So, you’ve decided that the traditional nine-to-five is not right for you and you’d like to venture into the world of self-employment. There’s only one problem: you’ve no idea what you want to do.
Have no fear: many of us gainfully self-employed folks have been in your situation before. And luckily for you, there are quite a few niches that just about anyone can do. All you need is a bit of business acumen and some hard work.
So, here are five professions that you can start working on right away.
Become a freelance writer
“But I’m not a journalist!” you cry. Well, here’s the thing: the days of needing a journalism or English literature degree to write words for money are long gone. Now that’s not being disrespectful to those who have these qualifications; after all, they’re the ones who write for the likes of The New York Times and The Washington Post. But the fact is that people spend a lot of their time these days staring at a screen just like the one you’re looking at right now. And they want to read words the way we say them, and writing this way is easy enough to master.
Writing for the web is a way to make a substantial income, and it’s not too difficult to get started in the industry. Of course, you’ll need to learn a few skills:
- Basic grammar and spelling (you’d be surprised how much of this you may have forgotten)
- How to create engaging content
- How to research an article and find reputable sources
Once you feel capable enough to handle a project, you can head over to Upwork or Fiverr to find a few clients. Pay will be quite low in the beginning, but when you have a few posts/articles under your belt, you can start contacting blogs that pay writers for content.
Create an online course
If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re thinking about starting fresh in a specific industry. And the truth is, it’s a little daunting. So, when someone offers you the opportunity to learn all the tricks of the trade for a reasonable fee, you’ll probably whip out the credit card immediately, right?
There’s a huge demand right now for high-quality educational products on the internet, and so instead of being the student, why not become the teacher?
Everyone has something that they can teach. Whether it’s web design, photography, or even dating and relationships, we’re all experts in something. Find your skill or area of expertise and write an e-book or create a course. No matter what it is you’re skilled at, someone somewhere will want to learn from you. In fact, a quick search on Udemy shows that there are courses on how to create a course!
What’s Udemy? Only one of the largest online learning platforms in the world! And with something like 15 million students enrolled in their courses now, it’s a good place to sell your course.
Don’t expect to make too much money at the outset, though. You may need to price your initial course cheap to get some good ratings and build up a reputation as a reliable course provider before making any real profit.
Become a poker pro
Poker is no longer a game reserved for smoky casinos or nights in the den with your friends. Poker has gone mainstream in a big way, and those poker pros you see at the World Series of Poker often started out their careers playing in online poker rooms. One recent champ, Scott Blumstein, is the perfect example. An online poker grinder (a player who plays low-risk games for small but frequent wins), he made decent money online before joining the live circuit.
Now, becoming a poker pro is no mean feat, and first things first: you’ll need to have a plan of action. Study the basic steps of becoming a pro and take decisive action. Bear in mind that contrary to popular belief, poker is not a game based on luck, but on skill and strategy. And this is a good thing.
Any game based on skill is learnable, and so with a little determination and hard work, your chances of making an income from poker are good. You may not win the World Series, but if you do, remember that it was us who gave you the idea!
Open a Shopify store
To say that e-commerce is big right now would be what you might call “a bit of an understatement,” and it’s only getting bigger and bigger.
Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2021. Source: Statista
The number one online retail platform in the world right now is Shopify. Now, you may not have heard of it, but if you’ve ever bought anything online from a store other than Amazon or eBay, then it could well have been a Shopify store.
Getting set up in Shopify is easy, and there are lots of tools and plugins to help you with everything from SEO to shopping carts. Now all you need is a product, which is where most people fail.
You need to identify a niche that’s popular but not saturated with online stores. For example, if you want to sell pet products, then you might have more than a little competition. However, if you’re selling something unique like diamond-encrusted cat collars, then you stand a chance as you’ll be the only one with the specific product.
You can also consider drop-shipping, which means you don’t purchase your stock but place orders only when customers pay for their item. The manufacturer then sends the items to the customer. It’s a cost-effective way to get business done and means that you start out with little overhead.
Become a coach
And last but by no means least, you can become a coach. Now, this isn’t quite the same as creating a course. For starters, you’ll need to be much more hands-on in your approach, and you’ll need to deal with people directly. However, it’s a far more lucrative niche than selling an online course.
If you’re successful in business, your career, sports, art, or even just life in general, then you have the potential to be a coach. You’ll need a positive outlook on life, and you’ll need to be a good motivator. But if you help at least one student reach their goals in their career or personal life, then you’ll have a testimonial that will carry a lot of weight with future prospects.
And the best thing about all the professions mentioned above? You can get started without quitting your full-time job. Try one on for size for a few months, and if doesn’t work out, then you’ve lost nothing but a little time. So, don’t put it off any longer!
Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, California. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.
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