Co-working at Downtown Works
Self-employed professionals at Downtown Works in San Diego. Courtesy of Downtown Works

The San Diego metropolitan area is a mecca for self-employment, ranking third nationally after Miami and Los Angeles, according to a new report.

The study by Los Angeles-based startup Cloud Kitchens found that over 206,000 San Diegans — 12.2% of the county workforce — are self-employed. They earn a median of $52,000 — $2,000 more than the median for full-time employees.

Miami ranked first nationally with 15.6% self-employed, and Los Angeles second with 13.75%. California ranked high overall, with San Francisco sixth and Sacramento 13th. By contrast, states in the Midwest had the lowest percentage of self-employed workers.

“Self-employed individuals enjoy the benefits of being their own boss but must also manage the stress of long hours, payday uncertainty, and an unclear path to success,” Cloud Kitchens said. “However, technological advancements in recent decades have lowered the barrier to entry, and becoming an entrepreneur is easier than ever before.”

Cloud Kitchens, which serves the food delivery market with shared kitchens, is an example of a entrepreneurial company benefiting from new technology.

“Technology platforms like Uber Eats and Grubhub have not only expanded delivery options to a broader range of existing restaurants, but also encouraged entirely new ‘virtual restaurants’ to open in shared kitchen spaces,” Cloud Kitchens said.

Nationwide, there are close to 16 million self-employed individuals, representing around 10 percent of all workers.

While California ranks high in self-employment, this could change in the future because of Assembly Bill 5, which makes it harder to be a self-employed independent contractor.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.