What are the best self-employed jobs in the UK?

The number of self employed jobs grew in 2020 in the UK. Learn about what it means to be self employed and the best opportunities for work in 2022 here!
The number of self employed jobs grew in 2020 in the UK. Learn what it means to be self employed and where the best opportunities for work are here!

Did you know that nearly 4.37 million people in the UK were considered self-employed in January of 2021? There is a large spectrum of self-employed jobs ranging from Deliveroo drivers to small business owners. Self-employed opportunities span to almost every industry from the building and construction industry to freelance copywriters and designers. It’s a testament to the hard working and innovative nature of our younger generations in the UK along with the rise of technology in the workplace. In this article we will explore some of the differences between full-time employment and being self-employed along with the best opportunities in the self-employed world.

What are the best self-employed jobs in the UK?

The opportunities for self employment are virtually limitless and oftentimes all it takes is a good idea to get started. The most successful self employed workers find creative ways to market themselves via the internet, social media, affordable advertisements (both on- and offline) or even using online freelance job platforms. 

Here is a list of the best paying self-employed jobs for 2021/22: 

  • Labourer: £19,987.50 yearly 

Construction workers in the UK tend to be hired as self-employed to work on various projects. These positions typically involve manual labour and operating heavy machinery.  Some tasks require certifications and experience to qualify.

  • Photographer: £22,220 per year

Freelance photography offers great opportunities with options to snag shots for news outlets, weddings, sports events, and much more. This typically requires the person to own their own equipment and be well-versed in lighting and photo editing. If you have a keen eye for the arts, a photography career may be a perfect fit!

  • Event coordinator:  £22,540 per year

Event coordinators are typically extremely organised individuals who can excel at juggling multiple tasks at once alongside delegating to a team. Examples of events that require coordinators include: weddings, trade shows, corporate events, festivals and more!

  • Video editor: £23,517 per year

They say that the magic of visual storytelling happens in post production! Video editors need to have a keen eye for graphic and visual elements to aid a storyline. Other duties may include matching audio and musical elements to the film. Video editors typically need to have knowledge and training, especially with certain editing software such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro.

  • Virtual assistant: £ 22,249.50 

Remote work has become the norm but virtual assistants have been acclimated to work from home well before the pandemic! Duties can range from management of an executive’s daily diary or calendar to data entry. Virtual assistants are typically extremely organised individuals who are well versed in using computers.

  • Graphic designer: £25,368 per year

This is a highly creative role that also requires formal knowledge and training. If you have a keen eye for design and artistic ability, this could be the perfect career for you. If you’re self-motivated and confident in your ability to develop your own client base, freelance graphic design could be a lucrative career route.

  • Freelance writer: £26,260.00 per year

Are you proficient with language and an avid reader or writer? If so, freelance writing may be the perfect career route for you! Freelance writers typically help produce web copy or articles for a wide range of industries. Some opportunities may prefer for their writers to have a University degree.

  • Web designer : £26,621 per year

Much like graphic designers or photographers, web designers must have a keen eye for art and design combined with excellent proficiency with computers. As more of the world continues to do more business online, there is no shortage of opportunities for freelance web designers! This opportunity requires experience with coding and typically needs formal training or a University degree.

  • Personal trainer: £28,259 per year

If you’re into fitness and helping clients reach their goals, personal training may be a great fit for you! Personal trainers in the UK need to complete formal certification programmes and training to be legally eligible to work with clients. Typically, personal trainers need to be in top physical shape and be well versed in various different types of training and exercise.

  • Tutor: £32,682.00 per year 

Offering private tutoring can be a great self-employment option with excellent wages! This obviously depends on the person’s knowledge level and expertise in a particular subject. Oftentimes University students can earn extra income during their studies by offering tutoring to their peers. Sometimes tutoring comes in the form of group study sessions or otherwise it typically requires one-on-one attention.

*All salaries listed are assuming a full years work with a working week of 37.5 hours. Salaries are gross pay. 

What does it mean to be legally self-employed in the UK?

The UK Government defines self-employment as when a person runs their business for themselves and takes responsibility for its success or failure. This definition can be tricky and makes you think that more is required than in reality by sounding like self employed people are running a large company. Many freelance workers are considered self employed in the UK. Often being self employed means that you work for an established company but you use your own tools and hire staff at your own expense to help with the work. An example of providing your own tools could be using your own bike or vehicle to accomplish the job amongst other things.

If it’s unclear whether you are employed or self employed, consult this table from the nonprofit LITRG.

Is it possible to be self-employed and employed at the same time?

Yes! It is certainly possible to be employed and self-employed at the same time, like if a person works for an employer during the daytime hours and runs their own business in the evening. This scenario is more common than one might think. A lot of successful businesses started out as a side hustle in the evening hours.

What are the differences between being classified as self-employed vs. a worker?

  • Employed: typically involves scenarios where you do not provide your own tools or hire additional help on your own. Traditionally employed people also probably receive certain benefits from the company, such as a pension. Employed people typically pay income taxes through the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system meaning that taxes are withheld from the employees wages.
  • Self Employed: typically needs to pay income tax and National Insurance on any profits that are made through a self assessment with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs).

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