New York's freelance workforce is growing

There was a time when working for just one company your entire life was the goal. Not so much anymore. A massive number of Americans are leaving traditional jobs to go out on their own. And New York is leading this pack nationally.

Artisan, a staffing agency in Flatiron, has watched its freelance division skyrocket. Haris Silic said the business went from 70 percent freelance placement to about 95 percent in just a few years.

Artisan specializes in placing creative digital tech talent. Silic says employees are driving the change, wanting to work on high-level projects. But he also says companies don't want to be responsible for employment and want to outsource the burden of benefits like health insurance to agencies like Artisan.

Creative art director Stephen Clarke has worked as the creative mind and art director for the likes of Verizon, Nike, Honda, and Adidas. He could easily be staff somewhere but prefers not to be.

The statistics are profound. More than half a million people in the New York area now categorized as specialized professional freelancers, according to a study by the freelance platform Fiverr, which found the income earned for that group last year was nearly $25 trillion.

Experts said the key for a successful freelance career is to specialize and be strong in technical, creative, or administrative fields.

Silic predicted that the thriving freelance market will continue to grow, encouraging those who are staff to give it some thought.