobile Repairs
If repair work represents a viable business idea, then mobile repairs is potentially even more lucrative. If you are a person who makes house calls, you will likely be in demand in short order. In that way, you will not only be providing much-needed repairs, but they’ll be delivered directly to the customer’s door – which is made to order for today’s market.
One prominent example of this are mobile mechanics. Rather than having the customer bring their vehicle to a repair shop, the mobile mechanic instead goes to the customer’s home. It’s easy to see how this will be a valuable service for the customer whose vehicle won’t start.
But mobile mechanics aside, virtually any repair business that will come to the client’s home will be a welcome relief to people who schedules are already stretched too tightly.
Do you have a topic area that you are passionate about? If you do, you could turn that into a business by starting your own blog. Thousands of blogs come and go each year, but the ones that offer topics in information that adds value to the readers tend to stick around. And they also tend to be profitable.
The way to make money blogging comes from advertising revenue. Advertisers love to place ads on specialized blogs, and those ads generate revenue, either as one-time payments, or as ongoing cash flows provided by pay-per-click advertising. You can also add affiliate programs to your blog. These are ad offers in which you are paid either a flat fee or a percentage of the sale amount any time a visitor makes a purchase from that vendor from your site.
You can also sell your own products and services from your blog. E-books are especially popular offerings from blogs, as long as they provide valuable information that your readers would be willing to pay for.
The best blogging niches are in areas like investments, credit cards, autos and auto repair, computers, real estate, travel, fashion, or even entertainment. Any topic area that is relevant to a large number of people can turn into a profit generating blog.
If you have ever sold anything on eBay or related sites, this could be a business option for you. It’s simply a matter of developing low-cost product sources of items to sell. EBay even allows you to create an online store that enables you to sell your products and services on a regular basis.
As you might imagine, an eBay business is not quite as simple as many of the proponents claim. It is a business in the true sense, and that means you’ll have to provide products that offer some type of advantage over to what’s out there right now. For example, products need to be either unique, low-cost, or have certain valuable features that make them stand out. Competition is heavy, especially with Amazon.com slowly gobbling up the retail world.
And speaking of Amazon.com, it’s another outstanding site to consider running your ecommerce business on.
14. Grocery Delivery
There are people who spend so much time on their jobs that have little time to perform even necessary chores, such as grocery shopping. You can make money in a business that handles that job for them. And with the Internet, it’s pretty easy to automate that business. People can simply email or text their orders to you, then you can arrange delivery. You can even set up an online payment arrangement, such as PayPal.
Once you get large enough to have multiple customers, you could probably even combine shopping trips, by shopping for several customers at the same store and time frame. You can charge a flat fee, or one based on a percentage of the grocery order.
15. Buying and Selling
If you are good at locating bargains at places like thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, or even online, you can start a business buying and selling. The basic idea is to buy items on the cheap, and sell them at a healthy profit.
This is something like running a pawn shop in your home and online. You can sell your merchandise on websites such as eBay, Amazon.com, and Craigslist. You can also opt to sell them at garage sales from your home, or even at flea markets and swap meets.
The basic idea is to sell an item for $100 that you purchased for $10. If you have a skill like that – and some people actually do – it could turn into a lucrative business.
16. Career Coach
If you’re good at whatever career you have (or had), but you’re looking to make a change to take it in a new direction, becoming a career coach could be a natural shift. You’re taking what you know that works in your career, and training others in the same career how to use those skills to improve their own career paths.
In a way, you have to become an advocate for whatever your career specialization is. That means you have to have an idea as to what the bigger picture factors are, such as the credentials that a person may need to move ahead, as well as the contacts or networks. There may also be certain skills that need to be learned in order for a person to be promoted. You should be able to help with all of that.
There are different ways that you can handle this too. For example, if you have held several careers in your life, you may be able to act more in the capacity of a general coach, helping prepare people either to advance in their current careers, or to transition into a new one.
17. Life Coach
This is similar to being a career coach, except that you are extending to nearly all facets of a person’s life. It can include career coaching, but it isn’t limited to occupation alone. You’ll be offering advice and planning in the areas of motivation, finances, social activity, and even hobbies. Your job will be to create a successful and well-balanced life for your clients.
People do pay for the services. After all, if your job is dominating your life, you might consider paying someone – an outsider – to help focus you on improving other areas of your life, including your career.
