May 29, 2024 - News

What Seattle's original remote workers earn

Line chart showing annual freelance earnings in the Seattle metro area by service offered from 2011 to 2023. Overall, freelancers in Seattle earned an estimated $44k in 2023, compared to $35k in 2011. Technical services earned $56k, professional services earned $45k, and creative services earned $27k in 2023.
Data: Census Bureau via Fiverr; Note: Analysis includes tax returns for non-employer entities with at least $1,000 in annual receipts; Chart: Axios Visuals

Before the pandemic, only about 6% of Americans worked from home, and many of them were freelancers.

The big picture: Freelancers account for 4.1% of the U.S. labor force, according to a new Fiverr report — and many seem to be finding success, with 43% reporting a revenue bump last year.

Zoom in: In Seattle, the number of freelancers increased 8% in 2023, while earnings varied widely depending on the kind of service offered.

  • For technical services — which include data processing, engineering and computers/IT — they earned $56,000 on average.
  • For professional services like legal, accounting and marketing, the average was $45,000.
  • For creative services — which range from art and writing to video production — the average was $27,000.

Yes, but: That's not a living wage in a city where people need to make $215,000 a year to afford a home.

What they found: Nationally, about 29% of freelancers also have a traditional job, though the share who solely freelance hit 71% in 2023, compared to 61% in 2021.

  • But a "striking" 75% of freelancers with a full-time gig say they're highly satisfied with their side hustle, per the report, compared to just 47% who feel the same way about their day jobs.

Reality check: While freelancing can have its benefits — like flexible schedules and locations — it can be tough to get started, to be treated well and paid promptly by clients and to get health care and other benefits.

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