If you dream of being your own boss, you might be glad to learn that not all business jobs require you to climb up someone else’s corporate ladder. In some business and finance occupations, nearly one-quarter of all workers are self-employed. Some of the business jobs in which workers are most likely to be self-employed include work in the accounting and finance field, consulting jobs, business founders and other activities that support business and financial transactions.
Accounting and Finance Roles
Many accountants, auditors and finance professionals work in accounting or financial firms. However, just because that path is typical doesn’t mean you must follow it. Accountants, for example, can open their own solo accounting firm or tax return preparation business. Seven percent of accountants and auditors in the United States are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While not necessarily required to be a self-employed accountant, attaining the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential can help you stand out from other accounting services and expand the scope of services you are qualified to provide.
The area of finance with the largest proportion of self-employed workers is financial planning. About 24 percent of personal financial advisors are self-employed, the BLS reported. Personal financial advisors work directly with clients to help them plan for their financial goals. Their work may include analyzing and recommending investment options, but it also involves educating clients on their options for college and retirement savings and recommending different forms of insurance to protect against financial risk.
If you aren’t sure whether to study accounting or finance, learning the differences between these fields can help you decide. Generally, accounting focuses on creating financial reports, while finance more often involves analyzing data for investment purposes.
Business Consulting Jobs
Companies are always seeking out ways to become more profitable. Making changes that increase worker productivity and minimize wasted time, effort and money can help management steer the organization in the direction needed to grow. However, sometimes business leaders are so entrenched in the existing way of operating that they can’t see the places where productivity falters or resources are wasted. Other times, managers know there is a problem, but the best way to solve it is unclear. To gain a fresh perspective on the steps they can take to improve their operations, businesses will sometimes bring in a management consultant, also known as a management analyst.
While management analysts can work in established consulting firms, they can also strike out on their own. About 17 percent of management analysts are self-employed, according to the BLS. While there are no specific qualifications you must have to call yourself a business or management consultant, you must know enough about business operations to convince clients that your insight will be beneficial to them. Pursuing your bachelor’s degree in business is a natural place to start, but you may need more to impress clients. Often, management analysts add to their professional credentials by earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree or obtaining the Institute of Management Consultants USA’s Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation, the BLS reported.
Even though being self-employed means setting your own work schedule, you must be prepared to work around your clients’ schedules and meet deadlines. One-quarter of management consultants report regularly working more than 40 hours per week.
Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs
Perhaps the most obvious way to use the skills you learn in a business degree program to become self-employed is to launch your own startup company. Your company could be related to the field of business and finance, like an accounting, financial planning or consulting firm, but it doesn’t have to be. Many business degree graduates take great ideas that have little to do with their field of study and turn them into successful businesses. In fact, 23 percent of chief executives – like chief executive officers (CEOs), company presidents, executive directors and managing directors – are self-employed, according to the BLS.
If you would like to be an entrepreneur, think about your own interests and passions. What products or services, if they existed, would make your life easier or more enjoyable? Ask for feedback from people you know as you begin to flesh out your business idea.
Once you figure out what you want your business to be, you should plan to do more research into the market, existing products and services that your business idea might compete against and the processes involved in creating the product or service you have imagined.
Other Business- and Finance-Related Jobs
If you think of business professionals as number-crunchers who sit in cubicles all day, you could be missing out on a number of interesting, and more active, roles in business and financial operations. For example, real estate appraisers and assessors are crucial to the buying and selling of residential and commercial properties, but they don’t fit into the mold that many people think of when they imagine working in business. About 23 percent of real estate assessors and appraisers are self-employed, according to the BLS. Meeting, convention and event planner is another occupation that is crucial to business activities. The BLS reports that nine percent of meeting, convention and event planners are self-employed. Finally, the BLS reports that two percent of auto damage insurance appraisers, the professionals who evaluate the extent of the damage sustained by cars in motor vehicle collisions for insurance purposes, are self-employed.
The BLS expects self-employment in business and financial operations to rise by 56,800 over a decade.