One of the best parts of freelancing is having the freedom to work when you want and, maybe more importantly, where you want. And we’re not just talking about coffee shop versus living room. You have the freedom to work anywhere in the world. So how do you choose? While the Internet has no doubt made the world smaller than ever before, there are still some distinct advantages to freelancing in certain cities.
If you are thinking about relocating, here are several factors to consider. And then check out the infographic below for some cool charts and graphs.
Number of Other Freelancers
Find out how many people in your prospective city are currently making a living as freelancers. Don’t think of them as your competition. Think of them as your pilot balloons. If a high number of freelancers are making it in a city, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make it work too. Additionally, a thriving freelance population offers some huge benefits once you’ve relocated: a community, group health plans, coworking spaces and — very important — networking. A community of fellow freelancers might just become your biggest source of referrals.
Affordability of Housing
Finding an affordable city can be just as important as finding a thriving one. After all, it’s no use moving to a “better city” if you end up pouring most of your income into your living expenses. A low cost of living could offer you the freedom you’re looking for so you don’t end up working seven days a week just to make rent.
A city’s unemployment rate will give you a good indication of its overall financial health. Look for low unemployment rates (8 percent or lower). A city full of thriving businesses means there will be plenty of need for freelancers. Plenty of work for you.
For freelancers, healthcare is often a big complication and an even bigger expense. But what some freelancers don’t realize is that healthcare premiums can vary wildly from state to state. A $300/month plan on one side of the country could be a $150/month plan on the other. Check out this interactive map to see how healthcare premiums differ around the country.
Don’t forget about income tax — especially if you’re currently living in a state without it (Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming). Move to a city like Los Angeles and you could be looking at an income tax rate as high as 13.3 percent. While it might not be a game changer, income tax should definitely be a consideration when deciding where to set up your home base.
Keep these factors in mind as you consider relocating, and you might just find yourself in a city you can thrive in — a city that offers all the freedom and excitement that drew you to freelancing in the first place. To see which cities rank high in all of these attributes, see the infographic below: