Jobs Where You Can Set Your Own Schedule
There are plenty of times in life when having a set work schedule isn’t convenient. Whether you’re a student, a parent, semi-retired, or otherwise can’t commit to typical 9-to-5 hours, you can find jobs where you set your own schedule.
Depending on your skills and interests, you may be able to make a living working a flexible schedule. In other cases, a flex job can supplement your income and give you skills to bolster your resume for the future. You may be able to work on a project basis or hourly during the times that you’re available for employment. You can even mix and match multiple options to boost your earning power.
In many cases, you can use the skills you already have to find work, either as an employee or a contractor.
Some of these positions can be done online, so you won’t be locked into a geographic work location. For others, you’ll need a home base.
Review this list of jobs where you can schedule your own hours for options to make money and ditch the office.
27 Jobs Where You Can Set Your Own Schedule
There's something for just about everyone here, and many of the following jobs can either be performed as an independent contractor or as an employee for a company.
If you have professional skills and experience that you can use to help others succeed, you may be able to line up consultant jobs, either for a consulting firm or as your own business. Consultants work on a short-term or long-term basis sharing their expertise to help companies succeed in various business areas. Here’s information on finding work as a consultant.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, consultants earn an average annual salary of $77,368.
2. Copy Editor/Proofreader
Do you have top-notch grammatical skills and eyes like an eagle? Copy editors and proofreaders are used by companies that produce content for the web and for print. Freelance and part-time jobs are plentiful, though you may need to pass a copyediting test to get hired.
Salary: PayScale reports that copy editors earn an average annual salary of $49,435, while proofreaders earn an average annual salary of $46,209.
3. Freelance Writer/Editor
Employment for writers is on the decline—the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 2% decrease in the number of jobs over the next 10 years. However, working as a freelance writer or editor gives you flexibility that’s attractive to prospective clients, as well as convenient for your busy schedule. Opportunities range from one-article assignments to long-term contracts. Here’s where to get started as a freelance writer.
Salary: According to PayScale, freelance writers earn an average annual salary of $39,555.
Many hairstylists are employees of salons, while others rent a booth and work for themselves. In either case, you may be able to set your own schedule based upon the hours you’re available to work. Hairstylists need a license in all 50 states, but it’s a job you can qualify for quickly if you don’t have the required credentials.
Salary: Per the BLS, hairstylists earn a median annual salary of $26,270.
5. House Sitter/Caretaker
When you don’t have to be tied down to one location, housesitting or caretaking jobs can provide free housing as well as a paycheck. Opportunities are available within the United States and internationally. If you plan it right, you may not even need a home base.
Salary: PayScale reports that house sitters earn an average annual salary of $35,603.
6. Independent Recruiter
Recruiters help employers find employees, and many work on an independent or contract basis. Most work by the project, and the assignment ends once a new hire is brought on board.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, recruiters earn an average annual salary of $49,315.
7. Massage Therapist
Many massage therapists work as contractors at clinics or are self-employed. If you work independently, you’ll be able to schedule your clients based on your calendar.
Salary: PayScale reports that massage therapists earn an average annual salary of $38,319.
8. Per Diem or Temp Medical Staff
If you’ve got health care skills, but don’t want to commit to full-time employment, there are per diem positions available for nurses, dental assistants, dental hygienists, doctors, medical assistants, and other medical staff on an on-call basis. For longer-term assignments, consider a traveling medical position.
Salary: Varies, but some occupations earn more as temporary staff than full-time. For example, Indeed reports that travel nurses earn an average annual salary of $93,305, compared to an average annual salary of $65,976 for all registered nurses.
9. Personal Trainer
Do you spend a lot of time in the gym? If you’re passionate about fitness, consider becoming a personal trainer. Personal trainers can schedule clients based on when they are available to work, and fitness centers are typically open evenings and weekends, so there’s a lot of flexibility.
Salary: According to PayScale, personal trainers earn an average annual salary of $39,841.
10. Pet Sitter
For an animal lover, pet sitting doesn’t even seem like work. That’s especially the case if you can provide pet sitting services in your home. Whether it’s overnight boarding or doggy daycare, you can take clients when it’s convenient for you. Check out services like Wag and Rover for an easy way to get started.
