Hey there, self-employed PhD


(Or click here to learn more via email.)

Benefits of Membership

Only US $19.99/month!

  • Connect with like-minded freelancers, consultants, and entrepreneurs
  • Active weekly discussion threads for accountability, promotion, feedback, and our asynchronous book club!
  • Get feedback and advice from other PhDs who get what it's all about
  • Learn about tools and strategies your peers actually use
  • Warm, welcoming international online community featuring real talk about self-employment
  • Access through your browser or via the mobile app — anytime!
  • Exclusive online video interviews with self-employed PhDs
  • Make new friends — members in the Bay Area, Ottawa, Raleigh-Durham, and Vancouver have met up in person!

(Or click here to learn more via email.)

What Our Members Say

Feedback from our members

"I feel at home in the SEPhD community. I get both practical information and support about running a business and dealing with the challenging emotions that go along with chasing contracts, dealing with complex relationships with clients, learning new things, building ideas that might not pan out, making sense of the PhD in the context of the new self-employed life, etc. It's really inspiring and informative to see all the interesting work that other PhDs are doing as their own/side businesses. It's exactly the kind of networking that works for me — genuine, relationship-based... a community."

Helen Kang, PhD 

Writer & Communications Consultant


"As a solopreneur, my work is largely solitary and it's easy to get caught in ruts in my thinking. Self-Employed PhD gives me a community of peers with whom I can discuss my business — both its technical and emotional aspects. It's so valuable to be among people who come from the same background as me as we are all pushing ourselves into new territory. The interviews and live coaching calls have been the best medium for exploring new ideas."

Emily Roberts, PhD

Personal Finance Consultant

GradStudentFinances.org and PFforPhDs.com

"For me, the live discussions, panels, webinars, and coaching sessions are especially necessary, probably because I am new to working on my own, and am not yet used to not being in an office and around people all of the time. I tend to need to bounce ideas off of others, and even though I am an introvert, I do get energized by doing so! Jen provides great structure and a space in which you feel taken care – necessary for doing the vulnerable work of initiating change and growth!"

Anna Marie Trester, PhD

Storyteller and Linguist


(Or click here to learn more via email.)

Exclusive Interviews

 Learn how they do it - insights from trenches!

Ada Barlatt, PhD

Consultant and Entrepreneur, OperationsAlly

Aaron Barth, PhD

President, Dialectic

Oliver Lee Bateman, PhD

Freelance Journalist

Joe Burdo, PhD

 Co-Founder and Lead Educator, NeuroTinker

Liz Covart, PhD

Independent Scholar and Host, Ben Franklin's World podcast

Daniel Fincke, PhD

Independent Philosophical Teacher and Counsellor

Heidi Scott Giusto, PhD

Consultant, Career Path Writing Solutions

Helen Kara, PhD

Researcher, Author, Teacher, We Research It Ltd

Lindy Ledohowski, PhD

Founder and CEO, EssayJack


Melanie Nelson, PhD

Independent Contractor, MRN Consulting 

Dawn Nickel, PhD

Business Owner, She Recovers

Daveena Tauber, PhD

Graduate Writing Consultant, ScholarStudio


L. Maren Wood, PhD

Career Coach and Researcher, Beyond the Professoriate


Jo VanEvery PhD

Academic Coach and Business Owner

... and more interviews to come!

Why a Community for Self-Employed PhDs?

Connect with others who really get your academic background

Doing a PhD can be an isolating experience. The same can be even more true of launching a career after it, whether or not you're going beyond the professoriate. And when it comes to working for yourself? Forget it! This is definitely the road less traveled. We do so much alone, often without meaningful support and assistance from others who really get it.

One of the reasons people work with me is to feel supported on their journeys. My clients know that I am there with them. We do much more together, but that aspect is a key one for many of my graduate student and PhD clients. 

Since 2013 I've connected and engaged with thousands of people via my blogs and social media accounts. My readers and followers often value knowing that they are part of a larger community — in spirit, that is. Blogging platforms, Twitter, and Facebook pages can only do so much to facilitate broader connection between followers. They aren't the best tools.

And so that's why I wanted to create a formal community where people can come together to share, learn, and grow — without needing me to retweet something! A place where we can be in the same virtual room together. 

That idea turned into Self-Employed PhD, which I launched with 20 beta members in November 2016. I opened up the community to wider membership in February 2017 and as I write this in early March we've got over 50 members . . . and counting! I hope you'll join us.

Jennifer Polk, PhD - Community Host

Academic, Career, and Life Coach for PhDs / Co-Director of Educational Programs

FromPhDtoLife.com and BeyondProf.com

Inside the Community

What you'll see when you join

Self-Employed PhD is a Mighty Network. Our community looks great and it's easy to navigate, plus it allows us to do all sorts of useful (and fun!) things.  

When you join, you'll create a quick profile, upload a picture, and tell us a bit about yourself. You can connect with other members and topics of interest by "following" them. Some of our members love the online community and actively engage in conversations; others prefer to lurk. It's all good. 

The online community is also where the recorded videos are housed, and you can watch them anytime on your computer or mobile device. Use the app to connect with us on the go!