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Why You Should NEVER Call Yourself a "Freelancer"

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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Why You Should NEVER Call Yourself a "Freelancer"
    Posted: 26 May 2016 at 10:34
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 10:59
Hi Richard,

An interesting article indeed. I think what she was saying is that a 'Freelancer' has little (if any) business connection with your own needs and is seeing you purely as a pay check; you may get someone that is really interested in what you do and goes that extrea mile but the image of a freelancer is one of go in, make a few quick bucks/pounds/Euros and move on. I think we all look for a little more commitment than perhaps that 'title' bestows on the user?

So - Are you a "Freelancer" then....?

Best regards, Neil.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 11:22
That's just the opposite of what I've always considered a freelancer to be. I'd consider them as hired guns so to speak, experts in their field who answer to no one but themselves and the job at hand, a troubleshooter who will come in for a premium and get the job done when none of your other employees can do so.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote neilt3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 11:43
Originally posted by stiuskr stiuskr wrote:

That's just the opposite of what I've always considered a freelancer to be. I'd consider them as hired guns so to speak, experts in their field who answer to no one but themselves and the job at hand, a troubleshooter who will come in for a premium and get the job done when none of your other employees can do so.


Ah , so , basically a mercenary then ?

I'm not sure which public image I prefer .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 16:23
Is the author saying you should not be a freelancer - or is she saying it's okay to be a freelancer, but you should call yourself something else because freelancer has negative connotations? If the latter, what should you call yourself? The only suggestion I see is 'business owner'. I guess the answer is to call yourself whatever the prospective client is looking for, but leave out the 'freelance' part.

The other article linked on that page gets more directly to the point, saying you should call yourself a consultant. 'Yes sir, I am a consultant photographer.' <pause ... blank stare from prospective client>

When I see either term I do wonder how competent and successful that person is at whatever skill he/she is offering, and how many other unrelated things a freelancer/consultant/whatchamacallit must do to earn a living.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 17:36
Originally posted by neilt3 neilt3 wrote:

Originally posted by stiuskr stiuskr wrote:

That's just the opposite of what I've always considered a freelancer to be. I'd consider them as hired guns so to speak, experts in their field who answer to no one but themselves and the job at hand, a troubleshooter who will come in for a premium and get the job done when none of your other employees can do so.


Ah , so , basically a mercenary then ?...


In other words, yeah I suppose, just shooting different things with a different intent. Photographically spreaking

Edited by stiuskr - 26 May 2016 at 22:34
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 18:16
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:

Is the author saying you should not be a freelancer - or is she saying it's okay to be a freelancer, but you should call yourself something else because freelancer has negative connotations? If the latter, what should you call yourself? The only suggestion I see is 'business owner'. I guess the answer is to call yourself whatever the prospective client is looking for, but leave out the 'freelance' part.

The other article linked on that page gets more directly to the point, saying you should call yourself a consultant. 'Yes sir, I am a consultant photographer.' <pause ... blank stare from prospective client>

When I see either term I do wonder how competent and successful that person is at whatever skill he/she is offering, and how many other unrelated things a freelancer/consultant/whatchamacallit must do to earn a living.


I like this little server vs chef analogy below.

It seems to be a simple "no" to being called a freelancer due to the negative association.

What do you actually call yourself? Well in line with the chef, I think is what she's getting with. That could be consultant, but that might not apply or be relevant for everyone. I think the key here is the message you're sending with the language you're using - in everything you do.

I admit it seems less prevalent in photography than in writing. But if you make yourself the chef - the expert who can't be replaced, then you just find the right language of introducing yourself to your own audience.


I want you to think like a chef. Servers, after all, are utterly replaceable. A chef, however, is the one creating the food, the experience, everything. She's the mastermind. It's her expertise that determines what's on offer to begin with. The waitress says, "What can I get you?" while the chef says, "You're going to love this." A chef has a sense of what her client needs, and creates something valuable, unique, and utterly her own.

I can find a waitress anywhere. But a chef—that's worth seeking out and sticking with—and, by the way, paying for.
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 18:40
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 5thElefant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 18:43
That's an American term isn't it? I've never heard it in a business context in the UK. Contractor is the British equivilent (which means something else in the US).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 18:51
Trying to be clever at the beginning of my career, I referred to myself as an "Assignment Photographer".

Nobody got it. My humor was beyond simple common man. Later I found the joke was on me.

For B to B work (business to business), I now refer to myself as a Creative Director. That's the title in my contract. With that title, I can assign photographer, videographer, web developer, writer, graphic artist, art director, producer, stylists, editor, etc... I often assign myself for any one of those duties. I often assign others.

For agency work, I'm a commercial advertising photographer.

If someone asks if I'm a freelancer, I say no. I'm a well payed lancer.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 19:10
Originally posted by 5thElefant 5thElefant wrote:

That's an American term isn't it? I've never heard it in a business context in the UK. Contractor is the British equivilent (which means something else in the US).


It's commonly used in any writing capacity in the UK. I don't hear it too often but it is used by some start-up photographers too, usually in the commercial area.
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 19:10
Originally posted by Photosopher Photosopher wrote:


I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 19:58
The brand got a little life round these parts... for a little while.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote 5thElefant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 May 2016 at 19:59
Originally posted by ricardovaste ricardovaste wrote:

Originally posted by 5thElefant 5thElefant wrote:

That's an American term isn't it? I've never heard it in a business context in the UK. Contractor is the British equivilent (which means something else in the US).


It's commonly used in any writing capacity in the UK. I don't hear it too often but it is used by some start-up photographers too, usually in the commercial area.

Fair enough. Must be industry specific.

On a related note. The mercenaries I know refer to themselves as contractors.
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