Salary: According to ZipRecruiter, pet sitters earn an average annual salary of $30,819.
11. Project Manager
Do you have the skills to take a project from conception to implementation? Are you organized, efficient, and good with technology and tools? A lot of project management work is handled by freelancers and consultants, so if you have the right skill set it’s a role to consider.
Salary: Glassdoor reports that project managers earn an average annual salary of $66,137.
12. Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents help individuals and companies buy, sell, and rent properties. Most work with residential properties, but some deal with commercial or industrial properties. Real estate agents and real estate brokers perform similar work, but brokers are licenses to run their own business, while agents must work with a broker. Both brokers and agents are required to be licensed by the state.
Salary: According to the BLS, real estate agents and brokers earn an average annual salary of $50,730.
13. Rideshare Driver / Delivery Driver
If you have a dependable vehicle and appropriate insurance coverage, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are constantly hiring. There are mixed reviews when it comes to earning potential, but it’s easy to get started. You can apply online, schedule your availability, and get paid to drive passengers around with your vehicle. Amazon also hires delivery drivers in some locations.
Salary: Per Glassdoor, rideshare drivers earn an average annual salary of $44,392, while delivery drivers earn an average annual salary of $27,113.
Whether it’s working in direct sales, commission sales, selling online, or working retail, there are always opportunities for sales representatives and entrepreneurs with the ability to make a sale.
Salary: The BLS reports that median annual salary for all sales-related occupations is $29,630, with most sales agent occupations coming in at around $50,000 per year.
15. Seasonal Jobs
Regardless of the season, there are jobs available specifically for that time of year. Resorts hire ski season and summer workers, tax season provides opportunities for tax preparers and filers, and the fall is a good time to get hired for a holiday season job.
Salary: Varies by occupation. Most seasonal jobs listed on Glassdoor offer wages between $10 and $15 per hour.
16. Social Media Consultant
Are you glued to your home and constantly connecting on social media? You can put those skills to good use and get paid for helping businesses with their social platforms.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, social media consultants earn an average annual salary of $50,473.
17. Special Event Staff
When you live near a performance venue or are willing to travel to work at a music festival, you’ll find plenty of short-term work opportunities. Jobs include ticket sales, ushers, food vendors, brand ambassadors, event planners, production, logistics, and positions working behind the scenes.
Salary: Varies widely by occupation. Indeed reports that event staff earn an average wage of $12.31 per hour, while event managers earn an average annual salary of $52,810.
18. Substitute Teacher/Aide
School districts typically have a roster of people they call when they need substitutes. Even if certification is required for a permanent teaching position, it may not be for a substitute. Hiring subs may be handled on a school or regional basis. You’ll be able to note your availability and work when your schedule permits. Here’s how to find a substitute teacher job.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, substitute teachers earn an average annual salary of $28,003.
A lot of little jobs can add up to a decent paycheck, and with task-based jobs, there is no commitment beyond the task you’ve signed up to do. If you’re handy or have any number of other skills, you can work on a job-by-job basis and spend as much—or as little—time as you want.
Salary: A recent survey from Steady, a flexible work app, showed that gig workers earn average monthly wages of $624.
20. Test Proctor
Test proctors are needed for college and graduate school testing, certification, licensing, and other standardized exams. Hours and schedules vary, and you’ll need basic computer and customer skills.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, test proctors earn an average rate of $12 per hour.
21. Tour Guide
Do you know the way around town or do you love to travel? Tour guides can work by the tour or the day, or escort national and international tours. In addition to guiding tours and adventures, you may be able to find work booking tours and excursions.
Salary: PayScale reports that tour guides earn an average annual salary of $30,489.
Are you fluent in at least two languages? Interpreter/translator is a high growth occupation with many projected openings. Freelancers work by the project or for steady clients.
Salary: Per the BLS, translators earn a median annual salary of $51,830.
Most transcription positions are work-from-home, and as long as you can meet deadlines, you can work as little or as much as you want. Some transcriptionists specialize in medical or legal transcription.
Salary: Glassdoor reports that transcriptionists earn an average annual salary of $23,602.
