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Working Alone: 22 Independent Ways to Make Money as an Introvert
I love people, appreciate the uniqueness of individuals and enjoy a good conversation or party. In some ways, I'm a very social person.
But I confess: I really don't like “networking,” being part of a “team,” or any other situations where I have to sell myself or share responsibility with others. At heart, I'm a loner and nonconformist.
Some of you can relate to this. You feel uncomfortable with books on how to market yourself. You don't want to spend your time trying to win friends or influence people. And so you may have wondered: How can you make money working alone?
Fortunately, you don't have to spend your workday interacting with other people or sharing decision-making responsibility. Here are some of the best businesses, investments and jobs for introverts.
Best Jobs for Introverts
Most jobs involve working with others, and all jobs require some degree of interaction with your employer or supervisor, if not other employees or clients. But clearly some positions involve less teamwork than others.
Here are some of the best options for introverts:
The median annual wage of an archivist is $50,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You'll spend your day organizing and maintaining historical documents in quiet rooms with few interruptions. What's not to like?
2. Court Reporter
A courtroom is full of people, but as a court reporter, you rarely interact with others. And you do, it’s only to read back a few lines of testimony. The median annual wage of $51,320 isn't bad either.
CBS’s Sunday Morning recently profiled Steve Fuller, the winter caretaker of Yellowstone National Park. Fuller enjoys being alone for months and hours away from the nearest store (by snowmobile), but he says when he explains his job, “I usually start off with caretaker, and their immediate response is, ‘Have you seen ‘The Shining'?”
You can find all kinds of caretaking positions. Some are just house-sitting jobs and others involve working with the public. But some positions let you live alone and quietly care for a lodge or other facility in the off-season.
How would you like to work by yourself much of the time, observing the skies or interpreting data? You'll be well-paid for your loneliness, as the median annual wage of astronomers is $104,740.
Here are some other jobs where you'll have minimal interaction with others:
- Medical Records Technician
- Industrial Machine Repairer
- Night Security Guard
- Night Shelf Stocker
- Forest Fire Lookout
Businesses for Introverts
Jobs aren't the only option for introverts and nonconformists. Some businesses also give you the freedom to do things your own way and without too much interaction with others.
For example, my wife and I have spent the last 11 years creating websites about anything that interests us (backpacking, metaphors, poetry, money, etc.) and put Google AdSense on the pages. People find our sites, read the articles and essays, and click on ads, then Google automatically deposits our share of the per-click advertising revenue in our bank account every month.
At one point, we were making over $10,000 per month from Google. Our AdSense income has now dropped to less than $1,000 monthly, so I can no longer say it's an easy way to make money. But if you can figure out a way to get enough visitors to your blogs or websites, all you need to do is sign up and put the code on your pages.
Here’s the part introverts might like: In all these years, we’ve never talked to any of the advertisers or anyone at Google, and answering emails from visitors to our sites is optional.
Here are a few of the many ways you can be self-employed and conduct your business mostly by yourself.
11. Write Books
When I was contracted to write 101 Weird Ways to Make Money, I hated the tedious negotiations and editing discussions that went into getting the contract and writing the book. To avoid much of this hassle, write the book first and then submit it to publishers. (However, going the traditional publishing route isn’t easy — but that’s a story for another post.)
12. Self-Publish Ebooks
It costs nothing but your time to write and publish a book on Kindle, Amazon's ebook platform. I made $2,000 with a book on ultralight backpacking I wrote in less than a week. I even made a few bucks with my nonconformist, opinionated essay-books. I've never had to talk to anyone to sell these books.
13. Start a Vending Machine Route
Fill the machines with whatever you sell and take the money to the bank. It's a routine you can do alone, and if you want to avoid the “sales” part of placing the machines, you can hire a company that finds vending machine locations to do it for you.
Here are a few more businesses you can operate on your own and without much customer interaction:
Investments to Manage On Your Own
You’ll have to negotiate for some investments, but at least you can make your decisions on your own.Here are some of the best investments that let you work alone.
You can open an account and trade stocks online from the comfort and anonymity of your home, without ever talking to another person.
18. Income Real Estate
When you are the homeowner, all the crucial decisions are yours alone. And if you're an introvert to the point you don't even want to deal with tenants, hire management. My wife and I have rented out a condo, and we've never seen or talked to our tenant.
19. Resale Real Estate
Flipping houses — buying homes to fix them up and resell them — can be very lucrative. If you're handy with a hammer and paintbrush, you can even do most of the work yourself.
Let a real estate agent do the selling and handle everything by email. My wife and I have bought and sold several properties without ever meeting the buyers or sellers.
Here are a few more investments that don't require much, if any, direct interactions with others:
Should You Go it Alone?
Naturally, collaboration with others can lead to better ideas and bigger profits in business and investments. And even a lonely archivist or author could probably negotiate a better wage or sell more books if they learned how to market themself.
But money isn't always the most important consideration. If you like independence and time alone, it's good to know you can have those and still earn enough income to pay the bills.
Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).