12 Best Jobs If You Want to Be Your Own Boss

Sometimes the best career path is the one you blaze yourself.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sometimes the best career path is the one you blaze yourself. Self-employment affords you the opportunity to take full control of your work life: You can make your own hours, set up shop where it best suits you and pick your projects. But with all that power comes great responsibility: You have to build and keep your own schedule, manage your workspace and equipment and develop and maintain a stable of clients and projects. You also have to handle more complexity when it comes to start-up costs, cash flow, health insurance, saving for retirement, taxes and other financial matters.

Whether the pros are worth the cons really depends on your personal priorities and preferences, but certain jobs work better for the self-employed than others. To help you find which lines of work are best for being your own boss, we ranked 773 popular occupations from best to worst based on number of current positions, median pay, projected job growth and educational requirements (favoring jobs that don't necessarily call for a huge investment in education to get started). Then, we scoured the top of our job rankings for occupations with above-average rates of self-employment. After all, if a large share of the profession is making it work, chances are better that you can, too. The following 12 jobs offer generous income potential, bright prospects and a good shot at being a successful boss.


Unless otherwise noted, all employment data was provided by Emsi, a labor-market research firm owned by Strada Education. Emsi collects data from dozens of federal, state and private sources, including reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and surveys from the U.S. Census Bureau. The total number of jobs listed for each occupation is for 2017. Projected 10-year job growth figures represent the percentage change in the total number of jobs in an occupation between 2017 and 2027. Annual earnings were calculated by multiplying median hourly earnings by 2,080, the standard number of hours worked in a year by a full-time employee.

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Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for Kiplinger.com in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.