How to Be Self-Employed

Small Business

Considering Self-Employment

The ability to determine what type of work you do every day, when you do it, how you do it and for what price, is a dream for many and self-employment is the answer. Entrepreneurs face numerous obstacles during the journey to self-employment, but that doesn’t keep more than 15 million Americans from becoming their own boss.

Self-employment offers many personal benefits, including:

  • Untraditional work hours – You are not pigeon-holed into the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work schedule.
  • Flexible schedule – There is no approval process to take time off.
  • Remote – You can work from your place of business, your home office or your favorite coffee shop.
  • Individuality – You have free-range to run your business the way you see fit.
  • Self-satisfaction – Earning a living via a business or service you created independently is gratifying.
  • Legacy – As a business owner you have the option of leaving your profitable business to your children.

When considering switching to self-employment consider the following factors:

  • Salary – Is your monthly income after expenses enough to pay the bills?
  • Health care – Can you join a family member’s healthcare plan? If not, can you afford to pay for healthcare?
  • Taxes – How do your salary and business expenses affect your tax bill?
  • Location – At what physical location will you work? Home? Shared office building?
  • Savings – Do you have money to fall back on if your transition to self-employment fails to yield a profit?
  • Start-up cost – How much will you need to invest to make your self-employment happen?
  • Debt – Are you currently in debt? How will this impact your ability to grow your business?
  • Life insurance –Will you be able to maintain life insurance payments?

The decision to become self-employed is motivated by more than finances. Entrepreneurs also consider non-monetary factors like doing meaningful and enjoyable work and the ability to practice business operations he or she believes in, such as manufacturing only in the United States, supporting local business or using only environmentally friendly materials.

Popular Self-Employed Occupations

The following are popular business opportunities that suit self-employment and have a low start-up cost:


  • Social media consultant
  • Tutor (academic, foreign language, music, etc.)
  • Eldercare provider
  • Consultant (industry-specific)
  • Videographer
  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Designer
  • Graphic artist
  • Repair man/woman
  • Electronic repair man/woman
  • Blogger
  • Money advisor
  • Web developer

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  • Personal trainer
  • Tax expert
  • Translator
  • E-commerce (eBay, Etsy, etc.)
  • Life coach
  • Professional speaker
  • Menu planner
  • Lawn maintenance worker
  • Event planner
  • Childcare provider
  • Virtual assistant
  • Pet groomer
  • Dog trainer
  • Grocery store delivery person


If you’re an expert in your field, self-employment opportunities are endless. The most successful businesses are skill-based. If you can determine your best skills, you just need a plan to start a business:

  • Step 1: Create a business plan – a quick Google search will yield many templates to work from.
  • Step 2: Find the money – locate an investor or take out a business loan.
  • Step 3: Find the place – if your business requires a storefront this is a particularly important step.
  • Step 4: Create a marketing plan – customers won’t come just because you opened a business so budget for a marketing plan.
  • Step 5: Secure your first customer – open your business to consumers.

The steps to creating a successful business look different for each person and the outline above is only a starting point. By choosing a skills-based industry and becoming a leader in that industry, your business is sure to thrive.

Additional Resources





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