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Leaving your full-time job to become self-employed is a big, scary step. So everything has to be right. Especially what you title yourself from now on; you need to send out the right messages to ensure you snatch up every opportunity possible.

So it’s possible that calling yourself a freelancer may not be the best way to go. While it’s a good starting point for those first few unsure weeks, there’s evidence to suggest that actually, going by the term ‘freelancer’ could actually hinder your career progression.

This is particularly true if you’re going to be trading with other companies.

Who are your clients?

If you quit your job to become a freelancer working on a business to business basis, the phrase ‘freelancer’ may not work in your favour.

Many self-employed workers experience a lack of respect from other businesses when referring to themselves as freelancers, and unfortunately, far too many are also conned out of payment for work as a result.

Not only do others question the amount of pressure you can undertake, but there are reasons to believe that describing yourself as a freelancer also places limitations on yourself, forcing you to underestimate the quality of work you produce.

Consider your clients when picking your title, as it’s them that will be making the decision whether to choose you.

A supportive network

While there are pitfalls to being a ‘freelancer’, there are some very big perks too. One of the main positives is the sense of camaraderie that comes with the name.

All it takes is a quick twitter search of freelance writers to see that there is a definite sense of solidarity between self-employed workers. Their own network and interactions prove that they look out for one another, and are fierce against clients who aren’t willing to cough up.

It can be comforting to know that there are others in the same boat and there are a number of ways to get in touch with help if you’re struggling, a definite positive when you’re new to the world of freelancing.

Alternative choices

If you decide that the term ‘freelancer’ isn’t the right title for you, then there are some alternatives that might fit your business better.

For example, if you’re a graphic designer you may choose a title that’s more specific to the work you do, considering ‘graphic designer’ can cover a whole host of different types of art you may produce. From website designer to fine art designer, there are plenty of alternatives for you to choose from.

One of the pitfalls of choosing an alternative is that it may not give clarity to your work for those who aren’t familiar with the industry, but if you’re working on a business to business basis, then this shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately it might mean some awkward and lengthy explanations at cocktail parties!

So, are you a freelancer, an independent contractor or a fully-fledged company? Leave your comments and opinions on the phrase ‘freelancer’ in the comment section below!

About The Author

Stephanie Whalley

Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.

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