December 2015 update: I wrote a book on freelancing/consulting with my mastermind group. Learn more about that here.
The other day, I tweeted some advice to freelancers, including “don’t call yourself a freelancer.” I got a few responses asking why, so here’s an explanation.
My top 2 tips for freelancers:
1. Raise your prices.
2. Join (or form) a mastermind group.
Bonus: Don’t call yourself a freelancer.
— Travis Northcutt (@tnorthcutt) October 6, 2014
In your clients’ minds, freelancers are inherently less valuable than [professional whatever you are]. Their neighbor’s unemployed college dropout kid who has a nice camera calls himself a freelancer. Their stoner second cousin who makes a pittance on Fiverr calls herself a freelancer. Is that who you want to be associated with?
Besides being asked why, I also got replies asking if not freelancer, then what? If you’re a writer, call yourself a writer. If you’re a designer, then say so. If there’s not a succinct term that encompasses what you do, then use “consultant” as your title.
Call yourself a professional, conduct yourself like a professional, deliver professional results, and set professional prices. You’ll enjoy your work a lot more, and earn more in the process.