While freelancers can be found anywhere, large cities are still the best source of specialized freelancers in creative, technical and other professional fields.
This is the main takeaway from a study commissioned by Fiverr, which provides a platform for freelancers and the gig economy.
Fiverr’s Freelance Economy Impact Report: Growth in America’s Largest Independent Cities has some insightful data for small businesses who employ specialized freelancers and for specialized freelancers who operate as small businesses themselves.
Some of the Data Points From the Report
Here are some important points the report makes about specialized freelancers. In New York City alone, there are more than half a million such workers.
When it comes to the type of work they perform, close to half provide professional services, while technical service providers made up a little more than one-third. The rest of the providers were in the creative arts and performance field.
For these different groups of workers, some cities are better than others. The creative arts and performance professionals outnumber technical service providers in Los Angeles. And if you are in the technical field, San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego have the largest share with 35 percent.
As far as development in this segment, Miami experienced revenue growth of 32 percent from 2011 to 2015.
The Importance of Specialized Freelancers to Small Businesses
According to Fiverr, the purpose of the report is to understand, “The economic footprint and impact of specialized workers.”
What the company found was how specialized freelancers are markedly different from most others in the freelance field. These are freelancers with special skills, either in technology, the creative or performing arts or in some other profession.
Specialized freelancers are unlikely to be automated out of existence, serve as major talent drivers for both small and large businesses, and are able to earn a living regardless of geographical location.
The second point is most important for small businesses because there is a skills gap which is out of the financial reach of small companies. A specialized independent worker can be hired for individual tasks or projects, which is much more affordable than a full-time hire.
Resources for Improving the Lot of Freelancers
There is a wide range of skilled professionals who are now opting to work independently part or full time. Fiverr says the growing importance of the freelancer segment means the need for greater legal protection, faster and more reliable internet access and more worker education for freelance workers.
To this end, Fiverr has created Elevate to give freelancers a resource with free video lessons on retirement, taxes, health insurance, company creation and more. Whether you freelance part-time to supplement your income, or you are a full-time service provider, the more you know about how the industry works, the further you will go.
More About the Study
The study focused on 15 of the largest metropolitan areas in the US. In partnership with Rockbridge Research, 20 million tax returns across these cities were analyzed. A projected $110 billion in revenue from these specialized freelancers made up 1 to 2 percent of the GDP in the cities studied.