I have noticed a few stereotypes amongst freelancers, and I might be wrong or right about my observations, but freelancers are more likely than not to see themselves through the lenses of at least one of these categories of freelancers:
Stereotype 1: The Geeky Freelancer
Everyone seems to identify this type of freelancer by the incessant creativity he/she spews out when they talk, or seem to inherently possess when they choose to remain quiet- which by the way, is often.
The Geeky one would rather scribble inspirations down than give anyone the chance of wasting their time. They would rather be lost in art, music; anything intangible, than face the world’s harsh realities. It wouldn’t be wrong to say the mind is the escape route for this individual.
If you are this type of freelancer, hey, I got you! (Actually, I could be here too, so maybe that’s why I got you). While it’s important to take time out to blend with others and actually have a social life, you will do well if you choose to hold on tightly to that creative spectrum of yours, don’t lose your vibe simply because you want to appear normal. When you accomplish meaningful things, most people will forgive your geekiness! Trust me, I know.
Stereotype 2: The Unserious Freelancer
This type of freelancer could be serious, but mostly does anything relating to freelancing only when he/she has the time. Not one to be stressed, there is that constant waiting for inspiration and if it isn’t flooding his/her veins; well, no one’s fault, right? Errhh…not really. One important thing to note about having a successful career in freelance parlance is that although your creative edge might not necessarily be in competition with another’s style, if you aren’t careful, you will soon be side-tracked for someone who is more dedicated.
Hear me loud and clear: dedication takes precedence over talent here; at least, I think so.
Stereotype 3: The Hyper-serious Freelancer
Is a little different from the geeky freelancer, he or she tends to be quite mechanical and rote in the dispensing of their ‘freelance duties’, if care isn’t taken. The hyper-serious freelancer will ensure that every single deadline is met, way before time is possible- but at the expense of creativity. While these character traits of determination and unfaltering dedication are deeply admired, I also need to drum it into our ears that we cannot afford to lose that (searching for the right words) …that panache, that characterizes our work, that uniqueness, that exclusive blend of yourself mixed with yourself!
Don’t be so serious, that you lose this. Retrieval could be very costly.
Stereotype 4: The ‘I Do Everything’ Freelancer
‘Can you take on this job?’ Yes.
‘How about this other one? and I need it delivered in 3 days too’ Yes of course! I’m totally in.
Same goes for the next. And the next…and the next.
Do we not know when we are being over-worked and need some time to rejuvenate?
I agree, letting go of jobs or creating a few rules or standards may be a little difficult for this type of freelancer- and it usually occurs at the beginning of a career in freelancing; but you have to know when to stop. You really do!
Before I forget, this also takes into account those who jump from one freelance boat into another- writing today, painting tomorrow, drawing the next without staying long enough to perfect anyone of those skills. Really? How do you expect to be proficient if you don’t work hard at any particular skill? (Read my article on freelancing across multiple fields). It is very good to bring all of one’s talents to light, but this shouldn’t be at the detriment of the development of any one of them.
Stereotype 5: The Very Careful Freelancer
Now, here we go. Quite the opposite of the ‘I do everything’ kinda freelancer. In fact, could be a more experienced version of this self-same do it all freelancer and here’s why: Taking on too much can burn our fingers and make us super-careful at all we do or take on later in life. Do not let this be you.
Yes, be careful; but not necessarily guarded.
Which stereotype (or stereotypes) do you fit into?