Tutors often have a great deal of flexibility in their schedules, taking clients when they choose. Options include after school, evenings, weekends, during the day for adult learners, or during the summer. Subject area expertise and excellent communication skills are requirements.
Salary: According to PayScale, tutors earn an average annual salary of $35,960.
25. Video Production Assistant
Video producers often hire assistants to work on a specific project like a commercial. If you’re a multi-tasker with some video experience and good organization skills, you will get paid by the gig, and you can line up projects for when you want to work.
Salary: Per Glassdoor, video production assistants earn an average annual salary of $55,293.
26. Web Content Manager
There are many different facets of a job working on web content. The position could involve researching content topics, search engine optimization, writing, editing, and organizing content, and social media promotion. Many small businesses hire contractors rather than full-time employees to help them keep their websites in optimal shape.
Salary: PayScale reports that web content managers earn an average annual salary of $58,887.
27. Web/App Developer
There are too many opportunities to count for web and app developers. It’s a high-growth career field for people who know how to build websites and applications. You’ll find many freelance positions available.
Salary: According to Glassdoor, web developers earn an average annual salary of $68,524, while app developers earn an average annual salary of $70,163.
Is a Flexible Job Right for You?
Working as an independent contractor or on a project basis gives you more control over your own schedule, but it’s very different from traditional employment. To figure out whether flexible work is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
Do You Have the Right Skills?
For some set-your-own-schedule jobs, you won’t need any specific credentials. For other jobs, you’ll need specialized training and possibly certification or a license. Research what you need to get started—skills, education, tools, supplies, clients, investment, and technology.
Will You Be an Employee or a Contractor?
Your employment classification will depend on the employer or client you’re working for, the type of work you’re doing, and how you want to handle your finances.
For example, if you’re working on one-at-time projects, you could be paid an hourly or project rate by the organization that hires you.
If you’re working as a freelance contractor, you’ll be responsible for invoicing the organization for your time, and for paying employment taxes.
How Much Will You Earn?
One of the challenges of working at a job (or two) where you set your own schedule is figuring out how much you’ll earn. If you need a steady revenue stream, consider what income you will need and how you can earn it on an hourly or project basis. Be prepared to negotiate rates for freelance work.
How Will You Land Jobs?
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may need to find a steady stream of work rather than just one job you can work when you want to. Where are the best places to find them?
In addition to using the top job sites like Indeed and Monster, check websites like Upwork and FlexJobs that focus on freelance and flexible work options. Craigslist and TaskRabbit are other sources for project- and task-based employment.
If you know a company you’d like to work for, check their website for open job listings and an online application.
Don’t forget to tap into your personal and professional connections. One of the best ways to start freelancing or find a job is to let your contacts know that you’re going out on your own.
Can You Manage Your Own Time?
Whether you work as a freelancer or as an employee with a flexible schedule, making your own hours requires time management skills and a whole lot of motivation.
Be honest with yourself about whether you’ll be able to get stuff done without a boss hanging over you (or at least, checking in with you on a regular basis).
Glassdoor. “Consultant Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Proofreader Salary.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Copy Editor Salary.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Authors and Writers.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Freelance Writer Hourly Pay.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average House Sitter Hourly Pay.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Recruiter Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Massage Therapist Hourly Pay.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Indeed. “How much does a Registered Nurse make in the United States?” Accessed September 21, 2020.
Indeed. “How much does a Travel Nurse make in the United States?” Accessed Sept.r 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Personal Trainer Hourly Pay.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
ZipRecruiter. “Pet Sitting Salary.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Project Manager Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Rideshare Driver Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Delivery Driver Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Sales Occupations.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Seasonal Worker Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Social Media Consultant Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Indeed. “Event Staff Salaries in the United States.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Indeed. “How much does an Event Manager make in the United States?” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Substitute Teacher Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
CNBC. “The Top Companies That Pay Gig Workers the Most, From Airbnb to Costco.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Test Proctor Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Tour Guide Hourly Pay.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Interpreters and Translators.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Transcriptionist Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Tutor Hourly Pay.” Accessed September 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Video Production Assistant Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
PayScale. “Average Web Content Manager Salary.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “Web Developer Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Glassdoor. “App Developer Salaries.” Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.