“Hi, I’m just a freelance designer.”
Do you hear yourself slipping that word “just” in front of your title when someone asks you what you do? You know, that no-one-knows-what-designers-do feeling and they won’t understand unless they see what I do. Sure we aren’t doctors or lawyers or engineers. We don’t save lives, keep the peace, or build skyscrapers; but let’s be honest with ourselves; freelance designers are far from “just”.
In general conversation, we tend to relate to people by finding common interests. We do so by creating introductions like “JUST a freelance designer” to get our foot in the door. Then we start talking about their career as a doctor rather than ours as a designer because everyone knows that being a doctor is way better than being “JUST a freelance designer”, right! Wrong! The truth is freelancers are equally as cool as the well-known careers such as doctors, lawyers or engineers. I’d even go further to say that in many ways, freelance designers have even more interesting careers. They may not be saving lives, but they are saving entire businesses from failure! We basically keep the world spinning so to speak. ;)
Now that’s worth talking about!
It’s officially time to retire “just” a freelance designer and there are three very good reasons why:
1. “Just” makes freelancers who want to chase dreams appear inadequate.
Freelance designers are artists with hardworking and dedicated entrepreneurial traits. There are a lot of us but each with our own unique marks. We may be graphic designers, web designers, photographers, illustrators, writers, teachers and the list goes on; but all play a substantial role in keeping businesses growing. Our positions and goals are far from inadequate. There are hundreds of successful freelancers out there and you can succeed too!
Designers are adults with the imagination of a child.
2. “Just” undermines the raw ability and talent of freelance designers.
Many design occupations work so closely together that freelance designers could be one or ALL of the titles mentioned in point one. Now that’s talent! Being freelancers, we are the sole authors behind our work. We transfer only specific usage rights to clients to hold up our reputation. Freelance designers work is often memorable and immediately used unlike the work at design firms that gets filed away or worse, never used. We make money from doing what we are passionate about and people love it. We are structured and disciplined enough to run a businesses—far from just!
3. “Just” devalues public opinion of us and gives an overall false impression that we don’t really need freelance designers.
This world is becoming more and more cluttered. Without us, companies can have a lot of trouble standing out. Thankfully, businesses are understanding the importance and need for professional design services, through the work of designers. “Just” is getting left in the dust and freelance designers are taking their place next to doctors, lawyers and engineers. Public opinion is expanding and appreciating our careers. By eliminating “just” from our vocabulary, we will eliminate it from the minds of skeptics.
So let’s try that introduction again…
“Hi, I’m a professional freelance designer! I just helped build two businesses this month? What do you do?”