Be Your Own Boss: 49 Self-Employed Jobs to Do in Singapore
What skills do you have? You might just be able to use them to earn $$$$.
While many people want to be their own boss, fewer are able to turn such a dream into reality.
Because to be your own boss, you’ll need to be self-employed. (Being self-employed just means to be working for yourself, instead of for an employer.) But you can’t be self-employed if you don’t have a self-employed job to begin with!
Which leads to the next few questions:
- What kinds of self-employed jobs are there?
- Which of these are you suited for?
In this post, I’ve put together a massive list of 49 self-employed jobs in Singapore, categorised according to different industry sectors. Hopefully, this list will inspire you on your next career move after you’ve fired your boss.
Consider whether your knowledge and skills would be a good fit for the self-employed jobs you read on this list. I’ve also mentioned some qualifications (such as licences) you may need to obtain for certain jobs.
Let’s dive in!
- Media Jobs
- Arts and Entertainment Jobs
- Writing Jobs
- Marketing Jobs
- Content Creation Jobs
- Tech Jobs
- Teaching Jobs
- Business Jobs
- Home Services Jobs
- Food & Beverage Jobs
- Transport Jobs
- Travel Jobs
- Self-Employed Jobs with No Qualifications
- Self-Employed Jobs for Students
- Self-Employed Jobs at Home
Self-Employed Media Jobs
1. Freelance photographer
Got an eye for gorgeous photos? Consider a career as a freelance photographer!
There are many types of photography you can specialise in, such as:
Or, you could be a jack of all trades and offer a range of photography services to clients.
Not sure how much to charge? Check out our guide to calculating your freelance photography rate in Singapore.
2. Freelance videographer
If a picture speaks a thousand words, guess how many more words videos must speak.
As a freelance videographer, it’ll be your job to capture the best angles of your clients and immortalise these moments in an impactful video.
Many of your clients may be engaged couples looking for a wedding videographer, so be prepared to spend your weekends behind the camera covering their weddings.
But as you’ll be surrounded by celebrations and festivities, your workplace probably can’t get any more joyous than this!
3. Freelance camera operator
Getting quality footage is more than being able to hit the “Record” button.
If you know your ISOs, can execute accurate focus pulls and compose your shots to perfection, consider turning your camera obsession into a profession.
Technical knowledge isn’t all you’ll need to succeed as a freelance camera operator however. Film-making is a team effort, so you’ll have to be able to work well with others.
Also, expect to do a lot of heavy lifting. Camera equipment isn’t light, and they ain’t gonna move themselves!
4. Freelance drone operator
With drones rising in popularity (pun not intended), the days of chartering helicopters to get stunning aerial footage have largely gone the way of the dodo.
Instead, if you own a drone and some expert drone piloting skills, you may just be able to build yourself a lucrative aerial photography and videography business.
Just make sure to heed Singapore’s drone laws and get the necessary permits, and you’ll be ready to let your drone business take flight.
5. Freelance video editor
“Editing is where movies are made or broken. Many a film has been saved and many a film has been ruined in the editing room.” – Joe Dante
Video editing is often an underappreciated art. After all, the best edits are the ones where transitions between shots are so seamless, they’re almost invisible to the audience.
Depending on the gig in question, you may be working from a client’s office or from your own editing station at home.
But either way, bring along your meticulous attention to detail. You’ll need it in order to perform your video editing magic.
6. Freelance animator
As an animator, you bring still objects to life.
Whether you specialise in traditional hand-drawn animation, 2D, 3D or even stop-motion, you’re skilled in manipulating inanimate characters to tell a story to the world.
Nowadays, most animations are created on a computer instead of drawn by hand. This means needing to know how to use animation software like Adobe Animate and Maya.
But once you master them, you may find that your earning potential is only limited by your imagination.
7. Freelance motion graphics designer
A subset of animation, motion graphics involves animating shapes, images and text to communicate ideas in a visual manner.
To be a motion graphic designer, you should be proficient in motion graphics software such as Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D. You’ll also need graphic design skills and a decent understanding of how the laws of physics work.
