You have a job as a professional freelance writer, editor, photographer, graphic designer or whatever other field you’re working in. Your job consists of working eight-hour (or more) days, being in constant contact with brands, clients and interested prospects, and you’re earning a decent salary.
However, people you come into contact with either think you’re not really working or you indulge in sloth and ignorance for your entire day. Let’s face it: according to these individuals, if you’re not hitting the concrete jungle, participating in the rat race and working in an office filled with politics and gossip, then you’re not actually working.
Although freelancers have to have a thick skin to succeed in their respective fields, it can be rather insulting to hear certain things coming out of the mouths of others regarding your daily work. From watching television all day to not having earned such a privilege, there are some statements that shouldn’t be uttered to freelancers.
Here are eight things NOT to say to a professional freelancer:
1. "You're so lucky"
Successful freelancers didn’t get to where they are today by luck. Working eight to ten hours a day with a dozen clients didn’t happen by happenstance. A professional freelancer achieved his or her success by determination, strategizing, and quality. To call it luck is similar to saying that a brain surgeon was lucky he didn’t botch the operation.
2. "I wish I could sleep in on weekdays"
Just because a freelancer doesn’t have to commute, it doesn’t mean he is sleeping in until noon, working for a couple of hours, and then taking a nap. A freelancer still has to communicate with clients, meet deadlines and get ready for the next working day. A freelancer is likely to work more hours than a traditional worker because they’re on call all the time.
3. "Do you wear your pajamas all day?"
This type of comment suggests that a freelancer is lazy, unkempt and dirty. A lot of freelancers still sport professional attire – sure, it’s probably not a suit or skirt suit, but if you happen to pop in to a freelancer’s home you’ll see them wearing pants, a shirt and socks. When you have a day off, do you wear your pajamas all day? Probably not.
4. "You must not make a lot of money if you work from home"
The economy has globalized and the Internet has created a plethora of opportunities. If you know how to navigate the Internet and utilize the right websites, then you can make a good living. However, if you’re playing videogames, browsing through Facebook and taking naps, then you won’t make much money. A freelancer relies on himself, so he won’t be waiting around for someone to contact him for a job. He’ll go out and do it himself.
5. "Do you ever watch daytime soap operas when you're working?"
Many people say that they probably couldn’t work from home because they’d watch television all day. Well, just because you can’t doesn’t mean another person can’t. A professional freelancer is too busy to think about a television show in the afternoon. Also, the television would be off in a professional freelancer’s home.
One more thing: a lot of freelancers have better tastes than "The Young and the Restless".
6. "The refrigerator must be tempting you all day long"
Indeed, a large number of freelancers are tempted all day long by the vices inside of their refrigerators. Even if that were the case, it’s still something that shouldn’t be said. Office workers can also be tempted by the fast food joints surrounding the office or the candy bar machine in the break room, but it’s never mentioned by a freelancer.
7. "I guess you're on Facebook all day waiting for clients"
Yes, I just look at other people’s lives on Facebook while I sit waiting and waiting and waiting for a potential client to contact me. If a freelancer doesn’t have a client for the next day or week, then they’ll seek out work and fill in for ASAP projects. A seasoned freelancer isn’t bothered by trivial distractions, especially something like Facebook.
8. "You can be honest with me: you don't actually have a real job, do you?"
This is perhaps the biggest insult hurled by a person. If someone earns money, applies their skill and works a schedule, then it’s a job. Just because a freelancer has his own hours, location and routine, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a real job. Think about it: someone who works at an office has a morning break, a one-hour lunch, and an afternoon break, in addition to the water cooler talk, endless meetings and cubicle chatter. Does this mean this person doesn’t have a real job?
A professional freelancer likely works a lot harder than the average person. A freelancer has to be accountant, marketer, clerk, customer service expert and head of IT. Not to mention their income is based upon productivity. Instead of iterating the usual clichés about working from home, why not ask questions and see if it’s something you could do down the road?
The working dynamic is evolving, so don’t get left behind thinking that a job is only in an office.