Why I Don’t Introduce Myself as a Freelancer

When an electrician arrives at your house to install new wiring, does he introduce himself as a “freelance electrician”? When you visit the neighborhood’s new coffee shop, does the owner say she’s a “freelance coffee roaster”?

When I introduce myself, I tell people I own my own business and that I offer writing, editing and social media. I rarely introduce myself as a “freelance writer and editor.” I’m not ashamed of the word, but people have preconceived notions about freelance writers — that we don’t run a business, we just “write” or that we’re struggling artists or we spend all day working on a novel that will never get published. “Success” and “business woman” aren’t the first words that pop into their heads.

In addition, “freelance writer” doesn’t encompass all that I do. Instead, I’ve embraced the word “solopreneur” and explain the different services I offer and which areas I’d like to expand in the future.

I’ve also discovered that people tend to think freelancing is temporary, that we’re only doing it between gigs or because we were laid off or are stay-at-home moms. While those reasons may be true for some and are valid, freelancers should still present themselves as professional business owners. If you work under your name and don’t feel that you own a “business,” an alternative is to say that you’re “independent.” And who doesn’t want to be independent in life, really?

I also believe that saying “business owner” gives beginning freelancers a boost of confidence. I’ve spoken with newbie freelancers who don’t seem able to say “freelancer” authoritatively and with pride, as if they already know what negative impressions people have.

What job title do you give yourself?



Comments 3

  1. Pingback: Think Like a Business: My Tips from My Very-First Podcast - Mel Edits

  2. First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like
    to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your
    head prior to writing. I have had difficulty clearing my mind
    in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thanks!

    1. Post

      I’m glad you like the blog! I’ve been doing this 20+ years, and it’s still a challenge at times to make myself start writing. Some people say they can’t write until they know the lede, but I think that just stalls things. If you have a lede in mind, write it down, no matter how much you may not like it. Just start. If that doesn’t work, I type up my notes from the handwritten notes I take. If you type your notes from interviews, print them out and read through them slowly—don’t skim—and start highlighting and starring things you want to use. From that, start to make an outline—just an easy outline, maybe 1-5 of what themes you want to include and in what order. Basically, do anything to just start writing. To clear my head, I sit in a quiet room and/or with headphones on with classical music or lyric-free movie soundtracks. Sometimes meditating for 10 minutes beforehand helps. Good luck!

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