Should you Call Yourself a Freelancer or a Consultant?

Deciding whether to call yourself a freelancer or a consultant can be a defining moment in your career. Each title carries a different set of connotations and expectations, which can impact how you are perceived by potential clients and the type of work you attract. Understanding the nuances between the two can help you position yourself effectively in the market and ultimately, elevate your professional reputation. In this article, we will explore the distinctions between freelancers and consultants, the importance of positioning, and provide guidance on when to use each title based on your skills and goals. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which label suits you best and how to leverage it to achieve success in your freelance or consulting business.

What is a freelancer?

A freelancer is someone who works independently, offering their services to various clients on a project-by-project basis. They are not tied down to a specific consulting company or employer, giving them the flexibility to choose their own hours and projects. Freelancers have the freedom to work from anywhere, whether it’s from home, a co-working space, or even a coffee shop.

One of the benefits of being a freelancer is the ability to have a diverse portfolio of work. This allows freelancers to continuously learn and develop their skills while working on a variety of projects in different industries. Additionally, freelancers have the opportunity to set their own rates and negotiate contracts, giving them more control over their income and work-life balance. Overall, being a freelancer provides the freedom and autonomy that many consultants strive for in their careers.

Is Freelance the same as consultant?

Freelancers are typically seen as doers, while consultants are seen as thinkers. Freelancers focus on completing tasks assigned to them by clients, while consultants focus on providing advice and guidance based on their expertise. However, both freelancers and consultants can offer valuable services to businesses looking to achieve their goals and objectives.

Ultimately, the choice between identifying as a freelancer or a consultant depends on the type of work you want to do and how you want to position yourself in the market. Whether you prefer to focus on implementing solutions or providing strategic advice, both freelancers and consultants play important roles in helping businesses succeed. It’s important to understand the perception of each term and how it aligns with your skills and goals as a professional.

Do you need to have a License to Call Yourself a Consultant?

No, you don’t need a license to call yourself a consultant. While some industries like law or real estate might require specific qualifications, most consulting businesses don’t need any special licenses. Since consultants work on a contract basis, there aren’t strict qualifications to meet. It’s more about understanding what a client needs and being able to market your services effectively. Just keep in mind that in the consulting world, clients expect top-notch advice, so competition can be tough. But as long as you’re able to deliver expert-level guidance, you’re good to go. If you’re wondering if a licence is a good idea for you, take a look at our article we wrote about this subject.

Positioning Matters more than the Title

Your positioning matters more than the title you give yourself. While the terms “freelancer” and “consultant” aren’t exactly the same, your personal beliefs won’t alter how clients perceive each term. However, it’s common for freelancers to transition into consultants as their careers progress.

Additionally, consider the search volume associated with each term. If you’re drawing clients to your business through a portfolio or marketing website, this could impact which term you opt for. Google Trends provides valuable insights into the popularity of each term, helping you make an informed decision.

When to Call Yourself a Freelancer?

When considering whether to label yourself as a “freelancer,” it’s best suited if you’re offering tangible services. This term aligns closely with client expectations for freelancers, especially if you’re still building your expertise and primarily providing copywriting, design, development, or similar services.

However, identifying as a freelancer could potentially limit your opportunities, particularly if you’re aiming for higher-paying clients. The term carries a connotation of lower budgets and cheaper, “commodity” services, which might hinder your efforts to attract premium clientele. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of using the freelancer label, considering your target market and long-term goals carefully.

When to Use the Title “Consultant”

You can confidently call yourself a consultant if you’re offering knowledge, advice, or insights in an advisory role. Consultants typically charge for the value they bring through their solutions.

Using the title “consultant” can attract prestigious clients with higher budgets, but you need the expertise to back it up. It’s crucial to be able to effectively solve your client’s business challenges and help them achieve tangible goals. These clients are seeking impactful results, not just good execution.

However, if you claim to be a consultant without the necessary skills in business discussions, you might appear inexperienced, and top-tier clients could see through this weak positioning.

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