Because sure, there are templates out there for the simple stuff. But when it comes to the complex custom animations, that’s when your motion graphics design skills and talent will be put to the test!
8. Freelance producer
Producing TV shows, films and videos takes a lot of effort and planning.
From the initial concept creation right to the pushing out of the final product, someone will need to:
- Plan the project budget (and make sure it’s kept to)
- Hire the crew
- Secure shoot locations
- Apply for the relevant grants / permits
- Keep track of the shoot schedule
- Liaise and coordinate with everybody involved in the project
- Oversee marketing and distribution of the finished work
As a freelance producer, it’ll be your job to do all of the above – and more – without collapsing from stress. Are you game?
9. Freelance sound recordist
People can bear with bad video image quality. But try to get them to watch a video with terrible sound and they’ll quit the video faster than you can say “Like, comment and subscribe”.
That’s where a freelance sound recordist comes in – to capture crystal-clear audio for films and videos, with no unwanted background noise.
If being a freelance sound recordist is your goal, be prepared to invest in an arsenal of mics and other sound gear. But don’t be surprised if people give you weird looks after hearing about your collection of dead wombats.
10. Freelance actor
Love being the centre of attention, and stepping into somebody else’s shoes? Being a freelance actor might just be for you.
As a freelance actor, you won’t have an agent or manager. This means you’ll have to rely on your own connections to get acting gigs in Singapore.
If you’re persistent though, then whether you’re 6 or 86 years old, chances are there will be acting gigs just waiting for you!
11. Freelance voice talent
There are companies looking for voice talent for their audio commercials, videos and podcasts. And if you have an amazing voice, you could be the next person they hire for such gigs.
If you’re bilingual and can do voiceover work in more than one language, expect your opportunities to open up further.
So if you think you have what it takes to be Singapore’s Next Top Voice Talent, don’t hesitate. Be a freelance voice talent today! (I couldn’t resist, sorry)
12. Hair and makeup artist
Are you a pro at doing up your hair, or applying makeup for yourself and your family members? You can get paid to doll others up as a hair and makeup artist.
From making the faces of wedding clients glow, to concealing pimples before corporate studio shoots, and to putting actors in outrageous hairdos, you can expect a wide range of clientele for your skills.
After all, even people born with naturally good looks still need a little help looking their best. (And that’s where you swoop in to the rescue, with your trusty mascara brush!)
Self-Employed Arts and Entertainment Jobs
13. Freelance emcee
Be it a roadshow, D&D, wedding or concert, almost every event needs an emcee to keep audiences engaged and entertained.
Having the gift of the gab and stage presence is practically mandatory if you have emceeing aspirations. You will also need to have good time management to ensure the event is progressing on schedule.
You’ll also stand out from the competition if you can develop a signature hosting style, and/or if you can host in more than one language.
14. Freelance singer/vocalist
Your stuffed animals may make a great audience for your singing, but they can’t show their appreciation for your talent.
Instead, be a freelance singer/vocalist and sing to real people! You can take song requests, then watch as your audience enthusiastically joins in.
And of course, being paid doesn’t hurt. 😉
Examples of singing gigs you can get are weddings and corporate D&Ds. Bonus if you play an instrument, and/or can sing in more than one language (including dialects).
15. Freelance musician/instrumentalist
Mastering a musical instrument – be it the guitar, piano, cajon, etc. – takes years of dedication and practice. So if you can play an instrument amazingly well, why not use your musical ability to get paid?
You can play in bars and for weddings, corporate events, and so on. You could even form a band with fellow musicians to play in gigs together!
Just some fair warning: there are many challenges to being a full-time musician in Singapore, so be prepared to work really hard to fill your rice bowl.
16. Freelance deejay
There are plenty of music lovers out there. But not everyone can mix songs and jazz them up in ways that make listeners groove and party along.
That’s where you, as a freelance deejay, comes in. Expect to invest heavily in deejaying equipment, and to keep a finger on the pulse of the latest music trends.
If you manage to make a name for yourself as a freelance deejay in Singapore, you could be invited to spin for mega music festivals – including overseas ones!
