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Is Freelance A Dirty Word?

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what does freelance mean



What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “freelance?”





Side job

Something people do to make a little extra cash.

Starving artist.

The people companies use when they need to save money and can’t do it themselves.


Is that about right?

When you tell people you’re a freelance writer, they feel sorry for you. Then, they try to offer you ” real jobs.” Even though they’re coming from a helpful place, you can’t help but feel insulted.

The word “freelance” even has the word “free” right in it! People oftentimes don’t take it as a real, serious business.


What they don’t know is that you’re making more money than any corporate job has ever paid you.

What they don’t know is that you have to be one of the most Type-A driven, organized humans to create your own success.

What they don’t know is that you have a rare and valuable talent that other business owners find invaluable.

What they don’t know is that this job revolves around more than just writing pleasant sentences. You have to be adept at psychology, persuasion techniques, branding, emotion, audience awareness, research, SEO, social media, story and so many other aspects.

What they don’t know is that you had to hustle your a$$ off to get to where you are.

What they don’t know is that content is absolutely paramount in business right now and good writers are actually? Everyone business’s secret weapon.


What to call yourself instead

I don’t want anyone associating any of the things listed at the top of this post to what I’m doing for a living. So, I’ve decided to change the language around what I do and hope you consider doing the same.

I’ll still probably use the term freelance for this site for search purposes and sometimes in conversation for clarity purposes.

But for actual clients?

I am a professional fitness copywriter. I own my own copywriting business.

That language is much stronger and more important, right?

Even in my own head, that seems more legit. It makes me feel more confident about what I do.

More importantly, it more accurately describes what I do.


So, my fellow freelancers, here’s your homework…

1. Decide on your one-liner.

The one line you’ll use to describe your business the next time someone asks you what you do for a living…

  • I own my own content marketing business.
  • I am a professional finance writer.


2. Improve your mindset

It took awhile for you to admit to yourself that you were a real writer.

Then, it took awhile for you to get out of the “employee” mindset and into a business mindset.

It will take a little bit of time to get used to the idea that you own a copywriting business. But you do! And you will!

So, just start saying it and owning it. Don’t roll your eyes and follow it up with “that’s just a fancy way of saying I’m a freelance writer.”

Ditch your employee mindset and remember that you are a fellow business owner, not your clients’ employee. You work together, not one for the other.

You have a real business. Don’t let anyone–yourself included–deflate your ownership of that. No one would walk into Walmart and say they’ll trade a few hours at the cash register in exchange for a TV.

That’s ludicrous!

Almost as ludicrous as anyone believing your work is available in exchange for a few kisses on the cheek.

Unless it’s your daughter.

You can write for your daughter for a few kisses on the cheek. That’s acceptable.


So, tell me…

Is “freelance” a dirty word? Fellow freelancers, how do you describe what you do? Do you get the same patronizing feels when people hear you’re a freelancer?

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