To work, perchance to "freelance"


John Nealan, Stop Freelancing:

So what did I do? I stopped freelancing and started my own company. I came up with a business name, filed for a business license, and as of recent finally even got myself a desk with a fancy “Suite” address in a coworking building.

J.D. Bentley, Keep Freelancing:

If your turn to freelancing was driven by a need to create, to explore talents and to be guided by interests, pretending to be a company offers little benefit.

I identify really strongly with John, but I agree wholeheartedly with J.D.. Whilst I’m not self-employed right now, I used to be, and I jumped through all the hoops to legitimize my business. I got business cards, registered for various legal things, created a website with a lot of “we’s” on it.

What did that accomplish? All that really happened was I wasted time, gave my future self a bunch of bureaucratic complications to worry about, and felt vaguely weird about representing my office as a bustling studio full of earnest men in bow ties.

I can’t think of a single client I did anything for that contacted me because they thought they were engaging some agency. Every single person I did any kind of business with was there because they knew me or they’d heard about me through word of mouth. Granted, I was fairly awful at marketing my skills when I started, and maybe if I’d worked at it I could have made more money. But being a company as opposed to a freelancer was actually a bad move.

Even now when someone asks me what I used to do I’ll often say “I ran my own business doing x” (technically true!) instead of “I was a freelance x”. So they’ll think I was really important? I don’t know. The ego is a strange and powerful beast.

Anyway, from now on I’m embracing freelancing. If you think about it, it’s a fantastic word, anyway. Going about, sticking your lance into whatever you want. That’s what I did. Magic.