The thought of being your own boss can be both exciting and intimidating, largely because starting your own business brings its own rewards and challenges. The flexibility offered is a big bonus, but one area that can be a bit stressful is income since you aren’t necessarily guaranteed a paycheck like you are with a full-time employer.
If you want to avoid the worry that comes with living paycheck to paycheck, consider one of these 15 high-paying jobs so you can also focus on building your business.
Note: All salaries were supplied by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) via the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
If you enjoy working with numbers, becoming a financial advisor can provide you with a lot of flexibility. Not only is there the opportunity to be your own boss, but you’ll also feel the satisfaction of helping clients work toward their long-term financial goals.
Whether you want to outline retirement plans or give investment advice, there are a lot of opportunities to truly make this job your own.
Depending on the path you choose, you may need to obtain special licenses and certifications. Be sure to check both federal and state requirements regarding your area of practice.
Average annual salary: $119,960
Some psychologists decide to open a private practice and find their own clients. As the owner of your own practice, you will still do much of the same work like identifying behavior patterns and helping patients navigate mental health issues.
The difference is that you’ll also be responsible for (or find someone to take care of) more administrative tasks like scheduling appointments and bookkeeping.
Average annual salary: $99,640
Another job where you can be your own boss is a web developer. Web developers design, analyze, and maintain websites. Other tasks can include writing code, testing website applications, and monitoring website speed and traffic. Although many web developers have a bachelor’s degree, it is possible to pursue the position without a college education.
Average annual salary: $81,320
Sometimes referred to as a management analyst, a consultant’s job is to work with companies to help them identify problems and offer solutions so they can operate more efficiently. A lot of the day-to-day tasks can be done remotely — like analyzing internal policies and procedures — which is what makes this a great opportunity to be your own boss.
Most management consultants have a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field while obtaining an MBA usually offers someone a more competitive advantage.
Average annual salary: $100,530
There is a lot more to interior design than choosing color schemes and buying home decor, which is why this is another job that can potentially generate a lot of income if you choose to go on your own. Interior designers usually need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program and are proficient in AutoCAD.
For a better chance at success, it’s also helpful to narrow down a specialty. Some specificalites include residential interiors, sustainable design, or corporate offices. When working for yourself, you will also need to develop a solid understanding of all costs that go into a project so that you can bid effectively.
Average annual salary: $62,570
Depending on what you went to school for, there are many different routes to take if you want to become your own boss as a physician. If you choose to open your own practice, you can not only have more control over your hours but also over what specific areas or ailments you choose to treat. This also provides you with more control over which patients you choose to see.
Keep in mind that this is one job that requires a lot more time and money upfront, specifically when it comes to education and residency.
Average annual salary: $231,500
As a freelance accountant, you can choose what work you want to focus on as well as your clients. The work you choose can depend on your individual clients’ needs or what interests you. For instance, some accountants only prepare taxes while others may help small business owners file the paperwork needed to stay compliant with all necessary laws and regulations.
Becoming an accountant requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting or a related field.
Average annual salary: $79,520
Real estate agent
A career in real estate has a lower barrier to entry than some of the other high-salary jobs on this list. It is possible to complete the necessary courses and obtain your real estate license within four to six months, although the time can vary.
Keep in mind that success as an agent largely depends on how many clients you can generate and maintain, which means you can expect to spend a lot of your time prospecting for and meeting with clients. Your annual salary will also likely vary depending on the market and where you’re selling.
Average annual salary: $61,480
If you’re good at explaining complex processes, there’s the potential to earn a lot as a technical writer. Freelance technical writers work with companies to prepare documents such as how-to guides and instruction manuals.
What you need to get started as a technical writer varies. While not always necessary, most technical writers have a bachelor’s degree.
Average annual salary: $81,470
Working as a private investigator can allow you to be your own boss, particularly because a lot of what this job entails is research on a computer. Hours can vary, though, depending on a client’s request. For instance, if you’re running surveillance, your hours will likely be dependent on who or what you’re following.
Some private investigators perform background checks and investigate employees within a company. Others might work for individuals looking for the truth in personal matters.
Whatever you do, you’ll need to ensure you work within the legal scope of your job since you are a private citizen and aren’t a police officer.
Average annual salary: $60,790
There are a lot of opportunities to be your own boss as a creative individual, especially as the freelance market continues to grow. Beyond setting your own hours, you also have the flexibility to choose your own projects as a freelance graphic designer.
Whether you’re interested in logos or offering a complete design suite to include both digital and print elements, you’ll likely be able to find work that suits your needs.
To gain an edge over your competition, it’s important to have an online portfolio that highlights your work. It also might be beneficial to look on platforms like Upwork or Toptal to find initial projects.
Average annual salary: $59,970
This is another job where you’ll need a bit more education to get started. Along with a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, you’ll also need a license in the state where you plan to practice. To be your own boss, you’ll likely want to set up your own practice where you can help patients manage problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system.
Average annual salary: $81,240
Hours can be stressful as a lawyer, which is why some choose to go off on their own to have more control over it. If you choose to start your own practice, you’ll likely specialize in a certain type of law. Regardless of the area of law you practice, you will meet with clients, perform legal research, and interpret laws.
To practice law, you will need four years of undergraduate study, three years of law school, and to pass the bar exam in the state where you want to practice.
Average annual salary: $148,030
For animal lovers, becoming a veterinarian is another option if you want to be your own boss. As a verteraniary, you will treat animals similarly to how physicians treat human patients. From checkups to more critical exams, verteranians ensure your pets are happy and healthy.
Before attending a college of veterinary medicine, you should consider a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related major. While veterinary school is competitive, applying could be worth it given the high salary and ability to work for yourself..
Average annual salary: $109,920
Market research analyst
Similar to a consultant, a market research analyst helps companies answer questions to operate more effectively. For instance, one company might request your expertise to help them determine which products or services are best suited for specific target markets.
Overall, the goal of an analyst is to collect and interpret consumer data to help companies outline effective business strategies.
Average annual salary: $76,080
Starting your own business has a lot of perks. In many cases, you can choose who you work with and when you work. You also have the opportunity to make a lot more, which can help you make some smart money moves.
Keep in mind, though, that working for yourself can cause a lot of initial stress. Starting off on your own is best suited for individuals who are highly motivated and disciplined. Before becoming your own boss, consider collecting tips from others who have been in your shoes.
Join AARP and Double Your Number of Interviews Within 60 Days
Free 3-class intro teaches you how to launch a bookkeeping business
Join a community of 20M+ lifetime members who have been paid $76 million to date.