Be Your Own Boss | Best Self-Employment Jobs to Try in 2017

Many people dream of becoming self-employed at some time in their life. The thought of being your own boss and making your own schedule is like a dream come true.

But going self-employed can be scary as well, and the fear of not being able to support yourself from self-employed jobs can cause some to never try.

But in this day and age, and thanks to the Internet, you have a lot more top self-employed jobs to choose from than ever before. There is also more flexibility to work anywhere at any time from a laptop or mobile device, which makes it easier to ease into doing self-employed work while still at another job.

Best Self-Employent Jobs

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Self Employment Jobs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 10.1 percent of all U.S. workers in 2015 were doing self-employed work. An interesting fact in the report was that older people become self-employed more than those who are younger. Workers 65 and older were the highest percentage age group (15.5 percent) of those working self-employed.

No matter what your age group or skill set, we’ve found the top self-employed job ideas for 2017 that can help you live your dream of becoming self-employed. These self-employed careers encompass all types of interests, from caregiving to photography to driving, and more.

We will also give you some tips on how to be successful with self-employment opportunities, what to watch out for, and resources you can use to help you along the way.

So, let’s get started and take a look at the 2017 top 6 best self-employed jobs.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Self-Employment Jobs

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the career names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that career):

Top 6 Best Self-Employed Jobs | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Self-Employed Jobs

Estimate of Avg. Potential Earnings To Start

Fees Involved

Care.com—Senior Caregiver

$15–$20 per hour

None listed for caregivers

Etsy—Making and Selling Crafts

$0–$1,500 per month

$0.20 listing fee, 3.5% transaction fee, $3+$0.25 payment processing fee

Offset by Shutterstock®—Photography & Illustration

$75–$150 per image

 None listed


$10.99–$14.98 per hour

No fees for tutors


$20–$25 per hour

$1.65 rider fee, 20% of total fare


$5–$30 per hour

20% up to first $500 billed to client, 10% from $500.01 to $10,000, 5% over $10,000

Table: Top 6 Best Self-Employment Opportunities | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Self-Employment Opportunities FAQ| What Are the Pros and Cons of Going Self-Employed?

Working for yourself and becoming self-employed can be very rewarding, but you should go in with a full understanding of the pros and cons of self-employed careers. You may not be able to match a former paycheck right away working self-employed, but can potentially benefit in other ways.

Self-Employment Opportunities

Image Source: Best Self-Employed Jobs

Loss of insurance and benefits through an employer may also be something to plan for when considering self-employed job ideas and how to go about making a transition to self-employed work.

Savings on gas, wardrobe, and childcare can all be tangible benefits that help make up for a lower initial income when you become self-employed. And there are plenty of stories of people exceeding their former pay after going self-employed.

Here are some pros and cons to consider for any of the best self-employed jobs.

Self-Employed Jobs Pros:

  • Set your own schedule
  • Do what you love
  • Can work from home
  • Savings on childcare
  • Savings on car/gas
  • Flexibility to work as much or little as you want
  • Tax write-off advantage for business expenses
  • Potential to earn more

Self-Employed Jobs Cons:

  • Earnings may not be consistent
  • Potential to make less than expected
  • You may miss coworker interactions
  • Loss of job insurance and benefits
  • Potential friend/family interruptions
  • Will need to plan for retirement & taxes
  • No sick pay or vacation pay

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Self-Employment Opportunities FAQ | How Can I Be a Success When Becoming Self-Employed?

Even with the best self-employed jobs, you need discipline, a good work ethic, and the passion to succeed to be successful. There are a lot of resources online you can use for tips on how to become self-employed and stay that way.

There’s a reason you’ll see stories that are both positive and negative about the same self-employed careers. There are testimonials from some people that make far more than they did at their former job, while others lament that they made nothing. The main difference is the passion and effort put into going self-employed.

Tips for Being Successful at the Best Self-Employment Jobs:

Treat your home office like any other office. Distractions like the laundry and television don’t usually happen at an office. Even though you may be working at home, keeping preset “office hours,” and sticking to them can help ensure your self-employed work is done efficiently.

