Have you ever stopped to think of the term “Freelancer” and what it means to you, your friends, family… your potential clients? More importantly, how it makes you feel about what you do and the value you deliver? Does it accurately describe the way you see your business, the true value of your expertise and your full potential as a business owner?
Is it just me?
About four years after starting my freelance illustration career in 1983, I grew my business into a successful full-service art studio working with major advertising agencies in the South Florida area.
Reflecting back, I never felt the term “freelancer” fully described how I saw what I wanted to build. I always thought of myself as running a business. More accurately, I was a business man. An entrepreneur. Now I’m not suggesting that being a “freelancer” isn’t a real business, it most certainly CAN be. And that is precisely my point. It’s just that to ME, the term “freelancer” never fully expressed the bigger vision I had for my business, nor the value, commitment and experience I was prepared to deliver to my clients.
To be honest, back in the day, I don’t think I would have been able to start on the path of growing my own full service art studio had I thought of myself simply as a freelancer.
Also, the term “freelancer” doesn’t always conjure up the most flattering images to some folks, especially some potential clients. Especially in today’s economic environment where far more people are moonlighting as freelancers and many displaced workers have turned to freelancing, not by choice, but by necessity.
You may or may not share my opinion, however, I think it’s well worth giving it some thought. Does the term “freelancer” truly reflect all that you are, all that you aspire to be in your business? Does it empower you? Or is it holding you back from being more.
Case in point
I recently saw this video someone shared with me, The Life of a Freelancer, part of a series from Adobe:
Now, I think this video is pretty damn funny and very accurate on many levels, it also speaks to the point I just made above. Is this the perception most clients hold of a typical freelancer? If so, what kind of bargaining position could you possibly have if clients share just a fraction of what’s depicted here?
So here’s the question: If you believe most potential clients hold just a fraction of these preconceptions, how does your subconscious perceptions directly affect your confidence when approaching new projects? Does it affect your ability to market and position your services, your ability to see and take advantage of new opportunities, your confidence in setting prices and fear of pricing what your worth?
Is that perception holding you back from achieving more, charging more, being more? How are you combating, or playing into these perceptions in your marketing materials, phone and email conversations, work habits?
If you’re comfortable with the label that’s fine because ultimately, how YOU feel about it is all that really matters. As long as it doesn’t get in your way of achieving what you want out of your career, all is cool.
Agree, disagree? Let me know. This is all about you and I’d really like to hear what you think.