The modern world of work is changing rapidly. No longer are people happy to be chained to their desks, acting as corporate drones in the hope of a distant retirement package. Everywhere people are carving out their own career paths — doing meaningful, flexible work that allows for independence and purpose.
Here are some careers that will allow you to also embrace a more flexible way of working.
15 Fulfilling and Flexible Jobs
1. E-book Author
Being a writer has always been a pipedream for many people. Sadly, fear of rejection and rigid publishing house requirements have kept many a desk scribbler from truly embracing writing. But now, with the help of the huge self-publishing industry, more and more people are able to call themselves writers (and make money from it, too).
Thinking about writing your first ebook? One of the first things you need to do is to conduct extensive market research. Have a look at what ebooks are selling well and why. Thrillers and romance novels are always popular, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t branch out into non-fiction and other genres too. (Historical fiction and local knowledge are two emerging markets you might want to consider). If the market looks saturated with loads of other self-publishers — avoid it, or do something different with it.
Ebook marketing and pricing are an exact science. Learn all you can from other successful authors — read their blogs, listen to their podcasts and adapt their strategies. Low prices are often the key to building up a readership, and you will want to spend time interacting with your readers online on blogs and on social media.
Where to find E-book Author opportunities:
2. Brand Manager
Working in branding is the perfect outlet for creative minds who want to be involved with the business world. Brand managers can work part-time, freelance or full-time, but two brand manager job descriptions are never the same.
From managing a thriving user community to coming up with new concepts for company culture, branding is all about being creative. To be a great brand manager you need to be a good thinker, and you will have to infuse other people with your vision, too. As a brand manager, you will need to have a stellar personal brand. Successful brand managers are great at networking and love to meet new people.
Brand managers come from all sorts of backgrounds – copy, design, business. As long as you have a vision, you’re in. You must be able to work with new tech, as well as embrace the nuts and bolts of business.
Where to find Brand Manager jobs:
Do you have a gift for languages? If you're fluent in at least two languages, consider getting a job as a translator.
The work entails translating materials, both verbal and oral, from one language to another. Translators can work for agencies or in-house for companies such as airlines, but some choose to work independently for clients on a freelance basis.
Depending on which route you choose, this job can be very flexible — plus, you'll be able to use your language skills, learn more about different cultures and perform rewarding work.
Where to find Translator jobs:
4. Online Entrepreneur
Are you a bit of a techy? Do you spend all your time on social media? Going digital with your career is a great way to use current technology to maximize online opportunities. (And digital work is a great place to start if you find yourself suddenly without work).
By becoming an online entrepreneur, you are taking matters into your own hands. Yes, you might have to have late night conference calls with China to sort out your shipping plan...but you’ll probably be able to travel, see the world, work from coffee shops, and “retire” early (if all goes well).
Whether you decide to open your own web store and sell t-shirts, sell through third-party marketplaces like Etsy or simply sell your services (copywriting, SEO, development, design, social media, consultancy, etc.); you need to clear on how much money you are going to need to bring in to turn a profit. Online, it’s almost too easy to spend money on ads, services, and software – make sure you’ve got a solution that really works for you.
Where to find Online Entrepreneur opportunities:
If you're a strong writer with a unique spin on a hot topic or an entirely new one, blogging could be the answer to that flexible and fulfilling job you've always wanted. The key to making your blog successful is coming up with an innovative idea or an interesting angle on one that's already covered. The whole point is to give your audience a fresh take.
Blogging is often hailed as the Holy Grail of online income – but don’t always believe the hype. Running a successful and money-earning blog is a full-on job – you will need to spend a lot of time building an online audience and interacting with people. It’s also paramount to make your blog look professional and unique with a customized theme. And then, you will have to monetize your blog with ads, sponsored content and affiliate links.
It may take some time to get your blog off the ground, but don't get frustrated. Once you attract followers and keep putting out great content, you'll turn your passion into a successful business.
