In our culture, there’s a respect given to entrepreneurs who build successful companies. If you reach a million dollars in annual sales and hire a few dozen employees, you are held in high esteem. We often give a “hero” type status to entrepreneurs who are fortunate enough to earn a spot on the Inc. 5000 list or some other fastest growing company list.
On the flip side, freelancing doesn’t seem to get much fanfare because freelancers usually don’t hire employees and most of us are just lucky enough to earn six figures in revenue. We don’t get taken seriously because we work from home or operate our business as solopreneur.
As Rodney Dangerfield once said, “I just can’t get no respect!”
Is freelancing such a bad thing?
Last year I read a few articles that said people who freelance aren’t entrepreneurs and that real entrepreneurship is about providing jobs and hitting lofty sales figures. We’re made to think that unless we’re building a business that can win a deal on Shark Tank, then all we are doing is feeding a hobby. Traditional business people just don’t get it.
What’s wrong with celebrating solopreneurs who have made a great living for themselves while staying connected to what they value such as family or a flexible lifestyle?
Freelancing is actually quite good.
Freelancing IS a real business! You make money, you serve clients, you pay taxes, and you struggle just like everyone else who is trying to make their name in the marketplace. You take risks and are sometimes rewarded for those risks. Many are professional service providers who do an amazing job at providing for their families and contribute back to the economy just like big businesses. All freelancers are not hobby loving hippies who can’t make it in the real business world.
Success means different things to different people, so we shouldn’t judge or place preconceived notions on them because they might not want to build a multi-million dollar business with employees. Freelancers often prefer to build a business that allows them to spend more time with family or that gives them the flexibility to travel. And that’s not bad at all.
Give freelancing some respect!
The good news is that the idea of freelancing is changing and the old stereotypes are starting to fade away. The freelance economy is growing and at least 40% of our workforce are freelancers, contractors, or contingency workers. This number will increase over the next several years, especially as larger companies deal with a rapidly changing economy and are forced to lay people off. Freelancing will no longer be a dirty word.
It’s time for us to get some respect. It’s time for us to celebrate the accomplishments that freelancer’s achieve. We might not be a big brand like Apple or Uber, but that doesn’t mean our contributions are meaningless. Lets start the Top 500 Freelancers list and show the world that we are every bit as important as the big dogs.