“That goodness it’s Frida…. no wait, I’m a freelancer” – Anonymous.
Whenever a new member joins Freelance Heroes, they’re presented with two questions:
1. Thanks for joining Freelance Heroes; a helpful and supportive community for UK Freelancers. We just need to check a couple of things. First of all, where in the UK are you based?
The reason for this question is that Freelance Heroes is a peer support community of UK freelancers. And it’s far easier to provide that support when you can understand the working conditions, marketing tools, taxation responsibilities, etc of those you’re supporting.
2. What kind of freelance work do you do?
Again, this is to help us to ensure the group is full of freelancers only, rather than companies trying to sell into the UK freelancing community.
This second question create a response that I’d not seen in the previous 3000+ responses, which went “I wouldn’t call myself a Freelancer as that to me signifies no ambition for growth.”
Now I hate labels for the sake of them, whether it’s “solopreneur”, “mumpreneur”, or “freelancer”, and who am I to tell people what they should or shouldn’t call themselves?
My issue with this response was the way it implies that freelancing = lack of growth mentality. I know several successful people who started life as a freelancer, and have grown to run their own agency.
Kelly Molson, former freelancer, and now Founder/CEO of the award-winning digital agency Rubber Cheese, wrote “That’s a ridiculous statement. Paul and I essentially began Rubber Cheese as two freelancers working under the brand.” She added “If even you have no growth to agency plans, growth happens personally and through teaming up with other freelancers.”
Unsurprisingly, many of the freelancers who read my tweet on this topic, wanted to add their comments too. Including:
Bahaha. Staying in the safety of a job with ‘da man’ offers no growth. How weird people think like that tho, I think I’m the 4 years I’ve been doing this I’ve grown exponentially as a worker and a person 🙏🏻
— Hello I’m Nik Design (@HelloNikDesign) August 21, 2018
And so it went on…
Agreed… madness and a huge misunderstanding of what the term means. I went freelance BECAUSE of my ambitions for growth!
— Heidi Scrimgeour (@heidiscrim) August 21, 2018
Oh well my lack of ambition has enabled be to become debt free, work on my own terms, avoid office politics and do the odd bit of volunteering
— Julia Emelogu (@Crystal_Trainer) August 22, 2018
No ambition for growth? Since I jumped into the world of #xl8 #freelancing I haven’t spent a day without learning and honing my skills. In my neck of the woods that’s called growth! #translator #FreelanceHeroes #freelancelife
— Salvatore Greco (@grecosalv89) August 21, 2018
You can read the rest of the comments which stem from my original tweet, at:
I’ve just been told “I wouldn’t call myself a Freelancer as that to me signifies no ambition for growth.” Why? I know several agency owners who started out as freelancers. Let’s not suffer the same fools of some government employees who ignore freelancing’s growth potential.
— Ed Goodman (@edagoodman) August 21, 2018
The orginal responder did email me to clarify his stance, which was that his view was “that the term ‘Freelancer’ tends to infer less intention to grow to a business with staff. And that’s a personal choice – not a negative judgement of freelancing”. He also said that he “learnt some different points of view from the tweets in response, and without wishing to sound gushy or dare I say, fickle, I was educate sufficient to change my view.”
There are some in the Government who look down on the term “freelancing”. I know because I’ve spoken to them. Freelancing is just a word and some like it, some don’t, but there are many proud freelancers in the UK. Whatever your thoughts of the term, we need to drive home how freelancing is becomming to be more and more intergral to the UK economy, and that 4.8m need the words of encouragement and support. Not negative judgement.
What about you?
These are only my thoughts of course, backed up by a few tweets.
What about you though? Do you like/hate being called a freelancer? Do you think it creates negative or positive connotations? What other business related names do you dislike?