The 10 Most Lucrative Minimalist Careers

By Josh Rueff on May 10, 2013
What is a minimalist career? The beauty of minimalism is getting the most benefits out of the least amount of time, effort, things, or space. One of the key benefits of minimalism is freedom from unhealthy priorities.

So in light of those characteristics, I want to explore minimalist careers – these careers should be:

1. Flexible: It should allow you to create your own schedule at a certain point, and to a certain degree. The hours need to be pliable; a job that demands 50+ hours every week with no exceptions will not make the list.

2. Lucrative: The point of a job is to make money. The point of a minimalist career is to make as much money as possible in the least amount of time and effort – efficiency. 

Minimalist careers can be hard to find, and creating minimalist opportunities in a career with minimalist potential can be even harder, but the payoff is a dream job: Working your own hours, when you want and where you want. Making good money with less time and effort. Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller both worked less than 25 hours a week, partially retiring well before their 40’s. They accomplished that through deliberate intent – a focus on a big picture plan that would allow them to operate their career/business in a minimalist fashion.

The Top 10 Most Lucrative Minimalist Careers

NOTE: These careers are not in order of importance or rank. All of the statistics below were gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013.

1. Freelance Copywriter

Average Earnings: $63,280

Top 10% Earnings: $100,910+

Copywriters are writers that write content, often for online publications and marketing. Many copywriters are freelance writers, and anything with the word freelance in front of it is highly flexible because you create your own schedule. There are higher risks as a freelance writer, but the rewards are phenomenal – as a freelance writer you can work from any location with wifi, choose whatever hours you want, and set your own pay grade. But you have to be good. Just as a doctor, sales rep, or any other specialist creates freedom through his client base, you have to be able to build a solid reputation amongst your clients. More from bls.gov.

2. Actuary Consultant

Average Earnings: $95,980

Top 10% Earnings: $160,000+

If you love numbers and statistics, this may the ideal job for you. Actuaries work with businesses as their clients, analyzing their financial costs of risk. They are able to forecast and help businesses develop policies that minimize financial risk. This career is a great minimalist choice because of the level of flexibility you can attain as a consultant. The downside: To build a client base it takes time, and it can be easy to overwork yourself in the beginning. Well planned execution can minimize the risk of poor priorities however.  More from bls.gov.

3. Freelance Web Professional

Average Earnings: $73,830

Top 10% Earnings: $115,660+

Webmasters and other web professionals are in increasingly high demand, and  the payoff is good. Lucrative pay and like any other freelancer, freedom in every category. But again, it comes with risks and you have to be good. More from bls.gov.

4. Doctor, Sole Practitioner

Average Earnings: $166,400

Top 10% Earnings: $356,885+

This career is a little bit different from other careers that require their own practice to be a minimalist career. The more clients you get, the more flexibility (and usually money) you earn. Depending on the practice, you can turn your career as a doctor into a highly lucrative and flexible one before becoming a sole practitioner, although the ultimate rewards in the minimalist arena are still waiting at that end. Like the lawyer, the main downside is time and money spent on school. More from bls.gov.

5. Dentist, Sole Practitioner

Average Earnings: $146,920

Top 10% Earnings: $166,400+

There’s a lot of crossover in the medical careers. As a dentist, there’s a lot of time and money required on the front end, which  nearly always means large quantities of student loans. That’s the minimalist’s nightmare, so do your best to avoid as much of it as you can using grants, student aid, and scholarships. More from bls.gov.

6. Sales Rep

Average Earnings: $46,770

Top 10% Earnings: $115,340+

At last, a high potential career that doesn’t require an ungodly amount of education. Sales careers are generally highly instinctive – you wither have it or you don’t. If you’re good with people and enjoy communicating well, you’ll probably want to test your skills in sales. The minimalist factor in sales careers is the high demand. The businesses that offer highly flexible sales jobs can be hard to find unless you’re willing to operate off of mostly commission, but if you’re good, it’s not too big of an issue. More from bls.gov.

7. Personal Financial Adviser

Average Earnings: $64,750

Top 10% Earnings:$166,400+

What some people may not realize is that personal financial advisers are actually just professional sales reps. They “manage” people’s money by “advising” their company’s stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement plans, and other financial services. Human resources managers look for sales ability first and foremost. The flexibility is usually extremely high, although many people find themselves working long hours to stay competitive. More from bls.gov.

8. CPA, Sole Practitioner

Average Earnings: $61,690

Top 10% Earnings: $106,880+

The CPA made the list because of the opportunity to become a sole practitioner. Accountants that work for companies have great hours compared to most business professionals, but their flexibility is very limited. To pursue a minimalist career in this market, the only route is to become a CPA and start your own practice. More from bls.gov.

9. Lawyer, Sole Practitioner

Average Earnings: $112,760

Top 10% Earnings: $166,400+

Again, a career that is only minimalist if you choose to become a sole practitioner. The journey is long and hard, but the benefits are substantial. The downsides are 7-8 years of school and a highly competitive career path. If you’re confident in your abilities and understand that failure is the stepping stone to success, you’ll make it. But becoming a lawyer is only the beginning. Making it a minimalist career is another long and arduous journey. But to those willing to sacrifice the time and exert a superhuman effort, it’s sure to be well worth the hardship. More from bls.gov.

10. Realtor

Average Earnings: $42,680

Top 10% Earnings: $95,220+

Like the financial adviser, realtors are sales agents with a better reputation than the typical sales rep. They get paid a commission from the houses they sell , so it’s in their best interest to generate a fast turnaround for the highest dollar. The job offers plenty of flexibility, especially if you start your own agency. The hard part is being good enough – you have to be a great communicator with plenty of sales ability. More from bls.gov.

-Josh

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  1. I had never heard of Carnegie and Rockefeller working less than 25 hours a week…that’s fascinating.