In today’s job market, self-employment offers unparalleled flexibility, autonomy, and the chance to turn passions into profitable ventures.
Whether you fancy a career change, for example embarking on driving instructor training, or want a small business based around your existing talents to help unleash your entrepreneurial spirit, the following self-employed jobs offer exciting opportunities for a thriving career.
What is self-employment?
Self-employment means operating your own business or working as an independent contractor instead of being an employee. You manage clients, provide services, and handle administrative tasks related to your work.
Being self-employed differs from traditional employment in that you are responsible for everything.
What are the benefits of being self-employed?
There are many benefits to being self-employed:
- Being your own boss
Working on a self-employed basis means you have full control over your business decisions and can shape your career as you wish, all without answering to anyone else! Essentially, you’ll be working as your own boss, so you can set your own goals and spend time focusing on the things that matter to you.
- Financial independence
By becoming self-employed, you can earn a competitive wage based on your skills and the value you provide. With some self-employed careers, you can earn an average salary of over £60,000 per year and even begin earning good money whilst training.
- Setting your own working hours
Not everyone wants to work to a routine 9-5 schedule. When you are your own boss, you can enjoy flexible hours by setting your schedule for a better work-life balance.
- Prioritising your personal life
With control over your schedule, you can allocate time for personal pursuits, family commitments, and leisure activities. You can decide how many hours you’ll work from one week to the next – an attractive prospect for anyone who enjoys taking spontaneous trips away or needs to fit in with their children’s school holiday dates.
- Earning extra money
Whilst salaried positions often have a limit to the amount you can earn each year, self-employment can allow you to pick up additional hours of work by offering ad-hoc services. This means you can capitalise during periods of high demand and increase your overall average salary.
The best self-employed jobs in the UK
Being self-employed opens up a whole range of incredible career paths, some of which require no formal education or relevant qualifications.
Here are some of the best self-employed job ideas you could pursue if you’re considering a career change:
- Personal Trainer
If you’re into physical fitness and working out, getting into personal training could be the ideal career for you. As a personal trainer (or PT, as they’re sometimes called), you’ll have the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients, designing customised workout plans and providing guidance on nutrition and healthy habits.
One thing to bear in mind with this career pathway is that you’ll likely need access to your own vehicle in order to drive to each of your client’s gyms. You may also need to invest in fitness equipment such as weights and exercise machines.
Assuming you work hard to promote yourself to your target market and build a reliable client base, you can earn an average annual salary of around £29,000 working as a personal trainer.
- Driving Instructor
Choosing to become a driving instructor can be an excellent career choice for people of all ages and life stages. As a driving instructor, you have the opportunity to impart valuable knowledge and skills to learners, empowering them with the confidence to become safe and responsible drivers.
Driving instructors can enjoy the autonomy to design their schedules and tailor lessons to meet each learner’s unique needs. This flexibility not only allows for a rewarding work-life balance but also allows you to make a lasting impact by shaping responsible and capable drivers for the future.
Moreover, you can even start making money whilst you’re working towards gaining your ADI licence to teach. Trainee driving instructors can charge for lessons and make around £1,000 a week in revenue, by operating under a PDI licence with a qualified supervisor.
Once qualified, the average driving instructor salary in the UK comes in at around £31,000 per year.
- Life Coach
Becoming a life coach is another excellent career option for those who are passionate about helping others achieve their personal and professional goals.
As a life coach, you work closely with clients to identify their strengths, challenges, and aspirations. You’ll provide guidance, support and motivation to help people navigate through life’s various transitions and obstacles.
Whilst being a life coach doesn’t require you to have a bachelor’s degree, you will need a certain amount of life experience and a strong level of emotional intelligence. If you possess the right soft skills for this job, you can earn an average salary of £31,000.
If you have expertise in a particular subject or skill, consider becoming an online tutor or instructor. Many people seek online learning, whether it’s for academic subjects, language lessons, music instruction, or specialised courses.
Specialised online tutoring and educational platforms provide a seamless avenue for self-employed tutors to connect with a global audience, attract clients, and foster the growth of their tutoring businesses.
