The freelancer and the entrepreneur
Seth Godin

Boom. Thank you, Seth, for spelling out the distinction between entrepreneurship and freelancing without de-valuing what freelancers do. It’s good to know that someone out there has a realistic take on what the goals of freelancing should be: creating value through skill, experience, and insights that no one else can offer.

I’m not an entrepreneur, but I love working with them because almost universally, the thing that they want to grow and scale is something they believe can change people’s lives.

As a freelance copywriter, my goal is to help my clients’ prospects imagine how their life may be changed by the product or service — and to inspire them to take action. I don’t have a scalable product to do that for my clients: all I have is my time, talent, skills, and experience.

How does one put a price on that? What I love about freelancing is, you can charge what you think you’re worth.

I belong to a Facebook group of female copywriters and the number one topic that comes up is: “How much should I charge?” I’m pretty sure this is closely tied to our gender’s endlessly documented reluctance to negotiate for equitable pay (and our fear that if we do, we’ll get stonewalled because the gender gap has very little evidence of closing in corporate America). As a woman, setting a freelance rate is a huge exercise in having the confidence to ask for what you need. It requires personal acceptance that our time, our intellect, our skills, and our experiences have substantially more value than our culture has taught us that women are worth.

Add on top of that the de-valuing of freelance work through websites like UpWork & Fiverr, and you have a lot of talented freelancers getting paid way less than the value of their services. So it takes chutzpah to step back and say “I’m worth more.” But that chutzpah is what wins you quality clients. And that chutzpah is what keeps you from working with the clients that won’t value or respect your time. And that chutzpah is what keeps you wanting to maximize your time, improving your skills, and gaining insights into your field. And THAT self worth is where the growth in freelancing lies.