17. Freelance dancer
Dance styles come in many flavours – hip-hop, ballet and even K-pop dance, among others. But according to a dancer friend of mine, opportunities for making money from dancing in Singapore (as a freelance dancer or otherwise) aren’t as plentiful.
So if you’re determined to dance for a living, consider also conducting dance lessons at studios to supplement your income.
Putting up your dance videos on social media or YouTube can also build your reputation and help you get more dance gigs regularly.
Magic is something that never fails to entertain both the young and old. If you have a good range of tricks up your sleeve, you may just have a viable career making people’s jaws drop as a magician.
You could perform your craft at corporate events, roadshows and kids’ birthday parties. Depending on the event in question, you may be asked to perform onstage, while roving around the audience or even with live animals. So plan and rehearse your repertoires accordingly!
Self-Employed Writing Jobs
19. Freelance writer
Despite the rise of video, writing is not dead. Writers are still sought after for material such as blog posts, sales pages, white papers and resumes!
There are many types of freelance writing jobs – copywriting, technical writing, ghostwriting and so on. And each type has its own requirements.
For example, if you want to succeed as a technical writer, you will need to have expertise in the technical subject you write about.
Your ability to meet – and go beyond – such expectations is what will differentiate you from others who think writing is just as simple as putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Self-Employed Marketing Jobs
20. Freelance digital marketer
As more businesses realise the importance of building their online presence, the skills of freelance digital marketers will only grow in demand.
Digital marketing encompasses many disciplines, so you may want to offer services in just one or two of them.
For example, you could be a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist, while also offering email marketing services as a secondary niche.
At the same time, digital marketing practices evolve quickly, so be sure you’re up-to-date on the latest trends. Following industry blogs and attending digital marketing courses in Singapore are good ways of doing this.
21. Freelance illustrator
For those with superb art skills, one advantage of being a freelance illustrator is this: almost every industry needs illustrations.
A new café might want a wall mural, and a start-up might need graphics for their new website, for example.
And when Chinese New Year rolls around, companies may be thinking of having their company angbaos custom-designed!
Apart from accepting illustration commissions, you can also sell art prints online for extra income.
22. Freelance graphic designer
Graphic design is another skill that is required across all industries. You could be engaged to design posters, brochures, corporate reports, infographics and so on.
Proficiency in graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator is a must for any freelance graphic designer.
While online graphic design apps have made it much easier for anyone to DIY their designs, such apps can only go so far if the user doesn’t have good taste in design – which is why businesses will look to hire a professional (e.g. you) instead.
Self-Employed Content Creation Jobs
If you enjoy writing on topics that are close to your heart, starting a blog can be a good way of monetising these twin interests.
Through your blog, you can attract affiliate partnerships, be paid for sponsored posts and even sell your own physical or digital products.
However, note that blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
Attracting an audience for your writing will not happen overnight. It may be months before your blog starts generating meaningful amounts of income for you (if at all). Consider yourself warned!
With YouTube, now everyone can have their own TV channel. And potentially make money from creating YouTube videos too.
For example, you can participate in the YouTube Partner Programme to earn ad revenue when people watch your videos. You can also promote affiliate products.
Or, brands themselves may offer to pay you to feature their products in your videos!
With YouTube playing host to videos on probably any topic you can think of, you’re bound to find an audience keen to watch your content. Just choose your niche, grab your camera and go.
25. Social media influencer
Build your following, get sponsored to promote stuff, and get paid. That’s the business model of a social media influencer in a nutshell.
Instagram is the social media platform of choice for many influencers now, but others have also been able to make a killing on Snapchat.
Another up-and-coming platform to consider building an audience on is TikTok.
Becoming an influencer takes a lot of hard work, but it can pay off in a big way if you’re persistent.
After all, if cute cats can become stars on social media, why not you?
Self-Employed Tech Jobs
26. Freelance web developer
If you don’t have an online presence, do you even exist nowadays? Businesses understand that, which is why people who can code websites can expect high demand for their skills.
