Along with freelancers, independent contractors, and individuals with their own private limited company, more sole traders are making a profitable living than ever before.

We’ve outlined everything you need to know about the current climate when it comes to self-employment in the UK – including a few potential careers to branch into.

How many workers are self-employed?

There are now at least 4.2 million self-employed workers in the UK. This figure has decreased from peaks of over 5 million from November 2019 to February 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic coinciding with a sharp decline.

What are some examples of self-employed careers?

If you’re looking for increased flexibility at work, you might be considering becoming self-employed. Moving away from a traditional office job could provide you with the perfect opportunity to follow your passion, especially if you have a creative or artistic hobby.

A few interesting self-employed career ideas could include:

  • Gardening

If you’ve been green-fingered for a long time, you could start getting paid for your expertise. Many younger families lack the time to care for their gardens, flowers and shrubbery. If you live in a rural area, you could easily make money through gardening.

  • Holiday rentals

Ready to sit back and enjoy some passive income? If you’re in the position to invest or you already own multiple properties, renting these out on a platform like Airbnb could be lucrative.

  • Counselling

Even though some careers in counselling require qualifications, you might only need to study a course to earn your licence. If you love helping people, counselling could be an ideal part-time job for you. Taking out insurance for therapists could help to protect your business too.

  • Cleaning

Cleaning can be intensely satisfying, but many working professionals don’t have the time to do it. Branch out in your local area to see how much you could make by offering professional cleaning services on your own terms.

  • Tutoring

You don’t need qualifications to be a good tutor. Having an academic background might help, but if you’re friendly, patient and helpful, passing on your knowledge to the younger generation will be a valuable investment of time.

Is self-employment a good alternative to retirement?

In recent years, more people of retirement age are opting for self-employment.

From April to June 2022 alone, Office for National Statistics survey data found that the number of self-employed part-time workers aged over 65 increased by more than 28%. Combined, those aged 65 and over working on a self-employed basis, either part-time or full-time, totalled over 517,000 in the same period.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re reaching retirement age or you’re just looking for a shift in your daily routine, going self-employed could work well for you.

Whichever route you take, remember to be organised and consider the risks too.

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