As a personal tutor, you can earn an average salary of £37,000 per year.
- Freelance Writer
Freelance writing provides a lot of flexibility to choose projects that align with your own hours, interests and expertise while also honing your writing abilities and expanding your knowledge on a wide range of topics.
If you have strong creative writing skills and enjoy crafting content, you can offer your services as a freelance writer or copywriter. You’ll do everything from writing blogs and articles to crafting social media marketing materials and website content for eCommerce businesses.
As self-employed jobs go, this one is about as flexible as you can get! You’ll likely have the option to work exclusively from home and can earn an average salary of £30,000.
- Career Counsellor
This is one of the best self-employed jobs to choose if you want to support others through their own career journeys. As a career counsellor or coach, you’ll be guiding individuals towards successful and fulfilling career paths by helping them to identify their strengths, interests and aspirations.
You can also work with clients to advise on the further education or training that they might need to pursue new career paths. And, by providing personalised coaching and actionable strategies, you can empower clients to overcome career challenges and seize opportunities for growth and professional advancement.
Career counsellors can earn an average salary of £30,000 per year.
Starting your own cleaning business can be immensely fulfilling and offer fantastic opportunities for growth. As a dedicated cleaner, you’ll extend your services to homes, offices, and various establishments, ensuring a hygienic and comfortable environment for clients.
Being self-employed grants you the freedom to choose your own schedule and set preferred rates, offering attractive prospects and a perfect work-life balance that aligns seamlessly with your lifestyle. This flexibility enables you to provide top-notch services while enjoying the autonomy of managing your own time and business.
Typically, cleaners can earn an average annual salary of £36,000 per year.
- Web Designer
With the growing demand for websites, offering web design and development services can be a very lucrative career.
If you possess programming skills and have a knack for crafting visually engaging and functional websites, you can cater to clients ranging from small businesses to startups who are looking to establish or improve their online and social media presence.
Web designers can earn an average salary of £33,000 per year.
If you’re a keen photographer with an eye for the perfect shot, this could be a great self employment opportunity for you! You’ll have the freedom to immerse yourself into different photographic niches, including portraiture, landscapes, weddings, and event photography.
Working as a self-employed photographer will provide you with the flexibility to manage personal commitments with creative pursuits whilst delivering exceptional services to your portfolio of clients.
You may need to explore additional or ongoing training to hone your skills and invest in photography equipment such as digital cameras, lenses, tripods, hard drives and image editing software. Remember, though, that self-employed people can claim back tax expenses for business investments such as these.
Provided you deliver high-quality photos that capture the sentiment in your clients’ briefs, you can earn an average salary of £36,000 per year.
Gardening opens up a world of possibilities for nature enthusiasts and those with a green thumb. Tending to gardens and creating stunning outdoor spaces provides a rewarding career that allows you to connect with the great outdoors.
You’ll have the freedom to offer a range of services, from landscape design and maintenance to specialised gardening projects. With each garden you nurture and every flower bed you cultivate, you contribute to the well-being of the environment and the happiness of your clients.
Working full-time as a self-employed gardener, you can earn an average annual salary of £34,000 per year.
- Business Consultant
Venturing into the world of business consultancy offers a dynamic and rewarding career for individuals with expertise in various industries. As a business consultant, you become a trusted advisor to companies seeking strategic guidance, process improvements, and solutions to challenges.
In this role, you have the freedom to tailor your services and focus on specific areas of expertise, whether it’s management consulting, marketing strategies, financial planning, refining a business idea, or technology implementation. Your insights and recommendations can drive positive transformations and growth for your clients, making a significant impact on their success.
Depending on your level of experience and expertise, you could earn an average annual salary of £44,000 per year.
- Make-up Artist
As a make-up artist, you have the power to use your creativity and skills to boost your clients’ confidence for special occasions and everyday events.
Catering to a diverse clientele, including brides, models, actors, and anyone seeking to express their individuality through make-up, you can curate your own portfolio and attract new clients as a self-employed makeup artist.
