Where's a good place to be self-employed?

Suppose I’m sick of working for the man and I want to be my own boss and keep the profit I generate. What cities or parts of the US, or other countries entirely are good for entrepreneurs? I don’t even know what criteria to look for. Thanks.

Speaking as someone who has occasionally been self-employed, somewhere with a low cost of living is particularly handy for the new-minted entrepreneur. Particularly when starting out the income tends to be a little unpredictable, so not having a high overhead helps a lot.

You want to go where you have a profitable target market. Then choose where you can make the most profit.

If you really would be willing to consider a different country Australia’s economy appears to be doing relatively well (though that would be a rather drastic move to make, assuming that you would be allowed to immigrate in the first place).

The best place to be self-employed is a country where you don’t have to work for someone else to get health insurance.

I think it depends on what it is that you do. Entrepreneur can be a pretty broad term.

I’m a self-employed artist/illustrator; when I lived in South Florida, in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area, I was doing pretty good, but here in North Florida/South Georgia I’m barely scrapin’ by.

So . . . the United States of America?

Move someplace where you can farm, hunt, and chop down trees (on your own land) to build your own house and you’ll be doing pretty good. Of course that relies on your having the skills and desire to work towards self- or near-self-sufficiency.

My grandparents did this for a few decades just to save up money and are now traveling around the world pretty non-stop.

I think the “right” answer to this is “where there is an umet need for your services.” Refining that a little more, where the unmet need for your services creates the greatest market. So ideally you would develop your business plan a little bit, then evaluate multiple locations.

Some other things to consider are access to venture capital and access to a cluster of other entrepreneurs to network with and learn from. Here, Northern California and Boston both have a lot to recommend them.

Access to affordable health insurance is also something to consider. For a single healthy person with no dependents, or a married person with reliable health insurance through a spouse’s employer (e.g., married to a teacher) it might not be an issue. It is very possible, though, for health insurance to make self-employment not a viable proposition for someone supporting a family, even if they earn an executive-level income, if someone in the family has a medical condition.

Massachusetts’ health reforms have greatly improved access, but do require even fairly small businesses to offer coverage to their own employees–a mixed bag for entrepreneurs. I believe New Jersey has also done some access-related reform (community rating). North Carolina and some other states have what are called high-risk pools, ensuring that people with a condition that makes them uninsurable or insurable only at prohibitive premiums can at least get some coverage. Premiums for NC’s high risk coverage are here: http://www.inclusivehealth.org/pages/16/rates/