There are 3 main types of web developers:
- Back-end developers, who build the infrastructure for storing and retrieving website data on the web server;
- Front-end developers, who build the website’s appearance to a user; and
- Full stack developers, who do both.
You’ll need fluency in different programming languages depending on which camp you want to be in.
27. Freelance web designer
Business don’t just need websites – they need beautiful, user-friendly websites that visitors will want to interact with.
Apart from graphic design skills, web designers also need technical expertise in languages such as HTML and CSS.
And of course, talent. If you have a knack for designing websites that people can’t take their eyes off, you may just find clients lining up outside your door to work with you.
28. Freelance mobile app developer
Mobile apps are the rage nowadays – it seems that pretty much every new business on the block is (rightly or wrongly) saying “we need to have an app too”.
But in any case, that’s where mobile app developers stand to gain.
The main two mobile operating systems (OSes) are Android and iOS. For new app developers, consider focusing on developing apps for just one OS, as both OSes have very different code infrastructure.
As your proficiency increases, you can branch out into cross-platform app development to build apps for different OSes using the same code.
29. Freelance UI/UX designer
Realising the importance of having good UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) in their websites and apps, more businesses are now looking to hire designers skilled in one or both disciplines.
But it’s not all about drawing things on a screen. You’ll also need people skills as you interview users to get their take on how easy your prototype is to use (UX), and/or whether they find its UI aesthetically pleasing.
Self-Employed Teaching Jobs
30. Freelance private tutor
Singapore’s tuition scene is ever-booming, with parents and students alike looking to engage tutors for practically every subject taught in school.
Because of such demand, private tutors are a dime a dozen. But plus factors that will help you stand out (and command higher rates) include:
- Academic credentials in the subject(s) you teach
- Prior teaching experience in schools or enrichment centres
- Glowing testimonials from past students
Singapore’s “top tutors” can earn more than $1 million in yearly revenue. If you have a passion for teaching certain academic subjects, such a financial milestone might be something to aspire towards.
31. Freelance music instructor
Here’s another thing that Singaporean parents love to sign their children up for: music classes.
Piano lessons will always be sought after, while other instruments that are popularly learnt include the guitar, violin and drums.
To be a freelance music instructor, you ideally should have attained the relevant music qualifications for the instrument you want to teach.
You should also be comfortable with making house calls to students’ homes, or with students coming over to your place, for lessons. Alternatively, a studio could be booked if that would be more conducive.
32. Freelance sports coach
Skilled at playing a sport? You can impart the techniques you’ve honed to other sports enthusiasts, and coach them to reach their peak performance.
As a sports coach, you could be engaged by schools who need coaches for sports co-curricular activities. You may even be hired by individuals looking to up their sports game.
Some organisations will only hire coaches who are National Registry of Coaches members as they have gone through Sport Singapore’s coach certification programme. You can also consider joining the National Instructors and Coaches Association which looks after the interests of freelance coaches in Singapore.
33. Freelance swimming instructor
You can swim like a fish and enjoy teaching family and friends to swim – being a freelance swimming instructor might just be right up your alley. Just get yourself qualified as a swim coach and you can start looking for students.
Demand for swimming lessons has only risen ever since swimmer Joseph Schooling clinched Singapore’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in 2016. Also, with swimming being an essential life skill, a job as a swimming instructor is one wave that’s unlikely to crash anytime soon.
34. Freelance personal trainer
Who doesn’t like to be fit and fab?
In fact, some people will even pay money to engage personal trainers to guide them on their personal fitness journey.
Not just anyone can be a personal fitness trainer – you’ll need to certified to practise by a reputable organisation such as the American Council on Exercise.
And of course, you need to look the part by continuously maintaining your own health and well-being.
35. Freelance yoga instructor
Enjoy yoga? You can get qualified as a yoga instructor to promote and teach yoga to others.
As very little equipment is needed for practising yoga, you could be teaching clients almost anywhere – their home, in the park, a studio, etc.
Apart from teaching individuals in 1-on-1 sessions, you can also design corporate yoga packages, where you will bring yoga to workplaces and conduct yoga sessions to employees en masse.
