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Top 10 Most Profitable Self-employed Jobs in the UK

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The UK self employed jobs market is currently reported to be in a fairly buoyant state.

As of December 2023, the United Kingdom boasted approximately 4.37 million individuals working for themselves. 

Since December 2000, when the self-employed population was merely 3.2 million, there has been a consistent increase, reaching a zenith of more than 5 million at the outset of 2020. 

Upwards of 14% of the UK labour force.

Interestingly, this increase is more or less entirely driven by ‘solo-self employment’, of which the UK has the highest level in OECD countries.

So from the macro perspective, one could indeed assume that self employment offers a plentiful amount of prosperous job opportunities.

However, when we assess reality found in figures on self-employed income levels a slightly less pretty picture emerges. 

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As a study conducted by The Institute for Fiscal Studies points out, the average pre-tax income of solo self-employed was 30% lower than employees’. 

Another study, by the Fabian Society in July 2023, revealed that self-employed income as a whole has remained largely unchanged over the past ten years. 

In real terms, the average annual income for full-time self-employed individuals rose by merely £500 between 2012 and 2022, in stark contrast to the £2,300 annual increase seen by employed workers.

From this it doesn’t exactly sound like the road to vocational independence is pathed with gold. 

But don’t be disheartened! There are self-employed jobs that will pay you big-bucks - you just need to know where to look.

In this article we’ll show you exactly where the greene$t grass on the other side of the employment fence can be found. 

The top-10 highest paid self-employed jobs

We’ve compiled a list of the best paying jobs for self-employed workers based on typical annual pre-tax earnings.

And remember, these are profitable self-employed jobs. Hence they require minimal expenditure to perform.

Clearly there are many manual and creative jobs that are highly paid, like a make-up artist, gas engineer, construction worker, stone mason, etc. But these often incur significant costs for equipment and materials which eats into your net income.

So we have selected jobs you could realistically retrain/learn to do, and with salary bands you could reach, within a few years. Some of them might surprise you!

1. Event Manager (£27,000 - £44,000)

Event managers orchestrate all aspects of events, from small gatherings to large-scale conferences. This role requires strong organisational skills, creativity, and the ability to work under pressure. 

The demand for event managers remains robust, as businesses and individuals continue to value professionally curated experiences. 

Training often involves hospitality or event management courses, and with experience, one can move towards higher-paying roles, overseeing larger and more prestigious events.

2. Lawyer/Solicitor (£28,000 - £61,000)

Solicitors provide essential legal services, advising clients, preparing documents, and representing them in lower courts. 

This career is accessible with a law conversion-course and a period of practical training, such as the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in England and Wales.

The career path offers significant financial rewards, especially in specialised fields such as corporate law or litigation. Demand for legal services is perennial, with opportunities in both the private and public sectors.

3. Copywriter (£20,000 - £49,000)

Copywriters craft compelling content for various media, including advertisements, websites, and social media. 

This field blends creativity with marketing acumen, appealing to those with a flair for writing and strategic communication. 

The digital age has amplified demand for skilled copywriters, with opportunities for both in-house and freelance roles. 

Training can be as informal as online courses and self-study, with potential earnings increasing with experience and reputation. 

4. Personal Trainer (£16,000 - £55,000)

Personal trainers help individuals achieve their fitness goals through tailored exercise programs and nutritional advice. 

Certification is typically required, attainable through various accredited programs. The role offers flexibility, with opportunities to work in gyms, health clubs, or as a self-employed trainer. 

The earning potential is tied to the trainer's ability to attract and retain clients, with advanced knowledge in areas like rehabilitation or sports performance enhancing value.

Software Developer (£32,500 - £90,000)

Software developers design, test, and develop software to meet users' needs. With the tech industry's exponential growth, demand for skilled developers is high. 

A degree in computer science or related fields is commonly pursued, though boot camps and self-learning paths are also viable. The role offers high earning potential, particularly for those skilled in in-demand programming languages or technologies.

Accountant (£32,000 - £55,000)

Accountants manage financial records, ensure tax compliance, and provide financial advice. 

The profession requires formal education and certification, with chartered status significantly enhancing earning potential. 

Demand for accountants is steady, offering stability and opportunities for advancement in a variety of sectors. Gaining specific skills in areas such as forensic accounting or tax can further increase income.

Dog Trainer (£26,000 - £39,000)

Dog trainers teach dogs obedience and behaviour modification, working closely with pets and their owners. 

While formal qualifications can be beneficial, hands-on experience and a deep understanding of animal behaviour are paramount. 

The role can be incredibly rewarding, with demand driven by pet owners' desire for well-behaved companions. Earnings vary based on reputation and specialist service offerings, such as service dog training.

Web Designer (£28,000 - £37,000)

Web designers create visually appealing and user-friendly websites, requiring a blend of technical skills and creativity. 

With businesses increasingly valuing their online presence, demand for skilled designers remains high. 

Training typically involves courses in graphic design and coding, with the potential for self-taught individuals to succeed. Freelance opportunities can offer higher earnings and flexibility.

Photographer (£17,000 - £45,000)

Photographers capture moments and concepts through their lenses, working across various genres like weddings, corporate events, or fashion. 

The profession can be entered through both formal education and self-taught pathways, with a strong portfolio being crucial to success. 

Demand varies by specialty, with freelance work offering the potential for higher earnings as reputation and expertise grow.

Online Therapist (£28,000 - £50,000)

Online therapists provide mental health services via digital platforms, offering convenience and accessibility to clients. Qualifications typically include a degree or diploma in psychology or counselling, followed by licensure. 

The demand for mental health services has surged, particularly for online offerings. This career path offers the potential for a flexible work environment and a broad client base.

Self-Made Success. Where Passion Meets Profit

The allure of self-employment remains strong, offering both freedom and the potential for substantial earnings.  

Our exploration of the top 10 most profitable self-employed jobs highlights diverse opportunities across various sectors. 

And shows that it is possible to escape the rat-race and find profitable alternative means of earning a decent living.

From event management to online therapy, these roles not only promise financial rewards but also the chance to carve out a fulfilling career on your own terms.

Making self-employment a viable and lucrative path for those ready to take the leap.

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James Waller
Content Specialist
Updated on
February 20, 2024

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