Where to start your blog:
6. Curriculum Designer
If you have an education background, curriculum designer could be a good fit for you. You'll design curricula for students at different age and grade levels, ensuring that they meet the needs of the school or district and communicate the material effectively. Some curriculum designers also work with education companies.
You'll likely need some teaching experience and might need to be licensed to get a job as a curriculum designer. You should also have plenty of technical and soft skills for developing the materials, as well as experience and comprehension of the subject area you're covering. For example, if your working with high school math, you should have a strong knowledge of math concepts through calculus.
Where to find Curriculum Designer jobs:
Have some great ideas to help people live better lives? Find yourself giving advice to other people all the time? Why not make some money from it?
Becoming a consultant is a great way to become your own boss and make a name for yourself as problem-solver and all-round ‘fixer’. By getting involved in a wide range of businesses, you will meet a ton of different people – consultancy is varied, exciting, and challenging.
Be clear on what services you do (and don’t) offer. It’s important to manage client expectations in order to keep them happy. Repeat business and referrals are key, so focus on customer experience. Specialize in a specific problem. Specialization means making more money, and it will allow you to become a true expert. Use content and marketing to advertise your position as a thought leader.
Branding is a key metric for success – make sure you have a professional brand that is ready to face the world before you launch. Even if it’s ‘just you’, focus on developing a professional image and brand by talking to branding experts and gathering customer feedback.
Where to find Consultant jobs:
8. Virtual assistant
Virtual assistants are increasingly in high demand.
You can do your job from almost anywhere as a virtual assistant, and it comes with numerous benefits. Turn it into a full-time business or work part-time according to your personal schedule.
Being a virtual assistant requires you to be super organized and have excellent communication skills. It's all about keeping track of your clients' schedules and needs and making sure you know what those entail. There are, of course, plenty of challenges with the job — you must be on call pretty much all the time, for one. But if you a master at staying organized and want to help others do the same, this could be the job for you.
Where to find Virtual Assistant jobs:
9. Online English Teacher
This is an ideal job for people who are strong communicators and enjoy learning about talking to people from different cultures.
Working from the comfort of your own home (or wherever you choose to work), being an online English teacher allows you to flex your English skills while instructing students of all ages, often abroad. Often, the curriculum will be provided to you, depending on the specific type of work. You may just have conversations orally over platforms like Skype, or you might also offer guidance on written communication.
There are many companies that facilitate English teaching online, or you can market your services independently. Some jobs may require minimum education credentials, such as a bachelor's degree, while others will simply require that you be a native English speaker.
Where to find Online English Teacher jobs:
10. Part-Time Executive
This job is for people who love to lead, but need variety. By being an executive member of a business part-time, you will get to enjoy the thrill of making high-level decisions, without the long hours. You will be dealing with a lot of startups and businesses who want to grow. Help them succeed in order to succeed yourself.
Nowadays, many companies offer out part-time executive services — you could join an already established network of businesses and just wait for the right referral.
As an executive, people will look to you to make tough decisions and steer the business in the right direction. You have to be able to deal with that pressure and think strategically where others can’t.
Where to find Part-Time Executive jobs:
11. Film Editor
This is a job that requires some experience and technical skills, but if you have a background in film, you may find it very rewarding. You can work in studio or work as a freelancer, taking the raw footage for movies and piecing it together to create a cohesive narrative.
You'll work closely with cinematographers and other editors to ensure that you are meeting the needs and ideas of the director and translating her vision correctly.
This job is often demanding, but you'll play an instrumental role in creating masterpieces and communicating a compelling story to audiences.
Where to find Film Editor jobs:
12. Network Architect
An often extremely lucrative position, network architects design computer networks, such as local area networks (LANs), cloud computing systems, intranets and others. This is an important job that involves extensive plan and analysis of the needs of an organization. Along with having the necessary IT and computer skills, network architects must have analytical, planning and financial skills to understand the needs and scope of projects.
Network architects may work in-house, although many serve as consultants to different types of organizations. They play an instrumental role in helping businesses meet their goals. There is a lot of potential for flexibility, and, as discussed, the job is high-paying.
