Most self-employed people I’ve met hate the word ‘freelance’.
It’s misunderstood. All too often it’s lumped in with words like fleeting, floundering, failure and famine. After all, if you’re freelancing, you must be struggling to make ends meet or be between jobs, right?
When you’re just starting to build your business, there are waves of success and mistakes. That’s called growth. But, for many freelancers, a business-of-one is their end goal.
I am not a fan of the ‘F’ word simply because of its widespread stigma.
If you ask me to define it, freelance stands for freedom. There are no caps on my pay level, I can explore any revenue streams I desire and I never have to punch a time clock. I can provide a service that I enjoy around a schedule that works for my personal situation.
Freelancing has allowed me to earn more per year than any of my past employer-paid salaries, implement daily self-care to manage my chronic health conditions and spend more time with my loved ones.
So, what’s the catch?
To make it as a freelancer you have to be 100 percent devoted to building your business every minute of every day, 365 days a year. You are dependent on yourself. You are on 24/7, whether it’s thinking about growing your business or doing the service you provide. There are no 40-hour work weeks or overtime pay.
For many budding entrepreneurs, it’s too much stress.
It’s easier to punch out at 5 pm and leave the company payroll processing, invoicing, marketing, website updates and social media management to people in other departments.
The most successful freelancers I’ve met have insatiable appetites for learning, listening and experimenting. They ask “Why?” often and aren’t afraid to try new things daily. They count ideas, not hours.
For fun, let’s see what the Merriam-Webster Dictionary says about freelancing.
“Definition of freelance
1. a: usually free lance : a mercenary soldier especially of the Middle Ages : condottiere
b: a person who acts independently without being affiliated with or authorized by an organization
2. a: person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer”
Soldier. Independence. Profession.
You have to be an independent soldier to make a career out of being a business-of-one. Whether you’ve scoffed at the ‘F’ word in the past, or been on the laughing end of a joke about not having a ‘real’ job, freelancing isn’t for the weak.
How do you feel about the word ‘freelance’? What connotations does it have for you? Please share your ideas in the comments below or on this post on Facebook!
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Note: This post was last updated on October 19, 2022.