Few people enjoy the experience of having a boss looking over their shoulder throughout the workday. It’s far more enjoyable to know you have the independence to get your work done as you see fit, without having to satisfy someone who is always checking up on you.
This line of thinking leads many people to explore professions where independent work is the standard rather than the exception. Fortunately, there are more of these types of jobs than ever before, so it might not be as hard as you think to make this dream a reality.
Working as an accountant scores highly in terms of independent work. You will spend much of your time working alone, focusing on getting the right numbers into the right places. This type of work isn’t for everyone, of course, but it can be a great fit for the type of person who loves to lock onto a task and not give it up until the job is done.
In addition to the independent aspect of accounting work, there is also the advantage of this being an in-demand field nearly all of the time. Even when the economy is down, individuals and businesses still need to have their taxes completed and other accounting tasks performed. It might not truly be “recession-proof”, but it’s about as close as it gets.
The challenge when it comes to getting into this field comes in the form of required education and experience. For some roles, you’ll need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and you’ll have to put in some years of lower-level work before you can move into a more lucrative position. Accountants often have long and successful careers, however, so paying your dues early on may well prove to be worth it.
2. Graphic Designer
This next option goes in a completely different direction from accounting work. As a graphic designer, you’ll get to flex your creativity muscles on a daily basis, creating visual assets that businesses can use for various purposes. Thanks to the internet, graphic design is in greater demand than ever before, and many companies are willing to pay nicely for a skilled designer.
The level of independence you enjoy in this role is going to depend entirely on what kind of work you take on. If you get hired on as a graphic designer in a large firm where you are expected to work in their office, the job might not be as independent as you would prefer. On the other hand, if you build a career as a freelancer in this space, you could work almost entirely alone on your projects, spending most of your time creating the best possible work to deliver to your clients.
For someone who both likes to work with their hands, has some skills in construction or carpentry, and prefers to work solo most of the time, a handyman may be an ideal profession. Not only is there the peace and quiet that comes with working independently on a project, but there is also great pride to be taken in the finished product. Learning more about what it’s like to be a handyman and what kinds of work they can do is a good first step.
Given the potential legal issues that can develop when working on projects for homeowners or business owners, it’s a good idea to have a license in place and an active insurance policy before you get started in this line of work.
By definition, writers need to largely work alone. The task of creating quality writing is something that requires deep focus, and a distracted work environment just isn’t going to do the job. Writers like to receive their assignments and then be left alone to bring the piece to life.
This is another job that you can explore as a freelancer, or you can look for traditional full-time employment. It might actually be easier to get started on a freelance basis, since you won’t have to convince anyone to hire you as a full-time employee.
Consider seeking out some small freelance gigs that will allow you to test your skills and build some relationships with clients. If those early jobs go well, you can expand your business and aim to build a client roster that will keep you busy throughout the year.
5. Virtual Assistant
If you aren’t familiar with the term “virtual assistant”, think of the role that a typical administrative assistant would play in an office – only you’ll be doing those tasks remotely from your home. The barrier to entry is relatively low when seeking work as a VA, as long as you have basic internet and computer skills, and access to a reliable internet connection.
Not only will you be working mostly independently when taking on a VA role, but you may also be able to travel while working, if you choose. Since the job is done remotely, your employer likely won’t care where you are as long as the job is getting done.
Working as a consultant comes with a significant barrier to entry – you will need to have skills, knowledge, and experience to bring to the table. A consultant helps clients make key decisions within their business, such as what new products to develop, how to expand, where to invest, and more.
If you do have the necessary background to work as a consultant, this is an excellent opportunity for someone that wishes to work alone most of the time. You’ll need to interface with clients to discuss your projects and findings, but many days will be spent simply researching the situation and thinking about potential solutions.
7. Truck Driver
Going in a completely different direction, working as a truck driver is one of the most independent jobs available today. Once your truck has been loaded up, you’ll just head off down the road behind the wheel. Although some people would find the ongoing miles to be boring, others love the solitude and feeling of freedom that the road provides.
To get started, you’ll likely need to secure a CDL license. While many truck drivers are owner-operators – meaning they own the truck that they drive – that’s not the only option. You could get started as an employee with your sights set on potentially owning a truck down the line. Driving truck can also be an excellent seasonal side hustle if you’re main job has slow seasons.
8. Video Editor
Video is more popular than ever before, as countless hours of video are consumed on the web each day. Many of those videos need to be edited before they are posted, so the role of video editor is one that continues to experience strong demand.
Working as a video editor requires a nice blend of technical know-how and creativity. You’ll need to know how the various video editing software products work, and you will have to develop an eye for putting together a video that tells a story cleanly from start to finish. Working with your employer or clients will be needed, but you’ll also spend a lot of time during the average day by yourself focused on a project.
One of the highest-paying independent jobs is working as an actuary. There is the potential here to earn a significant salary, but only if you are able to meet the educational and experience qualifications required. This is a job that is heavy on math skills and data analysis, so only pursue this path if it’s a good fit for your natural skills. At a minimum, you are going to need a bachelor’s degree and then some graduate-level actuarial training.
Working alone can be a wonderful, relaxing way to spend your days and earn an income. The important part is figuring out which of these options – or another option – is a good fit for what you have to offer in terms of education, skills, and experience. Good luck building your new career!