One of my favorite things to do every Fourth of July is listen to the Declaration of Independence being read.
I like being reminded of what this country committed itself to before it was a country and the ideals its citizens courageously held despite their inability to perfectly embody those ideals.
I was working as I listened to the Declaration this year and so I thought about the declaration of independence I make as a freelancer.
I, like so many freelancers, find myself on the cusp of something new, with strong convictions, invigorating optimism and healthy trepidation about what lies ahead.
I am ready to set myself apart and celebrate what makes my work special. Based on my experience, there are a lot of other freelancers who feel similarly.
And so this week I offer the Freelancer’s Declaration of Independence. A simple statement of what it means to be a freelancer and a reminder of the ideals and convictions that set us down this path. Encouragement during those late nights and tight months.
I am a freelancer.
I choose my career.
The work I do, the people I work with, the hours I keep: these are my decisions, no one else’s.
I create high-quality work in a reasonable time-frame and for a price that reflects the value I provide. These are the qualities that make me a professional, not the office I work in, the clothes I wear or the hours I keep.
My worth is not dictated by my governmentally recognized employment status. I am not waiting for anyone to hire me for “a real job.”
Non-traditional does not mean less desirable.
The power of my independence is enhanced by my involvement in the freelance community.
I share my knowledge with other freelancers. I speak openly and honestly of my successes and failures because I know that every experience I have is an opportunity to learn, not a judgement of my intelligence, a statement of by abilities, or a determination of my potential.
I listen to peers who offer their advice. I can’t know everything, so I don’t try to. I don’t subject myself to learning every lesson “the hard way.”
My career is not determined by one client or one job. My career is a mosaic of my work, each piece chosen and incorporated as I see fit.
I do not have time for clients who don’t pay, don’t communicate, don’t listen. I am building a career here. The world is wide; I have other options.
I invest in my craft, my work, myself.
I respect my clients, my peers, myself.
I support my community, my family, myself.
I am a freelancer.
If this rings true for you, please pass it along.
Feel free to add to it, rearrange it or pretty it up. Feel free to make it yours. If you do, please share what you’ve done in the comments; I’d love to see what you create.
This freelance thing that we’re doing isn’t a passing fad, it’s a movement, a new way of working and a rejection of “good enough.”
And I, for one, am proud to be a part of it.