“Are you a freelancer?”
When someone asks that, I nod yes-ish and answer, “I have a copywriting business.”
I’ll call myself a consultant, a professional copywriter, an independent contractor.
I’ll say I’m for hire.
A free agent.
Available for projects. A business owner.
But I don’t say “freelancer.”
Because it sounds poor. Poor, and desperate.
It might be a good word for SEO. But in my experience, the second you say you’re a freelancer, people think you’ll take any scraps, for any pay.
They think you must need help, and push to connect with people they think are “in your field.” (“My cousin’s husband sells subscriptions for their local newspaper. I’m sure he’d be happy to meet with you and talk about the business.”)
Most of all, they think offering you work is throwing you a bone.
No thanks. I want the whole steak. (Not that I mind it served “bone-in.”)
As for the word “copywriting,” that’s a whole other thing. Sometimes it requires explaining, or people say, “Oh, you’re a lawyer? I need you, I have a book title I want to copyright.” You can’t copyright a book title, but that’s a whole other thing within that other thing.
I’m happy to explain what copywriting is, as long as I don’t have to explain that I’m doing just fine, which I will if I say “freelancer.”
So that’s the F word I don’t use.
The other one? F yeah.
Freelancer is definitely old school! I prefer Interpreneur or digital consultant:)
I just felt Icky about the term freelancer. Wondered on and off if I should even say that. Felt “icky” as in ARF! Throw Doggy A Bone-ARFF!
Cierra Mercier says
I JUST got a lesson in a free course that brought this up! It made a lot of sense; I’ve never thought of it this way before!
I’m going to go about business differently to make sure I optimize on my worth. Words really do matter!
I’ve never really thought about the word ‘freelancer’ from this perspective. I have my own business and still consider myself to be a novice entrepreneur, but I’ve never used the work freelancer. Freelancer makes me think of a person who most likely has a 9-5 job, but takes side-gigs in whatever their line of work is. Like a graphic designer who works for a company full-time during the day but designs personal or small business websites at night or in their free time.
Kellie Sue says
Word. True AF.
Lawrence Fox says
Agreed. “Freelance” sounds so “cool” (look up the origin btw), but it’s become to mean “cheap, disposable, 2-bit source of labour/knowledge”.
Sherlock Holmes did not call himself a “freelance investigator”. He was a “consulting detective”.
Sonja Petrik says
F yeah! hahaha…agreed- freelancer just sounds FREE. I never use that term to describe what I do either.
About people thinking they’re throwing you a bone- yep, can totally relate.
A friend sent me a referral because he was too busy to handle the project. When I asked about pricing, he told me what they normally charge that client and that I should “come in well below that”.
Um…..NO. I don’t think so.
I charged according to the value I provide- they were glad to pay.
It’s all about that positioning and problem solving.
Indie is hip! I get hacked off by the term “coach” I mean WTF when did consultant or advisor become freakin taboo? I know consultant carries a hack it up view point but geeze we are all not like that! Most of my coaches growing up were wannabe drill instructors harping on fundamentals. I need this like a hole in the head. Am thinking “Indie Biz Nanny” or “Indie Biz Babysitter” then I have to register on Angies list or some other type of referral site just so I can validate my existence. I think maybe “Anti Corporate, Unusual, Introverted revenue generator” may be an option but I am screwed with domain and SEO is completely flushed! I am an independent business owner who happens to prefer to work on my schedule and not become a 9-5 sheep and oh yeah by the way I can make you a freakin boatload of cash!