What is a freelancer?

What is a freelancer and what does freelancing mean to you?


And, indeed, what does it mean for Freelance Feels? This is something I really ruminated on while setting up Freelance Feels. After all, one person’s freelance is another’s contractor or entrepreneur.


When you’re self employed, it’s easy to focus inwardly on your own industry. For many years, to me, Freelance meant ‘journalist, writer, media person.’ It’s only in 2019 that I’ve had the (slightly late to the party, I know) lightbulb moment that freelance means so many more things to so many people. And that indeed not everybody likes the word freelance, which I’ll come to in a moment.


Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in May 2019 showed the number of self-employed in the UK has risen by 175,000 compared to the same time last year. This includes more than 60,000 people in highly skilled technical work and an extra 50,000 in construction. So, not just writers then, Jenny!

As we all leave what we feel are stressful, demanding jobs, we enter a new world of stress and demand. Being self-employed is liberating in so many ways but it’s also very challenging and that word, ‘freelance’ can bring a lot of feels.


So what does it mean for you? And for this site? Freelance is a funny word. After all, it contains the word free, and sometimes it can feel like you’re anything but as you chase clients, invoices and commissions. And that people think your work should be when you're offered a terrible fee for your time or work. But there is a wonderful element of freedom in this life, for sure.


I wanted to explore this with other freelancers, so I did a shout out for ‘what does freelance mean to you?’. I did this in May 2019, but I will likely update as we go on, depending on new statistics and so on. I’ll explore that in the blog part of the site and leave this as a definition for when Freelance Feels was launched.

The differences between freelance, self-employed and entrepreneur were fascinating and helped me think about how to shape Freelance Feels.

Words that people used ranged from ‘freelance creative’ and ‘director’ to ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘self employed’. And for many, the way they described themselves depended on the client. I decided to keep the name Freelance Feels because I loved it, but I also wanted to make sure people understood that this was for anyone who isn’t in full-time office-based employment. You don't need 'freelance' in your self-employed job title to be welcome here!

For this site, Freelance is anyone who works for themselves in any way. You might have a full-blown business, be starting out, be blogging or contracting. Whatever your freelance leaning, you’re welcome at Freelance Feels, and please do share what Freelance means to you, too.

About Jenny Stallard - founder

I'm Jenny Stallard, a freelance journalist, author, writer... yep, many things - and I founded Freelance Feels as an answer to the mental health challenges I faced as a self-employed woman.

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