18 of the Best-Paying Jobs That Are Independent to Consider

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 13, 2022 | Published November 5, 2021

Updated November 13, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Independent professionals typically have the freedom to choose their work hours and attain a healthy work-life balance. While senior management guidance can be helpful, you might find working independently motivates you and improves your efficiency and performance. Learning about independent roles can help you find a career that offers more flexibility, autonomy, and job satisfaction. In this article, we explore 18 well-paying roles for independent workers, discuss their primary duties, and provide the average national salary you could earn.

Related: How to Become an Independent Contractor (With Tips)

Reasons to consider becoming an independent worker

Jobs for independent workers may require little to no supervision from a manager or senior employee. Whether remotely or within the workplace, such roles rarely involve input from other employees for execution. Individuals who work independently could be new hires with no job experience or skilled professionals with several years of practise in the field. Here are a few reasons to consider independent jobs:

Increased work flexibility and productivity

Performing an independent role can increase your job performance significantly. Working alone allows you to focus solely on finishing your task quickly and efficiently in whichever way suits your working style. Working independently typically provides you with more flexibility—for example, in the hours you work or when you take your breaks—than you would have in a conventional role.

Personalized work environment

When you work independently, you get to set your work style and environment. Whether working remotely or at a physical location, you can determine what type of environment allows you to produce the best results. Working in a more comfortable environment may improve your focus and lead to better output.

Improved work autonomy

Jobs where you work independently allow you to bear more responsibility for your tasks. You may learn to make independent decisions, as you're primarily responsible for your project's success. It may also give you the autonomy to determine what approach would produce the most effective and significant result.

18 well-paying roles for independent workers

Below are 18 great independent jobs you can consider:

1. Photographer

National average salary: $18.09 per hour

Primary duties: Photographers typically take pictures of people and products. Their duties involve setting up the photographic equipment, selecting the right setting to achieve the customer's requirements, and editing the photographed images. Although photographers consult with their clients during the initial stage, they generally perform their duties independently.

Related: 15 Essential Photographer Skills for Your Resume

2. Web designer

National average salary: $24.25 per hour

Primary duties: Web designers create the visible layout and elements of a website. They're responsible for ensuring a website is easy to navigate and user-friendly. They test a website's features for maximum speed and ensure it meets the industry's requirements and preferences. While they sometimes may rely on clients' feedback to assess site performance, web designers generally work independently.

3. Social media manager

National average salary: $50,801 per year

Primary duties: A social media manager supervises and manages an organization's social media channels. They're responsible for determining the most effective strategy for reaching target audiences and interacting with the public. Their duties include identifying current trends, planning and executing online campaigns, and optimizing business products to drive traffic and sales.

4. Tax consultant

National average salary: $22.19 per hour

Primary duties: Tax consultants help small and large companies to prepare and present tax documents. They provide information to their clients regarding compliance and current government regulations. Their duties also include assisting firms in administering tax returns and minimizing clients' tax liabilities throughout the year.

5. Accountant

National average salary: $55,054 per year

Primary duties: An accountant prepares and analyzes a company's financial records. They're responsible for monitoring and auditing a company's financial performance and analyzing the data to create reports and forecasts for business plans. Their duties also include preparing tax returns, performing risk analysis, and presenting budget reports. They typically work independently but may interact with other employees except when compiling account data.

6. Graphic designer

National average salary: $21.78 per hour

Primary duties: Graphic designers develop and produce creative visual content for businesses and individuals. They use multiple design software programs to generate aesthetically appealing images for professional, personal, and marketing purposes. Besides getting a product scope from the project sponsor, graphic designers may perform all aspects of their job independently.

Read more: How to Become a Graphic Designer

7. Virtual assistant

National average salary: $19.63 per hour

Primary duties: A virtual assistant performs remote administrative services for a business, individual, or corporation. They're responsible for scheduling appointments, making phone calls, sending and responding to emails, and managing administrative aspects as needed. Although a typical virtual assistant may require strong interpersonal skills to relate with clients and customers, they usually perform their work independently.

8. Network administrator

National average salary: $59,599 per year

Primary duties: A network administrator configures and installs network components for a business or community. They're responsible for upgrades, repairs, and maintenance of internet systems, wide area network (WAN), and local area network (LAN). They typically work independently to provide and maintain network connectivity within their assigned area.

9. Technical writer

National average salary: $60,225 per year

Primary duties: Technical writers prepare and review technical documents for individuals and brands. They're responsible for simplifying complex concepts into easy-to-understand text. Their services include providing informative content for software and system engineering, how-to guides, and instruction guidelines.

10. Business development manager

National average salary: $63,140 per year

Primary duties: A business development manager plans and executes business strategies to drive market growth. They're responsible for planning, researching, and developing penetration strategies for new and existing markets. They also build and maintain new client relationships, negotiate contract deals, and coordinate with the sales department to create mutually beneficial agreements. Although business development managers often liaise with multiple departments and individuals to achieve their goals, they perform their work independently.

11. Web developer

National average salary: $27.40 per hour

Primary duties: A web developer creates and converts the design aspects of a website into functional features using several programming languages and tools. The primary role of a web developer is to build and maintain the structural components of a website. Their duties also involve implementing advanced programming activities for testing, debugging, and maintaining the website server.

Related: 20 Best Jobs for Great Work-Life Balance

12. Truck driver

National average salary: $23.55 per hour

Primary duties: Truck drivers transport and deliver goods across distant locations. They're responsible for searching and identifying the most effective route for each ride. They also load and unload cargo during delivery and verify the goods at pickup. Truck drivers typically work independently, occasionally liaising with other individuals during product pickup or delivery.

Related: Writing a Truck Driver Resume (With Template and Example)

13. Executive recruiter

National average salary: $72,727 per year

Primary duties: An executive recruiter is directly responsible for assessing and recruiting new employees. They conduct searches both online and offline to identify candidates who meet their client's specifications. Their duties also include screening and researching candidates, facilitating interviews, and negotiating employment offers.

14. Research scientist

National average salary: $72,839 per year

Primary duties: A research scientist plans and conducts experiments in controlled settings. They're responsible for testing and recording sample trials, analyzing and presenting the results to senior colleagues, and writing research reports, papers, and summaries based on their findings. A research scientist follows a data-driven approach to generate accurate and practical solutions.

15. Software developer

National average salary: $77,287 per year

Primary duties: A software developer writes the code for computer applications and software programs. They're responsible for testing and fixing problems related to software use from the start to the end of the project. Even though they engage in brainstorming sessions with other team members based on the user's request, software developers generally work independently.

16. Product manager

National average salary: $85,138 per year

Primary duties: Product managers monitor the planning and performance of a product throughout its life cycle. They're responsible for gathering and prioritizing the customer's requirements, developing the product vision, and tracking the product throughout its cycle to ensure it delivers the expected result. Although product managers perform many activities that require excellent interpersonal relations, they typically perform their work independently.

17. Economist

National average salary: $97,073 per year

Primary duties: An economist studies the economy to predict how businesses and individuals should allocate resources. They're responsible for analyzing and presenting research data in easy-to-understand charts and tables. The duties of an economist include conducting economic research, collecting and collating data, and employing mathematical models to forecast market trends. Most economists work independently in research firms and large organizations.

18. Professor

National average salary: $99,158 per year

Primary duties: A professor teaches at a school or college to all disciplines within their field. They're responsible for building course syllabi, presenting educational lectures, developing instructional materials, and evaluating students' performance. Even though professors generally interact with hundreds of students, they perform the primary aspects of their duties and research unsupervised.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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