Deliver projects on time. If you are working self-employed as a freelancer, make sure you build up a good reputation by delivering your work on time or communicating clearly if you are going to miss a deadline.

Do thorough research on costs involved. If there are costs involved in your self-employed work, such as craft supplies or car expenses, make sure you set your prices accordingly.

Don’t overextend yourself. It’s easy to want to say yes to all the best self-employment opportunities that come your way. But don’t take on more jobs or clients that you can reasonably handle and deliver good work to in a timely manner.

Manage and evaluate. Managers evaluate and adjust as needed to continually strive for success. Take time out to evaluate yourself and your self-employed jobs, look at the numbers, and make adjustments to become even better.

Ease into it. If you’re worried whether you can succeed at even the best self-employed jobs, start small and ease into it. Keep your main job, but begin on weekends or evenings trying out your dream self-employed job ideas.

Best Self-Employed Jobs

Image Source: TheSelfEmployed.com Top Self-Employed Jobs Help

Use available resources. There are a lot of great resources you can use for going self-employed, such as:

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Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best Self-Employed Jobs

Below, please find a detailed review of each career on our list of best self-employment jobs. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these self-employment opportunities to score so high in our selection ranking.

Care.com—Senior Caregiver Review

If you like interacting with others on a regular basis and enjoy helping people, then using Care.com to become a Senior Caregiver may be an excellent self-employment opportunity for you.

Care.com was started in 2007 as a way to connect a variety of families needing caregiving services to those providing them. Today, the company offers self-employment opportunities in 19 countries and makes a U.S. job connection every 2 minutes.

We chose being a Senior Caregiver as one of the best self-employment jobs in 2017 because senior care is only becoming more in demand as the Baby Boomer generation, now currently between ages 53 and 71, continues to age.

You may like this as one of your top self-employed job ideas if:

  • You enjoy caring for people
  • You like to do a variety of tasks, like errands or household work
  • You have former medical experience
  • You like the idea of connecting with a senior

Job listings at care.com currently average in the $15 to $20 per hour range, with both part-time and full-time self-employed jobs available. You can get started by filling out a free profile here.

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Etsy—Making and Selling Crafts Review

Since 2005, Etsy has made a name for itself as the go-to place for unique handcrafted items. Since that time, it has enabled some of the best self-employed jobs for 1.7 million active sellers, selling their wares to 27.1 million active buyers.

If you love creating things, whether it’s clothing, jewelry, stationary, or any other type of handcrafted item, then Etsy offers a great way of becoming self-employed by making and selling your own products.

Etsy Self Employed Jobs

Image Source: Etsy | Become Self-Employed

This is an area of self-employed work where you need to do your research on cost of goods versus profit margin. If you want to ensure success by working self-employed making and selling items, marketing your Etsy products is key.

Here are some tips to make this one of your best self-employment jobs:

  • Take great product photos
  • Find your own niche for your products
  • Use search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising
  • Study successful shops for ideas
  • Use an email newsletter to keep people engaged

There are a wide range of Etsy store sales averages from little over a few dollars a month to $679 per day (according to CraftCount.com). So studying successful shops can help you make this one of the profitable self-employed careers for yourself as well. You can sign up as a seller here.

Offset by Shutterstock®—Photography & Illustration Review

Thanks to the Internet and improved camera technology, becoming a photographer or illustrator has become easier than ever. If you have an eye for great shots, then selling your photography on Offset by Shutterstock® can help you become self-employed doing something you love.

Shutterstock was founded in 2003 to sell licensable images at an affordable cost. In 2013, they started Offset, which created an opportunity for photographers and illustrators to engage in one of the new best self-employment jobs. This gives the company more photos to offer clients and artists a chance to sell their work.

There are two main image sizes they license, lo-res files (3mb) for $250 and hi-res files (50mb) for $500. Contributors earn a percentage of the sale, and Offset also markets the work of artists, making this one of the top self-employed jobs for photographers.

