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Self-Employed Creatives: Thriving or Surviving? [Infographic]

Posted on 2.13.2017

Once just victims of circumstance (like the "Great Recession"), freelance creative professionals are now out-earning their full-time counterparts according to a new study from FreshBooks

The analysis spotlights the median hourly rates for creative self-employed professionals in six major markets (Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and Austin, Texas) and found that   compared to their salaried peers, self-employed creatives bring in more money annually across fields. Freelance marketers and interior designers bring in the most per hour—at a median rate of $75/hr—and writers bring in the least, at a median rate of $48/hr. Self-employed creative professionals across fields charge a median rate of $60/hr. 

“We hear from freelancers all the time who don’t have access to real market data to help them determine what they should be charging, and as a result, end up underpaid for their expertise,” said Mike McDerment, the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks. “When we took a closer look at the data what we found surprised us: self-employed creative professionals are not only earning more than their salaried peers—they’re thriving in some of the most expensive cities in the United States.”

What's more, despite the high cost of living, high concentrations of self-employed creatives choose to live in major U.S. hubs. The amount of money they make per year varies widely, from $37,200 a year in Chicago to $75,600 a year in New York. 

"My income went up when I became self-employed, and I credit that fact with my value going up, as well. As a freelancer, I can focus on my clients’ needs, provide a fresh perspective, and speak creative truth to strategic power,” said Lisa Kaneff, a self-employed marketer and FreshBooks customer from Washington. “Asking for a competitive rate is something I see creatives struggling with. Here's my mantra: know your worth and you'll get paid what you're worth. I mean, look at these numbers! Other creatives are out there crushing it."

Self-Employed Creatives Stats
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