Self-Employed Business Jobs
36. Independent consultant
Do you have deep knowledge in the workings of business? Businesses may be willing to pay you for your insights and expertise in improving their operations.
Consultants exist in a variety of industries and have different specialities depending on their background. You could be a marketing consultant, human resource consultant, financial consultant and so on.
As you will be in the business of solving problems, you must have an analytical mind and strong critical thinking skills. Being an effective communicator is also vital in helping you bring your recommendations across to clients.
37. Virtual assistant
Some businesspersons are way too busy to handle their admin tasks themselves, and will willingly fork out cash for a virtual assistant (VA) to do it all for them.
VA tasks can range from scheduling meetings, taking phone calls, replying emails and even making travel bookings. Working from home is also a possibility.
If you’re a highly-organised logistics and administrative whiz, you may just find being a VA a breeze.
Not all business owners can balance their books, or have the interest to do it themselves. If you’re a qualified accountant, you’re in prime position to take over their accounting woes and save the day.
Some clients may require you to work from their office for confidentiality reasons, while others may allow you to work from home. Discuss such work arrangements before accepting the job.
39. Property agent
Help people buy and sell their houses and you can make a sweet commission from every deal closed as a licensed property agent.
Some agents specialise in just one type of property (e.g. new condo launches), or a particular target audience (e.g. expats).
Also, the Singapore government introduces measures to cool the property market every now and then. Keep an ear to the ground so you can make adjustments to your sales strategies accordingly.
Self-Employed Home Services Jobs
Taking care of others on a daily basis can be physically and mentally demanding, and sometimes family members need extra help caring for their loved ones. This has led to the growth of caregiving services where external caregivers are hired to provide such care.
Caregiving can be challenging, especially if the care recipient has special needs or chronic conditions. But with patience and persistence, you may just find caregiving to be a very fulfilling career. Check out websites like Caregiver Asia, which matches caregivers to clients, to get started.
Many people hate doing cleaning and other household chores and will happily pay someone else to take care of these for them.
With high hourly rates, a job as a freelance cleaner could be a good opportunity for you if you’re a stickler for cleanliness and don’t mind (literally) getting down and dirty.
Just note that there is a greater preference for female cleaners over male ones. Cleaning can also be physically intensive work. Undeterred? Cleaner-matching apps like Helpling are more than ready to help you channel your inner Marie Kondo!
42. Babysitter / Nanny
Perhaps date night is coming up, and a couple needs a babysitter to keep an eye on their children for 3 to 5 hours while they enjoy the night.
Or maybe the couple is looking for a nanny who will care for their children for up to 12 hours daily while they bring in the dough.
Either way, if you’re responsible, love children and are good at managing them, being a professional babysitter or nanny can be a good way of getting paid to have fun and feel like a kid again.
Some families are planning overseas holidays but can’t bring Fido along with them, so they look for a pet-sitter to care for their pet in the interim.
Apart from giving your clients’ pets temporary lodging, you may also be tasked with walking them and giving them medication.
There are apps like Pawshake where you can get matched to people looking for pet-sitting services. Taking in multiple pets at once is also a possibility, which means more $$$!
Pet-boarding regulations in Singapore are a grey area though, so keep this in mind when deciding whether to jump into this.
Self-Employed Food & Beverage Jobs
44. Chef / Cook
Private home dining – where people pay to have a home-cooked meal at the chef’s home – is slowly but surely taking off in Singapore. Budding Masterchefs can get in on a slice of the action by setting up their own private home dining businesses.
You can offer dinner service or lunch service, or both. Also, prepare a few menus of different cuisines for guests to choose from.
Many home chefs will only accept bookings of 8 guests and up, and charge at least $80 a head. Secure many bookings and you could just be whipping up a lucrative cook-from-home business for yourself.
Can you bake a mean chocolate brownie? Do family members and friends constantly pester you for your pandan cupcakes? If you’re a passionate home baker, consider turning your baking passion into a business!
There is no shortage of events where your sweet treats could feature. Birthday parties, corporate dinners, weddings, you name it.
