On the Freelancer-Client Relationship

When you chat with some freelancers, they’ll tell you that the freelance experience doesn’t really offer much more freedom than a regular job. In fact, they’ll tell you that they have effectively traded one boss for several bosses. Instead of being pulled in one direction by one person, they’re being pulled in several directions by several different people, all of whom feel their projects should be the priority.

You see, it all depends on how you interpret the situation and how you choose to address it. For these freelance writers, they’re viewing their clients as if they were supervisors or managers. The clients provide them with a job to do and then they complete the tasks being assigned to them. At some point, remuneration is rewarded and the cycle renews. That sounds like a regular job with a regular paycheque, right?

I disagree.

That’s because I am not working for these freelance writing clients; I’m working with them on mutually beneficial goals. Their success is in my best interest, because it means that they’ll continue to hire me for more work in the future. If I provide exceptional customer service, the clients are more likely to encourage their associates and colleagues to utilize my writing services too.

“But they’re bossing you around and paying you like an employee.”

No, that’s not completely true. The relationship between a freelancer and his client is not like that of an employee and his employer. Instead, the relationship is much like what you’d find with any number of professional services. From lawyers to accountants, dentists to real estate agents, the professionals are providing a service to their customers. Freelancing is no different.

Yes, freelance writing clients will have their demands. They’ll want what they want, but this is just like any other business. Would you say that the person buying a latte at Starbucks is the barista’s boss? No. Would you say that the house hunter is the employer of the realtor? I don’t think so.

With multiple clients come multiple sources of income. And that’s just a part of the added freedom that is afforded to freelancers.