15 Best Jobs That Allow You to Be Your Own Boss

Being your own boss comes with a lot of benefits, and earning a high salary makes it even better.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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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.

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Financial advisor

kerkezz/Adobe african american female advisor giving consultation to woman

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 many opportunities to truly make this job your own.

Depending on your path, you may need to obtain special licenses and certifications. Be sure to check both federal and state requirements regarding your area of practice.

Median annual salary: $95,390


LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe young couple getting counselling from african american psychiatrist in clinic

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, such as scheduling appointments and bookkeeping.

Median annual salary: $85,330

Web developer

Andrey Popov/Adobe happy woman sitting on chair coding on two monitors

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.

Median annual salary: $78,580

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LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe male advisor sitting at table in office talking to female in front of him

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.

Median annual salary: $95,290

Interior designer

Pixel-Shot/Adobe female interior designer standing in office with canvas and monitor in background

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 specificities 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.

Median annual salary: $61,590


goodluz/Adobe male doctor in clinic talking to patient sitting across table

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.

Median annual salary: $229,300


kite_rin/Adobe african american female accountant sitting at table in front of laptop using calculator

As a freelance accountant, you can choose what work you want to focus on and what clients you work with. 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.

Median annual salary: $78,000

Real estate agent

Atstock Productions/Adobe african american real estate agent showing new house to gay couple

A career in real estate has a lower barrier to entry than some of the other high-salary jobs on this list. Although the time can vary, you can complete the necessary courses and obtain your real estate license within four to six months.

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.

Median annual salary: $49,980

Technical writer

Anastasia/Adobe woman working from home using laptop while sitting on yellow bean bag

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.

Median annual salary: $79,960

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Private investigator

hedgehog94/Adobe male detective sitting in car capturing pictures

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.

Median annual salary: $52,120

Graphic designer

REDPIXEL/Adobe female graphic designer using creative pad to draw logo on monitor at work

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.

Median annual salary: $57,990


pololia/Adobe female physiotherapist at rehabilitation centers giving therapy to woman client

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.

Median annual salary: $75,380


LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe female lawyer sitting on table in front of laptop signing papers

Hours can be stressful for lawyers, which is why some choose to go off on their own to have more control over their work. 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.

Median annual salary: $135,740


pressmaster/Adobe happy male veterinary using stethoscope to check black cat at clinic

For animal lovers, becoming a veterinarian is another option if you want to be your own boss. As a veterinary, you will treat animals similarly to how physicians treat human patients. From checkups to more critical exams, verternarians 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.

Median annual salary: $103,260

Market research analyst

Pixel-Shot/Adobe male accountant sitting across table checking document while using calculator

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.

Median annual salary: $68,230

Bottom line

bnenin/Adobe senior business woman working from home writing on notebook

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.

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Author Details

Katelyn Washington

Katelyn Washington is a writer with a passion for finance and business. She put herself through business school as a single mother of three and has had pieces commissioned by national magazines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and editing manuscripts for indie authors.