Freelancing is gaining popularity by the day as professionals flock to the career and financial freedom it offers. In fact, there are currently more than 55 million freelancers in the U.S.

One of the benefits of freelancing is that it provides geographic flexibility. Factors that will help determine where you should be based include the amount of on-site client work you’ll have, how much networking you can do virtually vs. in-person and the geographies that help freelancers stretch their dollars and still grow their freelance opportunities.

Certain states have seen bigger jumps than others in terms of attracting freelance talent. North Dakota has seen the largest growth in freelance talent over the past five years, according to data from LinkedIn ProFinder, with Louisiana and Mississippi a close second and third. Those three states all rank in the top half of states for lowest health insurance costs, according to GOBankingRates, and that is an important consideration since the majority of freelancers aren’t provided with health benefits. Vermont, on the other hand, has exhibited slow freelancer growth during the past five years and ranked among the most taxed states with an income tax of 8.95 percent and a 6 percent sales tax, according to Intuit.

Freelancing provides the opportunity to work with multiple companies, often in different industries, so it pays to know which industries are adding freelancers more aggressively than others. For example, the number of freelance employees in retail is up 42 percent from five years ago, while the on-staff retail workforce has grown by only 5 percent, according to data from LinkedIn ProFinder. Freelance hiring is also up sharply in healthcare and software.

Freelancing can also be highly lucrative — more than 20 percent of freelancers expect to make more than $100,000 from their work this year — but foregoing the stability of a regular paycheck can feel a bit intimidating at first. Building a diverse portfolio of clients is a smart approach to ensure a steady, stable income stream. Finding the right number of clients at any one time is individual- and industry-specific, but most freelancers report having between six and 10 clients, according to marketing site State of Digital. To build this portfolio, you’ll likely tap into your existing network when starting out, but continuously reinvigorating and expanding that network is essential to make a successful transition to freelancing.

The freelance sector continues to surge with no signs of slowing anytime soon. Taking into consideration a few key factors — such as business location and industry as well as diversifying your client portfolio — can give you a competitive edge as you set out on your independent career path.

Yu Liu is the Product Manager of LinkedIn ProFinder.