So, you’re a freelancer?

341377_10151062153406417_1675557851_oFor my whole career I’ve been asked “are you a freelancer?” or “are you a freelance journalist?” when I mention my profession or what I do (write).

It seems that the word most commonly associated with the term journalist is freelancer. However, having completed the South East Enterprise Platform Programme (the predecessor to Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Programme), I was in “business” mode for a few years. I was kind of allergic to the word freelancer.

Trying to build a business. Trying to find an answer to that question “are you a freelancer?” by well-meaning inquisitive people without sounding uppity.

The distinction for me was my interpretation of freelancer and the connotations attached to it, a bit of a lone ranger working from home. I tried and succeeded in building a business; I’d registered business name, rented an office, commissioned a website, paid professional indemnity insurance, had PAYE staff, and worked with a panel of freelance writers, sub-editors and designers. I was caught up in the whole thing of trying to expand, to create jobs for other people, to build some sort of content empire.

Now, having jumped through all the hoops of hiring and firing and managing panels of freelancers, the focus is back on me. The focus is on selling my abilities ie writing, content strategy, journalism, and well thinking.

While I still have all the trappings of the business I built: good custom, an office, business name, website, social media accounts and the use of occasional freelancers, I’m parking the idea of world domination through this particular business. Hire me and you’ll get me. And in my spare time I’ll be researching the other technology business ideas I have that won’t go away. Maybe you’d like to be part of the research or a beta user.

And back to the word freelancer, it’s just bizarre in my opinion how hung up people are on connecting it to the word journalist. When I was a staff journalist I was asked it. You never ask a carpenter are you a freelancer… There could be worst things to be called I guess.

I have found an answer – I’m now ok with you wondering if I’m a freelancer. I’m not sure what you have in your own head about the word, but if you mean do I work for myself, yes, I do.