If you’re considering Offset for going self-employed you should know:

  • Not everyone that submits an application is accepted
  • You need to review their model releases
  • You do retain your copyright ownership of your content
  • You will want to review current artists to get ideas

While they don’t list the percentages that artists receive as commission on their site, the VP of Content for Shutterstock did say in a post that it’s “in the vicinity of 30%.” You can apply to be an Offset artist here.

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Tutor.com—Tutoring Review

For those former teachers out there who want a fresh start becoming self-employed, Tutor.com gives you some great self-employment opportunities. The company offers tutoring in multiple subjects, including math, science, English, foreign languages, business, and more.

The company began way back in 1998 with a passionate group of education and tech professionals. Today, they have more than 3,100 expert tutors that they promote to their clients, which include families, schools, colleges, governors, and the military.

This is one of the best self-employment jobs for those with a teaching degree, which is why we chose it for our top 6 list. Whether you are a new mom wanting more flexibility or a retired teacher looking for extra income, Tutor.com makes working self-employed a great option.

Things to know if you’ve chosen Tutor.com as one of your top self-employed jobs:

  • They accept college students, teachers, adjuncts, and professors
  • Tutoring age options range from k-12 through adult learners
  • Tutoring is done online, so you can work from home
  • There are no fees or costs associated with applying
  • The application process includes subject exams
  • You can view the full application process here

The company does not list earnings information on their site, but according to GlassDoor.com, math tutors can make between $10.99 and $14.98 per hour. If you’re interested in tutoring as one of your self-employed job ideas, you can sign up here.

Uber—Driver Review

If you have a reliable car and don’t mind giving strangers a ride, then being a driver for Uber may be one of your most perfect self-employment opportunities. You can make fairly good money and enjoy the flexibility of setting your own schedule.

Uber Becoming Self Employed

Image Source: Uber Self-Employed Jobs

The idea of Uber was first conceived in 2008 and it took the world by storm shortly thereafter. The app is what made it famous and what makes this one of the top self-employed careers, because everyone knows about it.

Uber is available in 550 cities worldwide, and if you live in a major metropolitan area you can make top-dollar being an Uber driver, especially during their surge pricing.

You may like this as one of your best self-employed jobs options if:

  • You enjoy driving
  • You have a reliable car
  • You enjoy meeting new people
  • You know your town well

According to I Drive With Uber, Uber drivers make more than $19 per hour on average. In places like New York City, they can make more than $30 per hour. If you want to drive to become self-employed, you can sign up with Uber here.

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Upwork—Freelancing Review

The great thing about Upwork is that no matter what your talent, there are multiple self-employment opportunities for you. This freelancing site is used by companies to search out voiceover artists, writers, website developers, graphic artists, bookkeepers, virtual assistants, and much more.

Upwork was created in 2015 from two other well-known companies, Elance and oDesk. Their platform has more than $1 billion in work done annually and more than 12 million registered freelancers who have become self-employed using their platform.

The site was included on our top 6 best self-employed jobs list because of its popularity, great reputation, and wide scope of self-employment opportunities to match just about any person’s skill set.

Some of the many best self-employment jobs you can try on Upwork include:

  • Web development
  • Mobile app designer
  • Virtual assistant
  • Ghost writer
  • Customer service agent
  • Accountant
  • Transcription
  • Sales and marketing expert
  • Voice actor
  • Photoshop expert
  • Video editor

Rates can vary widely between $5 and $30 an hour or more, so if you choose Upwork for going self-employed, you’ll want to learn the ropes so you can charge what makes sense for your work. If you think this may be one of your best self-employment jobs picks, you can sign up here.

Conclusion—Top 6 Best Self-Employed Jobs

No matter what self-employment opportunities are most exciting to you, all carry the same main keys for success, which are commitment, an excellent work ethic, and a passion for what you do.

Just remember that being your own boss means also taking time to research and evaluate to ensure you have the best chance of success with any self-employed job ideas you go after. These top 6 options for self-employed careers are a great place to start your research.

In 2017, there are more options than ever for the best self-employment jobs, whether you are a former nurse or teacher, a burgeoning photographer, or just love to drive. So, don’t be afraid to take a chance on your dream.

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