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30 Types of Self-Employment

Self employment is when an individual conducts business or practices a profession independently of an employer. The following are common types of self-employment.


Offering your services as a professional to business clients. For example, a graphics designer who completes 50 projects for 12 clients in a year.


Offering your services as a professional to consumers such as a carpenter who does jobs for homeowners and gains customers through word of mouth and repeat business.

Business Services

Business services such as software consulting. Services are more structured than freelancing. In many cases, freelancing resembles employment. Services are packaged and sold as a good. For example, a service that supports a software deployment for a monthly recurring fee.

Consumer Services

Consumer services such as a landscaping service that serves homeowners.

Creative Services

Creative services in areas such as design that may be offered to both businesses and consumers. For example, a photography service that serves both business events and weddings.

Consumer Products

Producing or marketing consumer products such as cosmetics. This is a complex business and self-employed individuals typically outsource elements such as manufacturing to partners.

Business Products

Business products such as a software developer who develops and markets business software.


Craft is small scale production that is done, at least partially, by hand. For example, a fashion designer who produces unique running shoes.

Made to Order

Craft that is made to customer specifications such as a boat builder who constructs custom sailboats for clients.

Value Added Reseller

Adding something to a product or service and reselling it. For example, an artist who adds custom art to surfboards.

Product Marketing

Selling products that you didn't manufacturer. For example, an ecommerce seller who sells white label electronics that they have branded.

Service Marketing

Selling services that you don't deliver such as a marketer who sells subscription boxes produced by a partner.


Trading such as a toy collector who buys and sells rare toys for profit.


Trading that doesn't involve cash such as a baseball card collector who mostly trades cards for cards.


Trading that involves the flow of goods over borders. For example, an Indian expat in Japan who exports green tea from Japan to India by building relationships in both countries.


Trading that takes advantage of price differences from one place to another such as purchasing used textbooks in Thailand and selling them in America where they have a higher resale value.


An aftermarket is a market related to the upgrade, customization, maintenance and repair of a durable product. For example, a shop that repairs air conditioning units.

Agents & Brokers

Representing the buyers or sellers in a transaction such as a real estate agent.


Producing media such as videos. This often works by building an audience and then promoting products and services for a fee.


Publishing books or digital content such as a blog.


Owning and operating a shop.

Bricks & Clicks

A shop that integrates a physical presence and ecommerce sales. For example, a surfboard shop with local inventory and a larger inventory online that can be shipped immediately from a partner location.


Selling on existing ecommerce platforms or building your own. For example, an ecommerce seller who purchases and sells grey market goods.

Two-sided Market

Participating in a two-sided market or building your own. For example, trading on an auction platform.


The production of food or other farming related ventures such as a farm-based tourist attraction.


Operating a business in the hospitality industry such as a hotel or restaurant.


Participating in the tourist industry. This includes a wide variety of small businesses such as organizing tours or selling souvenirs.


Education businesses such as instructors who offer professional training, math tutoring or piano lessons.


Organizing, promoting or delivering services for events. For example, a self-employed individual who organizes and promotes several industry conferences each year.

Traditional Economy

A business based on tradition and culture such as a shop that teaches traditional Japanese washi paper making to tourists.


Self-employment involves some level of risk and initiative in operating and marketing a business. As such, contractual arrangements whereby an individual effectively works for an employer aren't typically viewed as self-employment.
The term self-employed implies that a business doesn't have any employees. The term small business owner is applied to anyone who employs others.
Self-employed individuals can participate in any business model with a partnership model whereby much of the value chain is performed by others.
Overview: Self-Employment
Conducting business or practicing a profession independently of an employer.
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Small Business

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Business Advantages
Business Assets
Bricks And Clicks
Business Challenges
Business Costs
Business Drawbacks
Business Expenses
Business Issues
Business Management
Business Metrics
Business Models
Business Name
Business Opportunity
Business Plans
Business Risk
Business Scale
Business Strategy
Call To Action
Closing Techniques
Craft Production
Competitive Advantage
Customer Experience
Family Business
Home Business
Customer Motivation
Local Marketing
Direct Marketing
Market Research
Personal Selling
Target Market
Trough Of Sorrow
Night Economy
Product Development
Risk Treatment
Two Sided Markets
Types Of Brand
Types Of Business
User Experience
Value Added Reseller
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