How to freelance with pride

Jul 30, 2015

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

Heads up, people. It's mindset-changing time.

I know and you know how annoying it is when people belittle freelancers.

Getting shortchanged by abusive clients, being looked down upon by agency-based industry peers. Yeah, that comes with the territory and you learn to roll with it.

But what really irks me to hell and back is when a freelancer himself belittles everything about freelancing.

WTF, right?!

Downscaling doesn't mean gaining a shorter vision on things. In fact, when you're alone, you should be able to see the big picture better.

And here is where I will start jostling your mind back to sanity.


It kills me every time a building receptionist asks, "What company are you from?" --and we almost always automatically blurt out, "I'm just a freelancer."


Okay, the first thing you do when you decide to join the freelancing brigade is to respect yourself. You're not a bit player in this industry… unless you want to be.

Just like people in big agencies, you sell the same thing: BIG IDEAS. So what makes you a lesser life form?


"Eh, that one's a no-brainer. I only do this for the money anyway."

This. THIS kind of shiitake attitude is what ruins the good name of every independent creative in the land.

Sure, sure… we need to survive. But your passion for your craft shouldn't go down the drain for it.

Just in case you didn't know, any little project you get is a prospective foot-in-the-door.

It beefs up your portfolio. It opens up more opportunities in the future. But if you keep thinking small and aiming for a one-trick-pony career, then I don't see you understanding this.

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When you're freelance, you can't really tap the big suppliers you used to due to, well, usually budget constraints. With this setback, you're all "I don't wanna work with small establishments!"

Okay, back up. Remember that AVIS ad? We're no. 2 so we try harder?

That's what you've been doing --trying harder-- which means that's what small suppliers do, too. They'll pull more stops to get the job done just like you do.

Now if you find a supplier that matches your kind of determination, ambition, and hard work, you two can actually work wonders together. Heck, you might even grow together!


Back in the day, you join pitches and make it a habit to ask who you're pitching against. And then laugh all the way to town when you find out that you're competing with unknowns.

"Was he a Creative Director?! Never heard! Hahaha! snort"

That is not the mindset you should have as a freelancer. This playing field does not tell you who's the big shot and who isn't.

Everyone has the capability to shine even without a gigantic agency name under one's belt. It's a free-for-all. So instead of getting all cozy in your laurels, you should still push for number one.

If you've won a pitch against a full-blown agency as a freelancer, you'll know what I mean.

To recap: As a freelancer, you're allowed to make mountains out of molehills. Because you're allowed to think big. Because you see the big picture. Because you foresee a huge-ass future.

So did I sway you back into the light? Hope so. Because this post was mighty big of me. Hehe...

Karen is RaketChick at, a Freelancing Survival Champion who’s also an independent Advertising/Web/Magazine Writer, a Strategic Creative Consultant, and a Fiction Author specializing in erotica. Uhm, yeah.