You can also create specialized niches here too. For example, you can specialize in being a life coach for people who are coming out of a divorce. Or, you can work with people who are undergoing career transitions, or even people who are new in town and are looking for connections and meaning in a strange place. You can take this in any direction you like!
18. Professional Speaker
Are you comfortable speaking in front of large groups? That’s a potential business right there. And again, there’s a lot of flexibility with this type of business. You can give specialized talks to businesses and industry groups, talking about specific topics, or even just providing motivation. You can even become a pitch man for certain products.
A lot of businesses are looking at presentations as a way to market their businesses. But if business owners don’t have the ability or courage to do so, they may a hire a professional speaker to do it for them. You could be that speaker. All it takes is a few clients, and you’ll be on your way.
19. Voice-over Specialist
This is another business idea that’s growing with technology. Companies often hire a voiceover specialist to do podcasts on their websites. They may also want a voiceover specialist to handle the audio on any videos they are preparing.
At the higher end, there is also voiceover work doing commercials. This is a growing field since commercials are no longer limited just the TV. Thousands of commercials are popping up all over the Internet, especially on YouTube.
20. Resume Writing Service
If you can put together a pretty resume, this could be a good business for you. And even if you can’t, there are online sources where you can learn how to do it quite easily. The secret is knowing how to write effective resumes for specific careers – which again, is a skill you can learn quickly. Resumes are typically written off of templates, and when you have access to those templates – which you can often get free – all you need to do is customize the details.
The built-in advantage that you have here is most people either lack the ability to construct a coherent resume, or have no desire to do so. You’d be filling a valuable niche by stepping in and doing it for them.
21. Stand Up Comedian
I realize that this is a very unconventional business idea, but it could also be perfect if you have the ability to make people laugh. The ability to do that is actually quite rare, at least on a consistent basis. But if that describes you, this could be a viable business.
Like all entertainment-based businesses, getting into it is hit or miss, and moving forward might be more of a zigzag pattern than a straight line. For that reason, most people who get into it typically have “day jobs”, in order to pay the bills while getting started.
You can look for jobs playing for company functions, being an emcee at parties, working steadily at local comedy clubs, or even as the opening act for another comedian, a band or some other entertainment act.
22. Light Hauling
If you have a sturdy pickup truck or van, you may have all you need to operate services for light hauling. People need a service like this for jobs that fall short of a full scale household move. For example, they may need delivery of a large item that they purchased at a store. Or they may need a large item that they sold to people moved to the buyer’s home. It could even be a situation in which an adult child is moving out on their own.
Any of these situations create the need for light hauling. Customers will prefer a low-cost independent to an expensive moving company, since they may charge a premium price based on the small size of the job. As well, your ability to perform light jobs quickly will give you a competitive advantage.
With so many people working outside the home, child care is becoming a critical household need. The demand for childcare has grown now that most households feature either a single working parent, or two parents both holding full-time jobs outside the home.
There are different ways that you can approach this. You can provide care for children in their own home, or you can care for the children of several families in your own home. While the second option will obviously allow you to scale up your business, it is a highly regulated business, likely to require state licensure. If you want to take it up to the next level, you can even open up your own daycare center.
You can also opt to do it as a full-time program, an after school only program or even seasonally to cover summer vacations and the various school vacations during the school year.
24. Home Staging
One of the major requirements for real estate agents selling homes is making sure that the interior of the house is sales-worthy. That means converting someone’s home from a place where people live to one that’s almost like a museum.
That involves removing clutter, rearranging furniture, and even adding helpful touches here and there, such as a house plant in a corner, a picture on the wall, or a coffee table in just the right place. Most property sellers – being emotionally attached to their own homes – lack the objectivity to be able to stage their homes for sale.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it could involve putting a tasteful amount of furniture and decorations in an unoccupied home, in order to help prospective buyers to visualize themselves living in the property.
It’s a specialization, and if you have a knack for it, you can create a business based around it. You mostly market this kind of business to real estate agents, but you may also find willing clients among builders and even people who are trying to sell their homes on their own.
25. Graphic Artist
People and businesses are in need of all kinds of graphics for websites and other projects. If you have skills in this area, you can offer your services out to customers on a retail basis. You can find yourself doing diverse projects, from designing logos to creating webpages.
You can start any of these business for no more than a few hundred dollars – and some with no upfront cash at all. Most can be started as side businesses, that you can grow into full time businesses over time. Find one that will work for you, get a couple of clients, and you’ll be on your way to becoming an entrepreneur.