Your artistic flair and dedication has the power to impact how people feel about themselves, leading to repeat business and referrals and solidifying your reputation as a sought-after professional.
In this industry, self-employed jobs can attract an average salary of £39,000 per year.
- Event Coordinator
If you have strong organisational skills and enjoy creating memorable experiences, an event coordinator or event planner role might be the best job for you.
Working in the event planning industry, you can specialise in weddings, corporate events, parties, or conferences and assist clients in planning and executing their special occasions with attention to detail and creativity.
Your dedication to making every event exceptional will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact, making you a go-to choice for those seeking a masterful touch in their most cherished moments. The average salary for a self-employed event coordinator is around £38,000 per year.
- Dog Walker
Most pet owners struggle to find the time to exercise their dog and balance personal responsibilities or work commitments. This means there is a wealth of job opportunities for dog walkers across the UK.
As a self-employed dog walker, you’ll have the flexibility to work to your own schedule and charge competitive hourly rates. Plus, your business overheads will be minimal since you won’t need to invest in an office space.
It’s worth noting that you’ll need access to your own vehicle and the appropriate insurance if you want to successfully grow a dog walking business.
Provided you have everything in place, you could make an average annual salary of £24,000 per year.
- Graphic Designer
Working in graphic design is a fantastic self-employed career path for anyone with a strong creative streak. You can enjoy doing a wide range of things, such as creating visual assets for your clients’ social media platforms and working alongside web designers to create images and illustrations for websites.
You don’t need a formal education to become a graphic designer, as many people in this profession find that they can get to grips with the different design software needed using online how-to videos.
Working in graphic design, self-employed professionals can earn an average salary of £36,000 per year.
What skill set do you need to be self-employed?
To thrive as a self-employed individual, several key skills are essential:
- Time management to balance work tasks, personal life, and business growth efficiently.
- Independence and self-discipline to work independently and stay focused without constant external direction.
- Dedication and drive to succeed to overcome obstacles and stay committed to achieving your goals.
- Communication skills to build trust and foster positive relationships with clients, customers, and stakeholders.
Top tips for choosing a self-employed job
When choosing a self-employed job, consider the following top tips:
- Follow your passion: Pursue what you love for greater job satisfaction.
- Explore additional training: Enhance your expertise with additional in-depth knowledge to stay competitive in the job market.
- Focus on your areas of expertise: Identify your strengths and build your self-employed career around them. Consider working with a career coach to better understand your skill set.
Consider becoming a driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School
If you have a passion for driving and a desire to empower others with essential skills, consider embarking on an exciting journey as a driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School. As a trusted and renowned driving school, we offer trainee instructors a range of driving instructor training course options that will help you become a professional instructor.
By joining our esteemed team of driving instructors, you’ll be equipped with comprehensive training, ongoing support, and access to modern teaching methods and technology. Our commitment to excellence and dedication to road safety ensure that you’ll be part of an organisation that values both its instructors and learners.
Which self-employed jobs have the best salaries?
The amount you earn in a self-employed role will vary depending on your hourly rate, the number of existing and prospective clients you attract through marketing, and the level of demand for your profession.
The average salary for personal trainers in the UK is £28,259. If you have a tutoring business teaching kids, you could earn in the region of £34,000.
Working as a driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School, you can earn an average salary of £31,000 after tax. And, being part of a respected, well-established teaching franchise, your personal marketing expenditure will be minimal.
Are there any downsides to being self-employed?
Some self-employed individuals worry about having less financial and job security compared to traditional employment.
Unlike in the gig economy, working for an employer means you’ll likely have legal and salary protection written into your contract.
If networking and self-marketing on social media aren’t your strengths, but you want to work on a freelance basis, choosing a self-employed position within a well-established franchise may be a better idea.
Do you need a bachelor’s degree for self-employed jobs?
Not necessarily, no. You can earn good money in some self-employed positions without having a formal education, provided you have a working knowledge of the services you offer. It’s worth noting, however, that certain professions may require you to undertake additional training. You don’t need a university-level education to become a driving instructor, but you will need to pass your ADI tests to gain your teaching licence.