The State Of Independence
Contra Presents

The State of Independence 2021

Welcome to the first annual State of Independence report, where we gather insights on how independents are redefining the future of work.

10,000+ Independents Were Surveyed

Every independent surveyed earns at least $70k+ annually, and works worldwide in design, engineering, product, writing, content marketing, or social media.

Chapter 01

It's a Lifestyle

it's a lifestyle

Independents don’t freelance for the money; they’re doing it for autonomy and freedom

Work / Life Balance

How many hours a week do you work?

0% > 10
0% 10 - 20
0% 20 - 30
0% 30 - 40
0% 40+

From The Experts

What I am primarily looking for with new projects is a fit on both a visual and aesthetic level as well as on a personal level with the client.

Zhenya Rynzhuk
Zhenya Rynzhuk

Art Director & Visual Designer, Awwwards Independent of the Year 2020

Projects by the Numbers

On average, how many projects do you have going simultaneously?

Design 03
Engineering 02
Product 03
Writing 03
Marketing 04
Social 04
Number of projects

it's a lifestyle

Independents are increasingly beginning to focus their energy on projects that they personally stand by

Chapter 02

Getting Hired

Getting Hired

Independents are taking charge of their own education, and are constantly learning new skills in order to advance their careers

Top Skills

From The Experts

Being independent has given me the freedom to schedule time for passion projects and broadening my skill set — something I would have never been able to, or have had the energy to do at a full time job.

Willie Russell
Willie Russell

Senior Animator & Director

Getting Paid

The trend is shifting from having a full time job to creating a fluid portfolio of revenue streams

Paid Your Way

Do you primarily charge hourly or per project?

Hourly Fee
Project Fee
0%
0%
Marketing
0%
0%
Social
0%
0%
Design
0%
0%
Engineering
0%
0%
Product
0%
0%
Writing

From The Experts

While initial client leads are the hardest to get, all my subsequent leads came from existing client referrals. Do good work and build relationships.

Moe Amaya
Moe Amaya

Designer, developer & entrepreneur, Co-founder of Monograph

Chapter 04

Looking To The Future

Looking to the future

Finding communities of other independents is becoming a replacement for the singular company, office or team

From The Experts

It’s our responsibility as freelancers to support the people in our network by sharing rates, contract tips, leads, etc. A collaborative ecosystem is what keep companies from being able to take advantage of creatives.

ELIZABETH GOODSPEED
ELIZABETH GOODSPEED

Designer & Art Director

The State Of Independence 2021

Download the full in-depth report for even
more insights into the future of work.