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."