The real estate website Neighborhoods.com ranked Spokane as the top city for freelancers.
Kelly Naumann, StartUp Spokane community manager, said rankings like this are great for the city.
“Obviously, it’s really beneficial for anything like that to come out about our city,” Naumann said. “It just spread the news that Spokane’s really high energy and caters to freelancers and afforable space, so it was really exciting. We benefit from it, obviously.”
The ranking was based on five metrics: median rent, average internet speed, coffee shops per capita, income taxes and ability to move about town.
Of around 40 StartUp Spokane members, Naumann said about 30% are freelancers. Members pay $100 a month to have 24-hour access to StartUp Spokane’s 2,500-square-foot space, which includes high-speed internet as well as coffee and tea. She said many members see that as a deal compared to the common alternative of going to a coffee shop every day.
“It is very energetic, very collaborative,” Naumann said. “We’ll have people that are remote workers for a large organization that maybe have nothing to do with a digital design company, but they will connect and network and feed off of each other. It’s just a really collaborative space.”
Mark White, who has freelanced for three and a half years, recently joined StartUp. White, whose clients include Silverwood, Avista, Washington Trust Bank and Triple Play, said he made the move because it was difficult to work in his home every day, and he needed to work around people more. He decided on StartUp because he liked the vibe of the space and the location.
“The location is just incredible right down there on 2nd,” White said. “Some of my clients are just two blocks away, and it just feels great being in the downtown core. For 100 bucks a month, it just seems like a really kind of a cool option for peeps like me.”
Lisa McCathren, who has freelanced in graphic design and branding since 1994, mostly works from home, though she occasionally takes clients out for coffee or lunch. McCathern hasn’t given much thought to whether Spokane is particularly good for freelancers or not. She’s lived here since elementary school, and she’s never done her work anywhere else.
White made the switch to freelancing because he realized he was at the point where he could stay on schedule without needing a manager and he wanted to be able to steer his own ship. He was surprised to hear about the ranking, but when he looked into their methodology, it made sense to him.
“It made me feel like, shoot, I’m probably in a pretty good position,” White said. “And I felt that way anyway, it feels like things are going to more of this freelance, gig economy kind of stuff.”
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