What inspired you to become a freelancer?
Was it the idea of being your own boss and determining your own working hours? Was it the freedom of not having to work at an office? Or maybe you lost your job and had to make ends meet? Whatever the reason might be, congratulations – you are now your own boss!
Entering the realm of freelancing is a logical approach. It lets companies know that you are available for work and might be open to a permanent position. It also brands you as an expert in your field with the maturity to manage your own time and clients.
Now stop and think for a second about what how your interpretation of freelancers might differ from the market’s interpretation of freelancers.
In our article “6 Reasons Companies Hate Working with Freelancers”, we discuss more of the negative sentiments towards freelancers and why some companies specifically avoid working with them. These misconceptions may be blocking you from a large market because of the way that you are branding yourself.
Freelancers aren’t serious about their work.
A common misconception about freelancers is that they are simply unemployable and have no choice but to work independently of the job market.
By introducing yourself as a freelancer, your credibility is instantly questioned and you immediately create a platform for clients to undermine your professionalism. Compare that to introducing yourself as a business owner. Immediately, your credibility spikes and it sounds like you know what you are talking about and are committed to your work. After all, you are building something bigger, there are structures in place, you have a wealth of experience and have targets and deadlines to meet. No, you don’t have to have all of this in place, but this is the perception that you are creating. There are many more positive and long-term factors associated with the word ‘business’ than with ‘freelancer’.
Freelancers are simply temporary until they find something better
Because of this narrative, we notice that both companies and freelancers seem afraid to make a long-term commitment to each other. The word “Freelancer” somehow feels temporary.
You don’t have to pretend to have a big corporate company or a full team. It comes down to the way you promote and brand yourself. Words influence others’ perception of you whether you want to admit it or not. Upon your first interaction with people, you are already being placed in a box by answering the question: “So what do you do?” Referring to yourself as a business owner takes “temporary” away and replaces it with “commitment” and “success.”
Freelancers are a short-term, low-cost resource
The same way that others are influenced by the way that you promote yourself, so you too are influenced by it. Your words affect the way you see yourself and your attitude towards your work. Calling yourself a freelancer can create an ‘imposter syndrome’ making you feel that you are inadequate to do the work and shouldn’t actually be your own boss.
It might not be your goal to build a big business, but speaking about yourself as being a consultant or running your own business immediately gives you a sense of purpose.
The word “freelancer” just describes the way that you file your tax. The day you decide to become a freelancer is the day that you become your own boss and start your own business. Your business name might not be trade marketed, but it is still a business. It is something that you have committed to and want to make a success of, so why not start speaking of and promoting it that way? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!