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Jobs for Free Spirits

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Careers in the arts and music have long been the pursuits of the free spirits of the world -- but those are far from the only career prospects for those looking for a life less ordinary. From teaching or working abroad to running your own business, the options for free spirits abound.


Perhaps no career is more "free" than one with the word "free" actually in the title. According to a study conducted by software provider Intuit, over 40 percent of the workforce in the U.S. will be freelancers as of 2020, and the majority won't work in a brick-and-mortar office. Freelancers can include graphic designers, writers, editors, web developers, and consultants in nearly every type of business. The up side of freelancing: You get to set your own schedule, decide your rates, and essentially define your own salary. On the flip side of that, your salary will depend on what the market will bear and the amount of experience and salesmanship you bring to the table. Some freelancers eke out a living just above minimum wage; others make six figures.

Starting Your Own Business

Similar to freelancers, entrepreneurs may set their own schedules and decide their own fates. In many cases, though, they'll be more tied to a brick-and-mortar location. Take the personal trainer who works with clients in her own studio, or the bakery owner with one or two of his own stores. While entrepreneurs' salaries can vary widely based on where they live and the type of industry they're in, it can certainly be a lucrative endeavor, and one that can lend itself well to the free spirit looking for the financial freedom to travel or take time away. According to the jobs website Simply Hired, entrepreneurs made an average annual salary of $111,000 as of 2014. The path to becoming an entrepreneur is not well-prescribed. Some may start out by studying business in college; others may launch a small business right out of college or after having another career.

Teaching English

For free spirits looking for work outside the U.S., there's no shortage of language schools looking for qualified teachers of English. Most language schools, high schools and colleges around the world prefer to hire college graduates who also have a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language certificate, or Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages certificate, though some schools hire people without college degrees. To obtain your TEFL or TESOL certificate, take an online or in-person course through any number of accredited schools worldwide, where you'll also typically get job-placement assistance. Pay for English teaching jobs can vary from as low as $400 to $800 per month in Latin America to $2,000 a month -- with free rent and other perks -- in places such as South Korea, according to "Business Insider."

Working for NGOs

If you're a free spirit who is looking for an international job with more of a humanitarian bent, working for a non-governmental organization abroad may be another path to pursue. This globetrotting career, though, also requires plenty of education and experience. The surest path is to obtain a master's degree in international relations, food security, human rights or another internationally focused field, and then to pursue an internship -- typically unpaid -- after graduation. Another path is to have experience as a medical professional or another niche such as finance, according to "Forbes." If you make it into this highly competitive field, expect to make anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 a year, depending on your experience and job, according to the University of Colorado-Boulder.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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