I can’t believe I’ve been freelancing all this time (over seven years) and I haven’t really run into this myth before. Apparently, some folks believe that those of us who freelance are doing so because we are unable to do anything else. In other words, we couldn’t quite make it in the corporate world and therefore we must freelance because that’s the only thing left for us to do.
This (hopefully limited) myth certainly doesn’t apply to myself, or to any of the other freelance writers that I know. Nearly all of them are competent, capable writers who would be an asset in any corporate environment. What I’m basically saying is that freelance writers are not corporate castoffs who couldn’t make it in a “real” job. We’re not the corporate world’s trash.
From a personal perspective, I chose to leave a very good corporate job with good pay and many perks. I wasn’t forced to go. My reviews were good. I liked my boss and my colleagues. (I hated my commute, but that’s another story entirely.)
There are many valid reasons why a person might choose freelancing over a corporate job. Here are just a few:
- Flexible hours
- Control over one’s income
- Greater variety of projects
- The opportunity to build a business from the ground up
- Creative control
- The ability to work at home
Of course, the reasons vary from freelancer to freelancer. My point is that they are valid reasons to freelance.
In addition, freelancers often get more work done than those in traditional corporate environments do. Not only do they save time on the commute (since many of us work at home), but they also don’t have to sit through countless meetings that are only marginally related to their actual job. There are typically no interruptions from coworkers, and there’s no corporate bureaucracy to go to for approval.
Why even bring up this myth, let alone debunk it?
I think it’s important to debunk the myth because it affects how freelance writers are treated as a whole. If the perception out there is that most freelance writers are somehow inferior to their corporate counterparts, then naturally that affects how their work is valued. (Translation: we will be underpaid.)
On the other hand, if people understand that most freelancers are competent professionals who have chosen to work independently, then our value goes up accordingly.
Are you a freelance writer who has faced this myth? How did you deal with it?