Why freelancers aren't their own bosses

By Katharine Swan On Friday, January 16, 2015 At 9:28 AM

I saw a bumper sticker on a cab the other morning stating, "Be your own boss!" with the cab company's number.  While I do love the independence of being self-employed, I've always thought that "Be your own boss" was a bit untrue.

Although in some respects a freelancer has much less oversight than a full-time worker in an office, in other respects there is actually more.

There isn't someone watching your working habits and insisting that you actually work during those hours on the clock, for instance.  You do, however, still have to take direction from your clients -- and since you have more clients than you would have bosses in an office, when you look at it from that point of view, you actually have more oversight, or at least more people to keep happy.  If you are difficult to work with, you won't get continued work from your clients, and even worse, word may get around that you're not a good freelancer to work with.

My point is that it's not like you can just do what you want all day and give the world the finger.  You're not bucking convention, you're establishing a business for yourself -- and if you want your business to last, you actually need to be more conscientious about pleasing your "bosses," not less.


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Blogger Irreverent Freelancer Says:  

Yes, this very true, but we can walk away from any one of our bosses any day and still have some income coming in, if we diversity our clientele enough anyway.

Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

That is true, Kathy. However my point was more that the spirit of that sales pitch, "Be your own boss!" is not true of freelancing. The people that sentiment appeals to are often people who don't work well with others, let alone bosses. As a freelancer you can fire one boss for a good reason, but if you make a habit of not working well with clients, you're not going to do well.


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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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