I decided to pose my question about freelancing and entrepreneurship* on various social networks. I’ve received a variety of responses. Some of them have been detailed and included links to the Small Business Administration and other resources. Other responders have argued that freelancers are entrepreneurs and suggested that my problem is one of perception.
They could be right. It could be a perception issue. I know that freelancers – at least the ones who are serious about their work – are entrepreneurs. I include myself in that category, but I think I made a fatal error at some point during the past year. I began to see myself as a freelancer first and an entrepreneur second. The problem with that perception is that I stopped thinking of myself as a business owner and started thinking of myself as the freelancer who has to seek the next job, gig, or project.
There’s nothing wrong with that mentality if that’s where I want to be for the rest of my life. I don’t. I don’t want to be a freelancer scurrying from job to job. Chasing project after project after project is exhausting and frustrating. I shouldn’t have to do that. I don’t want to do that. I want people to start seeking me because I provide a unique and valuable service.
I guess that brings me to the crux of the matter. I have to stop viewing myself as a freelancer and start seeing myself as an entrepreneur. I have to change my mindset. It’s going to be hard. I might have to practice saying, “I’m an entrepreneur,” in front of the mirror for the next few weeks until the idea fully permeates my mind. I’m going to have to work on my self-confidence. I’m going to have to remember that I’m a good writer (no matter how much I cringe at saying that out loud).
*Originally published August 17, 2011