When you think of a “freelancer” what image comes to mind?

Perception

The term ‘freelancer’ can have different meanings to companies or potential clients, it might mean temporary work or part time cover for employed staff. Clients may see it as cheap labour where individuals are willing to take whatever they can get. I’ve had experiences in the past where the focus has been more about ‘time’ rather than outcome and this where you’re likely to feel undervalued.

Should I call myself a consultant?

If you decide on a working title of ‘consultant’ you will definitely attract more higher paying clients as they’ll see you as someone that has more of a value based proposition for their business. The word ‘consultant’ has its connotations – what do you think of when you imagine a consultant, sharp suit, polished shoes, would you feel like a creative?

One thing to consider here is – how accessible is that for people? The first thing they think of is pound signs and may not want to pursue an enquiry much further than that. This approach may get you higher paying clients but fewer leads so take that into consideration.

How you position yourself is important

There are different approaches, if you want to be seen as a consultant then you will be looking to solve a problem with a goal in mind. As a freelancer one of the questions you may be asked is ‘what’s your hourly rate’ so the emphasis is more about your time and not so much about the solution.

Adapting people’s mindset about freelancers is all about how you choose to position yourself, be someone that acts more like a strategic partner that takes an approach of an expert where turning problems into solutions is the main ethos of how you work. This approach is what will convert more higher paying clients with the title of ‘freelancer’. Projecting the right message for your brand has a lot to do with your success.

Your livelihood doesn’t depend on your own self-perception, but on how potential clients see you and your work.

fastcompany.com

Final thoughts

Are you a freelancer, consultant or like to class your personal business as something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter and understand if you’ve changed your working title to reflect how you’d like to be perceived?

I have spoken about running a freelance business on a Zoom call which is worth a watch if you have a spare 5 minutes, hope this article was helpful, all comments below are welcome 👍.

The inspiration for this article came from a tweet I saw below.