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Jobs where you work alone definitely have a certain appeal—especially for specific kinds of people. Not everyone is cut out for socializing around the water cooler. (Are water coolers still a thing?)
Estimates vary, but somewhere between one-third and one-half of the world’s population identify as introverts. An introverted person doesn’t necessarily have problems working with other people, but if you tend to get your best ideas internally, instead of bouncing things off colleagues in adjoining cubicles, you may prefer jobs where you work alone.
Most traditional jobs involve a lot of collaboration. Teams of workers get together and take on various assignments to get a project across the finish line. There are typically lots of meetings and check-ins involved, and the responsibility and credit for work is shared equally. For many workers, this arrangement works.
For others, it isn’t the best fit.
That’s one reason that there is a thriving community of freelancers, gig workers, contractors, and the like. These types of individuals are dreaming big and working in the ways that are most fulfilling for their personalities and their needs.
If you are in this category, taking a look at the kinds of jobs where you work alone might be a positive step in a new direction. Luckily, we’ve provided just such a list!
10 Jobs where you work alone
Think of famous photographers, and you’ll probably conjure up images of Ansel Adams trekking through the American West, or Annie Lebovitz hopping between celebrity homes and private studios.
While it is true that big-time photographers have teams that help them pull off their iconic shots, most photographers do not work “for” anyone in particular. They choose their schedule, what work to take on, and control nearly everything about their work environment.
As jobs where you work alone go, photography, if you are successful at it, can be a pretty fun way to make a living.
2. Web Designer/Developer
Lots of corporations have a dedicated, in-house web team. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, can’t usually afford full-time developer support. Freelance web designers and developers are hugely in-demand to fill this gap.
If you have coding and design skills, and you fantasize about jobs where you work alone, leaving the nine to five environment or just having a bit more control of your life, contract web designer work may very well be for you.
3. Data entry
Some people think that, in order to take advantage of the gig economy, you need to be highly creative or have special skills. In truth, if you are self-motivated, prefer jobs where you work alone and are good at managing your time and finances, there are lots of ways to make money as a freelancer.
As big data takes over the world, organizations are constantly looking for ways to wrestle with information. A Forbes survey found that 95% of businesses struggle to manage unstructured data.
Enter someone with skills in data entry and a drive to work independently. A quick Indeed search revealed more than 2,000 available remote data entry jobs. You can also find data entry jobs at FlexJobs or on LinkedIn.
Take it from a writer, freelance writing is one of the most versatile jobs where you work alone.
Every industry is in need of an almost infinite amount of content, so there is plenty of work for talented writers. One of the great things about writing as a career is that it can be done anywhere––all you need is a computer or tablet and an internet connection.
5. Virtual assistant
If you have never been or worked with a virtual assistant before, you might be thinking, “this job sounds made up…” In actuality, virtual assistants have been around since the mid-90s.
The whole idea is that small offices, startups, or solopreneurs may not have the budget for a dedicated administrative assistant, but they are still in need of scheduling, paperwork, bookkeeping and phone services.
Virtual assistants will, by necessity, interact with others throughout the day, but most work from home offices with a lot of flexibility. This is definitely one of those jobs where you work alone.
6. Social Media Manager
It seems funny to find a job with the word “social” in it on a list of jobs where you work alone, right? However, done right, social media can provide lots of fulfilling opportunities for freelance workers.
A social media manager typically produces daily content, so you’ll need writing and graphic design skills, as well as some basic understanding of photography and marketing. Most importantly, you need to know how the algorithms of each platform work, since the goal is always to grow likes and followers.
7. Dog walker/sitter
Freelance pet-care? Absolutely! Dog walking has been a strong contender in jobs where you work alone category for decades.
Pet sitting can be unpredictable, but if you love animals more than humans, it is definitely a great gig.
8. Graphic Designer
Much like writing, graphic design can be done from anywhere, as long as you have a computer and whatever software you use.
Like many freelance art jobs, graphic design is fairly competitive, so in order to get involved in this kind of freelance work, you need to learn basic art principles, how to work in a digital medium, and build up a strong portfolio.
Have a gift for languages? There is a huge market for individuals who can translate marketing materials, research, contracts, entertainment, web content and so much more.
To get started in translating, consider taking on work through an established agency before working alone. You don’t necessarily need a lot of experience up front, but having strong work samples will allow you to charge more, get quality clients and create an amazing business.
If you really want to go off the grid, being an author is one of the most solitary jobs where you work alone. Writing a book is truly a solo endeavor—you are responsible for the initial idea, the content, and setting and meeting your own deadlines.
Once you complete a book, it takes even more work to see it published. You will need to pitch yourself to agents, find a publisher, work with an editor and eventually market yourself. So, while authorship can definitely be lonely, if you truly aren’t a people person it may not be for you.
Pros and cons of jobs where you work alone
Since you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you are more than a little interested in working on your own. There are definitely benefits to going it solo, but there are also drawbacks. It’s best to consider the full picture before you quit your day job to become a freelancer.
Obviously, the greatest perk of jobs where you work alone tends to be the chance to be your own boss. You have a lot of control over when you work, which projects you take on and what order you do things in. You also get credit for all of your work.
When you set your career path, you also set the rates you charge. You are not limited to a cost of living raise, and you don’t have to wait around for the right promotion to come along. With the help of some great job resources like SolidGigs, your potential earnings are only limited by you.
I don’t know many individuals who love attending meetings after meetings throughout the day. While collaboration can be helpful, meetings are often filled with tangents that don’t personally involve you, which means you are wasting valuable work hours. In jobs where you work alone, that issue is eliminated.
Loss of Mentorship
Jobs, where you work alone, don’t have the crucial advantage of learning from others in the position you want to be in. You can work through this challenge by finding a like-minded network of gig workers, reading thought leadership pieces on the subject and listening to podcasts to guide you through the process.
Just as you get credit for all of your work, when you work alone, you are also taking on all of the risks. You won’t have an assistant to handle administrative tasks, you have to do all of your own marketing, and if you venture out on a limb and the things you try don’t work, that is completely your responsibility. All of this can add up to more stress than a traditional job.
Jobs, where you work alone, can seem like the perfect solution when you’re feeling burned out, annoyed at your managers or peers, or socially drained at work. However, the reality of working on your own can feel lonely. Day after day of taking charge of every task and having no one to bounce ideas off of can take its toll.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to your career. Some people thrive under the social environment of an office, while others blossom when they have freedom and independence.
As long as you are really aware of what you’re getting into, jobs, where you work alone, can be an extremely fulfilling way to showcase your talents.
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