Before I begin, let me tell you that I do not intend to intimidate or cause panic, nor do I use the word “entrepreneur” in a literal way. That is to say that us freelancers need to be tech geniuses who can pinpoint a hole in the market, launch a startup, develop an app, attract tonnes of users, then secure some lucrative Series A Funding and very soon see our names in a Forbes Rich List. No, I don’t mean entrepreneurialism like this. I’m quite content still being a copywriter for hire.
Before I begin, let me tell you that I do not intend to intimidate or cause panic, nor do I use the word “entrepreneur” in a literal way.
That is to say that us freelancers need to be tech geniuses who can pinpoint a hole in the market, launch a startup, develop an app, attract tonnes of users, then secure some lucrative Series A Funding and very soon see our names in a Forbes Rich List.
No, I don’t mean entrepreneurialism like this. I’m quite content still being a copywriter for hire.
I’m talking about a simple switch in our mentality
Entrepreneurs are often exceptionally positive people. Some of them are downright fantasists.
Imagine fancying oneself as some sort of innovator, whilst also being miserable and negative—telling your partners, staff, and investors that it cannot be done for whatever reason.
It’s a laughable, contradictory, and absurd thought to try and process, isn’t it?
Okay, what am I getting at here?
Look, I get it. It’s very easy to observe the world in these supposed ‘post-pandemic times’ (but with another COVID lockdown or at least more restrictions coming back as an ever lurking shadow), the planet melting, countries at war, people dying, industries collapsing, and overall a really overwhelming feeling of concern for our future—let alone the present workweek.
It’s easy to seamlessly slip into a nihilistic state of mind and stop caring, stop working, stop trying, stop getting out of bed at all in the morning. Yes, it’s important to recognise these aforementioned events, but as freelancers, it's fundamental for us that we don’t allow them to dictate our emotions, ambitions, and goals.
Freelancers must adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. This is what I’m getting at.
What exactly is job security, anyway?
As the contractor self-employed, we only earn when we work. We only earn when we have clients. And we only earn when we are told when an invoice will be paid. We are always chasing money and earning an income on a totally random basis, as opposed to the last Friday of every month at the exact same amount—I believe they call that a salary.
And some might call that job security too (or is it?).
People with full-time jobs tended to look on in horror at us freelancers before covid, never mind during or after. They can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like working for ourselves and never knowing where the next pay check is coming from. Again, to reiterate, even in a time of “certainty” and “stability” before the pandemic struck.
Some public sector nine-to-fiver once said to me…“Alan, what you do is so brave.” I mean, thanks…I guess? I didn’t realise I was some kind of war hero. I just sit at home in my underpants and come up with words for people…then they pay me. How is that any different to commuting to an office Monday to Friday and doing it for a company that has me on their staff payroll just like you—that you can be let go from at any moment?
(*On a quick aside…I wouldn’t just wear underpants to an office. I’d obviously be much more professional than that. I’d at least change my slippers. Anyway, moving on…)
I do not understand this term “job security.” Never have. Never will. Full-timers think they have these jobs for life until such a time they get bored and want to move on, then all of a sudden they get called into a manager’s office after lunch on a Friday (the best day to let employees go), and they are told they are being made redundant—which is probably due to the fact that some senior management luddites made a horrific decision upstairs, and some “costs need to be cut” now. That starts with who is the most dispensable.
Imagine this employee has a family. Now they’re up sh*t’s creek. They didn’t plan for this.
Us freelancers DO! We’re constantly planning, putting money aside, keeping track of clients and income, and generally speaking creating a safety net for a rainy day. We have a system. We have a process. We’re in control of our own destinies every day, not somebody else. We’re not the brave ones…the blindly dependent full-timers are.
Right, mentality changed! Feeling more positive now? Shall we move on?
But Alan…full-time or freelance, it’s irrelevant in this changing world anyway
Throughout the pandemic, so many workers lost their jobs, businesses closed, industries plummeted, the stock market crashed. For us freelancers, we lost clients, we lost income, we lost our foundations and networks which we have worked so hard for over the years.
It brought full-timers & freelancers together. We were all in the same boat.
The world has changed and is still changing. Businesses have reevaluated their core offerings and services, many (dare I say almost all) have needed to ‘go online’ for the first time in company history, new niche-industries have sprung up, brand new gaps in the market have appeared out of nowhere. It’s very easy to let this overwhelm us, intimidate us even, and generally make us want to quit and do something else with our lives.
Hell, I know freelancers who have had no option but to go full-time again. We’ll see how long they last.
But again, my point is that instead of letting these changing and economically-hit times turn us into defeatists, let's allow it to turn us into opportunists.
Perhaps it’s time you change your core offering as a freelancer? Perhaps it’s time to study these changing markets and figure how it can benefit you, not hurt you? Perhaps it’s to take a crash course online and add a new skill to your services? Perhaps it’s time to get excited?
As a creative who operates as a one-stop-shop content marketer for his clients, I myself have made the post-pandemic decision to drop my video services as my core offer, and only do video work now when it’s referral-based. So when people ask what I do these days, I say I’m a copywriter—and not just any kind of general copywriter, but one who specializes in SaaS. I am trying to break into the online subscription based software world that is exploding.
I’m using these crazy times to my advantage. And in doing so, I’m finding something else I’m really interested in.
This is what I’m getting at when I talk about being in control of our mentalites as freelancers. We cannot control the actions of others, but we can control our own state of mind.
My fellow freelancers—let's get entrepreneurial! Let’s get positive!
See ya on the next one.
Feature: Artem Beliaikin
1st photo: RODNAE Productions
2nd photo: David
3rd photo: Tima Miroshnichenko
4th photo: Andrea Piacquadio