Can you call yourself a freelancer? I have spoken to many business owners as well as other fellow freelancers to ask their opinion about this topic. Today I want to share some of the responses that I have gathered from them and from my experience of being a freelancer for over 8 years.
You can call yourself a freelancer if you have a skill or service that you can trade in exchange for a currency. The currency I am referring to is not limited to money. Freelance in short means self-employed whether that is full-time or part-time. You can freelance even if you are employed by a company or entity. In this regard, you are exchanging your personal time for currency. As long as your skill or service does not conflict with your place at the company.
What Determines Your Title
- Unique Skill or Service
The number one thing that determines your title comes down to your service or skill. This is your unique identity that distinguishes your footprint in the market. Your title can be something like a freelance carpenter or part-time freelance comic animator.
The question you need to ask is what skill are you adding to freelance. This is really what makes you stand out and memorable when clients need to find someone who specializes in a field or direction also called a niche.
Another reason that determines your title is your following. I follow a few freelancers and one that stands out a lot because of the unique niche he is in is called Wintergatan. He builds musical instruments like marble machines and others.
If you know Wintergatan it is actually his bands’ name. He got so much traction for creating a modern marble machine that the community has dubbed him Wintergatan – The Marble Machine Creator. If you follow his YouTube channel you will see how and why he became so famous.
The last thing that determines your title is your authority in the niche you are going into. Now everyone needs to start somewhere but that does not mean you can’t become an authority in your niche when you see others doing the same thing as you.
You can develop unique skills and use that with your talents to create a unique combination of creative content in your niche. Using Wintergatan as an example again (The guys’ name is Martin FYI) he combined engineering and music as well as his skill with carpentry to create a musical phenomenon.
Just because of that one thing he created, he became famous and then a lot of people creating their own versions of machines and replicas. But a unique skill he has is that he also writes the music the marble machine plays. I mean watch this video and decide for yourself.
Things To Keep In Mind When You Create Your Freelance Title
Ok now that you know what determines your title, let’s take a step further and see what you need to keep in mind while you create your freelance title. The reason this is important is that you don’t want to come across as somebody that is bold, confident and strong when you are actually somebody that shy and laid back.
So by figuring this out, you can create a title that not only fits your niche but also fits your personality. Does that make sense?
So where do you fit into society as a person?
- Open To Experiences (Inventive or Curious)
- Conscientiousness (Efficient or Organized)
- Extraversion (Outgoing or Energetic)
- Agreeableness (Friendly or Compassionate)
- Neuroticism (Sensitive or Nervous)
People usually make the mistake to skip over this step and decide on a name that they classify as “cool” and this makes life harder down the road. Remember you are creating a brand, even if you are not known yet. This step is just as important as the rest.
Alright, so the second step would be to list all the services and skills that you have and can sell in exchange for currency. So when you list your skills or services you can then decide which one of those you want to focus on the most.
The reason you’re not going to focus on all of them is that the learning curve can sometimes be steep and if you try to focus on too many skills at once you will end up mastering none.
Lesson 1: Relatable Title
- Decide on a title that has meaning to you and that your clients can relate to
You are creating an identity and something that your clients will relate with. I spoke to a business owner the other day about how times have changed. Back in the day people connected with brands and companies but in today’s time and age people connect with people.
Lesson 2: Key Personality
- Decide if you want to add your personality to your title for extra flair
I guess this would be a perfect place to make a quick example of what I mean when I say add a bit of flair with personality. Say I was someone who was open and inventive with a graphic design skill. I would then call myself ingenious designs.
Another example could be a web developer that is in the extraversion personality category. I would look at buoyant development (In my mind I am thinking, rising above the rest in either competition, skills wise or by what I’m offering clients that are unique in the industry).
Lesson 3: Is This Brandable
- Have a quick look in google search by typing in exactly what you want to call yourself.
If you see that there are people popping up in the search results that do similar things to what you are doing. Then you are on the right track. But if you called yourself something like Metallica Designs then you will most likely find yourself seeing massive results of the band Metallica and or the band’s logo.
While you are in the search add the word logo behind your title and then go to logos and see if your new title has not been used by someone else already. So if you wanted to call yourself Metallica Designs then you would search for “Metallica Designs Logo”.
If you don’t see any logo with your name then you are good to go.
The last step is to type in the search “Your Title” with the quotes. This will show you all the pages or websites on the internet that has to do with that word combination. So if you want to see where and how your title is being used then search for example “Metallica Logo”.
Lesson 4: Create Value
- Look at what other people in your niche are selling and what services they are offering their clients
Yes, you heard me, go spy on your competition and look at what they are doing and see how you can improve on what they have. They key here is to see how you can create and generate value for your potential clients. It will also give you an idea of what is going on in the market.
A lot of markets are a real bloodbath. The competition is stiff and you have to sometimes push hard to get products out into the world. But you can save yourself a lot of trouble if you think about improving what is already out there.
Let me give you an example. I am going to use a graphic designer again. Let’s say that your toughest competition is releasing a tutorial every Monday of the week to start a following on platforms. Then you are going to learn and create tutorials on Mondays and Thursdays.
Another example would be that a graphic designer might only do 5 revisions of a logo for their clients, you can beat that by giving unlimited revisions in a certain timeframe. Now you have just increased the value of your product which is the same service your competition is selling.
What Not To Brand Yourself As
You want to avoid branding yourself with names or titles that are well known like:
- News Channels
- Erotica names
- Famous People
If your title is already a part of a branded company or any of the above… Avoid taking that name altogether. You will get sued and on top of that, when people look you up they will never find your website or brand because it is competing against all these entities that have been established in the market for many years.
You can call yourself a freelancer if you have a skill or service that people find of value and in an exchange offer you a currency to get that service or skill. There are also a few factors you need to keep in mind when you call yourself a freelancer.
So to sum this up, when you think about creating a freelance title then think of the following questions:
- Are my clients able to relate to my title
- Does my personality show through my title
- Will I be proud to brand myself with this title
- Does my title offer brand value
When you answer YES on all four these questions then you have accomplished your title creating goal.