Where to find Network Architect jobs:
13. Video Game Designer
Working with artists and designers to create a narrative, characters, landscape and other aspects of video games, video game designers have a fun as well as complicated role in the development of these products.
Along with creativity and communication skills, you should have knowledge of programming languages and the software necessary for executing your concept, as well as be able to work in teams.
While some video game designers work on site, others work from the comfort of their own homes.
Where to find Video Game Designer jobs:
14. Home Health Aide
Caring for those who are unable to do so themselves is the ultimate in rewarding work. Home health aides assist people who need help with performing daily tasks like getting dressed, cooking, taking medicine and more.
You'll generally be assisting people who prefer to stay in their own homes as opposed to moving into a care facility, so ensuring that your clients feel comfortable and respected is key.
If you receive more training and certification, you might consider becoming a nursing assistant, which will enable you to offer more services and mean a higher salary.
Where to find Home Health Aide jobs:
If you have a gift for capturing beautiful images, photography can be an ideal career. Working at events such as weddings and parties, traveling to take pictures around the world, and taking pictures for newspapers, magazines and other publications are just some of the ways photographers earn a living.
Some photographers are employed by agencies or companies, while others work independently. If you choose the latter route and work as a freelancer, you can make the job extremely flexible according to your own schedule.
Photographers need to have a strong aesthetic as well as a host of technical skills — it's not all about the art! Many study their art in college.
Where to find Photographer jobs:
Copywriters write creative and compelling content for businesses. Most businesses have websites, apps, and marketing materials that need words. Which means that they need someone who is good with words to write them.
Copywriters often work closely with the design teams to help establish a narrative for their clients. And they'll often have to go through several rounds of edits, too.
Where to find Copywriter jobs:
17. UX/UI Designer
UX and UI designers are the ones who basically get websites and apps up and running for users. Businesses big and small need these designers. UX designers build the user experience, which is the interaction that users have with the site or app.
And UI designers then make that experience friendly usually with visual design, typography, and more.
Where to find UX/UI Designer jobs:
Illustrators work for a number of different types of clients. As an illustrator, you may work for a book author designing the cover or pages of their book. Or you might work for a company, designing logos, creating clip art for their marketing materials, and tackling other illustration needs.
You may also work for creative businesses like tattoo shops, coming up with tattoo concepts or T-shirt companies creating shirt designs.
Where to find Illustrator jobs:
Virtually every company could benefit from a bookkeeper. And you can do this job totally remotely a lot of the time.
Bookkeepers simply oversee a company's financial data and compliance. You'd be responsible for maintaining accurate books on account payable and receivable, as well as payroll. You'd also track daily expenses and reconciliations, create financial reports, and more.
Where to find Bookkeeper jobs:
Musicians can make money in a few ways. Either you can pick up gigs playing music at local establishments, or you can even teach classes to students who want to learn how to sing or play certain instruments.
In fact, you can even teach music lessons virtually, creating guided online lessons for certain songs and selling chord sheets. Or tutoring via video calls.
Where to find music jobs:
What makes a job satisfying?
When considering which careers will make you happy, think about your skills, interests and priorities. Perhaps a having high-earning job is important to you. Maybe you're looking to fulfill a passion but don't care as much about the money.
Consider what you've enjoyed doing in the past, whether for work or play, and think about how you could weave these interests into a career. If you know a job you'd love to have requires further training or education, you might want to go back to school.
Ultimately, a career is rewarding if you feel good about what you're doing and happy about the end result and process of getting there. Not every moment will be perfect — everyone tasks they dread doing, even if they love their jobs — but overall, you should feel like the work is keeping you content.
Careers in high-demand
In addition to finding a job that's rewarding, you should also pay attention to which careers are in high-demand by combing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (it will tell you the expected earnings and job growth for specific professions) and reading up on current trends. (Be sure to check out our list of in-demand jobs, too!) Think about the long-term potential for your career, not just what makes you happy now.