New research by SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk reveals the best cities to become a freelancer in a comparison of cost of living, needs and job availability.
The research also offers insight into whether freelancers would like to continue on their own or return to traditional 9-5 jobs. To take a look at the research, click here.
- Paris is the best city for prospective freelancers, with the French capital topping the list after being measured across the different metrics.
- New York City took second place, whilst the UK’s capital, London, came third.
- Five of the cities in the top ten are located in Asia, while three of them are in the United States.
The Top Ten Cities
Looking for a new start? Ready to up and leave? We discover the best cities to become a freelancer. Comparing metrics such as average rent costs, the number of freelancing jobs available, coworking spaces and average temperature – we’ve ranked the best cities to find a new opportunity:
- Paris, France – One of the fashion capitals of the world, Paris also has an emerging creative scene, meaning the demand for freelancers has increased over the last few years. Whilst the average rent for a one bed apartment in the city centre could set you back £1,079 ($1,380), the city has the lowest average amount of working hours per week at 35. It also has the highest amount of freelance jobs available.
- New York, USA – This was once the city of dreams, knocked off its top spot by Paris – New York City is still one of the best destinations to launch your remote worker career. It’s the most expensive city to live in, with a one-bed apartment setting you back nearly £2,541 ($3,276)! But the average salary in this city is around £3,954 ($5,100) – meaning there’s lots of money to be made.
- London, UK – Whilst considered a financial hub, London’s isn’t just limited to finance – it’s the home of thousands of startups and creative projects. Similar to Paris and New York, London’s average rent for a one-bed apartment is around £1,701 ($2,193). It has the second highest amount of freelance jobs available, and over 240 coworking spaces for you to use.
- Singapore – One of the financial and technological centres of the world, Singapore is unlike any other city in Southeast Asia. Whilst the number of freelance jobs available are just below 2,000, the average salary in the city is around £2,483 ($3,202). If you’re a freelancer, you can pick your own working hours, but the average number of working hours per week is around 44 here, so work culture is something to consider.
- Hong Kong – Also recognised as a financial centre, Hong Kong may be a popular destination for freelancers in accounting or finance. The average salary in the country is around £1,830 ($2,360), but the cost of living is extremely expensive with monthly rent averaging around £2,014 ($2,597) per month.
- Los Angeles, USA – A popular destination for those interested in film and television, Los Angeles is famed for its entertainment industry. With the average temperature reaching around 17°C, it’s the perfect place to work along the beachfront or one of its 130 coworking spaces.
- Bangkok, Thailand – This may be a surprise destination on the list, but Thailand’s capital city’s freelance economy is growing. Boasting the highest temperatures on the list at 28°C, Bangkok also boasts some of the cheapest rent at £564 ($727) per month, but this is relative to their average salary which is also one of the lowest in the top ten at £600 ($744) per month.
- Tokyo, Japan – Where technology meets traditional, Tokyo is both exciting and a great place to establish a freelance business. Whether you focus on tech related skills such as web design or programming, there are also a number of opportunities that span across writing and photography. The average salary in the city is around £2,546 ($3,284) per month, which means your hourly rate could be a lot more in Tokyo compared to other cities.
- Delhi, India – Becoming an internationally recognised city for its technological and business developments, Delhi is a great prospect for those looking to start a freelance career abroad. With warm weather and 245 coworking spaces, Delhi also boasts the cheapest rent per month at just £187 ($241) per month, but this is also the same for their average salary at just £424 ($547) a month – meaning your hourly rate may be a lot lower compared to other cities.
- San Francisco, USA – The west coast wins again, with the final spot going to San Francisco. Home to Silicon Valley, skills in tech and business are in high demand here. With an impressive number of 1,366 freelance jobs available, the city also has the highest average monthly salary at £5,576 ($7,194)!
Why is the freelancing economy growing?
Dubbed the ‘global generation’ over half of all millennials would consider moving abroad for work opportunities, and an increasing amount are starting their own business ventures. With possibilities of owning a home becoming increasingly difficult in the world’s cities, rent prices soaring and the political climate changing, research shows that millennials are less financially stable compared to previous generations.
But this isn’t just an age related factor – since the economic crisis in 2008, the freelance economy has seen a surge as workers were forced to think about different ways to finance their lives. A shift in norms has also inspired a generation to opt to work independently, with more people thinking about how to avoid long working hours, building other’s dreams and creating their own streams of income.
Is it worth the risk?
Despite Paris being the number one destination for working as a freelancer or working remotely, currently 41% of French freelancers would prefer to continue working independently and find more clients, whilst 32% would prefer to return to a full-time salaried position.
This was similar to the UK’s response, with 30% of freelancers wanting to continue, whilst 21% saying they would like to find a full-time role. Brazil, India, Indonesia and Sweden had more than 50% of freelancers say they wanted to continue freelance work, with Spain, Japan and the United States following closely behind.
Populations with growing freelancer economies
- United States
- United Arab Emirates
The most popular freelance sectors
- Computers and IT
- Accounting and Finance
- HR and Recruiting
- Editing, Proofing and Writing
Tips on becoming a freelancer
We’ve put together a list of simple tips to ensure you can make the most out of becoming a freelancer, and the best ways to make sure you don’t burn yourself out.
- Get organized – Managing your own time can be difficult, and when you’re working alone it can be even harder. Use a diary to manage your projects, and create a small office space you’d like to work in.
- Keep your profile updated – If you want to bring in new business, ensuring your LinkedIn or job profiles are up to date are key. If you have a portfolio, update it with your latest work and try to record some client recommendations, as these can go a long way.
- Don’t forget to network – You might enjoy being alone, but don’t forget to attend industry events to meet other remote workers or potential clients! It’s also a great way to get away from working indoors and looking at a screen everyday.
- Be prepared for the long game – Sometimes being a freelancer can be difficult, especially when you’re relying on invoices being paid on time, hoping for a constant flow of work and trying to avoid a barrage of emails! Remember it’s a big commitment, and can take years to establish a long-standing career.
- Make time for yourself – Becoming a freelancer is exciting, but don’t forget to unwind and remember your home is still a home, not just your office space.
Ian Wright of SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk stated:
“In a new digital age, working from home or being a freelancer has become much easier over the last five to ten years. The use of social media to build networks, apps, and websites such as Fiverr or PeoplePerHour to find jobs, mean that people can find their dream job in a matter of a few clicks. The research produced is to highlight those cities where opportunities to become a freelancer are widely available along with consideration of living costs and general day-to-day needs.”