More people are now looking for flexible work opportunities than ever before as they’re embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. They don’t have to hold down a conventional 9 to 5 job, they can work on their own time and travel the world while doing it.

Even if you’re not looking to travel and just want more flexibility in your work life, there are plenty of opportunities available now than a decade ago. That’s largely due to the rapid advancement in technology.

Some of the best self-employed jobs don’t require much more than a laptop and an internet connection. While others may require a car and some licenses, which can easily be obtained. If you’re interested in becoming your own boss, check out this guide to the 12 best self-employed jobs on the market for 2020.


1. Freelance Writing 

This is one of the oldest self-employment opportunities and the demand for freelance writers has only increased over the years. You can set your own hours and as long as you manage to deliver the work to your clients on time, you don’t really need to work on someone else’s schedule.

Granted, there’s a lot more competition in this niche now than before, and freelance writing is usually the first port of call for people looking to be their own boss. The way to really make it in this business now is to find a sub-niche that you’re knowledgeable about. For example, if you’ve worked as a paralegal before, you would be preferred by clients who have a legal writing job they want to get done as compared to a generic freelance writer.

Even if that’s not the case for you, it’s still quite possible to make a decent living working as a conventional freelance writer, as long as you’re providing great content to your clients at competitive prices.


2. Web Designer

While there’s no shortage of web designers out there, there’s still a lot of demand for capable web designers, particularly those who exhibit great skill. If this is an area that you’re highly skilled in, becoming a web design is possibly one of the best self-employed jobs out there.

It’s great because the timings can be flexible. A client will explain to you what they want and you can work on your own time to get it done for them by the agreed-upon deadline.

Anyone who’s looking to establish an online presence would likely require a web designer at some point. If you have a great portfolio of work and are highly skilled, clients will be willing to pay higher rates because they’ll have a guarantee of quality work.


3. Virtual Assistant

There has been a significant increase in virtual assistant freelancer jobs over the past few years. Many internet marketers, in particular, outsource much of the legwork to virtual assistants. Since niches like dropshipping and affiliate marketing have skyrocketed in the past decade, there’s a lot of work available now for virtual assistants.

You’ll make a decent hourly wage in exchange for doing a wide variety of tasks such as data entry, customer support, creating product listings, sorting product images, etc. The clients will normally teach you what you need to do and you just have to repeat that process many times over. It has now become one of the easiest ways to earn money from home, particularly for those who feel that freelance writing is not for them.


4. Graphic Designer

This is still one of the best self-employed jobs as good graphic designers are always in high demand. People need them for designing all sorts of things like websites, business cards, stationery, promotional material, etc.

It does require skill, though, so if you’re a complete beginner you will need to get better at it. Fortunately, there are countless online resources, many of them are free, through which you can improve your skills.


5. Social Media Consultant

The use of social media has exploded over the past decade. It’s unthinkable now for a business to not have a social media presence. If you’re savvy in social media marketing, then there’s exceptional potential for you to earn a decent income from home.

Business owners and individuals hire a social media consultant for marketing, growth hacking, expanding their reach, etc. Sometimes, they just need someone skilled at responding to negative reviews on Facebook. You can help out with any of that and get paid for it. The only thing that you need is a skill, a laptop and an internet connection.


6. Pet Sitter

Working as a pet sitter is one of the best self-employed jobs for those who don’t want a laptop lifestyle, and love pets, obviously. There’s almost no overhead cost in this business. You just need to be comfortable with pets and be responsible when taking care of your clients’ furry friends. Responsibility is key as people don’t want any harm to come to their pets when they’re under someone else’s care.

Pet sitters are always in demand as people want to ensure that their pets are well looked after when they’re traveling or are just busy with work. Some just want to hire someone to walk their dogs because they can’t take the time to do it themselves. This is a great way to earn an hourly wage while also being your own boss.


7. Personal Trainer

If you prefer a healthy lifestyle and are passionate about helping people through their fitness journeys, look into becoming a personal trainer. This line of work will require you to obtain certification so that your clients know you have the necessary training.

Many personal trainers build their brand and slowly build up a client list. Many clients want someone to train them at home, they don’t prefer going to the gym. So this is a great business idea for people who are passionate about fitness and are dedicated to the lifestyle.


8. Life Coach or Mentor

This is a great option to start working from home. You can offer your services as a life coach or mentor to people who are looking to make it in a line of work where you’ve already been very successful. For example, you could mentor people who want to set up their own social media consultancy or personal trainer brand.

This does require you to have achieved considerable success on your own first. That success is what will make people looking to work in that industry seek you out and pay you for your mentorship. Here’s a guide on how to obtain your life coach certification.


9. Rideshare Driving

Many consider rideshare driving one of the best self-employed jobs. Sure, the hours are tough, but there are a lot of opportunities to make good money, particularly during times when demand is high and surge pricing is in effect.

Rideshare services continue to see exceptional demand which is why they need all the driver-partners that they can get. The onboarding process is simple enough. All you need is a car and to pass their background check. You can get started in a couple of days and set your own hours for when you’re going to pick up passengers. This is also a great temporary solution to make money while you set up some other small business.


10. Personal Shopping

Getting paid to shop might sound too good to be true but this is actually a great self employment opportunity. You’ll be surprised to know how many people actually prefer to have someone go and pick out clothes for them, and are willing to pay for this service.

Setting up your own personal shopping business is going to require effort, though. You obviously need to have a great sense of style and must always be on top of the latest fashion trends. A personal shopping business can work well in conjunction with another business, such as image consulting or personal styling.

People who are looking to transform their image or want to improve their styling will first seek you out for your knowledge. You can then pitch them your personal shopping service as well. Most clients would opt for it if they’re satisfied with your consulting and styling work. They’ll leave it up to you to find the perfect pieces for them.


11. Freelance Photographer

You can earn money by using your love for photography. Freelance photographers can actually make good money on the side while many even pursue it as their main line of work. Those who live in cities that get a lot of tourists can particularly take advantage of their camera skills.

One of the most common experiences that you’ll find on Airbnb are from freelance photographers. Many people who visit cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, etc, particularly from overseas, want to get the best pictures for their trip.

That’s where you come in. If you have a professional camera and the requisite skill, you can show tourists around your city while taking their pictures. They’ll happily pay you for the experience. That’s one way freelance photographers can make money by working for themselves in 2020.


12. Music Teacher

Teaching someone a musical instrument is one of the best self-employed jobs that you can do. If you started playing guitar as a hobby years ago and got pretty good at it, you can work as a music teacher and help out those who want to learn guitar.

There are plenty of other instruments out there but guitars and drums tend to be the most popular. You can be skilled in any one of them. You could get started by just setting up a Facebook page and advertising locally to let people know that you’re offering private lessons.

A proper college degree is required to teach music in schools but there’s no such requirement for offering private lessons. If your clients are satisfied with your service, there’s a chance that they’ll recommend you to their friends and families. If that happens, your client list will grow fairly quickly and you’ll find yourself making a steady income from teaching people how to play instruments.

The important thing to keep in mind is that there will be an element of struggle involved. It rarely happens that someone who’s newly self-employed will find plenty of clients right off the bat. It takes time to build your reputation and gain clients. Most people start and then give up after a few months because they feel it’s too hard. Little do they know, they’re usually at the cusp of turning it around when they give up and look for some other opportunity where they have to start from scratch all over again!




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Adnan Farooqui | New York-based Adnan Farooqui has considerable experience of working with both small brick-and-mortar and online businesses to help them grow. His expertise includes content marketing, affiliate marketing and online lead generation. He has a bachelor's in English from Rutgers University.