Why I Stopped Calling Myself a “Freelance Writer”
The gift and the curse of an often-underestimated job title
Several years ago, the CEO of a prominent product development services company approached me to help out with copywriting and publicity. I had started my own editorial studio, Wonder Shuttle, and gave myself the job title of creative director. That didn’t matter much, because most of my network still knew me as a freelance writer.
After some proof of work and a small discounted project, we started talking numbers for my actual rates, and when I gave him mine ($250 per hour or so, my rate has multiplied since).
He said that was way beyond the market rate for freelance writers.
I’d heard this before, hence why I’d changed my job title. I hadn’t perfected my response, so at that moment I’d blurted out, “I’m not just a writer. I’ve worked with you on publicity and marketing. I work on strategy. My rate reflects the value I bring to the table.”
Probably working in services himself and having to do a version of that explanation (product development companies offer more expertise, and are often pricier, than offshore or outsourcing app development studios), he understood. I joined his team as a fractional marketing leader.
In addition to putting a small team together, we worked on a bunch of projects beyond freelance writing — obviously on blog posts for marketing and employer brand, on differentiation, building awareness for a hackathon, doing more publicity, amongst many other things. I went into the office at least twice per week.
What’s in a job title?
Especially when you’re working as an entrepreneur, a job title really doesn’t matter as much as the value that you can deliver. That being said, in the world we live in, most of us are overworked, stretched to the limits of our personal productivity, and we have very short attention spans for things we don’t understand. We often let a job title make a great impression on us than it really should.
Being known as a freelance writer is a gift and a curse. The gift is, people have all sorts of writing needs, and friends will be able to refer you to their friends if you call yourself…