If you’re just starting out, you can run your baking business from home under the government’s Home-Based Small Scale Business Scheme. But once your business really starts to take off, you’ll need to get a commercial space to pursue your business on a larger scale.
Being a hawker presents a perfect blend of opportunity for you to cook, sell delicious meals and interact with your customers at the same time.
Aspiring hawkers can check out the National Environment Agency’s Incubation Stall Programme, which subsidises costs of entry into the trade.
Even with such help, it is no secret that the life of a hawker is tough. For example, you’ll have to wake up at ungodly hours to begin preparing food, and also be on your feet for hours at a time.
But if you can perfect a signature dish that customers love and will patiently line up for, you’ll know that your hard work and toil will have all been worth it.
Self-Employed Transport Jobs
47. Private-hire driver
The premise behind offering private-hire services is simple: get paid to pick up passengers and drive them to their destination. The more trips you make, the more you earn!
To be a private-hire driver, you’ll need to obtain a Private-Hire Driver Vocational Licence (PDVL). Having your own car is optional, because car rental options are available.
Then, sign up with the service provider(s) you want to drive for. The main ones in Singapore are Grab and Gojek, with smaller players such as Ryde and Tada also on the scene. Check the incentives they offer drivers before signing up.
48. Food delivery rider
The food delivery scene in Singapore is exploding. Service providers such as GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo constantly accept applications for new riders to deliver food orders to hungry mouths.
To be a food delivery rider, you need your own form of transport. This can be a bicycle, motorbike, or e-scooter for example. You can also choose to work only in certain areas of Singapore.
Depending on the service provider in question, you may be able to cash out your earnings daily, and/or even keep all of your tips.
Self-Employed Travel Jobs
49. Tour guide
Every year, tourists arrive in Singapore in droves to sightsee and take in the best that our island has to offer. As a tour guide, it’ll be your job to show them around our beautiful Garden City.
All tour guides in Singapore need to have a Tourist Guide Licence from the Singapore Tourism Board. And if you’re ferrying your clients around via private transport (e.g. shuttle bus), you will also need to obtain a Travel Agent Licence.
If you know Singapore’s streets like the back of your hand, and can regale others with stories of our cultural heritage, you might just find being a tour guide an extremely rewarding career.
Self-Employed Jobs with No Qualifications
As you can see, many of the self-employed jobs above require specialised knowledge or skills, investment in equipment, or formal qualifications.
But not all of them do! Here are some that don’t:
Self-Employed Jobs for Students
If you’re a student, you’ll need to balance between your studies and your goals of earning extra pocket money.
That’s why getting a self-employed job could be perfect – you get to dictate your own hours and commitment levels!
Age is no barrier for many of the self-employed jobs listed in this post, but double-check when applying.
For example, food delivery riders may need to be 18 years old or older.
Self-Employed Jobs at Home
What might be better than a self-employed job?
Answer: a self-employed job that lets you work from the comfort of your home!
Here are some that fit the bill:
- Freelance video editor
- Freelance animator
- Freelance motion graphics designer
- Freelance illustrator
- Freelance writer
- Freelance digital marketer
- Freelance graphic designer
- Freelance web developer
- Freelance web designer
- Freelance mobile app developer
- Virtual assistant
These remote jobs are great for aspiring digital nomads too.
It’s Time to Start Hustling!
I hope that this gigantic list of self-employed jobs in Singapore has given you ideas on turning your skills and passion into a fulfilling career, no matter which industry you choose to ply your trade in.
Skills and passion will only go so far, however – you’ll also need to know where to find freelance jobs, for example. If you’re interested to learn how to get freelance clients ASAP, you can sign up for our free 5-day “Get Freelancing Clients—Fast!” email course!
This course contains step-by-step instructions for 3 proven methods of getting freelance clients, no prior freelancing experience required. Sign up here:
And of course, you’ll need to put in the time and effort to actually land gigs and earn money. This part will be entirely up to you.
But don’t set the bar too high for yourself when you’re just starting out. Take baby steps in the beginning. And slowly but surely, you’ll be on your way to being your own boss.
What other self-employed jobs can you add to this list? Leave a comment!